Online Course!

Online Course!

I am teaching a live online class!  June 4th, 10-noon AST.

This course is a Beginner Traditional Rug Hooking class.  It will give the participant an overview of the process of traditional rug hooking. We will have a design on backing and be hooking by the end of the class. We will be hooking a variety of fibres.  There will not be enough time to finish the piece during the class. I will, however, either demonstrate (if we have time), or send out finishing instructions after class.

In order to achieve our goals in this class I will require students to have a six inch square pattern drawn the correct size and okayed by me by May 28th. I will send guidelines on how to do this to students as they enroll.

What you need…

If you are taking this course you will need the course kit.  If it needs to be shipped, you will be charged shipping costs.   We will advise you of the cost before shipping.  There are options for pick up, so let me know and we can see what can be arranged.  

The kit will include: 

    • A specific rug hooking hoop,
    • A specific hook,
    • A piece of backing with the edge already finished,
    • A piece of fabric for transferring pattern to backing,
    • A fibre package with enough fibre for a 6 inch square piece. 

In addition to the kit you will need the following on hand for class:

    • A small pair of sharp pointed scissors that will cut fabric,
    • A ruler,
    • A soft HB, B or 2B pencil.
    • A fine tipped Sharpie industrial black permanent marker (available at Walmart or Staples).  
    • Your design, on paper, already accepted by me as suitable for this class.
    • Long sewing pins (the kind with the flat heads…something about 2” long.

The cost of the class, including supply kit, is $140 CAD.  If you are interested you can contact me through the contact form on this website, and I will direct you in how to pay and access the class.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact me.  I will try to answer as best I can, and I appreciate your feedback!

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In other news…It is definitely spring around here!  The trees are leafing out and flowering, plants are popping through the undergrowth, birds are building nests…under our deck. Ugh!  Yes, a wonderful Robin couple have set up housekeeping right under the seating area of our deck, about four feet from the raised bed garden and six feet from our outside water shutoff valve. We are sneaking in from a different angle where they hopefully can’t see us. Saturday I walked by the raised beds and was dive bombed by the male. I think it was a bit of a surprise for both of us!

We’ve been busy transplanting plants and shrubs from friends and neighbours.  Thank-you everyone!  I still haven’t planted the vegetable garden.  I think I will invest in some bird netting before I do.

Aside from gardening we are looking at the trees on the property and assessing which ones go and which ones stay. They need thinning and pruning.  It’s a big job.

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I have been working more on the Parker’s Cove fishing shacks series.  It is so much fun to hook these cute little shacks!  I spent a couple of days this week dyeing fabric for them.  I am sketching more to hook.  I am almost halfway done the series …I think.  I’m not entirely sure how many there are, and won’t know until I visit the wharf sometime in June. I’m looking forward to our trip up there.

Well, that’s my news for this week!  If you have been, thanks for reading.  Have a great week everyone!

 

 

Home Happenings

Home Happenings

I am busy sketching, transferring and hooking more of the Parker’s Cove series. It is a big series with a lot of different pieces to it.  Last week the hooking was actually quite slow.  I spent a lot of time planning the series and adding to the mind map for it. I also spent time dyeing wool fabric for it.

I took time to go through my morning pages, looking for ideas for future creative endeavours.  In fact, dealing with my morning pages from “The Artist’s Way” have taken up so much time that I dread them.  It’s nice weather here, and I want to be outside.

Hubby and I picked up a new gazebo last week. Well, Hubby and a friend.  We couldn’t fit the first one in our car to bring it home and Walmart doesn’t deliver.  When a friend found out, they came to our rescue, and her hubby went with mine for a gazebo in their hatchback.  The two men even set it up right away!   We all celebrated with tea and cookies inside it when they were finished.

Other than that there has been a lot of yardwork happening.

  • I removed the tulips the deer keep eating.
  • We dug up an area of goutweed, only to find landscape cloth and what looks like a dry ditch underneath.
  • I weeded and raked our raised beds.
  • I tried to stake our peonies with tomato cages with no success.  They need something bigger and sturdier.
  • Hubby has been busy weeding the front yard and planting beds.
  • A neighbour came over to cut a few trees from the many on our property.
  • We have been emptying the dirt out of the cloth pots I use for the deck garden.  My goal is to clean them and replant them.

There is a lot in the works right now.  I’m in the middle of moving my  website to Shopify.

I apologize to my email subscribers who received multiple blog emails on Saturday.  The blog posts were old ones.  We, my web developer and I, still don’t know what happened, but we understand it has stopped.  Please let me know if it has not.  My blog is not stopping.  It is merely being moved to another platform.

And to the person or entity in Pakistan that accessed over 1170 blog posts in 2 hours yesterday morning…we’re watching what you’re up to…

Well, if you have been reading, thank-you.  Have a great week everyone!

Back in the Groove

Back in the Groove

Good morning everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend.

Last week I spent some time dyeing fibre for the Parker’s Cove series.  I used straight up ProChem Key Lime for the bright neon green, and the other colours were from the Woolly Mason Jar system. Lucy Richard has a great system for matching colours quickly.  If you’re a dyer who is often in a hurry, her system is the way to go!

I’ve been working on the Parker’s Cove fishing shack series. I have finished two small pieces this week and have a larger piece on backing.

“The Farm” is currently languishing on the sidelines.  I have a steep learning curve to learn multiple techniques I want to use for this piece, so am wanting to wait until I have more time and energy to devote to it  That, plus I want to finish my Parker’s Cove series of at least ten pieces by mid-November.

The South Korean appliqué quilt blocks are almost complete.  I decided not to go further than the twelve blocks suggested by the pattern.  However I will also be putting sashing between the blocks and a border all around…neither called for in the pattern. That will make it large enough to be used as a lap quilt. It will be machine quilted by a professional long arm quilter.

I took part in many events this week related to rug hooking.  Wednesday there were two online meetings: one for crafting (where I transferred a pattern to backing), and one for rug hooking (where I  hooked a small piece for the Parker’s Cove series). Thursday I attended an in-person hook-in at a friend’s place. I started another small Parker’s Cove piece. And Thursday evening I attended a Zoom presentation by Susan Feller on Beth Miller’s Parris House Creative Community on Mighty Networks.  Susan talked about what it takes to become a professional artist as a rug hooker. A very interesting presentation with lots to chew on.

I also spent time cleaning up my studio after the whirlwind that was Sketchbook Revival!  I haven’t had it looking that good in ages, so I took photos and immortalized the occasion on Instagram and Facebook. Haha!

It is now a mess again…because I’ve decided to finish a project that’s been percolating a long time in my brain…like five years.  Our trip to South Korea in 2017 needs addressing.  I did create and have a photo book printed, but I had no place for ephemera.  So after Sketchbook Revival I decided it was time to sit down and do it.  I pulled out old bookbinding supplies and created a blank journal with cartridge drawing paper and Waterford cold press watercolour paper.  I’m highly doubtful the journal is big enough to hold everything, but I need to do some serious culling of memorabilia anyways.

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

Make It Monday

Make It Monday

Good morning everyone!  This past week I was busy.  I finally mended my rug, “Pennsylvania Dutch”, which has been languishing for about five years in my mending tote.

This rug was the very first rug I designed and hooked after learning to rug hook in 1985.  It is t-shirt and polyester double knit on what I was told was burlap, but must be primitive linen.  I say that because of the hard wear it’s gone through since being made.  It lived on my kitchen floor in front of the sink for about 10 years.  Then spent the next 20 years on a concrete laundry room floor.

Meanwhile I’d wash it *in the washing machine* every 6 months or so when it grew dirty, and hang it to dry before blocking it again.  I DO NOT recommend washing your hand hooked rugs in washing machines folks!!!   Just let me make that clear.  There are much better and kinder ways to clean rugs!

At any rate, I am glad this one is back in usable order, and will be buying a protective pad to put underneath it for future use.

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I finished sewing a hanging sleeve for “Moroccan Dream”, my Boucherouite style rug from Laura Salamy’s class in Workshop Week 4.  Today my hubby and I hung it in my studio.  We had a tough decision whether to hang it vertically or horizontally.  We finally decided on vertical.  It can always be changed.  The beauty of geometrics. 🙂

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I tried to finish the small Parker’s Cove piece, but was one inch too short of the fisherman’s rope needed for the edge.  So disappointed!  Still, a friend says she has access to a lot of it and to just let her know when they are all ready for edging. She’ll get me some.  I have four more on backing to hook.   I need to do some dyeing before I can hook them.  I did sew and attach hanging sleeves to the two finished fishing shack wall hangings.

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I ripped out the diagonal stitches in the sky of “The Farm”.  They just did not look like they belonged.  The sky is the background layer in this piece and doesn’t need anything to give it movement.  There will be plenty of movement elsewhere in the piece!

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We finally hung my loose attempt at an Azeri rug!   “Family Reunion” is up!  We have officially moved in!

An Azeri rug is actually a type of Turkish rug that has images from a person’s life scattered on a background, with an oriental border.  It is originally a woven and knotted rug.  Of course mine doesn’t follow the normal rules…it is hand hooked and, because I had never seen an Azeri rug, I put order to the images in the centre.  The scenes follow the progression of events on a trip to an extended family reunion one year   Hence the name of the wall hanging. Hand hooked Azeri rugs are also mostly hooked in straight lines.

This wall hanging was hooked with wool, but had added wire and beads.  It is lined with cotton batik.  The fringe is wool, silk and cotton, with beads of various kinds.

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Onion skin dyeing continues.  I decided to try marrying wool by throwing it in the pot with a post-mordant of Dyer’s alum. The results are stunning!  The commercial green dye that bled from the first marrying and overdyeing session, continued to bleed and married all the colours into these stunning greens and golds!  I am very happy with the results!

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Sketchbook Revival 2022 started last week.  There is another week to go.  It is a free art summit organized by Karen Abend.  Every day I receive an email with two video links to two lessons by different artists on different topics.

I am a little late starting, so am behind by three days.  The video links are usually kept up after the summit. I’m glad.  This past weekend I devoted to trying to catch up.  It didn’t work.  I suspect I’ll be going past the two week summit.

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Well that’s it for this week. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading.  Have a great week!

What’s Up?

What’s Up?

I’m still working on sewing hanging sleeves on wall hangings.  I was out to pick up some hardwood dowels to hang them.

I’m still thinking about the fishermen’s rope edging on the Parker’s Cove wall hangings.  Alternatively, I saw some black parachute cord I might braid for an edge.  Still thinking.

“The Farm” is coming along.  I am working on the sky.  I am not sure I like it, so it is difficult to motivate myself to work on it.

I have decided to turn the onion skin dyeing workshop into a paid course. I have a lot of video to edit, as well as audio.  Plus I have more to record. This week I have more video filming to do.

I am currently soaking half of my previously dyed onion skin wool in water, in preparation for an after bath of dyer’s alum.  I’m curious to see if it will shift the colour without adding more dye solution.   If not, then I’ll add more dye solution and see what happens.   It could be interesting.

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

 

 

Happenings

Happenings

Good morning everyone!  This past week has been busy and fun.  I enjoyed time spent hemming the two Parker’s Cove wallhangings and the Boucherouite wallhanging.  Next up is hanging sleeves on the backs. Then to add the titles.

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Coming up with titles for pieces has always been a struggle for me.  I try to somehow relate the title to the concept or idea that inspired the piece.  Other times it is based on memories, like “The Farm”.  Sometimes, if I’m really lacking in creative ideas, it’s just a numbering system, like “Parker’s Cove #1”, “Parker’s Cove #2”, etcetera.

I decided to call the Boucherouite wallhanging “Moroccan Dream”.  It was inspired by the Moroccan Boucherouite rugs, but isn’t really a Boucherouite.  From what I can find online, there are no circles in true Boucherouite rugs.  So “Moroccan Dream” is more in the style of a Boucherouite rug, but not a true Boucherouite.

I’m still waiting for inspiration on the Parker’s Cove series of wall hangings.  They deserve better than just a numbering system.  I wanted to name them after the owners of the fishing shacks, but I don’t know who they are or how to find out, short of going there one day and bothering the fishermen and women as they either leave or come back from fishing.  Hmmm…

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In other news…I am still preparing for the onion skin dyeing workshop.  I have also started video taping for an online video course on onion skin dyeing. I’ve had great fun dyeing wool fabric this week, and experimenting with mordants and different dyeing techniques.

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I have also been experimenting with “stories” on Facebook and Instagram. I am hoping to place more content on Instagram in the coming days.  Check out my Jean Ottosen Studios Instagram account for updates.  Next up is to learn how to effectively create and use Reels.

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I attended a great Biz/Studio Q&A on Beth Miller’s Parris House Creative Community on Mighty Networks this past week.  A lot of topics were covered and good ideas were discussed.  I have a lot of ideas to work on.

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In other news…after months of struggling with a rug hooking frame that was virtually falling apart, I finally gave it and some Chair Doctor glue to a carpenter friend to fix it for me.  I have had this frame over ten years, and used it heavily.  It owes me nothing.  Still it is my favourite frame.  It’s great to have it back and in working order.

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In yet more news…I have been busy spinning up some alpaca, Corriedale wool and wool roping to make a nice fuzzy yarn for dyeing and hooking into my wallhangings.  The people of the ASH Guild (Atlantic Spinners and Handweavers) have been very helpful.  I attend their Zoom Fibre Days and learn a lot.

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Well, if you have made it this far, thank-you for reading.  I hope everyone has a great week!  Until next time, take care!

Monday Meanderings

Monday Meanderings

The hooking on the Boucherouite is finished!  It is in my pile set aside for finishing.

I washed the fisherman’s rope for framing the Parker’s Cove fishing shacks series.  It is a great deal more pliable and, I believe, will work for my purposes.

I had a great time participating in Beth Miller’s Beginner Dyeing Demonstration in her Parris House Creative Community on Mighty Networks.  While I am not a beginner dyer, I do think I can learn something new from everyone I meet.  Beth demonstrated electric skillet dyeing and microwave dyeing, which I’ve never done before.  I was curious about her methodology.  Now I’m on the lookout for an electric skillet!  I guess it’s time for another trip to the thrift store…

I had great fun showing the ladies at the Sunday FiFi Zoom meeting through Parris House Creative Community on Mighty Networks how to do the herringbone edge on a piece of hooking.  I hooked a quick hit and miss hot pad in order to show how to do it. My only criteria for the hot pad was that I had enough of a particular colour of wool to do a full row in the squares.  I used leftover worms/noodles from other projects. I used 100% wool and it is on a primitive linen backing.

The edge is made from a hand spun, hand dyed wool yarn.   It is worked over a core of 100% cotton cording from Michaels craft store, which I pre-washed in hot soapy water.  The cording and yarn are quite large for the piece in order to show up more clearly on the camera when I was demonstrating.  As a result, rather than rip it all out and redo a smaller size, I made it a design feature.  I brought the hot pad up to the level of the whipping by padding the back with quilt batting, before lining it with a piece of wool fabric.

in other news…I am practicing hosting Zoom meetings…because…

Upcoming workshop…

I am preparing to teach a live beginner onion skin dyeing workshop in Beth Miller’s Parris House Creative Community on Mighty Networks.  It will be Wednesday, March 30th, from 7 – 9 PM EST.

In that Zoom workshop I’ll be teaching immersion dyeing, casserole spot dyeing and marrying wool while simultaneously overdyeing it with onion skin dye solution. I have created an introduction presentation, a presentation on record keeping and one on experimenting with different agents to set the dye.  If I have time, I’ll also show samples of different fibres dyed with onion skin and different setting agents.  It’s a lot to pack into a two hour workshop, but I’m game to try!  I am limiting the class to 5-10 participants, so I can meet everyone’s needs.

In order to take this class you must be a member of Beth Miller’s Parris House Creative Community on Mighty Networks.  It costs just $10 USD per month.  The cost for the workshop is discounted for Beth’s community to $40 USD per person.  When it is offered off that platform, it will be a tad more expensive.

I recommend signing up soon, so you have plenty of time to gather up onion skins!  You will need 6 – 8 large handfuls of dry yellow onion skins.  You can score these from family and friends, or your friendly produce manager at your local grocery store.  Ask if you can clean out their onion bins at the end of the day, or whenever they need it done.

You will also need an enamel roasting pan with lid for stovetop use (or an old enamel refrigerator bin and tin foil for a lid) and a long handled wooden or white plastic spoon.  These will be dedicated dye equipment and can be found at thrift stores, yard sales, etc.  There is a more extensive supplies list on Beth’s Mighty Networks site.

This workshop promises to be very informative and great fun!  If you’re interested check it out on Mighty Networks!

That is what is coming up on my schedule so far this month.  As for this week…I will continue preparing for the workshop, hook more on the Parker’s Cove series, and work on “The Farm”.

If you have been, thanks for reading!  I hope you all have a great week!

Monday Ramblings

Monday Ramblings

Good morning everyone!  This will be my one and only blog post this week.  I have several projects on the go.

  • the Boucherouite is almost finished hooking.  I need to decide on a finish and do it.
  • “The Farm” is waiting in the wings. I have ideas in my mind for how I want to accomplish it. It will definitely be a mixed media piece.
  • the Parker’s Cove series is partly on backing.  I think I will need a dye day to create more fabric of the right colours.
  • I am preparing to teach the herringbone edge to a group on Beth Miller’s Parris House Creative Community network on Mighty Networks.
  • I also have another rug hooking project I’m working on behind the scenes for now.
  • I have several Zoom meetings to attend and one to run this week.  I plan on playing around with how Zoom works, so I can offer a seamless workshop experience in the future. Stay tuned!…

I hope everyone has a great week!

 

Weekly Review – Museum Hanging System

Weekly Review – Museum Hanging System

This week was a week of moving forward on various projects.

I finished spinning an alpaca fibre I acquired from a lady out in Regina, Saskatchewan many years ago (thank-you Sharon!).  It’s a beautiful soft yarn, and I haven’t processed it yet!  This yarn will be used for knitting.

In the process of cleaning up my studio last week I found my old doll.  It’s over 50 years old!   It needs new clothes.  I believe the last time I sewed for her was in the 1980s, and it was just a pajama top and panties set.  This time she’s going to sport a coordinating sailor dress, panties and bonnet in various patterns of hot pink!  The sewing pattern is decided and cut.  Today I plan to do some sewing.

In the rug hooking arena I dyed more purple wool fabric to finish hooking the border on “Gyeongju”.  I figure I have 6-8 hours of hooking left to do.  Then it’s onto blocking and hemming the edges.  I have to decide what kind of hanging system to use with it.  It’s a pretty heavy piece, so I may take the time to make a full museum quality hanging system.

What’s that? You ask?

Well, I take a strip of thin wood (check out the trim section of your lumber store), cut it to length, and shellac it.  Then I staple hook and loop tape to it – the hook side.   I sew the loop side to the top of the rug.  I drill a couple of holes either end of the trim…right through the hook and loop tape.  I screw it to the wall where I want to hang the piece, making sure it’s level.  Then I just push the loop part of the tape onto the hook part, making fine adjustments as I go to make sure the rug is hanging level.

It is a time consuming way to hang a rug, and is not cheap.   But it’s the best system I’ve seen for big heavy rugs like mine in the long run.

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

Make Something Monday

Make Something Monday

Good evening everyone!  My post is a bit late today because it is tax season!  I’ve been spending the last two days pulling all the business receipts, etcetera, together for my accountant.  Can I just say “God bless accountants!”?!  I’m nearing the end of Round 1 though.  I have to get Hubby to help me move some furniture in the studio to look for some sizeable missing receipts.  If I can’t find them tonight I’m giving up.

In more cheerful news…this past Saturday I had the opportunity to attend Beth Miller’s Embellishments and New Techniques online Zoom class. It was great fun and I learned a lot! I have used beads and wire before, but in all my 37 years of rug hooking I haven’t tried fancy stitches. I have a multitude of different fibres and embellishments I could add to a wall hanging. I also know how to embroider and quilt. What I needed was encouragement. Beth is great at encouraging her students to relax and just play with the materials. Thank-you for a wonderful workshop Beth!

I’ve been busy working on the border for my South Korean roof tile end caps wall hanging. I can see I will have to dye more fibre for it. so, in an attempt to conserve time and energy, I’ve left my dye equipment and supplies in the kitchen for now. Hopefully I’ll be able to see what needs doing soon and dye some more before the end of the week.

 I would also like to do the embellishments on “Time” and finish it up.  

That’s it for this weekend and week so far. Have a great week everyone! 

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!

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.

 

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.

Nylons

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.

 

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!

 

It Starts Today!

It Starts Today!

Are you ready? Or more accurately, am I ready?  Today marks the first class in the In My Studio Workshop Week for me. I’m excited to be in Karen Miller’s Travel class. I have several sketches from my South Korea trip to work with, and several photos otherwise. I’m looking forward to learning her process for taking an idea to pattern to finished piece.

I finally finished the centre of the South Korean wall hanging! Now I’m onto the border.  Last Thursday I dyed some fibre with a friend. Last evening I finished off the dye job. Hopefully these colours will work with the rest of the wall hanging.

I also checked in with the local spinning group via Zoom and spent time at my wheel spinning some gorgeous alpaca. This will not be going into a hooked piece. It will be used for knitting. It is spinning up very fine. Just right for some lace knitting.

I hope this finds everyone well and safe, and looking forward to the week. If you have been, thanks for reading. ❤️

 

Studio Makeover

Studio Makeover

Hi everyone!  I thought I’d do an update on the studio makeover. The main part of my studio is ready.  However we are storing stuff in it until the basement guest room cum family room cum classroom is completed.  The paint is drying as I type!

I’ve been working in my new studio, enjoying it for a couple of months now.  It has been a great space to work!  I have projects strewn everywhere. I could wish for improved lighting still.  But the LED overhead lights are a great start.  I wish I had some kind of track lighting to light up my gallery walls.  I have two gallery walls at the moment, and hope to have a third before too long.

Check out my current photos. It’s a bit messy because of all the work going on here, but it functions for me.  That is good!

My current projects are:

  1. an appliquéd moose wall hanging or cushion cover for my nephew, in memory of his grandfather.  I’m not sure which will be better for him.
  2. Fixing a hand quilted quilt I started when I was seventeen.  We won’t say how long ago that was!
  3. Dyeing the border colors for my South Korean roof tile end caps wall hanging,
  4. preparing for Workshop Week next week, and
  5. getting the guest room stuff out of my studio!

Hoping to get considerable movement done on these in the next couple of weeks.

 

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Happy Friday everyone!  This week was short, but productive. I’ve been busy reading “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. I wrote down everything I had in my mind that needed doing, then created a project list from the things I needed to focus on, and then a next actions list for the list of things to do.  I’m swamped!  I’m also loving it!  But I can’t take on anymore.

I’ve also been working on my South Korean roof tile end cap wall hanging. It’s slow going, but looking better these days. A friend was over to help me pick out fibre for the border. I will be doing some dyeing and overdyeing.

We also went through the poetry wall hangings I want to hook. They are on backing and ready to go.  I just have to finish this South Korean wall hanging and swing back to them for awhile.

I’m still sketching the South Korean designs in my sketchbook. Lots to do yet. Plus I’m still working through Meryl Cook’s “The Creativity Workbook”.   I’m enjoying the inspiration of the fall colours around me.

I’ve been listening to Cindi Gay’s rug hooking podcasts while hooking or afterwards.  She is a very wise lady full of all kinds of knowledge about rug hooking.  I don’t hook the primitive style, but I still learn from her.  Thanks for doing the podcasts Cindi!

The last week of October will be a busy week.  The In My Studio Workshop Week is on then.  I have a Travel class with Karen Miller, a Words and Images class with Elizabeth Miller, and Intuitive Hooking with Meryl Cook.  There will also be a group hook-in and a panel discussion  I’m looking forward to stepping outside my comfort zone to learn more from these talented teachers and others.

If you’re interested in taking classes I believe there are a few openings left.  Contact Karen D. Miller on Facebook and check into the events she is hosting.

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

 

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

I found myself really fighting my South Korea roof tile end caps wall hanging this week.  I decided to not rush it and just work on it briefly each day.  Instead I’ve been busy sketching more designs – both of South Korea and from Meryl Cook’s “The Creativity Workbook”.

Despite spending more time this week drawing designs for South Korea wall hangings, I’m not sure how many will actually make it onto backing.  I’m seriously thinking about the viewer, as well as the creative act (by me).  There’s a balance that has to be struck there for me.  In previous years I hooked too much for the viewer, with the odd exception.  Now I’m wanting to get back to the act of just creating.  It’s important for me to know what I want to say with my work first though.  So I’m thinking.

I’ve been working through Meryl Cook’s “The Creativity Workbook”.  I am paused on finding a design that expresses how I feel joy.  I did go and experience a couple of things that give me joy – walking in nature amongst the fall foliage.  I picked up a variety of shapes and colors of tree leaves and have been busy designing leaf patterns and templates.  But to actually draw joy is another matter altogether.  I think I know the color/s of joy for me, but not sure of the shape of it…yet.

Wednesday I joined an In My Studio Zoom meeting to listen to Judi Miller talk about artist residencies.  It was a very informative talk about the options available, what you need to have a successful one, and her experiences.  I thoroughly enjoyed the talk and would like to thank Judi publicly for making the time and effort to do it, and to thank Karen Miller for organizing and facilitating it.

I received my ProChem dye powder shipment this week. I’m looking forward to more dyeing.  I’m wanting to dye the pine trees, ocean and skies using Lucy Richard’s spot dye formulas.  I’ll be dyeing the old-fashioned way – in the oven – rather than in a microwave  I do not have a microwave to dedicate to dyeing, nor a place to put it.

Well that’s my review for this week.  If you’ve been reading, thanks!  I wish you  all a happy Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, wherever you may be. My next blog post will probably be posted Tuesday.  Take care everyone!

 

 

 

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