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Checking Out Website Platforms

Hi all.  It’s been a busy couple of weeks.  I’ve been busy checking out alternative website platforms for my website.  Working on having a new site set up by Oct. 1st, but am not sure that will happen.

In the meantime, I’ve been hooking on “Escapees” and finishing a couple of smaller wall hangings.

You can follow my progress more frequently if you visit JLT Studios on Facebook. 🙂

Playing catch up!

I’m busy trying to work on a new website on a different platform.  Will let you know when it’s ready for viewing.  In the meantime…you can keep track of what I’m up to on my Facebook page – JLT Studios.

The Introductory Rug Hooking class I taught on the weekend went well.  The students were naturals and were able to hook quite a bit on their stars.  I look forward to seeing them again and wish them well in their future rug hooking endeavors.

“Escapees” is about to get sidelined for a while.  I am designing a new pattern for my Curves class, where I teach circles, curves, backgrounds, and lettering.  I’ve simplified it considerably.  Now I want to hook a sample and see how it goes.  I transferred two patterns to backing last night – one for myself and one for a potential student.  I’ll hook a bit and then post a photo on my Facebook page – JLT Studios.

Hope everyone has a great Sunday!  I’ll write more later.

Week in Review

I’ve been having difficulties with my website this past week and weekend.  Please bear with me till we figure out what is going on.  Until then there will be no photos on the blog.

I have, however, managed to finish knitting my Painted Desert Shawl.  I need to weave in ends and block it.  Then it will be ready for a photo.

I have also worked a bit on “Escapees”.  Not as much as I’d like, but quite a bit none-the-less.

Plus we’ve had painters come and paint the exterior of the house.  They will have to come back and do some touch ups in a couple of weeks, but basically it’s done.

Next week there will be no blog posts.  I’ll be off in Winnipeg watching my niece swim in the Canada Games.  It will be a fun family time.  I hope everyone has a great week! 🙂

In My Studio

I had a delightful day trip last week to Dilke, SK.  Found this gorgeous fieldstone church there.  One of the town residents opened the door for us to peek inside.  I believe it was called St. Lucy’s Anglican when it was being used.  It hasn’t been used in over two years.

This past weekend was interesting.  We were creative in finding places with air conditioning to hide out in.  Our house doesn’t have a/c.  One of the places we ended up was the MacKenzie Art Gallery.  I really loved viewing the Alex Janvier exhibit.  It was awesome, informative, and sad at the same time.  I wished Mr. Janvier was there to talk to though.  The placards describing the work didn’t go near far enough!

After seeing Janvier’s exhibit we did a quick walkthrough of the rest of the Gallery, then headed to the Gallery shop.  Hubby waited outside while I went in to look around.  About 15 minutes later I went to leave.  To my surprise there was no one else there!  No staff, no customers.  AND the grated doors were closed and locked up!  With a sign saying the staff member would be back in half an hour!  Oh my!  Locked in a museum shop!  Not exactly my worst nightmare. Ha!  Actually, it would have been nice, if the staff had been there to answer some questions.

I caught the attention of a woman trying to get into the shop.  We were laughing at our predicaments – me trying to get out and her trying to get in.  I caught the attention of the security guards who by then had figured out something was going on that was abnormal.  One of them came through a side door, through a workroom, and into the shop to escort me out.

Hubby decided I needed to be treated to dessert out to help me deal with the “trauma”. LOL!  We headed to a lovely Regina restaurant called La Kasbah de Maroc for dessert crepes.  They have a lovely Toasted Coconut, Banana Crepe, with Caramel Sauce.

It will be a mixed bag kind of week. We are having work done on the house.  It may cause some disruptions.  That, plus selling items online.

  • I will be working more on “Escapees”.
  • I also have some Certificates of Authenticity to print and fill out.
  • Plus I want to prepare a couple wall hangings for sale with new hang tags.

I’m wanting to design some wall hangings, but it’s too hot to do anything here.  We do not have air conditioning.  The outside air temperature hit 36 C yesterday.  Thankfully we live in a big old house that takes a long time to heat up.  Especially if doors, windows, and curtains are left closed.  Unfortunately that makes it too dark for hooking.  But even with our fans running, it’s hot!!!

 

Exciting Happenings!

Hi folks!  My exciting news is that Monday I will be on CTV Morning Live locally, in four different two minute segments teaching and talking about rug hooking!  Could be interesting!  I’m taking my supplies to the studio to be filmed talking to Alexandra Brown about rug hooking and teaching her how to hook.  In honour of the occasion I stopped by the hair salon for a ‘touch up’ with my hair.  Not much helps in that department, but it’s worth a try.

I am also hooking more on “Escapees”.  Next up is to work on the fence and the nasturtiums behind it.  Could be interesting.  I’ve never tried to depict a metal fence in my rug hooking before.

I sold those hooked rugs Monday and spent time Tuesday trying to balance the business books.  Hubby took sympathy on me and treated me to ice-cream at the local Dairy Queen.  The business side of rug hooking is not my strong suit!

I’m looking forward to a weekend of hooking and preparing for the show on Monday morning.  Talk to you all later!

 

A Sales Day!

I had a busy day today, so a late post.  I sold a wood pile among other things!  I sold some sewing patterns and an old wood gardening tray as well, and I posted some jewelry and china online for sale.

I also had the pleasure of meeting a new patron.  She stopped by to deliver a cheque for a piece she tried to purchase online.  There seemed to be difficulties with PayPal not recognizing my correct email address.  My web developer and I sorted that out.  But as the buyer was local, I just emailed her and suggested dropping by the studio to pay me the money owed.

She dropped by this afternoon and we had a wonderful chat about my work, whether I would work on commission (I will, given the right situation), what the biggest size is that I make and why (2′ x 5′ because of my frame size), and to just admire my work.  In the end she purchased two of my larger pieces – “Wascana Creek” and “The Barn”.  I told her the story behind each piece.  She was delighted.

Both pieces are based on smaller plein air pieces.  “Wascana Creek” was hooked on a local man-made island called “Boreal Island”.  It’s near a friend’s place and for part of the hooking of the plein air piece I had her and her dog’s company.  The final studio piece was hooked at home in my studio.  It is hooked from home spun yarn and wool and silk fibers on primitive linen backing.  I hand dye most of my fiber.

“The Barn” is at The Crossings on the edge of Grasslands National Park.  It’s been turned into a picnic shelter now.  You can drive around the dugout and go into the paddock, which is where the barn is, park your car, and picnic at the picnic tables in the barn.  The Crossings has rooms for rent above their old garage (now turned laundry and maintenance area for the nearby campground).  I hooked “The Barn” plein air piece from a second floor window, as the mosquitoes were too thick to sit on the balcony and hook.  Once again the finished piece was hooked in my studio.

I really enjoyed visiting with my new patron and was pleased to know my work would be hanging alongside the likes of Allen Sapp!

This week’s plan is to work more on “Escapees”.  I may be planning a few larger prairie sky pieces as well.  I have noticed an interest in the larger pieces among people in general.

In My Studio…

Sorry for the late post this week folks.  Managed a few things last couple of weeks.  I finished re-reading “Vacations for the Spirit” by Alan Walker.  Also designed another poetry wall hanging based on a poem my youngest daughter wrote when she was sixteen.

I am currently hooking “Escapees”, my nasturtium wall hanging.  I will be working on it more this coming week.

I am also knitting a shawl from Sea Turtle Lagoon DK yarn,  I only had one skein of bright blue and bright green to work with, so it will be a very bright and interesting striped shawl.  But I love bright colors.

Mostly I am getting outdoors and enjoying the sunshine.  Hubby has been re-laying our front walkway after it was torn up for a sewer and water line replacement a couple years ago.  I’ve been helping and cheering him on.  We’ve been resetting field stone borders and back filling with dirt.  Also spending time getting quotes on work to be done on the house.

I am also culling through our belongings and selling them or giving them away.  We have lived here over 20 years and it shows when you walk through the house!  There is more stuff here than we reasonably need or want.  In the process of culling through things I am also reorganizing things to take up less space.  Hubby and I are wanting to downsize from our big old house in a year or so.  It’s a good time to be getting rid of things.

And…in the news…I am in the Top 60 Rug Hooking Blogs worldwide according to Feedspot!  Pretty cool, eh?!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Painted Desert Shawl pattern by Karen Klein. Sea Turtle Lagoon DK yarn.

Home Again!

Dancing Sheep – CASA art gallery – “Ganglamb Style”

For those of you following me on social media, you know I’ve been busy buying supplies, touring art facilities, and visiting art galleries.  I’ve also been researching artist retreats and residencies.  Unfortunately my iPad and iPhone would not let me post to my blog.  That will have to be remedied somehow.  Not sure how.  That’s the quick recap, now for the details.

We headed to Edmonton to check in with family and relax.  My stepmother is a prolific knitter and I spent a good hour or so one day going through part of her book collection, taking photos of ones that might interest me.  I’ll check them out at the library first.

Elk Island National Park – beaver lodge

While visiting Edmonton we went to Elk Island National Park for an inspirational (?) outing.  We went on a walk by Astotin Lake with tons of mosquitoes and frogs!  I think I managed to take some good beaver lodge photos.  Plus later we were able to catch a bison photo or two in the bison paddock.  Three cheers for Parks Canada and their free pass for Canada’s 150th birthday!

After a few days in Edmonton we headed south on the old highway – Hwy. 2A – through Wetaskiwin, Ponoka, to Lacombe.  Hubby and I like to find local places to eat – places with homemade meals and unusual items on the menu.  On the way to Edmonton it was Lionel’s Place in Vegreville, where we had the Ukrainian platter, with perogies, cabbage rolls, and kobassa.  It was delicious!  It also came with a tossed salad with olives and pickled beets! And how could we turn down home baked lemon meringue pie and a cup of tea?  So when we were closing in on Lacombe I pulled out my cell phone, did a trusty Google search, and turned up the Morrison House Cafe.  It is a lovely older home where the main floor was turned into a cafe and the upstairs is where the owners live.  It was very busy and I was glad I called ahead to reserve a table.  We had a wonderful meal there.  However, because it was so busy it was an hour before we were on the road again.

Legacy Studio – wool, linen, “Primary Fusion” kit, bent handled scissors, and ProChem sample cards.

That made us a bit late for meeting up with Laura Johnson at her home studio – Legacy Studio – in Cochrane, Alberta.  But Laura is very kind and accommodating.  We arrived an hour after we thought we would and I spent another hour in her studio shopping and purchasing supplies for this coming year.  I am now supplied with wool and linen.  Laura also solved my problem with cleaning my drum carder.  I purchased her flick carder out from under her.  It works like a charm Laura!  I was also able to pick up two rug hooking books – “Scrappy Hooked Rugs” and Deanne Fitzpatrick’s new book,”Rug Hooking with Deanne Fitzpatrick” – and a “Primary Fusion” kit on how to use ProChem dyes.

We raced from Laura’s studio to relatives in Okotoks via Bragg Creek.  Originally we were going to stop in Bragg Creek, but we just didn’t have time.  We were already an hour late arriving at Okotoks.  We are glad we arrived when we did, because not long after our niece arrived with a birthday cake for her mom.  I had no idea it was my sister-in-law’s birthday!  To say we were unprepared is putting it mildly.  I went out with my sister-in-law in the evening and was glad to see her friends, where we went, celebrated her birthday too.

Unwind Wool – yarn and book

While in Okotoks I had the pleasure of visiting the new knitting shop downtown, Unwind Wool.  It just opened in February and is quite small, but packs quite a bit into a small space!  I walked out with a lot of yarn, and a new knitting book.

“Prairie Sky – Altocumulus 13”

My sister-in-law also took me to a spin-in at a friend’s place.  I took some rug hooking with me and finished a “Prairie Sky – Altocumulus” wall hanging there.  I was fascinated by what I was seeing at Robin’s house.  Robin had a weaving studio too.  We wandered upstairs to see her Canada 150 project – a large blanket she had spun and dyed warp for that was on the floor loom awaiting her weft.  It was the most beautiful warp I’ve ever seen!  Every colour of the rainbow!  And I didn’t get a picture of it.  Sigh…too caught up in her studio and how she did things.  I quizzed her up about her dyeing methods. I noticed a sketchbook being used to record weaving patterns and asked about that as well.  I need to use my sketchbook more.

Which brings me to our next stop – Michaels.  There was a Buy One Get 50% Off the second deal on large sketchbooks.  I bought.  I now have two large sketchbooks to work in this year.

Later that day Hubby and I headed off to Lethbridge.  It was quite funny because it turned out my sister-in-law was heading to Lethbridge the day after with a group of weavers.  They were going to have lunch, visit the Lethbridge weavers, and tour CASA – the art center there.  My sister-in-law wanted to know if I wanted to join them for lunch and the tour.  You bet I did!  So we had a wonderful time of it.  The weavers took us up to their studio in CASA and we spent time looking at warp and chatting with them.

CASA – Weaving studio

One of the ladies had just come back from a residency in Iceland.  That got me thinking.  It never occurred to me there would be residencies for fibre artists.  I chatted her up a bit and noted the link for where she found the residency.  I spent considerable time later in the evening and during our visit researching art residencies.  There really is nothing out there for rug hookers.  The more I thought about it, the more problematic it became.  In discussing it with other relatives we were visiting the question came up “What is your goal for the retreat/residency?” and “Why not design your own?”.  Both very good points.  I sat down and designed one on the spot.  I think I will be giving the idea a dry run at home though.  I may have some quiet time in July for it.  We’ll see.

After spending time at CASA in the weaving studio a young man showed up to give us a tour of the facility.  We asked a lot of questions I’m afraid, and he ran over his allotted time, but it was fascinating!  An artist can become a member for $200 per year, and rent a cupboard space that is about 3′ x 8′ with a locked door for another $200 per year.  That gives you access to a shared studio space for 24/7.  I could go for that.  Just over $1/day for studio space!  What a deal!

CASA – 3D studio

CASA – Pottery classroom. They have a gas fired kiln too.

 

My sister-in-law and I parted at CASA and I met up with Hubby at the public library.  We didn’t spend time looking around however.  Instead we headed right out to the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens.  We had a relaxing time walking the gardens and taking photos.  I have lots to work with for awhile.

In the morning, before I went to lunch with the weavers and to CASA, my husband’s cousin took me to the CCWG (Canadian Wool Growers) shop.  I picked up some roving to spin.  Then we went to Knitting Time, the local yarn shop, and I picked up yarn to hook and knit.  Then it was off to Marshall’s – the local fabric store – to check it out and pick up a few sundry items.

Lopi destined for wall hangings or rugs.

A word about Knitting Time…I was fascinated by this small shop.  The proprietor not only carries yarn for knitting, but also fibre for crocheting, thread for tatting, rayon thread for Brazilian embroidery, cross-stitch supplies, felting supplies, and spinning supplies.  Plus she has pattern books too.  For a small shop she packs a lot in there!

The next day found us at SAAG (the Southern Alberta Art Gallery) checking out exhibits we did not understand.  I wish I could have talked to one artist in particular.  I liked her exhibit.  I think I understand what it’s about, but when my very logical and practical Hubby started asking questions, I was at a loss for words.

We also went to the University of Lethbridge to check out their gallery, only to find it closed.  But they did have the hallway exhibit – “Habits and Habitats” – up for viewing.  That was good.

Habits and Habitats

On Monday, yesterday, we headed home.  We stopped in Medicine Hat and Swift Current.  Tried to get into the art gallery in Swift Current, only to find it closed and them taking down the exhibit we wanted to see.  Oh well.  They did have a few pieces of the artist’s work in a display case in the library in the same building as the art gallery.  So we ended up checking out the library.

I found a book, “Where Women Create” by Jo Packham, which I took out and read on the way home.  There are a few good ideas in the book that I will implement.  I was reading the description of some of the studio spaces to Hubby.  He was floored to think some people have more space than I do. lol.  I must admit, my crafting takes up two rooms in the house – one for rug hooking, and one for everything else.  I keep trying to get it in order, but it seems as fast as I empty a space, it fills with something else.

We had supper in Moose Jaw at the Mitsu Cafe.  There is a sushi bar in the back of the cafe, and you can order dessert from the cafe out front.  We shared a Caramel Apple Crepe.  It was huge!  And delicious!

Mitsu Cafe – Caramel Apple Crepe

 

In my studio

I have a short week in my studio this week.   No orders will be filled from June 15 – 27th.   We will be on the road again.

For this week I hope to:

  • post more old patterns on the website,
  • hook more of “Prairie Sky – Altocumulus”,
  • price some wall hangings and post them on the website.

Weekly Review

I had a great week and managed to complete almost everything on my list.

  • I hooked more on “Prairie Sky – Altocumulus”.  I hope to work more on it today.
  • I posted the remaining old patterns for sale on my Facebook page – JLT Studios.
  • I added some 6″ square Prairie Sky wall hangings for sale to my website. They sell for $60 each + shipping.
  • I finished cutting up plaids and checks into #6 wide strips for sale for rug hookers.  They are sold in 1/2 pound bags for $20 each bag + shipping. I will be posting them on the website soon.
  • I am working on my mini-portfolio book today.
  • I am sewing on the hanging sleeve for “Wascana Creek – Study” today.
  • And finally, yes, I found my file folders for my classes!

 

Plaid and check wool strips cut to #6 width, packed in half pound bags and ready for sale.

 

Some of these patterns are available on the website now, and some have yet to be listed.  Look for these patterns to be available on the website soon.  They are old patterns purchased long ago (about 20 years ago) and on old burlap.  It is suggested people trace them on Red Dot and re-draw them on new backing before hooking them.  These are not my own original patterns, but the patterns of a few very talented rug hooking artists from the past.

 

 

Be sure to check out the website for new product this coming week!