Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Putting Summer Behind Me!

Summer, I'm putting you behind me.
You were an unusual one in so many ways and I'm feeling quite ready to be done and move on!
Maybe it's all the dead flowers in my garden that couldn't cope with the extremes of heat waves to flooding over and over. For whatever reason, they've given up and so have I.
So, switching gears, and already behind so many who have already been stitching and hooking pumpkins and all things autumn, I spent the morning sketching ideas for rugs I hope to start hooking later today.

My studio (the loosest meaning of the word possible 😉) takes up two corners in my bedroom. But the wonderful thing about this spot that I love, are the windows overlooking a field lined with trees. From this spot, all morning I have listened to the the rustling of leaves and watched a few fluttering ones let loose from their branches, as I lay down a few rug ideas! It's been the perfect morning to be done with summer. 

Oh! I want to give you a closer look at the sweet pencil clip on my pencil. It's an awesome little find from my local antique shop. A sweet little, fun to use, vintage pencil clip advertising Morton Salt.

Do you love the red striped pencil? Me too. It's a 1951 repro pencil.
It came from CW Pencils. I'm mentioning this not because I'm affliated with Caroline Weaver's shop but just because I was so excited when I found it and think you might enjoy it too. Her shop has everything a pencil lover could wish for! 

And with the school year starting any day now, it's the perfect time to visit a shop devoted to the humble yet still appreciated pencil!

Now, where is my hook? Time to get back to it.




Thursday, August 2, 2018

A Must Visit Shop And A Hooking Class

Saturday was an awesome day! Surrounded by scrumptious dyed wool, new friends that are also rug hookers 👊😀💓, in a charming shop, teaching a rug hooking class, I was on a hooking high!!!
That feeling you get when you know you love this loop-de-loop thing we do and can't wait to share it with others!

"Please open drawers". I'll get right to it! Many surprises and lovelies are waiting to be discovered!

If you've never taken a road trip to The Bee & The Bear in Hereford, PA in the beautiful Butter Valley, get out your map now! Sometimes you live in an area with only one wool shop to be found and you go because they have what you need OR, sometimes your local wool shop is the bestest ever! That's how I feel about The Bee & The Bear. Katie operates a shop situated in an old general store and it is a feast for the eyes! A gem. And so is Katie. She is quite creative and it shows. Overdyeds, wool off the bolt, kits, handmades, valdani threads and yarns in gorgeous colors, tools of the trade, vintage supplies and antique treasures, Katie has it all!

Upstairs in the classroom, coffee, iced drinks, a snack, and cute kit boxes with my pattern photos on the front were waiting for the students.

Isn't sitting around a table rug hooking with friends new and old just the best? I love the energy, the interaction, the desire to try a new skill, and the creativity. I'm hoping my students will stick with the craft and start working on stacking that stash! 😁...the stash, it's the other reason I love to hook; the need to collect gorgeous wool!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Remember the ladies

Remember the ladies was her plea. The well-known phrase written in a letter by Abigail Adams to her husband while he attended the Continental Congress in Philadelphia miles away from where she was keeping the farmstead in order, lets us know what was on her mind. Equality? Not sure she yet imagined that, but I'd like to think so. She was at least very well versed in the role of women in a society dominated by the thoughts of men and knew that the voices of women would be a welcome addition.

Even though women's thought were not always sought after in the company of men, they exercised their truth to power in needle and thread, hook and wool, and written word. Burning deep was a desire to lend their support for political nuances in ways deemed acceptable in polite society as they maneuvered the twists and turns of their lot.

Women's history is not only fascinating to me but at the very least, inspiring.

Textiles and handwork: the accepted past time for women offered a canvas for their thoughts. Women have always stepped in wherever they could to alter the plight of humankind. From freeing slaves to suffrage to electoral candidates and every modern platform before us, women have sought to make their voice heard. From Abigail Adams to present day women, we can look upon textiles and art to know the thoughts of the women behind them.

I'm off to an Independence Day picnic, loaded down with potluck dishes, chairs, Dutch Blitz and galvanized tubs to hold the drinks my son and his wife are providing for their guests.  I'm looking forward to a grand evening celebrating freedom hard fought for by men and women alike.  I wish I had time to scour the internet for photos of textiles where women have wielded their needle and thread, hook and wool, pins and yarn to fashion their sentiments of freedom and social advancement, but I don't at this time. If you search, you will find a powerful collection of textiles showing that women have always done their part to make a difference, working within the parameters to lend credence to their voice.

I hope you enjoy this day!

For those of you who have read my previous posts, you may recognize that fish head 😀 Yep, I finished him and mounted him on an antique panel and added a couple of hooks. He speaks my sentiment for today: liberty. Liberty for all, including the oppressed in our society, the forgotten ones. May we be their voice. May we all know peace.

           Happy Independence Day!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Reverse Hooking!


              A new design idea! Colors of wool dancing in my head! Black marker to primitive linen! Piles of wool cut down to strips! A good podcast on cue! Ready...Set....oops!

             Is this your experience? It's my day in and day out when I'm hooking. I thought I had it beat this time. A basic color palette, nothing fancy, a simple fish to hook 😉. What more was there to this??!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Natural Dye Pot

     I admire all the wonderful dyers in our industry. And I know I'm not alone! I've seen you at the hook-ins drooling over all the gorgeous perfectly dyed wool for sale!
               From time to time I dabble in the dye pot, and that's when I really really appreciate all the wonderful dyers out there! 😁
                                       I've been reading a wonderful book by Sasha Duerr called Natural Color. Oh my goodness! The pictures are so beautiful. They will make you want to dye with everything you can get your hands on. To prove my point, I've got a stockpile of avocado pits in my freezer along with orange rinds and this weekend I collected weeds! Now she doesn't mention my weed but the book is inspiring and why not, I'm on a roll!


               I consulted a few weed identification sites and have kind of determined my weed is broadleaf dock. Or maybe it's some sort of sorrel, but anyway I collected it and I love the color I got. Since this weed was listed as a mordant as well as a dye, I used it as both. One pot, no fuss! Love it. First I started soaking the leaves in a pot of hot water out in the sunshine (that one day we mysteriously got in a string of rainy days) but then I got impatient and put it on the stovetop.

               When it was done stewing, I left it to cool overnight.


                When I opened up the dryer to see what shade my wool had turned, I loved it!

                                               I think it would hook up some lovely dirty sheep

                                                       (so maybe the plant is sheep sorrel 😉)

                          You can see the effect of the dye in the picture below. Top and bottom are the original wools. I think it's a very pleasant prim neutral.

                           Lesson learned: Before someone whacks your weeds with a trimmer, harvest first!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Women who love others

                          There are so many hurting young people in our communities.

          Their lives are made better by women who notice,

                                                  set aside time to get involved, teach by example, and love.

                           You make our society better! And on this special day, I'm so grateful to you!

                           So, to all the women reading this who have spoken life and love

                                             into a child, teenager, and young adult's day to day,
            Thank you so very much for sharing, caring, and making a difference in another's life!

                           My life has been enriched by so many women: teachers, women in my community who took an interest in me, my grandmother, my aunts, and most specially, my adorable mom.

    YES, my mom was a sewist! How can you tell?

                       Maybe the matching shirts give it away. 😀 (My brother looks a bit happier with his matching shirt than me 🤣)

     My mom inspired me to work with my hands and create and the beat goes on! So many things I

learned from my mom from packing for a picnic to how to care for a friend in need.

          Evidently, as this next photo shows, she also taught us how to hold our noses when jumping into

                  the lake .... even when waiting to jump - the boys behind me crack me up! And isn't her two-piece so vintage classic. 💗

      My Mom. She taught me so much. She loves people, especially her own. She laughs often. And as you can tell from this last photo, I always wanted to be just like her!

                        Happy Mother's Day!
                                  I love you, Mom.


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Finished Doll Quilts!

Freshly sewn doll quilts hanging on the laundry line!

Whew! On this windy day that picture was harder to get than it looks!
I'm really happy with how these sweet doll quilts turned out.  As usual, the fabrics are reproduction fabrics. My faves are civil war era and the feed sack era.

Have you wanted to try stitching your own little quilt? Let me recommend using pre-cuts to start.

The colors and designs in each pack are coordinated and the fabric is already cut and ready to sew.

Pre-cuts can be found in quilt shops and online fabric stores. The most useful ones for little quilts are charm packs (5" precut squares) and mini charm packs (2.5" precut squares). The 5" squares can be broken down into strips like the pink and brown quilt in the photo or cut into smaller squares like in the blue and brown quilt. Or use a mini charm pack for the little squares. Squares are just the beginning in quilt design! And you don't have to make them out of reproduction fabric. Antique doll quilts weren't antiques when they were made. 😉 And there are awesome modern fabrics in the stores right now!

See that green grass? That happened over night. And on my walk down to the mailbox these bright and cheery blooms made me smile.
Even though more snow is supposed to be coming, at least the grass will be even greener after it melts!