Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Lots happened this week. We finally received our upright freezer – only four months after ordering it. I now have a small fridge freezer, a small chest freezer, and a medium size upright freezer. That has got to be enough for two people! I started filling and rearranging them this week.

I also finished sewing the hanging sleeves on the quilt. We went shopping for a curtain rod to hang it from. It’s more like a cafe rod. The quilt will be at the top of the bed by tonight.

I’m almost finished “Autumn”. I have just a bit of hooking to do around the letters on one side of the wall hanging. Then it’s onto finishing.

I struggled greatly and have the binding sewn onto one side of the Trip-Around-The-World quilt. I’ve pinned it down the whole way around the other side, ready for hand stitching. The quilt itself is not square, so it looks dreadful from the front. But then I remind myself I was only 17 when I started it, and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. It was a major learning experience.

I almost finished my nephew’s cushion cover when my sewing machine went wonky. The tension is totally whacked. I took the threading out and rethreaded the entire thing. Crossing my fingers it works. Today is the day to try it again. I hope it does work, because I have another face mask order to fill!

If you have been reading, thanks! Have a great weekend everyone!

“The Best Laid Plans…

“The Best Laid Plans…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekly Review – In The Studio Workshop Week

Weekly Review – In The Studio Workshop Week

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

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

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

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

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

 

Studio Makeover

Studio Makeover

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

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

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

My current projects are:

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

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

 

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

An interesting weekend

An interesting weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

They Came!

They Came!

Two new sofa beds are in the house!  That completes the seating for the studio and the guest bedroom cum family room cum classroom.  I do not have room in the studio for my comfy chair and the sofa bed.  So we will be rearranging furniture in the near future.

Karen Miller’s class on Tuesday was a blast!  I had to design a piece on the fly…like a minute or two…and start hooking.  I’m a slow hooker, especially with materials new to me.  The object was to experiment with new materials.  I tried dental floss, pink elastics (off broccoli folks!), fabric strips, parchment paper (yes, the kind you bake on), acrylic eyelash yarn, wool yarn, wool fabric, silk fabric, cotton fabric, sewing with buttonhole thread, some twill weave tweed that shreds like crazy, and more.  It was a fascinating exercise!  Karen is an excellent teacher.  Here’s the results.

The South Korea rug is slowly progressing.  I’m sticking to wool, silk, and nylon for that one…so far.

I spent more time sketching the South Korea photos.  Lots of options for wall hangings.  Lots of elements I might piece together to form one wall hanging.

Branding progress…I think I have what I need now.  I’ll be visiting a local printer eventually for new business cards, hang tags, greeting cards, etc.  I’m hoping to find a local affordable printer who can do an excellent job. I currently use an outfit in the US, but I’d rather use local, if I can keep the quality.

Meryl Cook’s book “One Loop At A Time – The Creativity Workbook” arrived this week.  I’m looking forward to her class during the In My Studio Workshop Week the end of October.  I may sidetrack into some of that workbook before the October class.  I don’t believe it’s required for the class, but it is a good little thought provoking book I hope will get my creative juices flowing along different lines.

I am thoroughly enjoying online learning. I hope once Covid-19 is behind us it will continue. It is just so much easier for me, not just financially (no hotels or air fares), but logistically too.  Three cheers for the rug hooking artists out there putting in the tremendous time and effort it takes to create these online courses.  Know that I, at least, appreciate all you’re doing!

And that’s my review for this week.  I hope everyone has a great weekend  if you’ve been reading, thank-you .

 

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!

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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!

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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.