Saturday, February 28, 2009

HD day 7

Not too much to report today. I got a little hooking done last night and the night before on the lower corners. I'm putting multicolored swirls using some leftover handspun spun yarn I made a couple of years ago as art yarn. The colors are similar to the main ones in the design so I think it's working. I'm continuing with the solid navy sort of background. I will finish this up with 2 row of the pink/lavender/gray fabric that I used in the last row of the inner borders. Going to start in on the rug after I finish this and see if I can get both top sections done and finish the bottom right part.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

HD day 6

No pictures today. I did do the inner border in just 1 row in about 5 different pinks and am continuing the dark blue, black watch background and will be adding in swirls in blues and purples.

I'm still worn out from yesterday's grand moving of my crafting stuff from the trailer over to Kendra's house. It filled the back of a 10 ft Uhaul to the half way height point. The only furniture was a folding table the rest was books, and books, and more books--I really could open a mini crafting library on multiple subjects with no problem. Then there were the 6-8 sheep fleece tubs, the 3 x 3 by 4 box full of cotton roving 20 lbs of it, spindles and niddy noddies I've made for sale, felting tools, my large handmade tapestry loom, art easel, boxes, tubs, and bags full of cotton fabrics and others, yarn of various types, embroidery and fancy flosses, needlepoint miscellaneous, cross stitch miscellaneous, beading stuff, 10 boxes of porcelain doll parts and accessories to make them up, non porcelain dolls made by me or my mom, paintings, artwork and supplies. I keep telling my kids they are going to make a mint selling off my junk after I die but we are not getting rid of anything until to I do croak.

Right now almost everything is piled in my bedroom over at the house and I have to go over to sort it out--joy. A large chunk is going into the attic, mostly the stuff I'm not immediately going to work with like the doll stuff or too fragile for up there since it's not well insulated and mice and squirrels do sneak in from outside. Hopefully my compulsive organizer SIL will resist the urge to get into my junk. He was itching too so badly yesterday. He's already organized the books I have brought over by subject matter on the shelves.

I have been careful not leave any of my craft stuff over there too long if it's bags as he can't stand plastic bags and has to put it in a container. Last time he took a bunch of my knitting projects I had organized in bags with their respective yarns, directions, etc., took them out of their bags and put them neatly altogether in one big container. Needless to say I was not happy and he couldn't understand why I wasn't. My kids were amazed that he is still breathing as they got taught from an early age not to mess with momma's stuff or help "improve" it in anyway without asking. He reorganized the shed--the paint cans were lined up in an artistic arrangement from big to small, the tools were also carefully arranged in a row. His art tools are very carefully arranged and his desk spotless, needless to say I don't see much art being done, and he is very talented. The house inside is very uncluttered, but outside it's a mess. I can't do all the yard work I did last year at the time so I'm going to be lighting fires under him to get both the front and back straightened out.

Sebastin, the elderly dog at my daughter's house is nearing the end. i feel so sorry for the old guy. He doesn't seem to be in pain and recognized me and enjoyed being petted. But he's not eating now, very weak and refuses to come in. I think he wants to die outside rather than in and it been in 40's to 70's here. I keep going back and forth between having him put to sleep and letting nature run it's course. Going to talk to Heather again and see what she wants to do as he's her dog. Spike, my dog is trying to be helpful and supportive to Sebastin but his dying is freaking my dog out. Samson, that we lost 2 years ago went to the vets and never came back but he was in a lot of terrible pain from a type of dog cancer and degenerating disease. He was 10. Sebastin is at least 18 as he was mature when they got him in the mid 90's.

More hooking tonight I hope.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hopes and Dreams 5

A little more done last night on the inner background. Got the right side done and have started on the left adding some swirls, and meandering lines in purples and blues. Gene Shepherd has a write up on the basket on his blog today. Thank you Gene!!!

I'm debating whether to change the first heart like he suggested to a more solid color rather than shades and swirled like it is now. It is close to blending into the basket color. Maybe hook darker under the first and third hearts so they stand out more? I do agree that the two hearts really aren't as contrasty as they should be.

My friend in Iowa, Barb Barnett, who got me into the rug hooking when I was hunting for sheep fleece to spin weaving yarns because I thought I wanted to be a tapestry weaver, but found I was a hooker, and felter instead, sent me pictures of one of my sheep designs she's hooking with her own hand spun, and hand dyed yarns from her sheep fleece. Barb is also a beginning hooker,, and I think she's doing great. Barb has a number of my early canvases for hooking and is a fantastic rag rug weaver, and felter. She taught me long distance with lots of emails. She also has a flock of about 20-30 sheep of different breeds--Finns, Shetland, Karakuls, Lincoln, and mixed breeds which are wonderful to spin and felt with. She will be shearing soon so check with her for great deals on fleece.

Meanwhile back to packing and sorting my junk for the big moving session tomorrow.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hopes and Dreams 4

Got the lettering done. Not real wild about it but I'll let it stay. It is readable even by my husband. I shortened 'hopes' to just 'hope' because I couldn't get the other 2 letters to come out. Note to self--practice more lettering at least with strips rather than yarn or fleece. Redid stars 6 and 7 and reversed the colors. Filled in around the banner parts with the dark plaid. IF i do this sort of banner again used a light mottled cream or white or shades of white to make it less boring and solid colored. I added a blue and purple spiral up above stars 6 through 8 and will do a matching spiral on the other side and maybe something on each side of the bottom part around the basket. You can see the spiral better in person than in the wide shots of the basket. I've include a closeup of it.

I keep wondering if I should have done this in fleece instead or yarn. The shading would have been better and more realistic. I feel like this rather a plain looking piece at least for me. I have very mixed feelings about it. I really have to work more on doing shading with strips and getting a wider range of dyed fabrics to work with. What I think is going to work doesn't seem to be at least the way I want it to. It is going rather quickly because of the size of the #6 strips but I think this would have been better done traditional and with smaller strips. I don't think any larger would have worked at all unless I did it all primitive style and left off or moved the lettering elsewhere like above and around the basket or maybe in the outer border. Maybe I should have done the hearts all in shades of reds instead of the pinks and blues I used? I can see a couple of primitive color pallets for this piece. I can also see it in patriotic colors of red, white and blue and turning the banner into a flag.

Anyone got any opinions on how this looks? I'm very unsure about this piece.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hopes and Dreams Basket 3

More hooking done on the basket last night. I got all the basket part done. I think it's more flat primitive style than dimensional realistic. I used dyed herringbones and plaids for the basket part. Almost did it in a solid gold, but decided not to, though I did hook a solid line around the rim and base as I was afraid it would have faded into the background too much, but didn't outline in gold on the top. Should I have outlined the handle on top too? Opinions anyone?

Finished the stars too, but will have to reverse stars 7 and 8 above the word 'wishes' as 7 needs to be gold and 8 needs to be yellow. From left to right it should be Jessica, A.J., Chloe, Kelsey, Brody, Kira, Nicholas, Aurora then Autumn. With luck I'll get the lettering and banner part done and maybe some of the background hooked tonight.

Outer background is still in flux in my head. Thinking of doing a simple one or two row border--gold maybe or shaded golds, then continuing with the inner background color, but throwing in some swirls or spirals in the colors of the hearts, and maybe some more random stars. Then maybe a simple 2 row gold outer border to finish it off. Gee, this sounds like a cooking recipe. Do this, do that, throw a little something there and mix well and cook until done.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hopes and Dreams 2

I changed a few of the hearts from yesterday to more solid colors rather than the attempt at shading I was trying to do. Shading like I was trying to do would probably work with a smaller cut size than the #6's I am using on this. On the lettering I did use a smaller cut. I cut the strips into 2 strips for the lettering and the cream was all ready in a smaller cut size maybe a 4? I love the dark background so far. It's actually a dark blue and green Black Watch plaid. I think Gene is using something similar on one of his baskets, and I thought I'd give it a try. It may not be the same plaid as what he is using but it's working well on mine. I decided not to use the sky blues I was originally going to use as the inner background, and cream wasn't going to work and neither was gold or tan because I have gold in the stars, and will have tannish golds in the basket part. I'm really going to have to do some thinking on what the outer background is going to be.

The lettering is not easy to do. I almost gave up on doing it until I figured out how to make it work. Even tried yarn at one point and that didn't work out. The trick was finding a fabric that would stay together for hooking once I cut a #6 strip in half. I found some of my dark herringbone worked. I did each letter individually as I went upwards surrounding it with the cream before I did the next letter instead of doing the letters and then filling them in. Seemed to work better for me. I'm using a fine hook on this part rather than the medium one I'm using for everything else. The burlap seems to be doing okay hooking wise for this project. I don't know if the monk's or something else would have been better.

Time to go work on the ever ending laundry. Hope this is looking okay? I'll get more done on this today and this evening.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hopes and Dreams Basket and Voogee Doll

I started in on the Hopes and Dream basket and got the hearts done and part of a star. Though really looking at it the light and in the pictures I may redo some of the hearts. I wish my camera took better, closer to the real colors I am using than it does so you could see the actual colors. On the canvas they look great but in photos they suck and appear way darker despite my attempts to lighten them up. I am going to take out some of the darker blues in heart 2 and heart 6 and make them less multicolored and more solid. If you are wondering about the heart color order I was doing birth order of my kids-girl, boy, girl, girl, girl, boy and boy. If I do this pattern for some one else I would do their number of kids in hearts and then number of stars for grandkids.

The stars are going to be yellows for the girls and golds for the boys in birth order. The lettering is going to be in yarn to see if that works with strips around it. This will be my first lettering job. The basket is getting some golden browns this time in both solids, herringbones and plaids. I'm still debating on the banner part. Inner background I'm debating on using a Black watch plaid or use it with some other colors for the outer background.

Voogee didn't get worked on last night just the basket but here's the progress from the night before. I'm going for bright and colorful and colors that will appeal to a small child as well as their parental units in this family. I'm experimenting with shading and trying to help the dimensional look of the doll. I am thinking of doing this in black, white and gray tones to see how it would look. It would also work in normal flesh tones, hair, etc.

Gene Shepherd has my dragon rug up on his blog with my comments on it. There's also a lengthy explanation of how I dye with Wilton Cake dyes and food dyes. He was curious about them since I mentioned I do all my dyeing for wool fabrics and sheep fleece in them instead of using the other types of dyes out there.

I'm not sure how much hooking I'll be getting in this weekend. I'm finally moving my junk over to my daughter's house from the trailer. Most is going in the attic, at least the stuff I am not currently working with. He's got to get his stuff out of storage and needs to put it somewhere so if I move from the trailer his junk will fit in the space. Right now my working stiff is in 3 places here at the computer shop, the trailer and my daughter's house. Real fun trying to remember where such and such component to a project is. This also commits me to living with my daughter, son-in-law and 7 month granddaughter. I've been wavering for months since the older daughter told me I had to move in or lose the house since my husband and I are paying for it, but the kids are living there since they have no where else to go and no real jobs just freelance art ones. Staying over at the computer shop has been my compromise as I didn't want to live and work around them that much. When I do bring junk to work on over there I camp out in the backyard or the front porch so I can see what I'm doing and peace and quiet. I'm not terribly sociable when I'm working on my projects. And I'm not too happy with them over their lack of ambition job wise.

I worked at home with little kids, multiple little kids most of my life from the time I was 17 with my oldest, and can't figure out why these two very talented artists can't do the same with one small baby. I painted, crafted, went to school, worked outside jobs, and was involved in all my kid's school stuff, I even did sci-fi conventions as an artist and dealer across the country on my own. Even when I lived with my older daughter when her oldest was baby I was still doing art and crafts and was able to watch her at the same time. If I didn't do artwork, we didn't eat, or have a place to live while my kids were growing up. Maybe, I can train these two once I get moved in, but something has to break, so they are contributing money wise, and them do something besides baby watching all day, or am I off the mark here? Sorry to rant. I just get very frustrated with them and the situation, and don't want to kick my daughter and granddaughter out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Dragon Is Done!!!

I got my edges all whipped and everything sewn down finally today. It even lays flat which is an improvement over my 2 previous rugs. I'm sending a picture over to Gene's blog so he can see the finished piece for the hook in. I feel excited to get another rug done. Actual finished size is 21 x 28 3/4. I used Lamp's Pride bulky in a heathered brown gray for the edging which matches the grays on the outer border. Since this will end up as a wall rug rather than a floor one I didn't get too ambitous with fancy finishing as it will end up on one of the kid's walls. All of my kids have stated they will not put one of my rugs on the floor because it's art. But I made a rug kids!! Rugs go on the floor--grrr. They're just dense sometimes.

Maybe if I do a rug that is in really dark, ugly colors they'll use it as a rug. I keep getting a idea to do one I call the Creepy Basement where it looks like you are about to step down a flight of steps into this dark, and dank looking basement complete with cobwebs, spiders and a faint pair of glowing eyes at the bottom and a flash of teeth. Or do a High Anxiety one with the swirling spirals or rectangles. Kind of like the Op-Art blanket I did for the youngest granddaughter in purples and whited for xmas. I can also see a rug that it looks like the top of grill over a dungeon cell with hands and fingers reaching out. Not necessarily human fingers. My gamer kids would appreciate something like that. All my kids game in various forms I have 4 that play World of Warcraft everyday living at home and bring their friends over to play too. I don't game. I have enough to keep me busy and can take out my frustration with life in my crafts. Lot safer and I have something to show for my time spent.

Dye jobs from yesterday. My camera does not do justice to the colors and patterns in these. Next dyes batches will be greens and reds and more darker blues.

Voogee Progress. Not very far along but will work on it tonight. Some of the new hot pinks are going in it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rug almost finished

Only have three more sides to whip and finish and I will be done with the dragon. I may try doing this again on either the burlap or the rug linen. I don't have any of my 16 count linen pieces that are big enough to do same size. The widest is only 18 x 52. Though I might try doing this just a tad smaller so it could be a table mat instead. I'll think on it.

Yesterday I went out and ended up hitting my 2 cheap thrift stores and came back with 18 assorted garments that I'll have to take apart. Got some nice purple, maroon, teal, pinks, grays, browns and a nice black watch. No creams this time or camels. But did find a nice pale gray set of slacks.

Today I am dyeing up a batch of fabrics- mainly pinks, hot pink, flesh tones, lavender, sky blue and deepening some of the teal I got yesterday. I think I did some yellows, golds, and rusts. The golden rusts in herringbone and plaids are going in for the H&D basket. I managed to get a few pieces dyed in graduated tones. I'm still experimenting with doing them. I'll be glad when I can afford to buy a yard of so of white to really play with. The dyeing I did today was over some of the cream colored pieces. No as light as I wanted but close enough for now. This was in between cooking a big batch of corned beef and cabbage with added veggies. Had pots going on both sides of the room.

I'll postpictures tommorrow of my dye jobs and the dragon.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I'm bad--I got distracted by my new cutter--works wonderfully by the way, and my new designs. So instead of finishing dragon I cut strips for the Hopes and Dreams mat and then kept staring at the snake headed doll. I think her name is going to be Voogee. She's sort of voodoo doll looking. I was going to do her in yarn and/or fleece but I cut up these wonderful shades of greens and kept seeing them for the face so I am doing this in #6 cut. It's a little tight on the 16 count Betsy Ross linen but not too bad. I'm using fine and medium hooks to hook with and my Q-Snap rectangular frame. This is going to be very bright and colorful and may end up as a present for one of the grandkids. I have a bunch of birthdays coming up for them.

I really need a decent digital camera for my pics of the projects. I have to color correct and adjust ever shot to come close to what colors I am actually using--very frustrating since I am all about color and my photos aren't showing how pretty these pieces really are.

The background is actually a lemon yellow/buttercup linen. The dark green a medium moss, and main green a lighter moss with tan spots. The checks are hot pink, rose, into lavender and purple. The eye outline is a tan herringbone, bright sunny yellow crosses and a dark bright blue into teal and purple background for the eye. Teal nose. And the mouth in the cheek colors though I might add a tooth in the mouth.

I'm playing around a lot with my plaids this days. I might use some of the red plaids I was going to use in H&D on the stripes of Voogee's outfit just to see how they hook up before I do try using them in H&D. This will be a 15 high x 11 1/2 wide doll. The challenge will be in the assembling as I plan to have the snake hair as individual parts and sewn together with the back piece then stuffed. Hopefully this is all workable.

Going to make myself finish the dragon today so it's not nagging at me.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

New Doodles and new Cutter

I've still got a few more rows of golds and creams to go--maybe tonight the dragon will be done I hope.

Yesterday, I went over to my daughter's to use her backyard to hook since it was in the 70's and I wanted out of the shop. I had been looking at Create and Decorate Dec '08 issue at the hooked sheep and decided I really want to try doing some dimensional designs. So I ended up taking a bunch of different fabrics over for making hooking canvases. I took some of my Betsy Ross 16ct linens, Heatherfields, some 14 and 18 count aidas, and some burlap. I am still experimenting with using things other than monk's and rug hooking linen to do designs on. I'm especially interested in how strip and yarn sizes make or break designs.

I'm still trying to work out how I want to do a greenman purse that combines felting and hooking and is 3D. It will have glass eyes, a dimensional nose, the leaf eyebrows and parts of the outer leaves will come out of the picture along with the bread part. I'll be glad when I get space again to do handmade wet felting again and can make up some purse blanks. So that project is on hold until then. Though I did do an oval shaped greenman that may or may not become part of a purse. I drew it out on burlap and am going to attempt to do it in # 6wide cuts.

One of my on line friends Vicky Tandler of Pawling, NY sent me her old Frazier cutter with a #6 cut head when she got a brand new Bovliar cutter as a present from her husband. I just got it today and I am throughly overwhelmed by Vicky's generousity on this. Thank you so much. This cutter is going to be well loved and used and I will now have uniform strips--yeah!

Meanwhile back to my doodling--still in thinking about purses mode I came up with a phoenix design with flames on the strap on burlap. It's also going to be in the wide cuts. Then I got to thinking about dolls, and started designing weird ones for my grandkids. My kids had the strangest toys in the neighborhood when they were growing up as I loved making unusual stuffed toys and dolls. Dragons, a large Capicorn, demented crabs, serpents, bats, Muppet rejects and monsters. I've lost all the pics from that time period show I can't show you and the toys themselves have gotten lost. I always embarrassed my kids as our house was never like anyone else's. I was the coolest mom in the neighborhood to all but my kids. So I came up with sort of voodo or simple rag doll shaped dolls drawn out on the 16 count linen. I'm going to try doing these in fleece and yarns with more detailed work and shading. I'm going to try one of the dolls on monk's to see how the larger strips work for it. I've got some sketches for some more dolls and critters in my notebook that I'm going to do up later after I think about them some more. If I wasn't committed to doing the Hopes and Dreams I'd jump into the dolls. I really want to do one. Maybe I'll work it in somehow.

Here's the Hope and Dreams canvas ready to go. And these are 2 of the plaids I am thinking of using in the hearts section. Wish the camera was better as it's not really showing the colors as they are. The one of the left has a beautiful teal running through it and the other is a sort of light sea blue green or greenside aqua.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dragon Day 11

Getting there slowly... Still have 1 full side of 5 rows each to do 2 green, 1 gold, 1 cream, and 1 gold, and two sides with gold, cream and gold rows to go. I am determined to get this completely done including edges by Sunday. Though whenever I plan on something something else happens to throw my time tables off.

I did not make my meeting with the local rug hookers--again. This time it was hubby's cat attacking the blinds at 5 AM to get at cats outside that are in heat or fighting. Anyway my son tried to get him out of the blinds and got his arm and hand mangled and bitten by idiot cat. This necessitated a trip to the emergency room for tetanus shot and get the deep puncture wounds from his teeth seen to. Luckily cat had been to the vet last week and had gotten his shots. By the time we got home I was too exhausted to drive anywhere, especially 30 miles across town since they moved the meeting to some one's house instead of the 10 minute drive near me at a church. Maybe next month. But cat is on my sh-t list for hurting my son, age 26, and having to pay out lots of cash for medical stuff as we don't have insurance.

I used to like cats but after having my art and needlework shit, pissed on, and torn up by cats over the years even when put on high shelves and closets in plastic containers I have very little use for them. The worst was an entire order of 15 hand painted needlepoint canvases I had just finished for a shop and had gone out to get packing materials for to ship them. We became cat-less for a time. This one and I have reached an understand he stays away from me and off my stuff and we don't have problems. I'm a dog person and dearly love my dog, Spike.