Sunday, February 21, 2010

Decisions on Green Spirit

I started out hooking Green Spirit in dyed fleece like I had done the Mother and Child center on my Spirit rug but have not been happy with my results. I just wasn't getting the design to come out clearly and was losing a lot of the lines and shading just wouldn't work the way I needed it to. Remember last week that I inherited a new Bliss cutter with a #3 head. I have playing with the 3's on another design that I am doing as a challenge on Rug Hooking Daily. It's the SMILE challenge that Sunni is doing. I looked at that design and fleece just didn't seem to work for it so I got brave and started hooking with some of the precut worms left by the older rug hooker. I have been pleasantly surprised by the results I have been having with the shading and what I can do with the traditional style hooking methods. Keep in mind that when I use strips it has usually been 6's and above and I have been very nervous about trying to hook with something so thin as a 3.

This afternoon I sat outside in the almost 70's sunny weather to do some hooking. I got out some of the pre cut worms in shades of green and flesh tones and began hooking, despite my annoying next neighbors and their radio. The war of the backyard has not abated at all over the winter in fact it may have gotten worse as I can't set foot outside the backdoor without them cranking up their radio to painful levels and blasting me with gospel music and sermons even if before I went out it was perfectly quiet. I don't find people having religious views. I don't mind the same station if it is turned down low. I just object to it being loud and annoying me and I refuse to be run off from using my own backyard. I was in this house before they moved in. In defense I got my boombox out and if they didn't like my techno and German Industrial too bad.

Meanwhile back to hooking. I am enjoying using the 3's. And I think doing Green Spirit in them has really made a difference. At least I can see my lines and shading is closer to what I envisioned when I drew it. I really see a lot of possibilities for me artwise using them. I have not given up entirely on doing primitives or hooking with fleece but I am seeing my work in new ways. Once I get done with Spirit rug and my commission pieces I have another rug I have been wanting to do for awhile--Green Cat. I hadn't tackled it before this as I just couldn't see it being done with larger strips or with yarn because of the massive amount of fine detail it has in it. There's pictures of it in earlier posts on this blog if you want to see it.

Tonight I am going to start cutting up strips for the the background. I took apart Folk Angel as I just didn't like the way it was going. I am going to be using a lot of the colors from it, especially the reds and purples for the background of spirit. I have almost a full kitchen trash bag full of nothing but red 1" strips which looks like it might be enough to do the background. Cutting these up is going to take a while. I guess find some movies or shows to watch as I do not watch sports at all.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow in SC

Yesterday we got about 3 to 6" snow here in Columbia which is a very rare thing. Luckily it did not turn into a ice storm which is really bad around here. It was really scary going back home last night as Sc is not really set up for snow and the most they can do is throw some salt and sand down on major roads which luckily we were able to use to get home. On my road no one had even been down it so we had to trail braze to the house. Today it's melting off the trees and power lines which is good. Hopefully most of the stuff will be melted off the roads by the time we leave tonight.

Thursday I lucked into a huge stash of rug hooking supplies. I was contacted by my local hookers about a give away of one of their former members supplies since she has gone into a nursing home and can no longer use it. I ended up with three huge trash bags of fabrics, most of which were off the bolt and were large amounts of yardage.Another member contributed a huge bag of hand dyed fabrics. I hot a newer model Frazier cutter with #2 and #3 heads, a bunch of small traditional hooks, scissors, binding tapes, a McGown hit and miss squares with flowers pattern, a beautifully done half finished floral rug with scrolls rug and hopefully all the cut strips and fabrics to finish it. I am going to attempt to finish it. I haven't done any traditional style hooking before and I am in awe of the very tiny strips this was done with. I generally use size #6 and up and mainly 8's. My fiber hooking is with both a fine hook and a primitive one depending on what I am doing.

I had to do some shifting and reboxing some of the crafting stiff to empty some containers to put the new wools in. Really need to get some see through containers and organize.

Here's the completed Mother and Child section on the Spirit rug. Next section I am working on with be Green Spirit. Then I'm working on the Earth tiger on Janice's rug.

Saturday, February 6, 2010



I'm sorry I haven't been writing in this since last fall. Lots of things have been happening but I haven't felt like writing. My latest bit was unexpected heart surgery Jan 27th. I had gone into a women's clinic to get a Pap spear and to get checked for breast cancer but my blood pressure was 180/120 and up for a couple of readings so they sent me across the street to the emergency room at Palmetto Hospital. Needless to say I was admitted and kept overnight with surgery scheduled the next morning. They put in 2 stints and told me I had 90% blockage, have lung cancer and some other problems related to that. I still have to go to another clinic to get checked for the breast cancer which I strongly suspect I have. I've been recovering, but I still don't have all the energy I should have and tire easily, I won't even go into all the depression over this and uncertainly about my life, art career, and future. What is bad is that I he no health insurance and very little income currently and am not old enough for Medicare and don't qualify for diability or Medicade. But I'm just going prod on and not let it all get to me.

I am hooking again. I have 2 commission rugs I am working on. One is a family Chinese zodiac type rug similar to my rug for a friend near Charleston that raises Tunis and TunisXShetlands. I am using the fleece from her sheep to hook her rug. I got the fleece in Nov and ahve it washed and dyed for hooking. The second is for a friend in Idaho that raises Icelandic sheep, Angora goats and rabbits. I am using her fleece to do a pictorial rug advertising her animals for use as a banner and display. Both are going to take a while to do as they are both roughly 3 x 4 and 4 x 5.

I have bowed out of my article I was going to do for Rug Hooking Magazine as with my health problems I am afraisd to commit to it and miss the the deadline plus if I have to have cancer treatments I'm not going to be in any shape to work let alone think to write.

I have been having problems hooking the 2 commission ones so I have startd working on a rug for myself using the designs I was going to use for the RHM one plus the other designs that weren't going to used and have put them together into one big 29 x 49 rug on monk's cloth which was originally going to be used to just do standups of the designs. This way I got all 5 designs in one place. The background I used a French Curve to trace around it shape randomly all over the mat and added in a couple of abstract human figures and some hearts. The background will be sort of strain glass like--at least that's what's in my head. I am using Karakul fleece from my friend Barb Barnett in Iowa that I trade my designs for her her fleece with.

I have spent most of the fall and winter washing and dyeing various batches of sheep fleece. The end of October I was washing and making batts of 20lbs Gulf Coast Native fleece for a local breeder, then in Nov I got 30 lbs of Anna's Icelandics, Jacob and Mohair and 25lbs of Janice's Tunis and Shetland fleeces and was washing them, and dyeing them as I went along for their rugs, then December and January I got 2 batches of Barb's Karakul and Tessdale fleeces, and have about 10 lbs more of her 28lbs of fleece to wash.

I have also been experimenting with spinning rug yarns. I have been doing some core spinning using both Llama and Shetland blends, and dyed Icelandic. The Icelandic is really soft and nice and not coarse so I am spinning some of it to make it a bit hardier for a rug. I am also experimenting with 2 and 3 ply yarns and blending the various fiber together to get a nice rug yarn. I am think of eventually trying to do some rug punching and to explore hooking with yarns more. I can't do any wheel spinning until after the 16th because of my surgery because they went in on my right groin which is above the leg I use to spin with since I have a single treadle wheel and I don't want to put any pressure on it by pumping my treadle. I am so hoping I get either an electric spinner or a double treadle wheel this year. My poor old German wheel is okay but very limited as to what it can do.

I also hope I can get a used gripper frame for my hooking--SOON! I'm still using my big oval quilting frame and stretcher strip frams with tacks for my work. I am experimenting with a pcv frame I made as a standing one and I'm using q-snaps to hold the fabric in place but not sure how they are going to hold when I have to move my hooking to another spot to work and try to use them over the hooking.

That's all for now. I hope to write more on this blog soon.