My Other “Hobby”

My Other “Hobby”

Good morning everyone!  Today I thought I would write about creativity…and my other hobby.

I’ve come to believe that once creativity is unleashed in a person, it’s hard to stop it. It shows up in different aspects and areas of their lives.  I was fortunate – creativity in the form of textiles came at a young age. It was encouraged by my grandmother and mother.  They had scrap fabric, thread and needles from sewing our clothes.  As a child I started out sewing doll clothes by hand.

When I grew older and was enrolled in Brownies (the junior division of Girl Guides at that time).  I discovered embroidery.  Over the years I have learned a variety of embroidery techniques – cross stitch, Brazilian, Hardanger, etc.  I made many beautiful items, and some not so beautiful.  Like everything else, embroidery takes practice.  Not all pieces are destined for greatness.

However some were worth saving. I have several pieces from over the years that I finally had framed. I took a couple of classes from the well known Hardanger teacher, Elsie Mae Quick, of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. It was a great stepping off point. I finally had the intermediate piece framed the other day.

I was a member of the Regina Stitchery Guild for a while.  There were many excellent stitchers and mentors there.  One was Carol Storie of Heartfelt Designs.  I really enjoy her patterns and have stitched a few of them. I finally had one framed.

Hardanger is one of my favourite forms of embroidery. I have used the technique to make Christmas ornaments, for gifts, and for functional items in my own home and others.

I also am enjoying learning Brazilian embroidery.  I haven’t done any for a long time though.  I have been absorbed in rug hooking for over five years. Recently I rediscovered a binder with pattern book, needles and threads. I’m pretty happy.  Someday soon maybe, as a break in rug hooking…or maybe as embellishment on rugs…hmmm…

Then there was online learning.  It opened up a wealth of possibilities. I took some courses from Sharon Boggon of Australia. One was on designing your own embroidery from scratch. It was a fascinating course on using fabric, beads, buttons and various types of threads to create a unique piece. I created “Under the Sea”.  I was able to frame it recently as well.

I am very pleased with the framing of these pieces and have a few more in for framing now.  Many thanks to Karen Haverstock of Haverstock Creative Designs.  They look gorgeous!

If you find yourself stymied or stuck in one area of creating, my advice is to learn something new.  You never know what might break the log jam and start you creating again. Plus, you never know where your new skills might take you!

If you have been reading, thanks!  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Finishing Up

Finishing Up

Good evening everyone!  I’ve spent some time working on my pieces from the earlier Workshop Weeks and finishing them up.  I just have the embroidery and beading to do on “Time” now, before finishing it.

The abstract pieces – “Ocean Sunset” and “Poison” are finished, complete with hanging sleeves.


Autumn” needs a good steam pressing and, possibly, some fixing on one edge in the hemming.  Then a hanging sleeve attached.

I also finished the Fraktur chair pad, but feel it’s too small for a chair pad.  It will probably end up on one of my living room tables.

Next it’s onto the South Korean roof tile end caps rug, which I think I will simply call “Gyeongju”.  Gyeongju is the city with the museum where I saw all the ancient designs tile designs.  South Korea was originally an amalgamation of three separate kingdoms.  Gyeongju, historically called Seorabeol, was capital of one of them – the Silla kingdom (57-935 AD).  You can read all about it by googling it.  It’s a fascinating city, nicknamed “The Museum Without Walls” .  It is a National Park filled with reconstructed sites and buildings from the old kingdom.  There are burial mounds of kings and queens, and archeological digs abound.  Plus there is a five building museum.  It’s just fascinating.  We were there one day.  There is no way we had enough time to do it justice.

I have a series of wall hangings I’d like to do on South Korea.  We’ll see if I get to them.  I want to finish some poetry wall hangings first.

Other than that it’s been a busy few days.  I’m trying to at least watch the videos for Sketchbook Revival, which technically ended March 31st. The videos are available until April 16th.  I’m rushing to fit them in, but I doubt I’ll have time to do the projects.

I’m looking forward to spring and summer.  I’m already planning my artist retreats for the year.  IKEA says they’ll email when the kitchen cabinet frames come in.  I’m hoping to work my retreats around the kitchen renovation.

Well that’s it from here.  I hope everyone has a great week!  If you have been, thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

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

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!

 

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!

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!

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.

 

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.

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!

 

Just Motoring Along

Just Motoring Along

Hi everyone!  I had lots of rest this past weekend. Guess I needed it. Today I’m back and eager to get back at things.

I finished sewing on hanging sleeves and Hubby hung the Old Tyme Scrappy quilt on the wall.  I hemmed my jeans. I’m done the face mask order. I’m almost finished Autumn. I’m hand sewing the binding on the Trip-Around-The-World quilt.

The cushion cover is a bear I have to face this week. It’s a mess and I have to rip about one quarter of the blanket stitch out.  I also have to fix the rip in the back.  Sigh.  Have you ever had one of those projects where nothing seems to be going right?  Well this is one of mine.

Once all those are done I want to get back to my South Korea roof tile end caps wall hanging. Hubby already has a place he wants to hang it. I’m a bit miffed with myself that it’s taken a whole year to complete one medium sized wall hanging.  But I have done many things besides it, including a major move in April. While I had it on backing and started in January, I was living in someone else’s home and didn’t want to overtake it with exploding boxes of fibre.  I did for a while anyways, the few days I searched for fibre for the piece, but I quickly packed it all away.   I found my accommodations more suited to knitting and quilting small pieces. I worked on a gorgeous appliqué quilt pattern while there! Which reminds me I still have a couple of knitted cushion covers and the appliqué quilt to finish.

Lots of projects to finish!  Looks like I’m going to get some time to do them.  Nova Scotia’s Covid-19 cases are rising again and we’re limited to our five person bubble.  I’m staying home for the most part, and working on my projects.

If you’ve been reading, thanks! And have a productive week everyone!

“The Best Laid Plans…

“The Best Laid Plans…

Of mice and men often go awry.” (Robert Burns, adapted from “To A Mouse”) .

You know I planned all that sewing and rug hooking this week. Well, we had a wee surprise. A good friend out west lost her job and is struggling emotionally right now. She booked a one way ticket to Halifax to visit us without consulting us in advance.

She is not native to Canada and her grasp of English is not great. She has never lost a job before and is down because of it. We explained the Atlantic Bubble and that she’d have to do 2 weeks quarantine in the basement. We had to phone our doctor, the local 811 Covid-19 line, and check a few websites to see what is required.

Out of an abundance of caution my hubby and I have decided to self isolate at the same time as her…just in case. She arrives next weekend.

So instead of sewing and rug hooking I’ve been running around town with Hubby buying stuff to make our basement suitable for self sufficient living. We bought a small freezer because our upright one hasn’t arrived yet. We’re looking at purchasing a mini fridge, microwave and kettle as well. It’s going to be Air BnB status by the time we’re done! 😂

Because there’s no closet in the guest room we spent an entire morning in IKEA trying to find something suitable. Hubby spent yesterday afternoon and this morning building it. Looks great!

I’ve been listing items for sale on Kijiji. I may list elsewhere. I’m getting little to no response there.

To complicate matters we already had company planned for the weekend our friend decided to come. So we quickly talked to them and they, thankfully, adjusted their plans to miss her. We still have a couple of dinner engagements to bow out of during the quarantine time.

We’ll be rearranging our home to make room for her. I won’t have access to my studio for 2 weeks, as it’s in the basement. So my iMac and rug hooking will have to come upstairs. Hubby and I are trying to figure out where to put things.

My other friends and family members are not impressed. But I understand our friend needs a place to heal right now.

In sewing news, I’ve started the face masks. They are looking good. I hope to be finished by Monday.

In rug hooking news, I’ve started hooking the letters in the Autumn wall hanging from Beth Miller’s Workshop Week class. It’s slow going.

That’s it folks! Thanks for reading. 😊 Jean

Monday Musings

Monday Musings

This weekend I worked on my hooked mat from Beth Miller‘s class last week.  Here’s how far I’ve come to date.  I changed the way the words sit on the pattern to make them more readable

Friday we had our new TV installed. We’ve been without a TV for over a year now. I took the opportunity to watch Deanne Fitzpatrick’s Thursday Live You Tube video.  I also watched Textile Talks: Kaffe Fassett and Erin Lee Gafil, A Creative Conversation.  It was wonderful!  I found out about the Textile Talks during Workshop Week last week.  My TV and I will be busy the next while.

I have some sewing that needs doing. I am sewing face masks for some relatives this week.

I am also sewing a gift for my one remaining nephew who didn’t get one yet, from his Grandpy’s LL Bean shirts (see the moose appliqué at the top of this post).  Grampy passed away a couple of years ago and somehow this one nephew fell through the cracks. I managed to sew something for the other 27 people, but this young man was difficult to get ahold of during that time. You can find a video of this project under The Shirt Project May-June 2018 on my YouTube channel – Jean Ottosen.

I also have a quilt I started when I was seventeen to work on.  That was a long time ago.  I was up to a friend’s this morning for her help in cutting off a border that just wasn’t working.  It will make the quilt smaller, but it will still be a memory quilt for me.  I hand quilted 2” squares together in the Trip-Around-The-World pattern from sewing remnants of family dresses, shirts, pyjamas, nightees, etc. While at my friend’s we also prepared and cut the binding for the quilt. I am much happier about the quilt now.  This week I hope to attach the binding to the quilt.

As you can see, the bulk of this week will be sewing.  However, in the rug hooking arena I am going to be watching Nadine Flagel’s In The Studio talk on Wednesday afternoon.  I’m looking forward to hearing her approach to rug hooking.  I’m also going to be exploring some art and rug hooking links online.  I’ll let you know what I find of interest.

This afternoon I had a visitor from the Kingfisher Rug Hooking Guild in Halifax.  We had a great time chatting.  She shared where all the hook-ins normally are in our area.  Covid has shut a lot down for now.  She was very encouraging.  It was great visiting with another hooker!

If you’ve been reading, thanks!  Hit the like button and/or leave a comment.  I know you’re out there.  I can see the stats! 🙂  Take care and have a great week!

Weekly Review – In The Studio Workshop Week

Weekly Review – In The Studio Workshop Week

Hi everyone!  It’s been an exciting week full of learning, struggle, and fun.  I took three very different classes during the In The Studio Workshop Week, and was impressed with all of them.  I took Karen Miller’s Travel Design course and came away with more ideas for my South Korean mats.

I was hesitant to take Beth Miller’s Here and Now Words and Fibre course because I don’t really read poetry, much less write it. But she was very flexible and forgiving.  I wondered if I could use it with my children’s poetry and after her approval I gave it a try. I found a “here and now” image that means a lot to me. It’s the view out our living room window about a week ago, with trees blazing set off against a bright blue sky, and my favourite cup of tea on the table, waiting for me to sit down to surf the Net on my iPad or read a book.  I was surprised by how quickly this piece came together and how fast I was able to hook it.

Yesterday I stretched myself.  I took Meryl Cook’s class.  It was hard but good for me. I am a very practical person.  Meryl’s class caused us to look deep inside ourselves for design ideas.  I have Meryl’s book and I’m working more from it after the class. I was not Meryl’s star student I’m afraid. Sorry Meryl. The class was great for getting me thinking though.  I love learning about the different approaches people take to rug hooking!  It is energizing to be around other rug hookers learning something new.

Wednesday evening was a great hook in with some lovely ladies. Friday night was the final panel discussion.  I loved all the links and resources that came from the week.

I understand Karen Miller will be organizing another Workshop Week in the future.  I plan on being there.  It was a great week ladies!  Thank-you to all the teachers and others who made it possible.

 

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!

 

 

 

An interesting weekend

An interesting weekend

I had the delightful pleasure of meeting Susan Logue this weekend when she showed up on my doorstep to look at some wool for a friend. I really enjoyed contact with another rug hooker. Susan wrote the “Past & Present Antique Dyes” books, which I have and have used in the past. It was a fun time chatting with her about rug hooking, and it was nice to meet her friend.

One thing the visit made me realize was how starved I am for other artistic people in my life. I’m enjoying the online classes because of that, but somehow they aren’t the same as real live one-to-one encounters. They have their good points too though. I sure am glad to have the online experience too!

Saturday I tuned in to Lucy Richard’s FaceBook LIVE dye workshop. It was an interesting experience for me. I hadn’t microwave dyed before meeting Lucy. To be able to do a spot dye by microwave is great! And the pine tree, ocean, sky colours were great! If you head over to her website or FaceBook page you can find a link to donate to her video making efforts. If you donate $10 or more your name is entered to win a gift box of goodies. This time she is including the wool she dyed, among other things. It’s a half yard of wool folks…just saying. It’s a great deal! And a great gift. And it keeps Lucy doing videos.

I’m so anxious to get my dye studio up and going. Hubby is finishing painting the upstairs hall and then wants to do the guest room. It will be awhile before he gets to the dye studio/laundry room.

I hooked more on my South Korea roof tile end cap wall hanging. It’s slow going. It’s been awhile since I’ve hooked circles. There are a lot of circles in this wall hanging. It’s a challenge.

I started Meryl Cook’s exercises in her book “One Loop At A Time: The Creativity Workbook”. I was surprised how I could pull out one issue that was really bothering me, journal it positively, and create a rug design in under half an hour! I now have at least an 18”x18” design to put on backing and hook! I may have to expand it to 20”x20” or larger to fit in all the lettering, or cut back on the lettering.