Weekly Review

Weekly Review

It’s been a busy week.  I went from just starting the Fraktur chair pad to finishing the hooking on it (see the above photo)!

That required a day long break to dye some background fabric.  I had to plan to dye enough for all of the chair pads I want to make.  There will be four total. I used a mix of Lucy Richard’s skin tone dye formulas to spot dye an interesting background.  When I saw it I thought it would hook up too dark.   In the end it is a great colour.

I’m very happy with how this turned out.  Thank-you to Susan Feller for all your patience and help!

I’m taking a break and going back to my South Korean roof tile end caps wall hanging. Time to finish up the border and put that one to rest.

If you’ve been reading, thanks!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Dyeing for Rug Hooking #4 – Red

Dyeing for Rug Hooking #4 – Red

This will be the last post with dye formulas. I hopefully will have given you enough information and encouragement to explore on your own. This particular post will cover red – the last of the three primary colours, red, yellow and blue.

Having mentioned primary colours I think it the best time to tell you if you want to be an excellent dyer you need to know and understand the colour wheel!  It is a short step from knowing the primaries to mixing various dyes to achieve a great variety of colours. Just having the three primaries and a black can produce a wide variety of colours.

Red dyes can be a bit tricky. Sometimes they don’t like to dissolve, even in boiling water.  I use a product called Glauber Salt to help.  Just a bit will do the trick.

I don’t often dye my own reds. I prefer to purchase or spin the deep poppy reds I use.  My sister once brought a couple of pieces of bright poppy red Thai silk home from overseas for me. I sewed a few articles of clothing for women in my family, and put the rest into my wall hangings.   I haunt thrift shops for lovely old worn red wool blankets for five dollars. It’s taken a while to work through those.

Recently I dyed a lovely pinkish red for my Fraktur chair mat using Lucy Richards’ Wooly Mason Jar Dye System. I wanted a dip dyed red. It was done with the warm ProChem set of cards.

In the past I’ve dyed a similar colour using Majic Carpet red and yellow. Here is my dye record page for that.  You’ll notice the measurements are a bit odd. I mean “smidgen” is hardly your typical unit of measurement. Nor is “toothpick”. Well, as in most things, I was experimenting. Walmart was selling small measuring spoons with tad, dash and smidgen measurements. I picked a set up to see if they might correspond to the Morris dye spoons somehow (the typical dye spoons rug hookers use). Here are the results for 1 smidgen red.

I’ve never tried to achieve a real poppy red because I’ve had no need to try. Between my spinning, the silk and the red thrift store blankets I’ve had more than enough.

Well this ends my short series on dyeing. I highly recommend if you’re serious about learning to dye fibre that you take one of the many courses offered online and off by experienced dyers.  Gene Shepherd, Lucy Richards, Beth Miller come to mind, but there are plenty of others. Definitely take a basic dyeing safety course or beginners course before attempting any of these formulas.

As always, if you have been, thanks for reading.  Have a wonderful week!

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Hello everyone!  This week I spent time helping a friend dye fibre a greenish gold spot dye for a particular project.  It worked beautifully

I also spent time tweaking “Autumn”.  I have finally finished the hooking!  That was quite a long haul.  It’s ready for pressing and finishing now. The changes were in the table in the left corner and the text in the bottom border.  I moved “THE” over a bit from “HUMS”.

This week I also started hooking my Fraktur chair mat that I designed in Susan Feller’s course, Folk Art with Flair, during Workshop Week 2.   I managed to get so far and that’s it. Hopefully I’ll be able to work on it today.  I haven’t chosen a background colour yet.  I was going to use parchment, but my dye job did not turn out on the wool.  It was great on the nylons!  But I need enough for four chair pads eventually. So I will be visiting the dye pots again in the near future.

This week I also started an online free Workshop that lasts two weeks.  I heard about it on Laura Salamy’s blog – High on Hooking.  It’s called Sketchbook Revival and it’s offered for free once a year.  You sign up and receive an email every day for two weeks, with links to two sketchbook lessons from different artists.  So far I’ve watched four videos.  Two were the preamble to the course.  The two videos yesterday were on familiarizing yourself with the art supplies you already have, and one line drawing.  So far it’s been interesting.  Check it out!


Dyeing for Rug Hooking #3 – Blue

Dyeing for Rug Hooking #3 – Blue

One of the first things I receive comments on in my Prairie Sky series is the vibrancy of the sky, and the many variations of blue in them. I often create that variety of colour by dyeing different types of fibre (wool, silk, nylon) and different forms of the same fibre (ie. wool mohair, wool fabric, unspun wool fleece, etc.) in the same pot.

I have a tendency to mix up a pot of colour and just toss in a mix of fibres. Over the years I’ve learned to roughly measure the fibre, or weigh it, before throwing it in the dye pot. That makes it easier to come close to the colour should I need more later on.

By now you’ll have determined I’m rarely ever looking for an exact match. If I am, it’s other people’s dye systems and manuals to the rescue! Or…I use my own dye records.

So here’s a page from my dye records. Dye records are a really good idea. They keep you from reinventing the wheel. If you’ve dyed a colour before and want more, it’s easy to see what to do. This page is on using ProChem Brilliant Blue, Golden Yellow, and National Blue.

ProChem Blues #1

In case you can’t read my printing, I put 1/3 yard of Dorr wool natural, 1/3 yard of 45” wide silk habotai, 5 legs of nylons and 5 yards of natural bouclé yarn in the pot for each colour, except the last Brilliant Blue, where I missed putting bouclé yarn in the pot…probably because I ran out of it.

I hope this helps those of you with basic dyeing experience understand how I achieve my colours. Because everything went into the same pot, the result is fibre that all goes together, even if one is nylon, one is wool, one is silk, and one is yarn.

Here’s another deep blue formula. I had such a strong dye solution in my dyebath, that I added more fibre later to soak up all the colour. There were seven 5 yard skeins of different yarns, nylons and silk. No wool fabric this time.

For Majic Carpet dyes, I have used straight blue out of the jar. I have also combined it with yellow for a warmer blue, or reddish brown or black for stormy skies and seas.

A lovely peacock blue can be reached by combining 3/32 tsp. Blue, 3/64 tsp. Bottle Green and 1/64 tsp. Black. I put this in a dye pot with 1/6 yard Dorr wool natural, some wool fleece, and 10 yards each of four different types of yarn.

This certainly doesn’t exhaust the topic of blues or dyeing them! But hopefully it will give you a bit of a taste of what is possible, and encourage you to experiment with your blue dyes.


Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Hi everyone! This week has been busy with kitchen renovation stuff. We took delivery of half an IKEA kitchen…the rest being on back order. We had a flooring guy in, who recommended a local plumber. We had the carpenter in to discuss removal, install and countertops. We did not buy an IKEA countertop in the end. It’s been busy on the kitchen front.

As for rug hooking…I finished the hourglass piece three or four times. I’m not sure I’m happy with it yet. I plan to add embellishments come Beth Miller’s embellishment class on March 27th. Hopefully that will lift it from ho-hum to something a bit more lively.  

Here are photos of the last three tries at “Autumn”.  The first attempt had bright orange chains top and bottom on the dark brown border.  Then I tried the greys…too boring.   Then I tried light orange and that just looked weird .  I changed the main link to gold ribbon and added a more rust coloured orange.  I’m happier with it now.  

I also finished “Autumn” finally. I may tweak the letters and the table a bit.  I am not happy with how the shape of the table reads. I had a hard time with the colour of the table in the corner and the placement of the mug of tea. I thinkI finally figured those out  

That leaves the Fraktur chair pad from Susan Feller’s class, Folk Art with Flair, from Workshop Week 2 in February. Plus the design and hooking of three other coordinating chair pads!

There was no fibre dyeing this week, but Monday I will post some blue formulas. So stay tuned for further dye formulas!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Dyeing for Rug Hooking #2 – Yellow

Dyeing for Rug Hooking #2 – Yellow

I like my colours bright…bright and clear. I find myself directly at odds with the colours used in the primitive style of rug hooking.  As a result I do not buy or use formulas aimed at primitive rug hooking.  In fact, most other rug hooking styles would find my colours bright.

I used to live on the Canadian prairies, where the sun and the light is intense and the colours are bright.  That shows up in my work.   A lot of times I dye fibre with pure colour, just to see what it will do.  Here is an example of that.

The dye formula is simple: 1/64tsp. of Majic Carpet yellow over 8 – 3.5”x 12” gradated swatches.

How did I use this fibre? Sunsets, sunflowers, flowers in general, prairie scenes.

So here’s to yellow…one of my favourite colours! Well, okay, so most colours are my favourite. 😊 But I have found this pure yellow very useful.

Dyeing for Rug Hooking #1

Dyeing for Rug Hooking #1

People have been asking me recently if I share my dye formulas.  Well, yes and no.  If I can I will.  I use a lot of different dye manuals, some under copyright. Those formulas I cannot share.

I can tell you I use both Majic Carpet and ProChem dyes. For Majic Carpet dyes I first used Barbie Baker-Dykens’ dye manuals.  Then I acquired Susan Logue’s dye books.  Then I used Christine Little’s spot dye books. I found out about Ingrid Hieronimus’s “Primary Fusion”, and am using it off and on.  Then I found Gene Shepherd’s “Prepared to Dye”. Finally, I discovered Lucy Richards’ “Wooly Mason Jar” dye system. I think it’s fair to say I have a bit of experience in this area.

Let me first say each dye system or approach has its strengths.  I liked Barbie Baker-Dyken’s manuals for familiarizing myself with colour, how it works, and Majic Carpet dyes. She has a great manual, “Formation of New Formulae”, full of formulas for gradation dyeing at home. Gradation dyeing is when you dye swatches the same size different shades of the same colour. She also put out a”Basic Workbook”, “Basic Dyeing Techniques “, and “Basic Colour Theory”.

Susan Logue’s and Christine Little’s dye books are great for spot dye formulas.  They also give instructions on dyeing larger pieces of wool.  They use Majic Carpet dyes. Susan Logue’s books are “Past & Present Antique Colours & Spots – Book 1 & 2”.   Christine Little’s books are “Seeing Spots Before Your Eyes” and “SkyBluePink With a Green Smell”.

“Primary Fusion” and “Prepared to Dye” do the same thing for ProChem as the above books do for Majic Carpet.  Gene Shepherd’s book, “Prepared to Dye”, is a great intro to various methods of ProChem dyeing of wool.  Ingrid Heironymus’ book, “Primary Fusion”, gives great ProChem gradated dye formulas.

Then there’s Lucy Richards’ dye system.  Okay guys and gals, this is quite a system!  Lucy’s “Wooly Mason Jar” system works with either Majic Carpet or ProChem. She has developed cards for both sets of dyes.  I like it because I can look at the dye samples on a card and quickly recreate a particular colour.  Major kudos to Lucy for putting all the time and effort into developing and marketing this system.

Lucy microwave dyes her wool.  But there’s nothing to say you have to.  I use her dye formulas, but process my wool the old fashioned way…on the stove or in the oven.  I first learned that way and I just feel more comfortable using that method.  Microwave dyeing is a bit faster though.

I have used Majic Carpet dyes for years, and just recently switched to ProChem.  Most of my dye formulas are with Majic Carpet.  When I use ProChem, I’m usually using Ingrid’s, Gene’s or Lucy’s formulas, so I cannot publish those.  However, as I become more confident with ProChem I am sure I will have a few formulas to share.

In the next few Monday posts I’ll post some of my dye formulas and their results for your viewing pleasure.  So check in on Monday for the first formula in “Dyeing for Rug Hooking”!



Dyeing Nylons (continued)

Dyeing Nylons (continued)

So it took a lot longer than anticipated to strip the colour out of all my nylons. 1) there were a lot of them, and 2) I ran out of the magic powder – fabric colour remover – found at Walmart in the craft section.  That stuff rocks!  And it’s dirt cheap.

I needed one box each in two to three consecutive pots of water to do one load of nylons. I had three loads of nylons. Each pot took an hour to process from start to finish – that’s nine hours of processing.  Most of the nylons are a light cream or white now. There are a few different coloured ones. I’ll have enough nylons for my rug hooking for years!

So I started Thursday and by Friday late afternoon I’d finished stripping the colour out of them. I put them in the washing machine for a final wash.  Saturday was dye day.

Steps to stripping nylons:

First, let me say you do NOT have to strip colour out of nylons before using them or dyeing them, especially if you’re using black nylons to outline, or dyeing regular nylons a darker colour. If you know colour theory well enough, you can figure out what colours you can get by overdyeing a particular colour of nylons with another colour. Dark browns and beautiful dark greens can come from overdyeing nylons. Experiment!

Dark nylons for outlining

These nylons have not been stripped or dyed and are great for outlining or anywhere dark colours are needed.

For the purposes of explaining the process from start to finish, I’m going to start at the very beginning and go through stripping colour and dyeing the regular beige nylons that are so common.

Step 1: Acquire nylons (a.k.a. pantyhose).  Some of mine were given to me, some came from the thrift store for half off of 99 cents on sale day.  That’s 50 cents a pair.  Don’t buy ones with sequins and sparkles as they don’t form a nice rope to hook. Also avoid netted ones and ones with seams down the back.

Step 2:  Bring them home and wash them in your washing machine and dryer…even the new ones from packages. This is to remove any finishes on them.


A mix of nylons from friends and thrift stores.

Step 3:  Cut the panty part off and find another use for it or recycle. Soak the legs, or hose part, overnight to wet them.

Soaking nylons and wool.

Nylons soaking with wool in Synthrapol.

Step 4: Set a big pot used only for dyeing, and half full of water, on the stove to boil.  Once boiling turn to a simmer and add the colour remover. Stir with a utensil dedicated to dyeing.  Add nylons.  Don’t add too many. I think that was why mine took so long. About five to ten pairs is enough, or ten to twenty legs of hose.

Halfway there!

Step 5: Stir continuously for 20-30 minutes. My best advice is to follow the colour remover package instructions. You may need to leave the nylons in the solution a tad longer, depending on how many nylons are in the pot, how dark a colour they were to start with, and your stove.

Step 6:  Remove nylons from pot and put in sink to rinse. Empty pot water down sink drain.

Step 7:  Fill pot up with fresh water and repeat Steps 4 thru 6. You may have to do these steps a third time if you’re looking for a really white nylon and you started with darker ones.

Ready to wash, rinse and dye!

Step 8: Once you’ve reached your desired colour, rinse the nylons with a mild detergent and water.  I use DAWN (the blue one) or Synthrapol.  At this point you can wash and dry them in your washing machine and dryer to store for later use.

Dyeing nylons:

I use ProChem acid dyes.  But any acid dye will work.  I’ve also dyed nylons with Majic Carpet dyes.  I use citric acid to set the dyes. Check with your nearby pharmacy or rug hooking supplier for citric acid.  Dyes are available from rug hooking suppliers and online through ProChem’s website.

Step 1: You will need utensils, pots, and clothing dedicated to dyeing fibre only.  I am assuming you have all this, know how to use it, and have dyed fibre before.

Step 2: Soak nylons about an hour before dyeing.

Step 3: If you are wanting to dye multiple colours at one time, get a big enamel roaster big enough to hold enough wide mouthed quart canning jars as you want colours. Or you can dye one colour at a time in one pot.  These instructions are for one colour in a pot. Fill the pot halfway with water. Put on stove, but do not turn the stove on yet!

Step 4:  Mix your dye solution.  That is, measure out the dye powder according to the dye formula (recipe) you’re using, and place it in a one cup glass measuring cup dedicated to dyeing only. Add boiling water to make one cup.  Stir until dye powder is dissolved.

Step 5:  Place the solution in the pot of water.  Stir. Add wet nylons. Stir and dip in and out if you want even colour. Just a note though, part of the beauty of dyeing nylons is the variety of shades of one colour that you achieve. They are not all one colour to start with, and so aren’t all one exact colour in the end. If you stuff the pot full of nylons and don’t dip them, you can achieve a gorgeous spot dye effect.

Turn on the burners and bring the dye bath to a simmer.

If you want an even colour, dip nylons continuously for 5 minutes, then every 5 minutes for the next 15 minutes, then put the lid on and let simmer another 15 minutes.

Step 6:  Mix your setting agent. I use 1 tsp. of citric acid to one cup boiling water for about 20 pairs of nylons. Stir till it dissolves. Remove nylons from the pot and add the citric acid solution. DO NOT be alarmed if the nylons aren’t the colour you’d hoped, especially if there is still colour in the dye bath.  Once you add the nylons after the citric acid, they will suck up all the colour and change colour themselves.

Step 7:  Return the nylons to the pot, dipping continuously and stirring constantly to make sure all surfaces are evenly exposed to the citric acid.

Step 8:  Cover and simmer them for 30-45 minutes. Check the dye bath.  The water should be clear. If not, turn the stove off and let the nylons cool in the water.  As it cools more dye will be soaked up.

Step 9:  Remove from pot into a nearby sink and rinse. Once the pot of water has cooled the water can be put down the drain.  You can squeeze excess water out of the nylons and either hang dry them or dry them in your dryer, depending how many you have.

Wet dyed nylons.

Step 10:   You can admire and photograph your dye job.  If you want, you can cut the nylons into balls of usable yarn right away, or store as is for later use. I tend to do the latter and only cut into yarn as needed.

Cut nylon. You don’t have to be exact!

To use nylons in rug hooking, or to make nylon “yarn”: Cut in a spiral from the top of the leg to the toe, making cuts 1/2”-1” apart, depending on what width strips you normally hook.  I hook a #6 and like my nylons cut 3/4” apart on the spiral section.  Then, starting at one end of the nylon, grab the first 12 inches or so and give it a sharp lengthwise tug.  Voilà!  It will form a nice rope for hooking.

Nylon being made into yarn rope.

The finished nylon yarn/rope for rug hooking.

I hope this tutorial has been useful to people wanting to turn nylons into “yarn” for rug hooking and other projects.

If you have been, thanks for reading!  Have a great week!

Weekly Review – Dyeing Nylons

Weekly Review – Dyeing Nylons

Hi everyone!  This week was about hooking more on my Workshop Week courses, and dyeing nylons.

I am done the abstracts from Donna Mulholland’s class.  I’m finished the tote bag from Beth Miller’s class.  I’m about halfway done the hourglass wall hanging from Nadine Flagel’s class.  I still have the Fraktur chair pad from Susan Feller’s class to hook.

I had a great follow up Zoom session with Nadine Flagel yesterday. She  confirmed some of my thoughts about the hourglass piece.  I made some changes already, but have more to go.  I have to be careful because I don’t want the finished piece to be overdone.   I want to embellish the sand with beads and embroider some orange flowering vines up the brown hourglass supports.

But onto nylons…

Why dye nylons?  How do you use them?  Well I use mine for added texture in my rug hooking.  I think it’s a good way to recycle them and keep them from the landfill.  I also find a pair of nylons goes a long way. If I cut in a spiral down the leg, and pull taut, so it forms a rope, I end up with a small ball of nylon “yarn” I can hook with, and have fewer ends.

Nylons have a long history in rug hooking. The Grenfell Mission rugs were hooked in straight rows with “silk stockings”, the precursor to nylons. Now, imitators of that style of rug hooking use…you guessed it…nylons.

Today I’ve invited a couple of friends over to watch me strip colour out of  nylons and dye them.  I strip the colour out using RIT colour remover following the package directions.  Then I dye them with acid dyes.  My favourite dyeing techniques for nylon are just a solid one colour in the dye pot type dye job, and spot dyeing.  By Monday I’ll have something pretty to show you!

If you have been reading, thanks!  Have a great weekend!

A Thing Happened!  Dye Day!

A Thing Happened! Dye Day!

I had a great weekend!  A rug hooking friend was over Saturday and we dyed fibre.  She is relatively new to dyeing and I am showing her how. She, meanwhile, is a great help to me in terms of being much taller and having more stamina. Her height came in handy, as we did dip dyeing and transition dyeing of 18” long swatches!

What is dip dyeing and transition dyeing you ask?  Dip dyeing is when the swatch of wool is a darker version of the colour at one end than the other, and it moves gradually through the shades from dark to light.  It is achieved by constant dipping into the dyebath, until you get the right colour in the right place. Hopefully no horizontal colour lines can be seen in the finished product.  Here are our finished swatches.

We also did some transition dyeing.  Transition dyeing is dip dyeing two colours from opposite ends of the swatch.  When they meet in the middle there should be a gradually shift from one colour to another.  Ours didn’t work out that well, but it will serve my purpose, which is to hook sunsets

Aside from that I needed blues for skies. So we tried a partial gradated dye process. Gradated dyeing is when you have several swatches (usually 6-8) and dye the entire swatch one solid colour, but there are several others lighter and darker of the same colour.  Here’s a selection of blues for an example. There are actually five different colours of blue here and two to three shades each, at least, of each colour!

We also dyed other fibre. This was done to exhaust dyebaths (use all the dye in the water), and to use up some leftover dyebaths from previous dye jobs. Here are the blues…

From left to right: nylon (old pantyhose), wool fleece, wool bouclé, hand spun Shetland wool, silk bouclé, and Merino wool yarn.

Here’s the orange leftover from dyeing the transition sunset swatches.

Left to right: nylon, wool bouclé, wool fleece, more lighter coloured wool bouclé, hand spun Shetland wool, and Merino wool yarn.

If anyone is interested, I sell my dyed fibre.  I also will teach dyeing after Covid is over.  Just contact me using the form below.

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

So after looking at my project mind map Monday, how did I do this week? Well, as you can see from the above photo, I’ve removed some of the hooking on “Autumn” to correct a composition error.  

I also took the second session of Beth Miller’s class on hooking a tote bag and finished my project bag. It was a fun class and it was interesting to do something a bit different with my hooking, rather than making another piece to hang on the wall. I really enjoyed this class.

I also worked more on the hourglass for “Time”, a poem my youngest daughter wrote when she was 11 years old. I plan on adding embellishments to this piece. And I will be attaching the poem, on a label, to the back of the wall hanging. This project is for Nadine Flagel’s class.

I have pressed and pinned my abstract pieces from Donna Mulholland’s class. I plan to hem those today.

That leaves the chair pads from Susan Feller’s class to do. Tomorrow I’ll be dyeing fibre for those. I plan on dip dyeing some coral/pink for carnations. I may need more blues for “Time” as well.

Next up after the first chair pad is to finish my South Korean rug. It’s been sitting around far too long. I started it last January 2020. Then I bought a house and furniture and decorating and well, lots of time with family (when Covid let us) and on artist retreats…it was a great year in a lot of ways, but I didn’t work much on the South Korea rug.

Thankfully, come last October, Karen Miller’s first Workshop Week gave me a bit of a wake up call to get hooking again. It’s been slow over winter. Mostly I’ve been playing with finishing class projects and organizing my studio so I can actually get in there to work! I have entirely too much stuff there still.

I have, however, been sketching new designs. Hopefully this year I’ll get to those. I find large projects bog me down. This South Korean End Cap Tiles rug is large for me.


Project Planning with Mind Maps

Project Planning with Mind Maps

Good morning everyone! Today is Family Day where I live – a holiday. Most stores are closed, so we’re staying home.

I mentioned mind maps for project planning in Friday’s blog post. I thought I’d explain a bit about what they are and how I came to be doing them.

Mind mapping in its simplest form is a diagram similar to a flow chart, with multiple “arms” or branches you can designate however you want. Usually the “arms” all radiate from a central image or note of some sort. I used it for decision making at first. Then for note taking. The central idea or focus of the whole mind map goes in the central part. The radial arms are supporting ideas or a further breakdown of the topic at hand.

I was introduced to mind mapping when my daughters were in Kindergarten and grade three. It started with me trying to analyze a difficult situation we had with the local school. I needed to consider a lot of variables at once, brainstorm ideas, and come up with a solution that everyone understood.

I knew a school teacher and she loaned me a book by Nancy Margulies called “Mapping Inner Space”. I read it and, while it pertained to the classroom situation, could see applications for it far beyond that.

I wasn’t the only one apparently. The concept of the mind map was invented by Tony Buzan. He wrote several books aimed at educators and the general public. After reading his book “The Mind Map Book” I was hooked! I was mind mapping decisions we had to make, vacation plans, my daughters’ learning, and project planning.

To give you an idea of what a mind map looks like, here is my current unfinished projects mind map. These are projects I’d like to complete this year.

As you can see, I have a lot I want to do! Each branch, or arm, of my mind map can be further broken down, or continued, by adding steps to my various projects, like below:

I use an excellent little program called Simple Mind. It is an app I use on my iPad. I find the iPad easiest for mind mapping. I have the full version of Simple Mind. It’s only a few dollars and has been well worth it for me.

You can easily sketch or draw mind maps by hand, especially if you are artistically inclined. You don’t have to include colour, but I do. I find it helps me remember things. Some people just use images or illustrations. But that is optional too. The idea is we remember images better than words. I find it easiest to use point form text and colour code my mind maps.

A lot of people are into bullet journaling as an overall planning system these days. I can print my mind maps off and attach them to a page in my journal with a product called Washi tape, though you could use just about anything.

If you’re interested in learning to mind map probably the best book for a quick overview and to start is Tony Buzan’s “The Ultimate Guide to Mind Mapping”. Borrow it from your local library, grab some scrap paper and a pen, and start today! It’s easy. It’s fun. And it’s helpful.

If you’ve been reading, thanks! Have a great week everyone!

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Good morning everyone!  It’s been a busy week for me. I’ve been working on Workshop Week 2 projects.

Monday I focused on the market tote bag from Beth Miller’s class. I finished hooking the mandala on the first side. Tuesday I started the second mandala.  By Thursday I finished it.  Now I’m looking forward to the next session to sew the tote bag up.

Monday I also worked on designing my fraktur chair pad. I had a video/text meeting with Susan Feller to help with the design. I was having problems with the placement of one element – a bud. Thankfully she knew just how to fix the problem. Basically it was an issue with balance – there were simply too many elements on one side of the stem of my carnation pattern. I was glad she could make the time to help me.  I quickly sketched the new design properly and put it on backing.  In the process of sketching the design I used colour pencils to determine colour placement. I don’t normally do my colour planning like that, but in this case it helped a lot!

Tuesday morning I worked on a design for Nadine Flagel’s class – Text to Textile.  I decided to use the hourglass shape and focus on the phrase “time to grow” in my daughter’s poem. This wall hanging will have beads on it, and, if my hands can handle it, embroidery.

Thursday I came in late to Beth Miller’s Parris House Zoom hook-in.  I had a good time listening to everyone chat while I finished hooking the mandalas for the tote bag.  I cleaned up from that project and started the hourglass pattern.

Today is Lunar New Year and we will spend time chatting with our Asian friends.  I also hope to make more progress on the hourglass pattern.

I decided this week it was time to get an overview of unfinished projects, or “planned but not started” projects.  So I created a mind map of different types of projects that need finishing.  It’s a bit disconcerting, but also a relief to have them all on paper.  I can see where I’m going with them now.  Most of them have some progress, I just need to focus on them one by one and finish them!  But that discussion is for another blog post.

If you have been reading, thanks!  Have a great weekend!


Weekly Plans

Weekly Plans

Good morning all!  The first storm is ending and we have a brief reprieve before the second one hits tonight   It’s good weather for staying indoors and working on some projects.

What’s on my plate this week?  In a nutshell…rug hooking.

Today I’m focusing on the market tote bag. I’m just finishing the mandala on the first side. Now to work on the second side.

I’m taking a break in between to finalize a design for my daughter’s poem “Time”. I think I’m going to design an elaborate hourglass. This will be a bit different from my usual projects. I am envisioning some embellishments on the finished piece. However I finish it, I know what direction I’m heading in now.

As for my fraktur class, I think I have a workable pattern now. I’m not entirely happy with the placement of one element, and I may change it. I think the success of the design will be in my colour choices.

Well, that’s the direction my week is heading. I hope everyone is having a great day! We’re still shovelling out…

A Belated Weekly Review

A Belated Weekly Review

Hi everyone. I’ve been very busy with Workshop Week 2 projects and with prepping for a couple of winter storms. I’ve also been prepping for a kitchen renovation.

First, Workshop Week 2 was a great learning experience. I really enjoyed Donna Mulholland’s class on abstracts. I finished two small 6” x 6” pieces based on her provided templates. It was informative and fun

My second class was with Nadine Flagel. It was a Text to Textile class. We were to take a piece of literature or poem and try to create a rug design based on the imagery in the text, without including any text! I had drawn a pattern before class, but it had text in it..a lot of text. So I scrapped that idea. My poem was on time. I drew two more patterns and did not like them. In the end, I think I know what I want to do. I’m just concerned the finished wallhanging will lack interest.

Also, Tuesday was Susan Feller’s fraktur class – Folk Art with Flair. I thought I would make a series of chair cushions (four, to be exact) for my kitchen chairs. I took forever to figure out the first cushion. Thanks for your patience and help Susan! I learned a lot about frakturs in Susan’s class.

Wednesday I took a break from classes and attended the evening hook-in. It was interesting listening to people talk about potential future Workshop Week classes. I managed to accomplish a lot of hooking in one and a half hours.

Thursday I had Beth Miller’s class on how to create a Market Tote Bag. This was just a fun class for me. I was able to draw a mandala on my tote and start hooking. I’ve made many totes, lined and unlined, with box corners, so there really isn’t much new in this class for me. But I really enjoy Beth as a teacher and I was ready for a relaxing class after my double hitter on Tuesday. I will probably use my tote for projects rather than the market.

Friday was the last day and we had the opportunity to listen to a panel discussion in which the instructors for the course talked about what inspired them.

There are a few follow up sessions I think. I have two scheduled for sure. I’m a bit unsure if there’s a third one or not. I may have already missed it. I don’t know. That would be one concern I have. I don’t think I will take as many courses next time as this time. I have so much going on otherwise that I lost track of when various Zoom meetings were. My inbox is very busy. I’m hoping I receive notice the day before the follow up sessions.

Overall impressions? Workshop Week 2 was very well done again! Thank-you for all your hard work Donna, Nadine, Susan, Karen, Beth, Laura, and Meryl! I appreciate your efforts.  I’m looking forward to Workshop Week 3 in the fall!

In other news…

I’ve been designing a kitchen online, and in and out of IKEA fine tuning that design. We had a kitchen installer in today. Basically we’re working as our own general contractor. This is going to consume a fair bit of time at some point. Right now we’re still in the planning phase. I hope to have a new kitchen by summer.

We have a couple of winter storms passing through in succession between now and Wednesday. I put in a grocery order and hope to pick up tomorrow, before the first storm hits.

If you’ve been reading, thanks! Have a good weekend, what’s left of it!

Workshop Week 2!

Workshop Week 2!

It’s Workshop Week again!  I’m so excited. I spent the last few days preparing. Hey! I even cleaned up part of my studio for this event! 😔  I have so much stuff in there.  I really need to go through it and cull more stuff.

In all seriousness though, I was down there today cutting and measuring fabric for workshops, cutting out paper shapes, gathering materials, printing off poems, and generally preparing.  I double checked a pdf I sent to one instructor with answers to questions about my poetry choice.  I was dismayed to discover some of my formatting and text were off.  In one question my answer was totally missing!  😔  I give up!  Adobe and I just don’t get along.

This week I’ve signed up for four classes: Abstract Design with Donna Mulholland, Text & Textiles with Nadine Flagel, Folk Art with Flair by Susan Feller, and Market Tote Bag by Beth Miller. I will also take part in the Wednesday evening hook-in and listen to the Friday panel discussion.

It promises to be a full and fun week, full of new learning and experiences. Plus, as nice as my five person bubble is, it’ll be nice to see other people!  Even if it is only by Zoom.

Workshop Week is hosted by Karen D. Miller of In The Studio.  You can find her on Facebook.  Karen creates fascinating hooked artwork using a variety of materials.  She is the main force behind Workshop Week, and I, for one, am very thankful she had the idea and carried through on it!


Weekly Review

Weekly Review

This week my emphasis was on sewing new blackout curtains for our master bedroom. It faces the street and there is a street light right out front of the house. I finished all but the hemming by Wednesday night. They have to hang a while before I attempt to hem them.

I did start in on fixing the hand quilting on the 44 year old quilt, but the damage is more extensive than I thought. This is going to take some time to fix.

Tuesday we ended up running errands. Thursday I spent preparing for next week’s Workshop Week 2 through In The Studio, and organizing items to be framed. I took all of my needlework to the framer. I only wanted three pieces done at the moment, but I wanted her opinion on the others. She was very generous with her time and expertise. I have a better idea how to handle my items now. I’m going to cull them further to see how much I really want done.

I still want to finish the South Korea sketches, the South Korean rug, and my Autumn wall hanging. I haven’t decided how I’m going to hook the corner yet.

This week we had a number of health checks that took up time. Plus I go walking for an hour every morning with a walking buddy in my Covid bubble. Next week will be rug hooking time! I’m looking forward to Workshop Week 2!

If you have been, thanks for reading everyone! Have a great weekend!

Monday Morning

Monday Morning

This week is a red letter week! I finished binding the 44 year old quilt yesterday. All that is left is to fix and finish knotting the hand quilting. It’s mostly done, but needs a bit of touch up. I need daylight to see to thread needles. So it will happen Tuesday, because…

Today I have a friend coming to help me plan, measure, and cut curtains for our master bedroom. We actually have them planned already. This afternoon we’re getting together with the other friend in our five person Covid bubble to play some Scrabble. Come evening I expect to be sewing curtains. I doubt I will finish in one evening, but I should be able to finish all but the hemming in a few days.

Tuesday daylight hours are quilting time.

Wednesday I hope to have curtains hung by the end of the day. They have to hang a while before hemming. I’m leaving them a few days.

Thursday it’s back to hand quilting if I haven’t finished by then. If I have, it’s back to rug hooking. I’ve ripped out the table and mug in the corner of the “Autumn” piece I was hooking. I will be rethinking how to hook that corner.

I also have three photos of South Korea I’d like to make sketches of for some hooked pieces. Plus I have the border to finish hooking on my large South Korea rug.

Thursday I’ll also be taking my three pieces of needle work to be framed.

Friday I will be prepping for Workshop Week next week! Workshop Week is being hosted by Karen D. Miller of In The Studio. There are several teachers offering classes. I’ve signed up for four. I will have a lot of projects to finish when I’m done. I’m keeping them small, if possible. I have a lot of my own projects I want to work on.

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Not much happening here these days. I’m busy binding a quilt. It is giving me no end of problems on the corners. A friend offered to do it for me. I am debating it. It would be the first project I’ve ever given to someone else to complete! I’m hesitant to do so.

I had an email exchange with a framer this week. I’ve been trying to find one who does lacing or uses brass pins for framing fine needlework on linen. I found a lady who will lace small pieces only. So next week I will be taking three small pieces in to her. Two are Hardanger embroidery pieces and one is a free style embroidery piece. I have a lot more that needs framing, but these are a start. I’m trying to frame or hang finished work here. I have a lot in boxes and bags still.

That’s it for this week in the fibre department! If you’ve been reading, thanks! Have a great weekend everyone!


Finishing Old Projects

Finishing Old Projects

Sometimes I find finishing old projects hard. The knit cotton pullover sweater for the cushion covers from Saturday’s post was one such project. Another is this 44 year old quilt top.  It’s made from leftover fabric from my grandmother’s, mother’s, my sisters and my sewing, as well as old cotton sheets from my childhood, Dad’s shirts, and cotton broadcloth from the fabric store.

It was my very first quilt, and because of that there are a lot of mistakes and many learning experiences in it. It is hand pieced and hand quilted, and none too well done I might add!  I’ll have to fix it before moving onto the next project.

Still, for all the mistakes and trials that went into it, it holds a soft place in my heart. The fabrics are like little memory touchstones for me, reminding me of times gone by and people who came before me.

It’s hard for me to finish a piece like this. It’s like I will be putting the past behind me and that I’m leaving my parents and grandparents behind. But I know they are always with me in my memory.  I just have to take that knowledge from my head to my heart. Plus I’ll have the quilt to remind me.

Sigh.  Yes, sometimes it’s hard to finish a project.


Oops!  I’m Late!

Oops! I’m Late!

I promised y’all a post on Friday, and here it is Saturday evening!  I’ve been busy and wiped by turn. This past week has been busy.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook will have seen the cushion covers I finished this week.  I knit the cream coloured ones as the front and back of a pullover sweater for myself. They are from Handcrafter Cotton. I had to resize the sweater to fit, and design my own sleeve pattern. That’s where I stopped many years ago.  So I decided enough is enough. I did not want to finish the sweater and I liked the colour to go in my living room.  Into two cushion covers it went!  A friend gave me some fabric for backing.

What really started me going was the desire to finish the cushion covers from the pieces I knit last January (2020). This yarn is a gorgeous soft bamboo.  I used the same fabric to back these as the previous cushions.

Having finished cushions, I turned my eye towards rug hooking. I watched Tracy Jamar’s retrospective of her work over the last twenty years and really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed my time with Donna Mulholland and the other ladies on Thursday.

I finished “Autumn” while on Zoom with Donna, et al, but I’m not showing it here until I’m satisfied with it. If you want to see it in its current condition you’ll have to check Jean Ottosen Studios on Instagram or Facebook.  I’m not happy with it and plan to change it until I am.

I then turned to home reorganization and decluttering.  A friend came over Friday afternoon and evening to help. She has very good spatial sense. I was impressed. I’ve only had to change a few things since she left.

Today I went for a walk with my walking buddy. We just started walking regularly this week. It’s been very good for me.  I hope it is for her too.

I’ve also been exploring new recipes with my new Instant Pot. It’s been illuminating, and yummy!

Well,, that’s been my week in a nutshell.  I didn’t get everything done I wanted to, but I did finish the cushion project. One baby step at a time!

Monday Meanderings

Monday Meanderings

Hi everyone!  I have made some moves in planning more crafting this weekend. I definitely took a good long break over the holidays. This week I will be off sewing cushion covers with a friend. Time to change up the cushions in my living room and bedroom. I’m also contemplating seat pads in the eating area of our kitchen. Now if I were smart I’d be hooking all these! But I need these, like yesterday, and have more hooking plans on the horizon.

I’ll also be attending Tracy Jamar’s Zoom talk through In The Studio on how she went from there to here in her hooking. I am curious about her work and her transition when she downsized, as I am in that position myself.

I’ll also be attending a show and tell with another group of rug hookers via Zoom. Donna Mulholland will be demonstrating how she finishes or stretches her pieces over a frame. Should be fun!

I received some homework questions from Nadine Flagel for Workshop Week, which is Feb. 1st – 5th. I’m looking forward to getting in the groove again. I’ve signed up for three classes.

I still have two hooked pieces I want to finish – Autumn and my South Korea rug.

As for my reorganization efforts, I finished the spice cabinet.

Then worked on clearing my counter.  Here is a before picture:

Here is an after photo:

Finally! I can see the back of the counter!

Then I emptied my linen closet and moved all my fibre dyeing equipment and supplies, and most of my dye books, into it. I had about $30 CAD worth of help from Dollarama in the form of portable shelving and lidded bins. I’m going try and get decent photos for you. Here it is from two angles – a dye kitchen in a 24” linen closet!

It is a lot of work settling into a new home.  But it’s also very satisfying when you find a good home for the things that matter.  I had hoped to do my dyeing separate from the food kitchen, in my laundry room.  However someone had other plans for the laundry room.  Thankfully I use fairly safe dyes and follow strict dyeing procedures!

Well that’s my current update.  It’s a busy week and I better get at it!  Have a great week everyone!


Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Well I did not accomplish any crafting this week. I did accomplish a lot of decluttering and reorganizing. Mostly in the kitchen.

Today we ran errands in the morning and had a meeting in the afternoon. Then off to pick up a 2×4 from some friends in our bubble. Of course that meant tea. I love tea with friends!

What did we want with one 2×4? The 2×4 was cut down this evening to make one spice stand in the kitchen cupboard. Tomorrow we’ll do the second one.

This all started when the square glass spice bottles I ordered from ULine arrived today. I spent the evening transferring spices from plastic bags to jars. I often cook with spices, using them instead of salt and pepper in my food. I also cook a wide variety of food. I love cooking! There were close to forty different spices to make room for in that cupboard.

The 2×4 was cut to fit the width of the cupboard and laid flat about an inch from the back of the cupboard. Then another piece was laid flat on top of it, but pushed back to the back of the cupboard. About 2/3 of it resting on the 2×4 piece below. It created a step like situation on which to set spice jars.

This is a very temporary situation until we have our kitchen renovated, which we hope will happen this year. It’s better than the previous situation, which was having a hiking boot box full of spices spilling out onto the countertop!

Here’s to tomorrow. May I get the second shelf done and then work on moving my dye equipment and supplies upstairs!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

May 2021 be a whole sight better than 2020!

We received our second big dump of snow this past weekend. It is melting almost as quickly as it fell.

I took the week between Christmas and New Year’s off.  I spent a lot of time visiting in my five person bubble and talking to family and friends on Zoom, FaceTime, Messenger, WhatsApp and the phone.  What did we ever do before technology?!

I’ve done nothing in regards to rug hooking, or quilting, or sewing.  I’ve had a complete break. However, I am going to have to get back into the swing of things soon.  Workshop Week is coming up the beginning of February, and I’ve signed up for a lot of classes. I have some prep work to do.  I need to pick out a poem for one class. I’ll use one of my children’s poems again.  I’m just not sure which poem yet.

  • I also need to finish binding my quilt and fixing the hand quilting,
  • I want to finish my South Korea rug,
  • I need to finish my nephew’s Grampy gift,
  • I need to finish my “Autumn” wall hanging.  I’m so close!
  • and I need to clean up my studio. It’s a disaster!

On the house front, a friend in our bubble has offered to come help me organize my kitchen a bit better. Hubby and I have been looking for furniture that might help.  We spent a lot of time reorganizing last week.  Of course one thing leads to another, and by the end of our part of the  “kitchen “ reorganization we had worked on every room in the house.  We still will need our friend to come mid-January and help us finish the job.

So, while I have not been hooking or quilting or sewing, I have been rather busy.  I am looking forward to getting the house more organized and making it more livable. May 2021 be a good year for that.

If you’ve been reading, thanks! I’ll check in with you on Friday again.