Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Braiding and Here Be Dragons

Still slowly working on Here Be Dragons mat. With luck it'll be done by this weekend. I think I have about 1/4 of it to go. I do think I am going to try using Monk's for any future cotton fabric mats. The rug warp really doesn't like irregular shaped strips which most of my t-shirt strips are since I torn them instead of cut them. I am ever so grateful for my slanted hook other wise I probably would have been very frustrated and sore handed doing this.

Most of my week I have been concentrating on my first braiding project which will end up as a small oval bath or kitchen mat. It's out of cotton quilting type fabrics from my slash. I'm doing it in shades of blues with a little lavender and pinks throw in. Though the pinks may not be used on this, It depends on how big this turns out. It's getting fairly big as it is very quickly. It is more narrow than fat so far and debating what to do to fix that. I am learning a lot on color progressions. I braided a bunch of the fabrics first and then started sewing instead of braiding a bit, then sewing and braiding some more, sew, etc. So I really didn't know how this was going to come out color or pattern wise. Next one will be braid a bit, sew that, braid, sew and try to get the colors and develop a pattern of colors as I go along. This is not one of my better projects. My braiding technique needs lots of work especially with the cottons to get the braiding even and consistent looking. Both my daughters are interested in this mat, especially the fact it's washable. I will be making more and giving them for xmas this year.

I can't wait until I get a chance to try the braiding in wools. This weekend I get to house sit again--yeah, which means house to myself and can spread out my fabrics, look at what I have, do some color planning for some of newer canvases I want to do and do some dyeing too. If I can get some money from hubby also hit the thrift stores. I need to start gathering wools for Walk Me's border. I know already I'm low on browns and have a good idea how much I'm going to have to acquire for doing at least a 4 to 6 inch braided border around it.

I also hope to play around with braiding to try and figure out how Delsie Holt of Kingdom Moon Rugs does her rugs. I totally love them. I really want to try and do scenery type rugs like she does.

Hopefully the local rug hooking group is still going to meet today. They cancel it if there are less than 4 attending. I am determined to make this one and actual meet another hooker in person. I am still disappointed that the local teacher isn't teaching and I'll have to go to another state to take classes for my beginning requirements to get into teacher training. Even though I look like I don't need beginner lessons there are a lot of things I don't know and I do want to teach eventually and am too unsure of myself just to put myself out there as a teacher yet. I want to teach but am afraid to at the same time. Not that I have any extra money for going to anyone's classes as money is very tight here at home. And no extra money to put back and save either for future classes or camps in the future. I'm not very good at making money with my arts and crafts either. I really suck at it. I enjoy doing them but never manage to sell them for decent prices. Never sure what to charge or what anything is really worth. I have business training and have run businesses but I don't like doing it. What I need is a business manager/partner or keeper that will take care of all the business aspects of my art while I concentrate on creating and making it. Hopefully, the right person will show up sometime.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I'm Back

I've been staying over at my daughter's house the last couple of weeks while her SO was out of town doing sci-fi cons as photographer of celebrities. He was doing one in Fl then had to go up to Detroit for another with a brief pit stop at home. Occasionally my daughter gets to go with him but not these last trips. When she does get to go my granddaughter, Aurora, gets photoed graphed with the stars too like the cast of Battlestar, James Marsters and others. I'm hoping I get to Dragon Con this year as they will be having James and Patrick Stewart and a bunch more--I haven't checked the confirmed guest list yet.

Kendra and James Marsters

Firefly cast with Kendra and Aurora

Aurora and Kendra with Battlestar cast

Kendra, Aurora, and Corey with James Marsters (Spike on Buffy and Angel, Capt. John on Torchwood and Brainiac on Smallville

I have been working on rugs over there. I get so much more done when there isn't the net to distract me as they don't have Internet. I've almost got the Here Be Dragons mat done--I figure 2-3 days yet to go. I started back working on the Folk Angel rug I started in January with the #12 cuts or 1" wide strips. I'm trying to get some of the older UFO's done before I jump in on the new canvases I did last month. It's going a lot easier this time around hooking it because of my slant shaft hook which makes pulling the big strips through a lot less wearing on my hands. It's not a Hartman--not able to afford 35.00 for a hook yet.

Folk Angel

Here be Dragons Mat

I've also been experimenting with braiding using cottons from my fabric slashes to make a bath or kitchen rug. I'm trying to get the basics down so I can do a braid edging around Walk Me when I get it done.

I've been looking into getting teacher training so I can get certified eventually to teach rug hooking here in SC. I'm only one of maybe 8 people that do hooking in SC and I can't find anyone that does braiding here--that's very sad and pitiful. There are very few professional traditional artists in SC period in any medium--guess everyone moved elsewhere or they gave up and quit doing it. I want to take classes but all the one's I want to take are a good distance away and too me very expensive, not even counting traveling, rooms and food. On both ATHA and the McGown sites there are teachers in NC and GA so I guess I'm going have to go there. I have to have at least a basic class and recommendation from a teacher to get into any of the teacher training classes. Even though there are a lot of self taught, like me, teachers out there I need help in learning to teach and do classes. Lot of self confidence problems. Maybe something will break and I'll be able to do this somehow.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Here Be Dragons progress, etc.

I've been busy over at my daughters since last weekend and haven't had a chance to update. I'm working on two projects at once. The Here Be Dragons mat in cotton t-shirt strips which is a little over 1/2 done and the cat's paw runner which I took the acrylics I had hooked out and am doing in now in quilter's cottons from my fabric stashes. I am also learning to do braiding. I'm using bits of fabrics I am using in cat's paw and will be attaching the finished braid to the runner as a test to see how braiding a border will work with Walk Me when I get it done. The cat's paw is 12" wide by 31-33" long if I remember rightly. With the added braided border it'll be more useful. The braiding is interesting and frustrating since it is in cottons.

I still have to go on hunt and search the thrift stores trips to get up enough fabrics for the WM border as all the wools in my stash are spoken for for projects. But thrift stores have to wait as we are too broke right now for me to do any shopping at them. Business at the computer shop has been down with people not picking up their fixed machines and my kids have not been paying their very low rents to us and we still have to pay out money for shop, house and trailer rents and ultilities. No to mention food and gas. And since Ebay won't let me sell my downloable to email sxstitch patterns in the regular xstitch area like I had been for almost 7 years I have almost no income myself coming in. The xstitch was paying for my backing fabrics and other supplies. Anyway I'll figure something out.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

New Projects

I probably need new projects like a hole in the head but I started on 2 small mats (for Me) to demonstrate alternative materials for hooking. One is a table runner on monk's with irregular cat paws in acrylic yarns, 12 x 30. It'll be in shades of purples, blues, teal and golds. I'm using a number of Lion Brand Homespun on this because it's thicker than most of the yarns in my stash and I've also decided after knitting and crocheting a lot with wool I really hate the stuff to work with or make anything out of it. I had bought it for baby blankets and ended up giving my kids wool creations instead. I want this to be a sort of hit and miss type rug and washable. I had gotten this piece of monks off Ebay and hadn't found a use of it until now. If it's going to be a usable table runner I don't want to use my good wools, not with my family.

The other is a "Here Be Dragons" welcome mat on rug warp 20 x 28 in t-shirt cottons. I'm using about 3 old black ones that vary a little in how black they are and wear for the background. The colors are reds for an old holey tie dyed Con-Cat convention shirt, a dark burgundy tie die, and a pale blues, pinks, purples and whites tie dye that is at least 20 years old and too holey for wear. I decided to go with a very simple palette on this. I ended up with 2 Walmart bags of ripped strips mostly of 1/4 to 1/8 width. This is a good rug to practice my lettering skills on. It has Here Be Dragons at the top in wave style, and Welcome in large letters at the bottom. Between them is a tribal sort of dragon done mainly in the Con-Cat reds with burgundy accents. I screwed up when I drew this out originally on the fabric. I had a big dragon behind the Welcome letters which was okay but not that great either so I did the smaller tribal one over the top of it. I opted for the simple 4 colors instead of a bunch of ones as I wanted a) see how little material it would take for this size mat, b) wanted to do something that was okay looking but not so pretty people would be afraid to use it, c) it could be easily washed and d) demonstrated recycling and easy to find fabrics.

I'm also planning a mat or doll done in cotton yarns and/or cotton quilting fabrics. Just have to get more rug warp and monks. My other designed piece of rug warp, the sheep and wool welcome mat in an earlier post is going to be done in wools. If it's all about what you can do with wool it needs to be in wool. I have one 1 yard piece of monk's left right now and I'm debating what's going to be on it. I am eyeing the Heatherfield's again as possible xmas stockings for grandkids. I've seen some wonderful examples on the web for doing them with hooking and leaving the backgrounds plain which would be great with the Heatherfield and some other ex cross stitch fabrics in my stash.

The rug warp is interesting. A little stretchy and not so easy to pull the larger hoops through. I'm doing it on my big oval hoop and have to keep adjusting it. But overall it's not bad to work on. The monks is not bad but it still has a tendency to split, and separate if I don't pull my hoops exactly right.

Getting ready for this show has been a good thing. It has been forcing me to really work on projects, come up with ideas and also think how I am going to demonstrate and explain the hooking, especially using a variety of materials. I may be ready to even think about teaching classes next year if any one would want me as teacher that is. If I do do classes I am going to concentrate on hooking with recycled fabrics and materials, hooking with fleece and roving, hooking combined with felting, maybe making 3-D sculpted objects, and maybe doing fantasy character rugs. These are subjects very few people are doing in hooking. I guess I can think outside the box easier (years of practice) and I don't have the company of other hookers, except on the web, to maybe guilt me into sticking with the usual wool strips. I also have this huge stash of craft materials and fabrics either inherited from relatives or bought over the years and dragged with me through multiple movings that I really feel the urge to do something creative with and hate giving away. Every time I do I end up reacquiring similar stuff and in double and triple the amounts I got rid up. My house hates a vacuum, I guess, and I have to have x amount of stash to make it content.

That's one of the reasons I have been thinking about hooking some of sewing or quilting cottons into rugs. Cotton hooking is very popular over in the UK as is proddy which I may get back into. I have also been thinking a lot about learning to braid. A couple of the Rag Rug books I get from my library has directions for making cotton fabric rugs. It'd be a great way to use up a lot of calico's, especially the ones that are rather loud or I hate the color combos in. I've also been thinking of adding a braided edge type wool frame to Walk Me maybe in browns, or dyed over camel golds.

I have too much in my head I want to do....