Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Good morning everyone!  It’s been a busy week.  Monday I heard from my branding expert. She sent an email instructing me what to do with her files.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time to even look at her email till Thursday.

Tuesday it rained and blew and thundered. I spent the morning taking Karen D. Miller’s online design course.  It was excellent!  It motivated me to sort through my over 1000 photos of South Korea and pull out about fifty or so to work on for wall hangings.  Some of those are of the same subject, so in reality I’ve only got about 20 different works of art there…enough to develop a theme.  Thank-you Karen!  I’m looking forward to the “Materials and Techniques” course next week.

Hubby and I also spent some time Tuesday downstairs hanging more wall hangings on the second wall of the studio.  We made the call to put our not yet purchased TV in the guest bedroom, rather than on my studio wall.  We can watch it from the sofa bed we’re going to have in that room.

Wednesday Hurricane Teddy was supposed to blow through town, but it didn’t blow very much.  So instead I phoned a friend and invited her over for dyeing fibre using Lucy Richard’s Woolly Mason Jar System.  We did some spot dyeing and some pot dyeing.  We dyed wool fabric while my friend was here.

Dorr wool dyed with the Woolly Mason Jar Dye System.

Drying fibre after dyeing.

After she left I continued dyeing fabric and yarn for my South Korean wall hanging.  I also used up the rest of the fall colours dye solutions I’d mixed up a week or so ago.  I was rewarded with this beautiful spot dyed piece of wool.

Front of piece.

Back of piece.

Wednesday morning I also received the link to the photos the photographer took of my wall hangings.  I have some editing to do.

I also received my shipment from Dorr Woolen Mill Wednesday.  I have natural wool for the next 3-5 years! I don’t go through it fast, but when I need it, I really need it.  I also purchased some different types of backing to try: bleached linen, monk’s cloth, and rug warp.

Bleached linen, rug warp, and monk’s cloth.

I’ve tried a Walmart version of monk’s cloth before and it was not pleasant to work with. This time I want to try the real stuff for rug hooking.

Likewise I’ve tried rug warp before and found it difficult for my wrist and hand. But I wanted samples for my courses.  Now I’ll have them.

The bleached linen is a novelty for me.  I normally use unbleached primitive linen. But I’m thinking I might  be trying some pieces with exposed backings.  We’ll see. If not, I’ll use it for regular hooking.

Thursday my short shank medium Moshimer hooks arrived.  If anyone wants one I’ll sell one for $20 CAD plus shipping.

I continue to hook on my South Korean roof tile end caps rug, ever so slowly.  I’m going to have to pick up speed.  I’d like to be finished it and onto other wall hangings.

If you have been, thank-you for reading everyone.  I hope each of us has a wonderful weekend.  Take care!

 

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

There’s been a lot happening this week. I put my website shop on vacation for an extended period of time, maybe for good. I’m debating rebuilding my entire website from scratch. I am frustrated with my inability to navigate WordPress and WooCommerce. I hope to consult with someone in October about the situation.

Highlights of this week were: finding a new platform for selling my wall hangings, selling several wall hangings, and seeing the new logo my branding expert developed.

The new platform is ArtPal. It is free to use, with no commission, but people pay you through PayPal. PayPal still takes their cut – about 3%. Still, it’s good for advertising what you have for sale across various platforms. I can set it to share my listing on FaceBook, InstaGram, and Twitter.

I am delighted I can say that three Prairie Sky pieces, Moss (a.k.a. Northern Exposure), and Sprouts have found new homes. I hope the new owners enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them.

As you know,if you’ve been following my blog, I’ve hired a branding expert to work with me in developing a new look for my business. One of the items she’s working on is a new logo. I’m not ready to divulge my new logo yet, but it’s coming! It’s simple and classy, but not too pretentious. I’m really excited about the change and hope to use it for many years!

Well that’s my update for this week folks. I wish you all a great weekend. Stay safe everyone!

Natural Dyeing Resources

Natural Dyeing Resources

Hello everyone! This weekly review is on the various books and websites used this past weekend at my niece’s. She wanted to learn patterned natural dyeing, not dyeing all one colour. She also is interested in growing a dye garden.

I taught her some of the natural dyeing I knew, and we spent one afternoon with Linda Wallbank, a spinner and weaver, who just happens to also knit and dye. She grows her dye plants in amongst her vegetables. So we checked out her garden too, and her animals – alpacas, llamas, and horses.

At any rate, aside from Linda’s and my expertise, I also used a bevy of dyeing books and websites to help us on our natural dyeing journey. Here are some of the websites I found useful:

I also took the opportunity to make use of my natural dyeing library with this workshop. I found the following books useful.

  • “Wild Color” by Jenny Dean
  • ”The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing” by Eva Lambert and Tracy Kendall
  • ”The Craft of the Dyer” by Karen Leigh Casselman
  • ”The Dyer’s Garden” by Rita Buchanan
  • ”Natural Processes in Textile Art” by Alice Fox (rust dyeing)
  • ”Harvesting Color” by Rebecca Burgess
  • ”Natural Dyes” by Judy Hardman and Sally Pinhey
  • ”Eco-Colour” by India Flint
  • ”Shibori” by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Mary Kellogg Rice, and Jane Barton
  • ”Stitched Shibori “ by Jane Callender

While we didn’t do any shibori per se, we did spend a lot of time on tie dyeing. Looking at shibori books inspired my niece to stretch her tie dye design repertoire. We surfed the Internet and found some interesting patterns to try.

The top three useful books for this particular workshop were: “Wild Color”, “The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing “, and “The Craft of the Dyer”. Having said that, we did have difficulty getting beet dye and blueberry dye to stick to the pre-mordanted cotton fabric, no matter whose instructions we used! And of course, we discovered they are both fugitive dyes. While I suspected the beet dye of being fugitive before we started, I did not know what to think of blueberry, having never used it. Other dyes we used were: carrot tops, onion skins, and staghorn sumac leaves.

All in all we had a great time experimenting, and the above resources were a great help. Check them out if you’re interested in natural dyeing!

Natural Dyeing – Mordants

Natural Dyeing – Mordants

Hi everyone! This weekly review is a bit different. If you’ve followed along on my blog, Instagram (@jeanottosen), or Facebook (JLT Studios) you know I’ve been planning to do some natural dyeing. So this past week I prepared some nylon, wool, cotton, and silk for natural dyes. I’m still working on the process, exploring colours and mordants.

What is a mordant? Natural dyes often need help sticking to fibre. A chemical or agent called a mordant does this job. It can be something as simple as the tannin found in tea. Or it can be a more complex and dangerous metal like tin, or chrome, which I do not use due to health and environmental concerns.

The most common mordant is alum in its various states: potassium aluminum sulphate (Dyer’s alum), aluminum sulphate (pickling alum), and aluminum acetate (used on cotton). My preferred mordant is Dyer’s alum. I have never tried aluminum acetate. Aluminum sulphate has the benefit of being safe to use, but doesn’t give as bright or clear colours as Dyer’s alum.

There are many ways to apply a mordant:

  • You can apply it before dyeing the fabric. This is called pre-mordanting.
  • You can apply it at the same time you dye the fabric by adding it to the dye bath. This is called simultaneous mordanting or meta-mordanting.
  • Or you can add it after the dyeing is done. This is called post mordanting.

Plus to make things interesting, using different mordants, and different combinations of mordants, and different times of application, changes the colour of your cloth.

To complicate matters further, you can use two or three mordants on a piece of cloth at any point in the process. Cotton, for example, absorbs and hold dyes better if it has a tannin mordant followed by at least one alum mordant before even hitting the dye pot! Some people prefer to follow the tannin mordant with two alum mordants.

Do you see the excitement and intrigue for me? Lots of potential to experiment! And that’s what I’ve been doing!

This week I’ve been cleaning (known as scouring) cloth to remove any finishes that might get in the way of dye absorption. I have also been pre-mordanting wool, cotton, and silk.

Follow along and hopefully this coming week I’ll have some photos, formulas, and stories to tell!

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Hello everyone. I’ve had a great week! We came back from Scots Bay, Nova Scotia earlier in the week. I spent the last day organizing myself for September.

I have a niece who wants to learn natural dyeing. So I put together a bit of a binder of information and selected a book to give her that has clear explanations with lots of illustrations and photographs. I’ve been planning a simple workshop for her using onion skins.

I also put together a portable dye kitchen to take over the next time we visit. We will spend a few days dyeing cotton and silk with her. I have wool, nylon, and silk to dye. We’ll be doing spot dyeing, shibori rust dyeing, and tie dyeing. She already does tie dyeing with synthetic dyes. She specifically asked to make cloth with a pattern, not all one even colour.

I have instructions for everything either printed out, in a book I’m giving her, or online. I ordered a few natural dyeing books the other day and a few have already arrived. I’m taking them to my niece’s as well, mostly for her mom and I to look at.

Then I reconnected with a friend. In February we went to a workshop together. She was an observer while I actually did the work and made notes. It was a weird arrangement, but it worked. It was supposed to be a private workshop for me, but the instructor graciously let my friend attend and watch.

Now my friend is all excited. She has the tools, the dyes, and the formulas. She wants to learn. So I’m off to her place sometime in September to have fun in the dye pots using ProChem dyes.

The same friend was gifted some Procion MX dyes and supplies, which are primarily designed for cellulose fibres like cotton, linen, hemp…plant based fibres. I once took a workshop in that and have a couple of books on it, so I offered to help with that too.

I’ve been busy planning for the blog future as well. I’m trying to think of fascinating (?!) topics to share with my readers. If anyone has any ideas of rug hooking related topics they would like me to write about, feel free to leave a comment or send me a comment under the “Contact” tab at the top of the page.

That’s it for this week folks! I’ll leave you with a photo of work in progress. 😊

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.
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!

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.

Production!

Production!

Face masks are finished!

Ken doll clothes are happening. There is a great disparity in sizes between free online patterns and commercial patterns.

Knife sheath attempt after all. Can’t get my domestic machine to sew through the suede leather, even with a leather needle. Will take moose suede to a leather worker and see what they say.

In my pile of things to finish by my chair. Notice the hooked heart hanging and coasters from February. They’ll be ready for next February.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and a productive one. Till next time, take care everyone!

Not Rug Hooking but…

Not Rug Hooking but…

I’m busy sewing doll clothes for my grandnieces and for a cousin’s daughter – one for 16” dolls and the other for Ken dolls of fashion doll fame. For the 16” doll clothes I’m using Simplicity 7644, McCall’s 8564, and McCall’s 2157. These clothes are for the Briar doll available at twigandtale.com They are available as instant downloads on Etsy. For Ken clothes I am using free patterns from Chellywood.com, plus Advance 2899, and Simplicity 5330. The first was easy to print off, the last two were instant downloads from Etsy again.

I’m currently on a sewing kick. I also have some face masks to sew and a leather knife sheath for a nephew. I might sew him something else as well.

I made all my father’s descendants a sewn item from his LL Bean shirts after he passed away. This nephew didn’t make it to the funeral, so he didn’t have a chance to speak up for anything. Eventually he said he needed a knife sheath. But Grampy’s shirts are not heavy duty enough for that. I have some moose hide from an old jacket one of my sister-in-laws gave me. I’ve decided to use that for the knife sheath. Grampy was, after all, a moose biologist.

Fast forward a couple of years and my nephew put in a request for “something” from Grampy’s shirts. I have a couple of pieces of old shirt left here and I’m going to see if I can do something for him.

Other that that, in rug hooking I have a Valentine’s wall hanging to bind, and some coasters to match. Plus I need to get back to my South Korea rug. I have designs I’d like to put on backing as well.

The studio is coming along fine. It’s usable. I still have too much stuff. I need to list some items online for sale. I’m part of a Canadian rug hooking buy and sell group on Facebook. I’ve been meaning to list items for sale there for some time.

I had Charlie put together the IKEA Havsta nesting tables and determined there was not enough room for them AND the coffee table and sofa bed we ordered. That means returning the coffee table. It’s going to be a tight squeeze in the seating area of the studio. I’m starting to reconsider having a TV down here as well.

Well that’s it for this week! I hope the Canadians reading all had a happy Canada Day! And I hope my American readers enjoy their Fourth of July!

Cheers!

And it’s Out!

And it’s Out!

The pellet stove has been removed! I am pleased to have space for another chair in the seating area of the studio. Kudos to Dan Walker, his co-worker, and Charlie for removing the stove and repairing the wall. The walls have now been painted and it’s time to fix the floor where the pellet stove sat, so the chair has someplace level to sit.

In other news, I am selling all my scrapbooking supplies. I purchased storage on Forever.com, as well as their programs Historian and Artisan. I also purchased a PC laptop to run everything on! I’ve used PCs before, but it’s been a while. This could be a bit of a learning curve.

The laptop is a Lenovo Legion Y740 15″ laptop. This is, I suspect, a gaming laptop. However, it was one of the few I could find with all the specifications required to handle everything I need it to do. Next up, once this is set up, I’ll be looking at a scanner and a printer. I have a lot of old photographs and negatives that need scanning.

I continue to unpack and sift through our belongings. I am to the point where I am shredding entire boxes of journals and papers from when the girls were younger. I have no idea why I kept it all! Hopefully this move will ultimately achieve our goal of downsizing all our stuff, as well as our accommodation.

In my leisure time I am reading “In The Company of Women” by Grace Bonney. It is a wonderful book full of interviews from successful women entrepreneurs. It has some sage advice and great quotes.

I also joined Udemy this week. Their classes are as low as $13.99 each until June 20th. I purchased three by Doris Charest, an artist from Alberta, Canada. They are: “Teaching Art Classes Online”, “Composition Basics for Abstract or Realism for Beginners“, and “Starting an Art Business”. I learned quite a bit from “Teaching Art Classes Online”. I don’t expect to learn as much from the other two. They are more refreshers. Mme. Charest’s teaching style and delivery is very good. I appreciated her honesty about her subject.

This weekend’s project…

Have a great weekend everyone!

It’s been a week!

We’ve been busy this week. Charlie put together furniture for the studio with my help. Lots accomplished, but lots more to do. Yes, there’s a big scratch on the builtin bookcase/cupboard unit. The shelf was a bit too big to fit in after painting. Charlie shaved them down after that fiasco. We’ll be fixing that this weekend.

I had to measure my studio again. Apparently the laser measure we took the original measurements with was off by quite a bit. My actual working space measures 11’x12’. The rest of the space is designated family room. It’s 11’x9’5”. For me that’s a small space to work with. I will adjust. I have to.

We had some friends stain our deck this week. They did a wonderful job! I put in the deck garden the last two days. We originally had a large gazebo on the deck. We would like to have it back in place. We’re thinking about how to do that and make sure the plants get enough sunlight.

We tried digging up and moving a rhubarb plant that wasn’t doing well, and found out why. The soil is gravel and a fine red dust – looks like clay. Whoever prepared the yard in the first place didn’t bring in topsoil after building and before planting anything. The backyard is a lovely meadow. Though there are a lot of weeds. We figure we’ll be bringing in wheelbarrows full of real soil and mulch to deal with the perennial garden issue. The backyard may just stay meadow for now. We’re focusing on creating a presentable front yard this year.

We also purchased a deck box to store all the garden supplies. That meant we could clear it all out of the dining area in the house, where they were stored previously. I’m hoping that means we can put together our new table soon.

Not much done on the creative front. Too busy trying to organize things in our new home. Hopefully things will be up and running soon, and I can start back at my creative pursuits.

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Hi everyone! It’s been a busy week. The IKEA furniture arrived yesterday. The delivery guys would only take it to the front steps. Our son-in-law was here to help us bring it into the house. He also helped my hubby, Charlie, put together the sofa. They also managed a great start on the large 4’x6’ Besta china cabinet/storage unit for the dining area. Charlie and I finished it today. I unpacked quite a few boxes into it.

Charlie also put together a small Billy bookcase. So far I’ve been able to unpack several small book boxes into it. I figure I’ve unpacked about ten boxes today – a fair bit of it glassware and china. So far only one item was chipped. The living room, kitchen, and dining area are looking much better!

We had the pellet stove technician in. He fired up the stove in the studio and gave us the situation. It’s a very noisy older unit and awkward to start. Plus the automatic shut off isn’t working. We have a few choices: leave it and be careful when we use it, don’t use it, replace with a newer model, or just have the thing removed and taken away. I’m leaning towards the last option as it would give me more usable space in the studio.

Right now all sources of heat in this house are electric, which comes in on overhead lines. We’d like to have a backup heat source that isn’t electric. We’ve been investigating solar. We have a wonderful southwest exposure to our roof. Plus there’s a provincial grant for going solar. We’ll see.

The pellet stove technician also works with air exchangers. Ours doesn’t work, but he said he’d do some research to see if he could find a suitable replacement and quote us for it and installation. It would be real nice to have one up and running.

I finished washing and repairing my main studio wall earlier this week. Charlie was down there to wash them again and do touch ups today. Hopefully he can tape it off and start to prime it tomorrow.

I’m excited to be getting the studio underway finally. But first I have a few pieces of furniture to refinish: a small cupboard, a small bookcase that fits on top of it, and an old table. All of them need a serious cleaning and painting before going to live in my studio and dye kitchen.

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

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Today we’re having an “at home” day. The wind outside is howling and blowing snow around. Police are advising people to stay off the roads. There are a lot of snow drifts developing and accidents. We are taking their advice!

~~~~~

I thought I’d take some time to fill you in on my latest reading:

I finished Meryl Cook’s “One Loop At A Time”. I found it a very interesting way to rug hook, having never heard of chakra colors before. I love the look of her work! I am so glad Meryl decided to pick up the hook and work her way through recovery using rug hooking! This book is the story of how Meryl worked towards wellness and recovery following surgery using rug hooking and her creativity. I find times of sudden illness have been life changing for me as well.

I am finally getting serious about Karen Miller’s book, “Eyes Open To The World”. I am loving her writing style! Both she and Meryl have great writing styles. They don’t waste words and they are very clear in what they say and mean. I like that.

I’ve finished chapter 1 on traveling and really seeing what’s around you. And I agree. It’s too easy to just go, go, go and not really see what’s around you. That’s what happened on our South Korean trip in 2017. Thankfully I captured a lot with my camera on that trip. It definitely helps to be a decent photographer when you travel, or to travel with one!

As one of the featured rug hooking artists in her book, I can see where I have an unusual word cloud of artists and people who’ve inspired me. I think sometimes we’re too narrow in defining which “artists” have inspired us. I have to include my grandmother, a fibre artist long before they were called such. She was an excellent needlewoman, seamstress, quilter, etc. She inspired me to make time for my creative work and to aspire to excellence in technique, as well as interpretation. She inspired me to create works with meaning – something I am still working towards at this time.

I also find my children’s poetry to be inspirational. They were pretty good poets as children – far better than I was! They created a large body of work and have given me permission to use some of it in my rug hooking. I am currently planning a three day retreat for myself in order to put more patterns on backing, color plan, and dye fibre for them. That’s a tall order for three days, but we’ll see how far I get.

Of course I am inspired by the usual Impressionist, Van Gogh, Emily Carr, Group of Seven, Georgia O’Keefe, etc. They all affect how I perceive and interpret what I observe. They teach me, as Karen writes, about light, perspective, and color.

I am also finding inspiration in unusual places. Take for instance, the manhole covers in downtown Vancouver. Don’t laugh! They have great designs I’d love to do a rubbing of some day. Unfortunately it’s rather crowded for that. I settled for snapping quick photos!

~~~~~

Aside from reading and being inspired by Karen and Meryl, I’ve been busy quilting. The quilt I’m currently working on is from a South Korean quilt book a friend owns. I have no idea who the designer is or the name of the quilt, let alone the book. All I could decipher was the pattern diagram. A friend who used to be a quilt instructor gave me instruction on how much to enlarge it and how to quilt it using the freezer paper appliqué method. So far it’s working great! I have one block I have redesigned, as it requires tricky machine quilting to determine what it is exactly.

I’m hoping to turn it into a queen size quilt for our bed. We still don’t have a quilt for our bed. I’ve made lots of quilts for other people, so now it’s our turn. I have eight blocks completed and need at least forty-two total. That’s another thirty-four blocks! I can appliqué one a day.

I’m also knitting a pair of Merino wool socks from Ella Rae yarn. I was originally planning on making a shawl, but the yarn had breaks in it. In the end I decided to not only make socks, but to make bed socks. It’s cold where we live…especially at night. The breaks won’t matter if I’m just keeping my feet warm at night in them.

This morning I gathered up all my unfinished projects and took them to the upstairs living room, where it’s warmer. I stored them all in the large tote I have of projects I want to do or finish. I’m hoping to make strong headway on emptying that tote this year!

That’s my Weekly Review folks! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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!

His and Hers Beanie Strikes Again!

His and Hers Beanie Strikes Again!

Hi everyone.  I’ve been busy this week with a lot of medical stuff.  However I was able to finish knitting the His and Hers Beanie from Ravelry.com using Fleece Artist Grassland National Parks Chinook yarn.  I’m currently knitting matching wrist warmers from the free DROPS pattern on Ravelry.  My plan of who to give all this finished knitting to is in a state of flux.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with them.  I may end up donating it all.

I was to the Open Fibre Night for the Regina Weavers and Spinners Guild this week.  Had a blast with about nine other people in attendance.  There were three of us newcomers.  Though truthfully I’m not entirely new.  I was there once last year, before my Dad became really sick and I started having health issues.  Hopefully I’ll have time to make it from now on.  Met one of my followers on Facebook. Always such a surprise and delight to meet someone who takes the time to follow me.  Thank-you to everyone who does.

Today I’m off to a local knitting group.  I want to work on those wrist warmers.  I also want to get into the boxes of rug hooking fibre and see what I can conjure up in the way of fibre bundles to sell on my website.  I have lots of fibre, it’s just getting at it right now is problematic.  But it sure would be nice to organize and sell some of it before we move.

I’ve been exploring some interesting facets of bullet journaling this week.  Ryder Carroll, the originator of the system, released his first book on the subject last Monday.  It’s called “The Bullet Journal Method” and it is very good as an introduction to the system.  I haven’t finished the book yet, but there is promise of it having material for seasoned bullet journalists too.

Meanwhile I am in the Minimalist Bullet Journal group on Facebook.  There another member has posted a video explaining what he refers to as his “Frankinlog”.  It really condenses a lot of information into a few pages…well…actually a double page spread with a couple of Dutch doors.  Dutch doors are pages where part of the page (top or bottom) has been cut off, giving you a shorter page in-between two full size pages to write more notes.  The advantage is you can see the top (or bottom) of a page (say a calendar) and still have oodles of pages below it to write task lists.  I’m going to try it starting January.  I’ll post a photo then to show you how it works.

I hope everyone enjoys a lovely fall (or spring) weekend.  Take care my friends.

Weekly Review – Update

Weekly Review – Update

This past week I’ve been busy listing items for sale online, and selling them.  I spent too much time this week sorting LEGO for sale. LOL  Also listing furniture and selling it.  We’ll gradually get this house cleared out!  I had no idea we had so much stuff packed into it!  I guess after 24 years you collect a lot of junk.

I’ve also been following my rug hooking friends on Facebook and Instagram.  There’s some really cool stuff going on in the world of rug hooking.  Check out:  Val Galvin, Della Ackles, and Janine Broscious.  Della and Janine are on the road!  I love following along on their adventures!  Val is busy offering hook-ins and workshops out of Chemainus, BC, where she lives.  Wish I was there Val! 🙂

I’m busy planning upcoming projects and resting my wrist after a minor medical procedure.  Next week I start at a gym three days a week.  Hopefully it won’t tire me out for the rest of the week.  I’m planning to start some new projects.

Have a great week everyone! 🙂

The Shirt Project – DONE?!

The Shirt Project – DONE?!

Wednesday evening I finished off the fourth and final quilt of The Shirt Project.  Those who recall the origins of the project know that my goal was to make about 30 items from Dad’s old L.L. Bean shirts for descendants of my father who wanted them.  To see the projects check out the slide show below this post.  Wednesday evening we packed like mad and we mailed most of the packages Thursday morning.

All told I made 29 items in 2 months.  That is record sewing for me!  I had a lot of fun doing it too.  One person hasn’t responded to texts related to his memento, so I haven’t been able to start it.  Another doesn’t want anything.  That’s fine.

Total cost of the project was just under $500CAD.  Most of that was for postage.  I had to mail fifteen parcels across Canada.  Other than that the costs were for the Moda fabric for the puppy quilt, thread, sewing machine needles, and some sewing machine pressure feet.

I made quite a dent in my supplies, but not as much as I thought I would.  I have less quilt batting and less muslin.  Also donated one sheet set to the cause for quilt backing.  It was an old set with holes near the edges from being caught in our hide-a-bed mechanism.  It was destined for the garbage anyways.

Next up is a major freezer cooking session.  I’m due at hospital for a procedure next week and am not sure how long I’ll be out of commission.  Will try to post next Friday again.  Have a great week everyone!

 

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The Shirt Project – Almost There!

The Shirt Project – Almost There!

I’ve been working off and on, between company, on Dad’s L.L. Bean shirt project.  I finished the third moose and flying geese quilt and am onto the fourth quilt – a puppy quilt.  The puppy fabric arrived in the mail Tuesday.  It is Woof-Woof-Meow from Moda.  I purchased through Dinkydoo Fabrics.

Third quilt finished.

Moda puppy fabric from DinkydooFabrics.com

Design for the puppy quilt.

I packaged up six of the thirteen batches of work to send to the recipients.  Had to confirm addresses before shipping.  Also notified them all their packages were in the mail.  So satisfying to see this project come to a close!  I have to finish the last quilt and a jackknife pouch, and that’s it!

 

Quilting Along

Quilting Along

The Shirt Project continues!  I’ve moved on to designing quilts from Dad’s old L.L. Bean shirts and quilting this week. I started out trying to keep it simple, so it would go quickly and look good – a simple 4.5″ square quilt with stitch-in-the-ditch quilting. When I moved my design board downstairs to the dining room the plain quilt looked, well, a little plain. So I added some flying geese squares. Not too many because I’m starting to run out of fabric to make things match. It still looked plain. I decided to add appliqued moose to the centre blocks of the quilts. Still not totally happy with the design, but it has elements that reflect my dad’s interests. I’m sure the recipients will be happy with whatever they receive.

Running low on fabric has its challenges. I was scouring YouTube looking for ways to make quilts from scraps. I discovered crumb quilting this week! A crumb quilt is a quilt made from pieces of fabric too small to make a piece for regular quilting – meaning usually less than 2 1/2″ in any direction. (This is my generic definition.) I watched all ten videos in one series by Darlene Michaud. I tried to make a 4.5″ x 4.5″ square. It took an hour to come up with a very poor looking one. I think I made my crumbs too small. Lesson learned. Having taken the time and thread to do that though, I think it will be easier on my time and thread to make a plain scrap quilt from leftover blocks 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ and larger. I’m going to try and design one that way first. If I don’t come up with enough blocks, then I’ll switch to doing a version of a crumb quilt…with larger pieces of fabric.

Other than that, not much exciting happening this week. I am debating the best and most affordable way to bind these toddler quilts, and the best and most affordable way to get all these mementos to their recipients. I think a trip to Alberta is in order as thirteen recipients live there. It’s cheaper in gas to drive there and back than it will be to mail to the thirteen different recipients. Plus we get to visit and stay with relatives.

The Shirt Project

The Shirt Project

I’ve now taken to referring to all this sewing and quilting of Dad’s old L.L. Bean shirts to “The Shirt Project”.  I finished the moose wall hangings Sunday evening.  So far I am a week ahead of my overall schedule for sewing items.  That is good because the quilts may take longer than I expect.  I want to hand stitch those bindings to finish them.

Here are the finished “flying geese” pot holders.  I found a basic flying geese quilt pattern online (just google “flying geese pot holders”) and adapted it to my materials.  Each one of these has two layers of Radiantex (R) in the centre, facing outward on both sides.  That makes both sides suitable to use with hot pots and pans.  These are really designed as hot pads for the table as they have no hanging loop.  However they will serve as both pot holders and hot pads.  They are 8″ square.

And here is the table runner in various stages.  It is roughly three feet long by twelve inches wide.

Next up are four 40″ square toddler quilts.  I have designs drawn in my bullet journal and have cut out the pieces for two and a half of the quilts.  I am waiting for coordinating fabric to arrive in the mail for one of the quilts.  I had a special order for “a puppy quilt”.  Dad didn’t have any puppy shirts, so I am augmenting his shirts with some puppy fabric.  I don’t think I have enough shirt fabric for the final quilt to be similar block style to the others.  I may end up making a form of strip quilt, or something like it.  Something that will use up scraps and still look good.  But first I have to do an assessment tomorrow and see if I have enough fabric left for one hundred 4.5″ squares.

Having a great week and hope to have a better weekend.  Take care everyone!

Weekly Review – Just Traveling On

We made the trip to Calgary area one day later than planned.  There was a snowstorm in Calgary Monday and we decided to avoid it.  Or so we thought.  We headed out on the road Tuesday and found the snowstorm between Moose Jaw and Swift Current.  But it was okay.  Only an hour long drive at 80 kph behind a semi-truck before we drove out of it.  Otherwise our trip over was smooth sailing.  Stopped at the Swift Current and Medicine Hat malls to do some shopping and to stretch our legs.  Arrived in Calgary area by suppertime.  Our hosts fed us a wonderful supper and we chatted the evening away, while knitting.

Hubby and I have been busy visiting IKEA in Calgary, checking out their furniture.  When we move we want to leave most of our furniture behind.  We’re checking out what we might replace it with and how much it will cost us.  In case you’re wondering, it works out to about $1500-2000 per room to furnish an entire room. We decided to keep our old Billy bookcases because they are 1.5″ deeper and more stable than the new ones.

We also visited Okotoks and stopped in at the Heartland Cafe for tea and dessert.  I had the best Carrot Cake with Pecans there.  And huge slices!  After snack I headed to Unwind Wool, while Hubby headed to the bike shop.  I found some of the 150th Birthday yarn from Fleece Artist there and purchased enough to make quite a few hats and neck warmers.  I have plans to gift these ones.

Since being here I have finished another homespun hat and started a homespun garter stitch scarf.  Hope to finish it by the time I go home.

I hope everyone has had a good week and will continue to have a great weekend!  Take care and God bless.

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Hi everyone!  Finished my slouch tam hat from the free pattern, Three Way Chunky Hat, on Ravelry.  Had to take off the ribbed edging and reknit it on needles two sizes smaller.  It worked!  Fits like a charm now.  Though one lady did comment the hat was too big for me.

Not much happening here…well…not rug hooking related, unless you count ‘liking’ various rugs on Facebook and Instagram!  I’m loving what I’m seeing from other rug hookers these days.  Lots of variety, and excellent quality work.

I’ve been focused on knitting.  I started the blue Corriedale/BFL (Blue-Faced Leicester) wool hat from handspun yarn.  It is a pattern from Ann Budd’s book “A Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns”, modified of course. I’ve knit the pattern once before for someone, slightly different yet again.  This will take a while to knit as it’s on 4 mm circular needles.  However, it will be a nice, warm, comfy hat.

Aside from that we’ve been busy with friends.  Last night I was out with a friend to a movie called “I Can Only Imagine”.  It was a stunning movie of forgiveness.  A great theme song too.

We’ve had friends in several times for meals and games.  I thoroughly enjoy those times too.

I took a friend out to an art gallery opening reception.  The art was gorgeous.  The people were a bit of a disappointment.  No one greeted us or talked to us the entire time.  Really weird.  Usually gallery staff are right there to answer questions.

We had a gentleman come look at the house, but I suspect no sale yet.  No problem.  We actually were going to hold off putting the house up for sale till next year, due to extenuating circumstances in the extended family.  The only way this man made it through the door to look is because he knew someone who knew Hubby, and well, one thing led to another.  Right now there is far too much work to be done on the house to make it desirable to a buyer.  It’s in a great location, but it definitely is a fixer-upper!  Solid house, just we haven’t been able to keep on top of things over the years, what with everything else going on in our lives.

I’m off to visit relatives the next couple of weeks.  I’ll try to post, but can’t make any promises.  My iPad Mini and iPhone don’t like the Word Press app for posting to blogs.  Frustrating.  We’ll see.  I’ll keep posting to my Facebook page – JLT Studios though.

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

Friday Finale – Weekly Review…

Friday Finale – Weekly Review…

Hi everyone!  It’s been a busy week. It started with Easter and all our company.  We had great food (see photo above) and a great time.  Reports back from company indicated they all had a great time too.  We finally called a halt to festivities at midnight and everyone either went home or to bed by 1 AM.

We’ve been dealing with taxes and our accountant this week.  It’s tax season here in Canada!

We’ve also been dealing with our health insurance provider.  Some funny doings happening there that need a little explanation!

We’ve had company twice this week for games nights.  The life of leisure we lead!

I continue to sell excess stuff online…downsizing for our eventual move.

I’ve been preparing a Traveller’s Notebook style bullet journal for the second half of this year.  It’s a bit early, but I have a feeling it could get busy, especially if we sell the house.

I finished knitting my wrist warmers to match the neck warmer and hat.  I loved spinning and knitting the silk/Merino blend.  It is so soft!

I started knitting a slouch tam hat out of some homespun Corriedale wool.  It, too, is soft, but it has more body than the silk/Merino.  We’ll have to see how it turns out.

I’m eyeing up my next homespun wool to knit up.  I’m not sure what I’ll knit with it.  It’s finer than the other two yarns I’ve knit.  I have a lot of hats now, but I do love the blue color.  I think it would make a lovely hat!

Well that’s it for this week!  I hope everyone is enjoying spring, wherever they may be.  We are currently in a deep freeze of -20 C weather.  Sunny, but cold.  Have a great weekend everyone!