Plein Air Hooking

Plein Air Hooking

On Friday I left my readers hanging about plein air hooking. The term plein air is a French term that means “plain air”. In some parts of the world it is referred to as plain air. It was used to describe artwork painted by artists who painted the landscape while outdoors.

What is plein air hooking? Simply put it’s hooking the outdoors while outdoors. In more severe climates and recent years plein air hooking also includes sitting near a window and hooking the outdoor view.

Plein air requires a quick eye and hand. Light changes rapidly, causing colours and shadows to shift.

How do I do it? I take a lawn chair, a hat, a water bottle, a small piece of backing, lots of miscellaneous colours of fibre, usually leftover scraps, called worms, from my other projects, a hooking frame, hooks, my sketchbook, a pencil, a permanent black marker, and a pair of scissors. I set myself up, draw a quick sketch…no detail…just to check composition and maybe note dominant shapes, line, colour and value. I try to simplify shapes in my sketches and note colour.

Then I draw directly on backing. No time to make a pattern. The light and shadows move too quickly. I have at most two hours to make my plein air piece. I mark my colours, lights and darks by hooking a bit of the colour in the appropriate place in the backing.

After that I hook as fast as I possibly can to finish the piece. I am a relatively slow rug hooker. It takes me an hour to hook an area the size of my hand. Later, I will take my plein air piece back to my studio to decide whether or not to enlarge it and create a studio piece.

I love the immediacy of plein air hooking. However, because light changes so fast and I hook so slow, I have to keep my pieces small.

Plein air hooking is a good way to stretch yourself. There is a group of plein air hooking artists with a website. It is Plein Air Hooking Artists. It is composed of rug hooking artists from around the globe.

If you are interested in plein air hooking, check out the Plein Air Hooking Artists website, grab your supplies and go outdoors! Start with your own yard to give you a trial run. That way if you forget anything its a short trip to the house to pick it up. Once you feel more comfortable on your own, move to a nearby park or the great outdoors somewhere near you. Enjoy!

“The Barn”
Weekly Review

Weekly Review

I finished both “African Dream Mini” (10.5” x 15.25” – wool, silk, nylon on primitive linen – #6 cut) and “Hearts”! Both have a hanging sleeve on them. Next up is to cut dowels for the hanging system, find some cup hooks for them, and create Certificates of Authenticity.

After that I’ll be planning my next retreat. It’s actually going to be a painting retreat. No rug hooking. I have a third retreat in mind that I’d like to use to explore plein air hooking in the Maritimes.

What is plein air hooking? Check my blog post Monday for the answer!

Hearts – 5.5” x 19.5” – wool, silk, and nylon on primitive linen – #6 cut.
What’s Up?

What’s Up?

Things are moving along here. I spent this past weekend hooking on the “African Dream Mini” for a friend. I’ve finished the hooking. Now for the binding and hanging sleeve. I hope to finish it this week.

I’m also planning my second and third retreats this year. Nothing like making hay while the sun shines! I have no idea if I’ll be able to take advantage of my friend’s cottage in the future. One of the retreats I’m planning isn’t really a retreat. It’s a visit to see relatives. But while there I’m hoping to fit in some photography, sketching, and painting.

Later this month I’ll be talking to a new web designer/graphic artist about redesigning my website and logo. We’ll be talking branding and marketing.

In the meantime I continue to sell supplies and greeting cards on the Facebook group Buy and Sell – Rug Hooking – Canada. I’m slowly emptying out bins in my studio.

Currently I am editing another video on my studio. It is an almost final peek at it. It is not perfect. The sofa bed won’t arrive till the end of September into October. That means I’ll be short sleeping and seating in the basement till then. I also am using the studio “as is”, so it’s a bit cluttered.

I hope everyone is geared up for a great August! Take care and catch up with you on Friday.

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Hi everyone! It’s been a productive week for me. I’ve been practicing my watercolour painting, preparing for another art trip.

I’ve also started a small “African Dream” wall hanging for a friend. I drew the pattern on backing during my last retreat. It’s taken awhile to get to it.

I’ve also been selling plaid and check swatches on Facebook’s Rug Hooking Buy and Sell Canada. This is a group for rug hookers who live in Canada. I’ll be listing more plaids and checks throughout the weekend. I have fifteen listed and another fifteen to go. Then I have some heavier woollens, more like tweed, which I’d like to try hooking before selling. I’m just not sure they’ll hold together to hook well. Perhaps on a wider cut they might.

Plus I cleaned up my studio to entertain a photographer who is going to photograph some of my wall hangings. I spent Wednesday evening auditioning and selecting pieces for him to photograph. The resulting images will be used for greeting cards, promotional material, show applications, and my website.

Well that’s it for this week. I hope everyone has a great weekend! Take care!

Plaids & Checks

Plaids & Checks

Hi everyone! Just a quick post to let you know I’m listing plaid and check swatches for sale again in my website shop. These are wool and mostly wool garments that have been washed and deconstructed and torn into swatches roughly 4” x 12” or larger.

I cannot guarantee they are 100% wool because, well, I don’t know. I did a burn test on everything so know they are mostly wool at the very least.

If you want any please do NOT order through the website.

My shipping feature is not working properly at the moment. Instead send me a message through my “contact” page or to jo6865@gmail.com, telling me which ones you’d like. I’ll tell you the total and the real cost of shipping.

Payment will be by e-transfer at this time, until I can get the shipping feature mess sorted out.

Have a great weekend!

Retreat Time!

Artist Retreat, that is. This week I had a lovely time at a friend’s cottage on the Bay of Fundy with my husband and my creative gear.

I took far too much stuff. We could barely fit it all in the car! But we did! Aside from gear we had to take clothes, bedding, food, and water for five days. Hubby took his bicycle to fit in some riding. We both took technology to work on various projects. It was forecast to rain.

I took work to finish. I took my camera for inspiration photos. And the tripod, just in case. I took my rug hooking frame and South Korea rug. I took my sketchbook and watercolour pencils. I took reading material and watching material. Also I downloaded some podcasts. I took linen and Red Dot interfacing to transfer those patterns I enlarged last weekend.

Our destination had no internet, so I used my cell phone to create a hot spot every day in order to finish an Udemy course on composition.

I organized for this retreat using an app called Simple Mind. It is a mind mapping app that allows me to see a lot of information in point form at one glance, and how it’s all interrelated. I was able to adjust my retreat plans as it happened, to accommodate for finishing things early. Not being distracted can really be a big boon to productivity.

We went on a lot of walks, with and without camera. Some to the beach, some not. Some with sketchbook, some without.

I read “The Art of Botanical Painting” by Margaret Stevens. It’s a great book if you want to be a botanical painter. I am not that detail oriented. I did garner quite a few colour and composition ideas for an upcoming series of wallhangings I plan to develop.

I also took Keith West’s “How to Draw Plants”, “Nature Drawing “ by Clare Walker Leslie, and “Drawing Scenery: landscapes and Seascapes” by Jack Hamm. These were more for reference. I haven’t drawn a seashore close up before.

I did manage some watercolour sketching for future design ideas. Lus I finished the Hearts wall hanging and coasters.

It was very productive.

Pattern Making

Pattern Making

It’s pattern making time! I spent the weekend going through my sketchbooks, scanning sketches, and enlarging some for patterns for more wall hangings. This week I’ll be putting them on backing. Time to finish a few series and design some new.

I’m prepping fibre for more hooking on my South Korea rug. I’d like to hook more, smaller images for a series there. But don’t know if I will.

I finished the Ken doll clothes and they’re on their way to their new owner today.

Recent books I’m enjoying:

  • Rug Hooking with Fancy Fibers – Gail Dufresne
  • Rug Money – Mary Anne Wise & Cheryl Conway-Daly

Recent podcasts I’m enjoying:

  • Fiber Nation by Interweave Press

I hope everyone has a great week! I’ll have a much longer post come Friday. Take care everyone!

More Culling and An Offer We Can’t Refuse!

More Culling and An Offer We Can’t Refuse!

It’s amazing how much we collect, both in our personal and business lives. Nothing has shown me that more clearly than this move. I have STUFF! As fast as Charlie puts together IKEA storage units I fill them.

I made a decision. I’m selling all my scrapbooking supplies and going digital and online. I’ve been toying with the idea for a couple of years now. I don’t do much scrapbooking, but when I do I like to attend weekend scrapbook meetings and accomplish something in one fell swoop. I notice hauling around the supplies is getting to be an issue for me. That would be alleviated by going online and doing everything in the comfort of my own home.

I’ve made photo books online before and have had moderate success. I discovered an online business, forever.com, at one of the scrapbook meetings I attended. I’m giving them a try. I’ve seen some of their finished photo books and they’re great! They seem to be using good paper and good ink. Owners of the books claim the books are as good now as when they bought them years ago. I’m ready to try and find out.

I’ve also discovered I have a lot more rug hooking supplies than I thought I had. I’m sorting them out now and preparing to list some for sale online. I’m using my Facebook page – JLT Studios – and the newly formed Rug Hooking Buy n Sell Canada Facebook page. I will also use the local Kijiji and VarageSale.

Charlie and I took a break from working on the house last weekend and headed up beyond Canning, Nova Scotia. It is beautiful country up there. We stopped at Grand Pre National Historic Park on the way. We walked through the woods to the old Acadian church. I really enjoyed all the wild flowers on the way. There is also a great planting of coleus just before the statue of Evangeline of Longfellow fame. The colours were magnificent! I sense another rug coming on…

A friend has offered us the use of her cottage this summer, whenever we want it. We could both use it. I’m thinking of taking an artist retreat out there for about five days. Charlie has been trying to write a book on his laptop. There are trails in the area we could hike. It was very kind of our friend to offer the cottage, and we hope to take some advantage of it.

A Bad Dye Job?

A Bad Dye Job?

I’m beginning to think there’s no such thing as a bad dye job in rug hooking. The fibre can always be used somewhere, or at the very least overdyed to make it fit in, or marry, with other fibres.

Earlier this week I made an effort to dye some fibre to replace a plaid. It was for a kit I’ve since backed down on. It didn’t work. I’ve decided kits are low on my priority list.

Back to the dye job that didn’t work. I used two techniques – spot dyeing, where you sprinkle a bunch of spots of dye over scrunched up material and bake in an oven, and painting on wool, where you actually take a paint brush to the wool and paint the dye on. But here’s the rub. I didn’t use paint brushes. I used small 10 cc syringes without the needle.

The spot dyed wool looked better once it dried, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well the painting-on-wool fabric looked when hooked! Check this out!

Dye Samples

I can certainly see trees in the darker painting-on-wool pieces at the bottom of the photo. Yes, the bottom three samples are painting-on-wool. I layered three pieces on top of each other, and thereby sealed my demise. It was a mistake. When painting-on-wool I must remember to do one layer only.

My other mistake was not having a spray bottle to mist the dye setting agent on the fabric. That meant I had to add liquid with the setting agent in it. It was too much liquid.

We all learn from mistakes and I definitely learned from mine. And, thankfully, I managed to make some beautiful wool to hook into my wall hangings.

I hope everyone is having a good week. I’ll write more later!

Just so you know…

Just so you know…

I haven’t totally dropped off the face of the earth! I’m here and doing fine. The last two weeks I’ve been in self-isolation because I have a cold. I still have a cough, but I’m thinking that’s related to other health issues. For now I’m up and being productive!

I offered to help a relative in the medical field with any sewing, should the hospital she works in need it. After a bit of back and forth a request came in for cloth scrub caps. So the last couple of days I’ve been designing and sewing those. I hope to have a box off to them by Friday.

I’ve also been doing a bit of rug hooking on my South Korean rug since I last posted.  But, to be honest, progress has been stalled with Covid-19 and the scrub caps.

I hope all my readers are well out there. Here in Canada our Prime Minister has invoked the Quarantine Act in an effort to get everyone to stay home and flatten the curve, reducing the burden on health care workers and hospitals. It seems to be working in British Columbia, our westernmost province. We are hoping it works across the rest of Canada.

Covid-19 has kind of messed up our plans for moving this year.  As a result of the quarantine I have postponed kitchen renovations and bathroom renovations at our new house. They are not essential. We don’t even know if it’s okay for the sale to go through. As it stands now, someone needs to go to the bank and get a bank draft to drop at the seller’s lawyer. Plus there’s a final check of the house. Plus we have to see our own lawyer. Both Hubby and I are high risk for developing Covid-19, so I’m not excited about these extra community contacts. I’d much rather we both stayed home. But we can’t live in our friend’s basement forever. While the timing may be bad, it may just be a chance we have to take. 

I’ve also decided to plant a garden this year, even if it’s just a container garden on the deck. I’m not confident about the availability of foodstuff from our local grocers. Hubby and I use online ordering to acquire food these days. They are slow at best, and didn’t have nine items on my list last time! I understand these are stressful times, but we still have to eat. I just wish people would quit hoarding so those of us who don’t can simply eat!

The decision to garden has been impacted by Covid-19 in more ways than that. Apparently everyone else has the same desire to garden this year. The main local seed store, from where I was going to order seed, temporarily shut down it’s online store due to a shortage of product. However, they plan to have it up and running again this coming week. It’s the panic over buying by some people, resulting in these interruptions in the supply chain, that is making Canadians nervous and fuelling more demand. It’s a vicious cycle.

Despite what’s going on in the world with Covid-19, I am seeing a lot of good in people and am thankful for many things. I am thankful for the skills, technology, and ability to help others. I’m thankful to have a roof over my head, food to eat, and clothes to wear. I find it useful for my mental health to look at the positive things around me…like our landlady sharing meals with us, and being able to bake with her. I am thankful that, while we’re on a fixed income, at least we have an income. And I’m thankful that I can contribute, even if in a small way.

As always, I hope this post finds my readers healthy and safe. Take care till next time…Jean

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Hi everyone! We signed for the house, put down our deposit, and are looking forward to closing mid-April. It’s been a long haul. We’ve spent time browsing home building stores. I’m into the home renovation mode. I picked up several countertop and paint samples. We’ve arranged to check out the house again this week for measurements. While there we’ll take a few photos.

We have people lined up to help us move in the first weekend in May. We want to have as much work done on the house as possible before then. That gives us a two week window to renovate. So not doable if we use contractors, so I imagine most of the work will be done by ourselves.

In the home decor department I’ve finished the first cushion cover and am onto the second. I may, or may not, knit a third.

I’ve picked up the appliqué quilt again and am sewing more blocks. I hope to hook more on my South Korea wall hanging, and finish the “Hearts” coasters this week.

I’ve discovered Wayfair.ca this week! I’ve been exploring design options on my iPad. Mostly I’ve been disappointed with apps that advertise “Free” and then have crippled the app unless you buy a monthly subscription after you download it. So right now I’m trying to use Wayfair’s mood board feature. Haven’t figured it out yet, but I have browsed their shop for ideas and garnered a lot for my various rooms.

I have a wood floor lamp my mom turned on a lathe when I was a child. The lampshade sadly needs replacing. I’ve been struggling to find the right size and shape. Wayfair has it. For over $100!!!

A friend suggested I knit a lampshade. There is a design in “Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders” book I have. However it’s for a smaller lampshade. I’m debating it. I have the yarn already. It would take more time, and it would be a lot of texture…depending on the pattern used. I would have to recreate the pattern to fit the old lamp shade. Hmmm…

Lots happening, so keep an eye out on this blog! Hoping to have my studio up and running by Fall at the latest. Only one year late! Sigh. It is what it is.

Week in Review

Week in Review

Hello! I had a fun week this week. I was able to attend a short workshop with Lucy Richards and a friend of mine. It was hosted by Diann McDonald, an Oxford punch certified instructor. It was a great chance to meet Diann and get to know Lucy’s Wooly Mason Dye system. I was picking up my set of cool colourway ProChem dye cards while there. So excited to have my dye jars made and ready to go! Thank you so much Lucy and Diann! The eight value spot dye swatch turned out perfect by the way.

Aside from dyeing fabric I also finished reading Karen Miller’s book “Eyes Open to the World”. It was very interesting and I can hardly wait for her second book to come out. Only one suggestion, and it’s a practical one…Karen, ask your publisher to put a sturdier cover on your next book. I’m afraid I’ve managed to bend this one. Hubby, a retired librarian, and I are contemplating ways to reinforce it so it can withstand the wear and tear I’m going to be giving it. We think our best bet is to head to Staples and see if they can do anything with it. Thank-you for a great read!

I finished the second bed sock now. They’re a bit big, but nice and comfy for bed.

Bed Socks from Ella Rae yarn.

I haven’t had much time for the appliqué quilt this past week. Must get back to that. I would like to have the top finished by summer. I had some wonderful rug hooking friends donate some old freezer paper to the cause. For some reason freezer paper is difficult to find locally. I am doing freezer paper appliqué and will need a fair quantity of it.

We’ve finished house hunting folks! We’ve found a cute little split level with 2 bedrooms up and 1 down. It’s in a nearby community close to Halifax, N.S. It’s an R2000 home, meaning it’s warm. It needs updating in the baths and kitchen, but it’s small enough we can handle it. Other than that, it’s just a case of painting. I’m very happy and we’re excited to get into it…which won’t be until April at the earliest. We’ll see. Lots to do before then anyways!

I’m knitting cushion covers for the new living room furniture. The yarn is Sublime Organic Cotton DK. It’s showing the patterns beautifully! I’m using stitch dictionary books from a used bookstore and a garage sale as guides for ideas: Mon Tricot’s “Knitting Dictionary Stitches Patterns” and Maria Parry-Jones’s “The Knitting Stitch Bible”.

I finished the “Heart” wallhanging and am hooking matching coasters. These are fun pieces for around Valentine’s Day. They probably won’t be ready this year, but they will be ready for next year!

I hope my readers enjoyed reading and have a productive week. Take care!

What I’m Up To

I finished my first bed sock and am almost done the second. They are a bit large, but that’s okay. If I knit myself a real pair for walking I’ll go down one size.

I finished the first eight appliqué quilt blocks and am onto the next eight. Having a hard time finding time to do this, what with other distractions and only being able to do it during daylight hours. My appliqué stitching is a mess after the sun goes down, even with lights on!

I am reading “Eyes Open to the World” by Karen Miller. I’m really enjoying it! I’m halfway through the book now. I’m a slow reader.

I missed rug hooking, so I scrounged around in bins and boxes for some scrap linen backing. I freehand drew some hearts on it, on top of some squares that were already on the backing.

I commandeered Hubby to move boxes of fibre around so I could find the appropriate colours to prepare for hooking. I settled on pink, red, purple, and white. I am using my usual wool, silk, and nylon.

Then I discovered my portable lap frame had cracked during our move. I quickly mentioned it to a friend and she offered to bring one to our group meeting this week for me to borrow. I took my cracked frame to the meeting and asked for advice on fixing or replacing it. I was surprised the answer was try Gorilla Glue! So Hubby went out for some Gorilla Glue and is poised to try and repair my frame.

I hope everyone else is having a productive time. Take care and I’ll try and check in next week.

My hearts wall hanging

January 2020

I have plans. Big plans. I sat down and went through some unfinished projects I’d like to finish, and some I’d like to start. It’s going to be a busy year!

Finished over the holidays were the following:
~ a soy silk/alpaca drop stitch scarf, modified free Ravelry pattern,
~ a soy silk/alpaca tuque, my own pattern,
~ an alpaca/Merino/bamboo set of wrist warmers, free Ravelry pattern.

In progress are the following:
~ a trip-around-the-world quilt…yes, I’m still working on that.
~ a South Korean appliquéd quilt pattern. I’m gathering supplies for that.
~ a needlepoint cushion cover. Yes, I’m still working on the hydrangeas.
~ the sandpiper crewel embroidery.
~ a hardanger wall hanging that just needs framing and hanging.
~ hardanger Christmas ornaments.

In the wings, waiting to be started:
~ a gold work wall hanging,
~ a robin needlepointing piece,
~ several sketchbooks of patterns to hook into rugs and wall hangings.
~ various scrapbooks from the last 18 years of photos.

This all sounds like a lot. But I have a partner in crime. Someone who can help me by encouraging me and holding me accountable. Not just my readers my friends, but also our current hostess/landlady. Our hostess is a craftswoman herself, and knows how valuable motivation in the form of accountability to someone else can be. She and I have decided to start a quilting challenge on Monday, January 6th. A block a day. That could be difficult for me as I’m starting with an appliqué South Korea quilt. But we shall see. Any forward progress is good progress in my view.

Beginnings and Finishings

I started the planning for 2020 by unpacking my Finished Work binders that contain photos, patterns, and instructions of various craft projects I’ve made over the years. It was a trip down memory lane and filled me with inspiration and anticipation.

I’ve decided this year, 2020, is all about finishing. I have numerous projects I’ve put off working on over the years. We are currently temporarily boarding with a very crafty lady. She and I have decided to embark on a finishing challenge for this coming year.

To that end I’ve pulled out my Trip-Around-The-World quilt again. I started it when I was seventeen, using fabrics leftover from my mother’s and grandmother’s sewing projects. It grew to include fabric from my sisters’ sewing projects. Until finally it grew so large I actually had to go out and buy fabric. It’s my experimental quilt. My first run at hand quilting (the center), AND my first run at machine quilting (the border). I used a mix of cotton and non-cotton fabrics…not the best choice I know now. But when I was piecing it in my late teens I had no idea. The backing is actually a piece of poly/cotton…also not the best choice.

I put a border I did not like on it at the suggestion of another quilter. Our hostess says she thinks it can be fixed with some judicious appliqué. We’ll see. I’m counting on her guidance. She used to teach quilting. I’m really just a beginner/intermediate level.

Aside from that I’ve pulled out the South Korea roof tile end caps rug and have been hooking it. I’m stuck. I want to dye some red-purple wool fabrics and silk for the design. I already spun the red-purple yarn I plan to use. However I have no place to dye fibre here really. It would be a major inconvenience for our hostess and for Hubby. But I’m thinking. I mean…I have a hot plate and drying rack. It’s definitely doable. I’d just have to have Hubby help unpack my dye equipment and supplies…and he is really not keen to do that. Our stuff is piled in boxes high to the ceiling here!

I did finish the Dropped Stitch Scarf from Ravelry. It’s a free pattern. I’ve yet to block it and weave in ends. Again, it’s for lack of space…and supplies. I could use a good drying mat for my knitting.

Other than that I have a needlework pillow top project, hardanger Christmas ornaments, the sandpiper crewel embroidery, another hardanger wall hanging to stitch, and one to frame. I also have a couple of quilts I want to sew…larger ones for our bed. Plus I have some needle painting and embroidery projects. Oh and a goldwork project. That will be it I think. If I finish half of that this year I’ll be doing well I think!

What about you? What are your plans for the year 2020?

Back at it again!

Back at it again!

Hi everyone! I’ve been spinning and knitting away. I managed to finish spinning the red purple and the golden yellow for my current project – the South Korea rug. We’ll see how that hooking project goes. I’ve determined the pattern is too detailed to add my silk fibre strips. The pattern loses definition when I do. This project will definitely be a learning one, but then, what project isn’t? I find I learn something with every project I do.

I’m also knitting more on the silk/alpaca Dropped Stitch Scarf. It’s a free pattern from Ravelry. Almost done. Only about ten inches to go! Looking forward to blocking and wearing it.

Dove of Peace Ornaments

Aside from the fibre activity I’ve been to the local rug hooking guild. They are a very talented group of ladies! They are a huge group! I visited on a day when some of them were selling crafts as well. I bought some beautiful small dove Christmas tree ornaments and took the phone number of a knitter. That reminds me, I must call her. I’m thinking I’ll put in an after New Year’s order. She knits wool socks and shawls.

I’m also reading. I finished reading “Hooked Mats of Newfoundland and Labrador” and was struck by the diversity of design within the region. There is a history of the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador at the beginning of the book. That is followed by many examples of hooked mats from various parts of the region. I found the history of the mats fascinating.

I’m currently reading “Silk Stocking Mats” by Paula Laverty and enjoying the history in that. I’m not a big history fan, but these two books include a lot of visuals to make it interesting and clarify what happened when.

Two days ago I processed the yarn I spun. I’m already noticing the difference between the humidity here and on the Prairies. It’s taken two days to dry instead of one!

Earlier this week we dug out Christmas decorations and decorated a tree and the main floor of the house where we’re staying.

We baked up a storm and hosted a cookie exchange for our landlady, daughters, and our son-in-laws. I hate to tell them, but our cookies are already gone! That’s probably a good thing, and we probably shouldn’t eat any more! However I know I’ll be making chocolates soon. So there will be lots of goodies yet for Hubby and I to share with others.

Cookies for the Cookie Exchange.

Well, it’s time to get going here. Take care everyone. Have a safe holiday season!

It’s Warming Up!

It’s Warming Up!

Wow! It’s only -5 Celsius out there today! LOL Well I guess it’s all relative. After about a month of -30 Celsius weather, this is downright balmy! Hubby is feeling better and is in the kitchen making Chicken Rice Soup. Yes, he caught that cold/flu bug after me and had it for all of 48 hours. I am soooo jealous! I wish I had short illnesses like that. I am looking forward to the soup tonight.

At any rate, after our two or three weeks of illness, we’re back at doing things around the house. Hubby is renovating and I’m back at the cardiac gym three times a week. We canceled the GoodFood meals. I found them to be great while we were sick and excellent quality and variety. However they are a tad on the expensive side. I can feed us 21 meals for what they were charging for 3 meals.

I made a menu plan and grocery list the other day before heading out grocery shopping. Picked up $120 CAD worth of groceries for about two weeks or more of food for Hubby and I. I found some good deals on meat. Came home and prepped the meat for easy use in meals.

I used to do mega-cooking. That’s where you cook all the meals for a month (or however long you want) at one time (usually over the course of a weekend) and put it in the freezer in meal sized amounts to pull out and reheat as needed. However that takes too much of my energy now. So my plan is to double cook meals. That just means making double batches of meals, eating one, and freezing the leftovers for later.

Hubby is still busy renovating the house. He is silent on when he thinks the house will be ready for sale. We’ll see. For now he is working on the basement, having finished all the upstairs BUT the front entry closet doors, which are an odd size.

I’m back at decluttering and selling used items online. Slowly getting rid of excess. I also had a good friend stop in and give me a sketchbook. An artist can always use one of those! She also brought her celery tops, which she doesn’t eat. As I was making chicken stock at the time, I just tossed them all in. Her timing was excellent!

As far as hooking goes…I have started hooking my South Korea rug and am not happy with it. I want to ‘fix’ it before posting a photo.

I also have not done any scrapbooking because of this illness. I need to have some photos developed first. I’ve temporarily given up on the idea of digital scrapbooking. The Forever program I was looking at requires a PC for full use of the site and I work on an Apple platform. There are work arounds, and I’ll have to look more in-depth at those before making a final decision.

I hope everyone has a great couple of weeks! I will be back then to post more.

Back from the living dead!

Back from the living dead!

I have been sick with a flu/cold/migraine combination this past week. It’s been miserable. On top of that, our vaporizer bit the dust. Hubby, bless his soul, would fill it up, turn it on, and shut the door. The entire room would become filled with acrid smelling fumes, like some damp wood with moss on it trying to burn. Yuck! I unplugged it for the last time yesterday and announced it was time to buy a new one.

During my illness Hubby was super helpful. He made all the meals and brought them to me, did the laundry and dishes, and stood over me looking worried more than he ought to have. Finally, to make the poor man feel better, and myself (he was beginning to have me worried!), I called our local 811 number. That number puts you in contact with a nurse who can help assess the severity of your situation. Basically, she told me to drink warm fluids, and cough up as much phlegm as I could. Nothing new.

Now I’m feeling a bit better I am working on another rug hooking pattern. This has been drawn on backing for over a year. I haven’t touched rug hooking in that long. Partly because of the move and everything being packed. Partly because of Dad’s death and illness, and my illness. And also partly because I needed a break from some of the poor attitudes I was finding in the rug hooking community.

This is not to badmouth or color the whole community, and it is not to point fingers. It is just a comment. I think some people are truly unaware of how they come across and how others react to them. It pays to think with your head and your heart, using a bit of compassion and common sense when dealing with others. I just needed to step back, regroup, and focus on my health for awhile, before continuing. It also helped to take time to work on other projects.

However, now I have picked up my next piece. My South Korean rug. I have sort of color planned it, but not totally. I know what colors I want in it. I’m just not entirely sure exactly where they are going to be in it.

People ask me how I color plan. I usually design from a color photo or series of photos I’ve taken. I print the photo on glossy photo paper and lay it on the floor or the table in natural light on a shady or overcast day. Direct sunlight is too harsh. Then I sort through my stash and pull out options that match colors in the photos. I don’t stop with just one option. In fact, I prefer five or more different types of wool or yarn (textures), depending on the pattern I’m working on.

When I have most, if not all of the colors represented, I package them up in zippered gallon plastic bags (depends on size of the project) and set them aside. That’s stage one done.

Stage two is usually on another day and requires cutting wool strips. I use a mixture of fabric and yarn, wool, silk, and nylon. Right now I do not have a good steady surface to cut wool strips. It was a real struggle to do this yesterday afternoon. We sold our good sturdy dining room table that was just right for the job. I had my Beeline cutter clamped to a wooden TV tray table, and was jamming it into the corner of the room against moving boxes with my foot to stabilize it enough to cut strips. My strips are none too perfect I’m afraid! Sigh.

Stage three is to set up my hooking area and start hooking. Not having hooked in awhile I need to build up wrist strength and agility again. I’m taking it slow for now…no more than an hour a day. I’m trying to make sure my technique is good so I don’t damage my wrist. I am also being cautious because I still have a bad cough, and the dust off the wool fabric is causing me to cough more. Not a lot of hooking done yet.

At any rate, here are some images of what I’m working on so far. I will be posting more on Instagram as my work progresses. I hope everyone has a great week!

Knitting

Knitting

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend!  Hubby and I were on the road to Prince Albert to visit a friend.  We had a great time poking around town, visiting Shananigan’s Cafe, and hiking in nearby Little Red River Provincial Park. We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner at Smitty’s Restaurant, of all places!  Nice location by the fireplace on a cool windy day.

Lemon Meringue Pie, Shananigan’s, Prince Albert, SK.

I’ve been busy knitting up more hats.  I modified the instructions on the His and Hers Beanie to come out with a hat I like much better.  I wasn’t happy with the top of the hat using the instructions as written, which didn’t seem to match the photo of the top of the hat.  So I improvised and did a regular hat top of one row of decreases, followed by one row of knit stitch the whole way around.  The yarn used is Fleece Artist National Parks yarn – some of the Greenwich Dunes National Park colourway.  It turned out much better than the original pattern, which had you decreasing every single row at the top of the hat.  In fact, it turned out so well I’m knitting another hat from the remains of the Fundy National Park colourway to send down east to my niece instead of the flat topped one.

I had a fun week last week.  Some knitting, some sorting through boxes and culling more books, and a lot of time with friends and family.  I celebrated my birthday with a shrimp pig out at Red Lobster.  Actually, it was too much shrimp.  But that’s okay.  I have shrimp maybe once a year.  Dinner was good and the surprise “party” at a friend’s afterwards was nice too.  I put party in quotation marks because she literally did not find out it was my birthday until 3:30 PM on my birthday, and when we arrived three hours later to spend the evening playing games and watching a movie, she had decorated the place, her daughter had made a card, and they had a gift for me! I feel so blessed to have such friends.

Next up is a knit cowl out of the Greenwich Dunes National Park yarn.  That will go to another niece.  I’m about half finished it now.

I was able to get to the MacKenzie Art Gallery to see the hooked rug exhibit called “Home Economics”.  It was well done and interesting.  I loved the Grenfell rugs and the more modern ones that tell a story.  I was surprised the art gallery shop did not have any hooked wall hangings or rugs from local rug hookers available for sale.

While at the art gallery we also saw an Indigenous Peoples art exhibit called “Boarder X”.  It was all about movement in the landscape.  There was a young lady from the Cree nation there to help with interpretation of the artwork.  I was very thankful for her guidance, as I know little about Indigenous symbolism.  Her explanations helped me greatly.  There were some very moving pieces of artwork in the exhibit.

I am seriously looking at cutting back some of my rug hooking supplies…wool fabric in particular.  Keep an eye on my website store to see if anything pops up that you’d like.  I have a lot of dark colored wool.  If you’re interested in doing background, it might be just the thing.  Let me know and I’ll see what I have.  I’m thinking $1 CAD for each 3″ x 12″ swatch.  My swatches are usually larger than that, but I still will only charge $1 CAD for them.  Shipping and handling will be extra.

If you’re interested, contact me using the form below and we can talk or arrange a visit.

 

Christmas Ideas!

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There’s snow on the ground here.  Temperatures are unseasonably warm and the snow is melting, but as of right now, today, we still have snow!  That brings Christmas to the forefront of my mind.  That, and the query by Maggie Bathory of Aspen Rug Hooking about what Christmas themed ideas I might have have for rug hooking!

It’s not too late to embark on quick little projects for the house or the tree.  How about a candle mat?  A tree decoration?  Is your tree already up?  How about a small decoration for around the home? A seasonal themed hot pad for the table?

What kind of patterns might you hook for Christmas?

  • ivy
  • holly
  • reindeer
  • birds
  • toques
  • stars
  • santa
  • sleigh
  • bells
  • nativity scenes
  • wise men
  • baby Jesus
  • evergreen trees
  • Christmas trees, stylized and not
  • ribbons and bows
  • gifts
  • snowy landscapes
  • Frosty, the Snowman
  • snowmen in general
  • chimneys with stockings
  • toys

What types of items can you hook?

  • stockings
  • hot pad for the table
  • tree skirts
  • candle mats
  • home decor
  • table runners
  • table mats
  • coasters
  • seasonal door stopper
  • wall hangings
  • ornaments
  • chair pads

Ideally I start in February thinking about hooking for Christmas…especially when selling in shops or online.  I like to have a variety of items ready for the season and send them off in August or September.

I am only selling at the Saskatchewan Crafts Council Fine Craft Boutique this holiday season, and from my webpage shop.  However, it might be time to revisit some seasonal hooking for myself, my loved ones, and the house.

What kind of Christmas projects are you working on or have you made?

 

A New Look!

A New Look!

Welcome to my new website everyone!  Take a look around and tell me how you’re liking the new look by posting a comment below.  I welcome feedback.  🙂

The last month’s posts are missing on this blog, but that’s okay.  I’ll update you here.

Since the middle of September I’ve finished “Escapees”.

I’ve also been out plein air hooking at Echo Lake Provincial Park here in Saskatchewan.  It’s beautiful in the fall with golden yellow leaves on the trees against the bright blue prairie sky.  Here’s what I was hooking in.

The other side of the lake looked a bit barren though.  The leaves had already fallen and the golden brown of the grassy hills was showing through the bare dark branches.

The end result was a small approximately 5″ x 9″ piece I call simply “Echo Lake”.

I attended Art Now! in Regina this fall.  It was an inspiring event for me.  I was able to spend Saturday listening to presentations, and enjoy the artwork in-between sessions.

I’ve also been spelling off my hooking with knitting.  I’ve finished my Painted Desert Shawl by Karen Klein (available free on Ravelry) from Sea Turtle yarn.

I’ve been knitting some baby items… a hat and some mitts with an i-cord string attaching them.  I am currently working on this baby sweater, which requires I pick up stitches around the neck and down the front to knit a collar and button band.  I am knitting to learn new techniques.  I’m finding baby items ideal for this.  They are small and quick to knit…when I’m not distracted by other things… The patterns for these come from “60 Quick Baby Knits”.

I’ve also been spinning.  It’s come to my attention that I have a lot of fibre that needs to be spun.  I just had my wheel serviced and will be working, when I have time, to spin it up.  Here’s a couple of small skeins of old singles that I plied together to make yarn.  I will overdye these to make them usable.

And, now that Canadian Thanksgiving is over, my eye is turned towards the upcoming Christmas season.  To that end I diverted myself to scrapbooking last week.  My daughter was married about twelve years ago and I promised her a wedding scrapbook.  I think twelve years is a long enough wait!  I had the tools, the time, and the money to finish it off.  Traditional scrapbooking is not cheap! It is my daughter’s Christmas gift this year.

On September 23rd I took part in Sunrise Library’s Old Fashioned Fair.  Sunrise Library is a branch of the local Regina Public Library.  I had a blast!  So much so I forgot to have photos taken of me there!  I was with a group of weavers and spinners and we had a great time chatting and demonstrating to the public.  Definitely on my repeat list if asked next year.

As a result of the Old Fashioned Fair I ended up at the local Weavers and Spinners Guild one evening.  Had a blast spinning away while listening to the meeting.  Lots of people doing interesting things there.

I’ve also been approached for information to include on myself and my hooking in a book to possibly be published in 2019.  Writing everything down about my en plein air hooking was a bit of a novelty.  I didn’t realize it was such a process, or that I knew as much as I did.  It was good for me.

And in-between all that I’ve been helping my web designer with the new website, including the new videos for my classes that help explain what they are about. Please feel free to provide constructive feedback.

 

 

 

Checking Out Website Platforms

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!

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! 🙂