FOR SALE FEATURE: Hearts

FOR SALE FEATURE: Hearts

Hearts was a pre-pandemic project that was waylaid by the arrival of Covid-19 in Canada in March 2020. It gave me something to do with my hands while wrestling with the changes in our world and in my life.

Hooked with wool, silk and nylon on primitive linen backing. Some hand spun yarn and some hand dyed fibre is included in these pieces.

On sale for $150 for all of them.  Or, if I split them up, $120 for the wall hanging and $20 each for the coasters. Shipping included for Canadian addresses.

Those interested in purchasing can contact me through email at jeanottosenstudios@gmail.com  or through my Facebook page – Jean Ottosen Studios – or through Instagram (Jean Ottosen Studios).  Or you can contact me through the contact form under the contact tab on this website.

So…What Can I Do With It?

So…What Can I Do With It?

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a good weekend.  We had a strong nor’easter blow through our part of the world, bringing rain, snow, sleet, ice pellets and thunder!  I tell you, the weather here is weird!

I took the opportunity to stay indoors and hook on my Parker’s Cove fishing shacks series. Here’s the progress on the second piece so far.  I’m loving hooking these bright colours on these cold wintry days!

In a different vein…a few times lately the subject has come up about hooking for something other than the floor or the wall.  It’s a good thought.  Many people have reached the point where their walls are covered with art. There’s no room for a hooked rug there, nor on the floor!

There are many projects that can be made with the traditional rug hooking technique.  I have hooked cushion covers before, as well as table runners.  For a beginning list, check out these items that people have hooked in the past. 

  • cushion covers,
  • doorstoppers (over a brick),
  • sculpture,
  • clothing (vests, cloaks, skirt motif, coat),
  • accessories (hats, belts, brooches, necklaces),
  • chair pads,
  • hot pads,
  • tea cozies,
  • table runners,
  • fireboard (for hiding the fireplace when not in use),
  • footstool covers,
  • window valance,
  • curtain tiebacks,
  • tree skirt for Christmas Tree,
  • purse,
  • upholstery for a chair,
  • coasters,
  • slippers,
  • wallet,
  • toys,
  • Christmas Tree ornaments,
  • tote bags,
  • bench cover, and
  • stair riser decor.

Have I forgotten anything?  Add to the list in the comments below.  What have you made using the traditional rug hooking technique?  What have you seen made using that technique?

If you have been reading, thanks!  I hope you all have a good week!  Talk to you later.

 

Hit & Miss

Hit & Miss

“Huh?”, you ask?  To rug hookers “hit and miss” is a particular type of rug hooking pattern.  It’s great for rug hookers who want to use up scraps.  The procedure is to reach into a bin or bag of mixed colour and texture scrap strips of fibre (also known as worms or noodles) and pull out whatever your hand touches first and hook it. Then repeat, without regard to colour or texture. No planning. That is a hit and miss rug in its purist form.  At least that’s it in theory. I’ve never done that.

Usually most rug hookers put some degree of decision making into a hit and miss project. The closest I’ve ever come is the centre of this welcome mat I made for a family member. It looks like pure hit and miss, but originally I made a conscious decision to intersperse light with dark and, because I didn’t have enough yellow, there was judicious placement of it on the diagonal. This rug is closing in on 35 years old and parts of it have faded.  It’s hard to tell I had such a design problem.

The next hit and miss piece I hooked was a wedding gift for my nephew and his new wife.  He married in Alberta, Canada, so I hooked a rug with pink wild Alberta roses floating above alternating blue and green squares in a controlled hit and miss background. I hooked the blue squares in one direction and the green at right angles.  This style of hit and miss is called basket weave.  The results were striking. To add to the charm of this rug was the Canada tartan kilt border with Hudson’s Bay Company blanket lettering.

The last hit and miss piece I hooked was a hot pad in greens, burgundies and yellows that is featured in the opening photo of this blog post.  It is my Christmas themed hot pad. It has varying widths of fibre. To add interest to the piece I divided the backing into four parts and hooked each part at right angles to the other.

There are many variations of hit and miss rugs.  Charlie Dalton, a contemporary rug hooking artist (google The Hooking Colonel), and instructor at the upcoming In The Studio Workshop Week 4, uses them as backgrounds to his pet portraits.  Google “hit and miss hooked rug” and check out some eye candy!

For further study on such rugs I direct you to William C. Ketchum’s book “Hooked Rugs”, in the chapter on geometrics, and Bea Brock’s “Scrappy Hooked Rugs”, in the gallery section on hit and miss rugs.

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

Parker’s Cove

Parker’s Cove

Good morning everyone!  By now, if you’ve been reading my blog, you know a bit about Parker’s Cove in Nova Scotia and how it has inspired me.  To give you an idea of the true colours of the fishing shacks of Parker’s Cove check out the gallery below…

I usually start all my pieces with photographs…lots of photographs. Then narrow things down from there.  I try to get just the perfect angle in the photos, but in this case the wharf and the ocean were in the way, so in some cases I had to fudge things.

I spent some time sketching the architecture of the fishing shacks, only to realize it is really the colours and shapes I’m after, not so much the lines.  So I experimented this past weekend with semi-abstract colour blocking.  I say semi-abstract because they really look like my line drawings, if you were to strip away all the lines and add shapes and colour.

I’m having a lot of fun playing with this series so far.  I have no idea where it’s going to lead me and what the end product will be, but I’m enjoying the ride so far!

If you have been, thanks for reading.  Have a great week everyone!

Moving On…

Moving On…

Good morning everyone!  This week my copy of Rug Hooking Magazine arrived.  I was very pleased with the look of the article I submitted for publication.  I would like to publicly thank…again…the editor, copy editor and photographers of my work.  You all were amazing!

I started on my next series and am already half finished the first mat, but it’s smallish…about 8” x 10”.  This series pays homage to the hard work and creativity of Nova Scotia’s fishermen and women.  It is a series centred around the humble fishing shack.

The inspiration for this series came from our drives around the Nova Scotia coastline, visiting small villages and their wharves as we went. I initially thought I would do a series on wharves, and I might yet. The wharves all seem different to me, with their own character, depending on the season and time of day.

But when we drove past Parker’s Cove it was “Whoa Nelly!”   Our driver stopped on our way back from Delaps Cove, where we had checked out the wharf.

In Parker’s Cove the brightly coloured fishing shacks smiled in the sun, beckoning us for a closer look.  Smiled?  More like danced for joy!  They are a brightly coloured group of buildings encircling the wharf area.  I was truly grateful for a modern cell phone camera to use instead of those old film ones. My companions were having a good chuckle at my expense over the number of photos I was taking. But, even with all the photos, I still didn’t have the angle I wanted for this first design.  I fudged it a bit.

Earlier this week I transferred two designs to backing I wanted to reuse, and started hooking.  Here it is so far.

To be honest, there are some things I don’t like still, and this is definitely not all going to stay “as is”.  But it’s a good start.

In other news…

For those who don’t know, Workshop Week 4 is coming up the end of this month and into February. I have participated in the last three, and, having finished the poetry series, wasn’t sure if I’d have pieces to work on for Workshop Week 4.  It seemed to have classes that required a fair number of works in progress, which I just don’t have. However, I looked more closely.  Always read the fine print carefully!  I ended up signing up for four classes.  Not all of them required WIPs. If you’re interested I would suggest contacting Laura Salamy at High on Hooking on Instagram.

While cruising the Net I found In The Studio is offering another seminar/artist talk mid-January – this time by Sarah Leighton.  I am very interested. I found this information on Instagram as well.

Well, if you have been, thanks for reading!  I’m off to prepare for classes and a Zoom hook-in today. Have a great weekend everyone.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2022!  While I had a good year last year, I’m pleased to be moving on this year.  I finished many projects in 2021, including a series of hooked rugs, and a very old quilt. I also finished knitting not one toque, but two, for Christmas gifts. And I started knitting a pair of socks.

I was delighted to be able to help a young lady learn rug hooking this holiday season.  She was gifted a kit and I created a video specially for her.  I hope she continues to rug hook and enjoys it.

While I did not post to my blog over the holidays, followers on my social media accounts (Facebook in particular) will notice I have been posting new work from the last few years in my shop on this website.  I have had such trouble with my checkout that I’ve neglected posting new work. I’ve currently disabled the cart and checkout process by placing my shop on vacation.

However, if you want to purchase anything, feel free to email me at jeanottosenstudios@gmail.com.  I am still here and will ship to you.

This year’s plans are to move forward with a new series of hooked mats I hope to put on backing this week.  Hubby and I have driven around Nova Scotia, our new home province, a lot, and have discovered some wonderful places full of beauty and character.  I hope to create visual memories of these places for my home and others.

And now for the big news!  I have finished the series of wall hangings based on my children’s poetry!  The inspiration poetry was written or spoken from ages five to seventeen.  I hooked ten wall hangings inspired by the poems.  Most of the wall hangings have the poem that inspired it on the back on a label.  Eight of these pieces are for sale.  Contact me for more information.

And in even bigger news…!  I have had an article published in the January 2022 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine!  It is about the poetry series.  I was very pleased to be able to work with the editor and a photographer on this article.   A big thank-you to all involved!

If you have been, thanks for reading.  Have a great week everyone!

 

Season’s Greetings!

Season’s Greetings!

Good morning everyone!   I hope everyone is trying to take some time to themselves to just enjoy this time of year.  It’s hard when you have children in your life to take some time for yourself any time of year, let alone during the holiday season.  But the dividends of doing so far outweigh the costs.  The same goes for the childless people picking up extra shifts this time of year so those with children can spend time with theirs.  I hope you find some time to just enjoy the season.

Friday I hosted a cookie exchange.  We had a great time chatting, eating and playing games.  The cookies were great too!

We went to a friend’s for a Christmas dinner Saturday, where I re-learned how to darn my good hand knit wool socks.  I’ve been busy mending socks ever since.   I have a lot with holes I’m afraid!  We had a wonderful Christmas dinner, opened some gifts early, and played games.

Sunday I went for a walk with a friend in the snow, as it came lazily drifting down from the sky.  We visited family to drop off gifts.  We are slowly preparing for Christmas.

My future creative plans?  I’m busy preparing to knit a beanie hat (or a toque as we call it in Canada) for my last Christmas gift.  After that I want to knit myself another pair of wool socks.  Plus, now I’ve finished the Trip-Around-The-World quilt, it’s time to finish the South Korean appliqué quilt.  I have nine blocks stitched.  I need at least 27 more.

For those of you having a lonely Christmas – whether due to Covid or other factors – I encourage you to reach out to others online or by writing letters or email, or Zoom/Skype/FaceTime…whatever works for you.  Give a bit of yourself to others, or take some time to heal.  That is what I’ll be doing the next two weeks.  I’m taking some time off to spend time with family and friends, and to enjoy Christmas.  I’ll spend time knitting and quilting for a change.

This will be my last blog post until after New Year’s.

If you have been, thanks for reading, and…

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! 

 

I Did A Thing!

I Did A Thing!

I finished it!

Good morning everyone!   The Trip-Around-The-World quilt is finished!  This quilt was 45 years in the making.  It is the longest project I’ve ever had on my plate.

This is a memory scrap quilt, and that spurred me on to complete it. The fabrics in the top are leftover scraps from my Grandmother’s sewing, my mother’s sewing, my sisters’ and my Home Ec. projects, and old cotton sheets. Most of the fabric holds a memory of a person, place or time.

This was the first quilt I ever started.  It is made of 2 1/2” squares set on point.  I had grand visions of hand piecing and hand quilting the entire thing.  In the end I gave up on hand piecing partway through, but I did finish the hand quilting, which is what has taken me so long.

It originally had wide borders on it to make it big enough for our queen size bed.  But I did not like the fabric, so cut the borders off and used the fabric for binding.

I had problems sewing on the binding as well.   I took too wide a seam allowance, therefore making it very difficult to turn the binding and stitch it firmly over the edge of the quilt.

If anything could go wrong with this project it did.  I learned on it.  I made a lot of mistakes on it.  Not the least of which is the all cotton top with a polyester cotton backing!  It will look interesting if it’s ever washed!

The main thing is it’s done.  It won’t win any awards, but it will keep us warm in our TV room.  And it will make me smile every time I look at it.

If you have been, thanks for reading.  I hope you have a great weekend!

Holiday Preparations

Holiday Preparations

Good evening everyone!  I’m a bit late with this post because I really haven’t done anything crafty this past weekend.  At this point I’m organizing Christmas.  I did finish baking the Raspberry Ribbon Cookies.  They are very good, according to Hubby, my taste tester. I concur. I put them in the freezer quickly, so there would be some left for Christmas.

I’ve been writing cards and organizing gifts. I have a large extended family and, while we normally don’t exchange much with each other, I singled out a couple of families for all the help they’ve been to us since we moved.  I’ve also singled out a few close friends for cards and gifts.

I love giving gifts, but I realize not everyone likes to receive. They feel an obligation to exchange gifts. Or they just aren’t “into” gifts. Or there’s financial reasons.  Or time constraints. Or…

That’s okay.  There are many types of gifts other than physical objects. I gift my time, or fulfill a need or want that comes up throughout the year. I will gift my experience and expertise to people who really need it and ask for it.  There are, of course, limits on that. I don’t like to be used any more  than the next person!  By taking a broad view of gift giving I am able to help more people and spread happiness throughout the year, not just at Christmas time.

I hope, wherever you are, that you find time to slow down during this holiday season (no matter what holiday you celebrate) and soak up some peace, and wonder at the marvellous world around you.

If you have been, thanks for reading.  Have a great week!

 

 

 

Weekly Review: The New and The Old

Weekly Review: The New and The Old

Or maybe that title should read “the old and the older”!  Good afternoon everyone!  It’s been a busy week.  This has been my Christmas baking week.  I have one more batch of cookies to go – Danish butter cookies called Raspberry Ribbons. Everything else is in the freezer, awaiting a cookie exchange later this week.

About the post title…I’ve been enjoying old things this week.  I posted Monday about working on my Trip-Around-The-World quilt that I started when I was seventeen.  Not to get into details, but that was quite a few  decades ago!  I started out hand piecing it and hand quilting it.  I ended up finishing the piecing by machine and I’m just finishing up the hand quilting now.

I learned a lot with that quilt.

I originally wanted it to be queen size, but I didn’t like the border fabric once it was attached, so I cut it off. Now I  have a 60” square quilt.  It’s really a lap quilt.  That’s okay. It’s almost finished!

I also discovered I don’t like hand piecing or hand quilting.  As the years have gone by I’ve had increasing difficulty seeing to thread needles, which doesn’t help.

This was my first quilt and I picked small 2.5 inch squares to make a big quilt. My patience was not up to the task!  I had long stretches of time, when life got in the way, where I did not work on it at all.  But it’s been sitting in a bag in my living room for two years now.  It’s time to get it out of there!  I won’t move it until it is finished.

What’s left to do?  I have about 2 inches of hand quilting from the end of my last hand quilting to the binding (yes, I’m aware it’s being done out of order) all the way around the entire quilt. Maybe 120 rows of 2 inches of quilting to finish.  I’m hoping to be done by Christmas.

That’s the “New” of “The Old and The New”!   What’s “The Old” you might ask?  Well, I bit the bullet and purchased two older rugs this week.  They were posted on Facebook and I fell in love with one in particular, the moment I saw the photo. I have no idea how old it is, but I was told it once belonged to Carol Harvey Clark and is loosely referred to as “The Wedding Rug”, though the seller didn’t know for sure if it is one.

It has a very unusual asymmetrical geometric design.  The colour combination of greys (faded blues), greens, yellows and pinks is striking. If I look at the base of the loops and the back of the rug, I can see it was once much brighter and more intense. I thought at first it was on burlap, but the whipping is starting to wear on the edge, revealing a white backing that is very supple. I’m guessing it’s linen.  I’m thinking about replacing the whipping where it’s worn, and placing the rug on the floor of an infrequently walked in part of the house.

That led me to Judy Taylor’s Facebook group on repairing hooked rugs, and ultimately to her website, where I ordered her book on repairing hooked rugs – “Save That Rug!”.

The other rug I bought is “about 70 years old” according to the seller.  A fine cut, fine shaded floral with a green background.  It’s gorgeous!  I almost didn’t buy this one. It has edge issues and is on burlap.  But I think it can be repaired.

Yesterday, after the foot or so of wet snow we had, I took both rugs out to clean.  I was being extra careful with them.  It did brighten them up some. Next up is to repair them before shopping for a proper underlay for them and putting them permanently in place. That may not happen until the new year.

This has been a long blog post!  If you have been, thanks for reading.  Have a great weekend everyone!

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