Monday, June 29, 2009


No, no, not the street kind that makes you crazy - the kind you use when rug hooking.

I have long wanted to do a study in black and white and so it is started. Pat Wenger enlarged my design for me. I have been carrying this design around for 20 or more years. It was just on a sheet of paper 9 x 12 and in several parts. It was a matter of combining the parts and enlarging. So, here is a picture of the design. A little girl in a chair winding wool with her little brother helping her. The cat is doing "Its thing" with the wool.

I didn't want the black to be the stark black of wool "off of the bolt" so I dyed Barb Carroll's antique black. I have fallen in love with this black. Sometimes when I look at it, it is green, then another time it is blue, but never stark or uninteresting.
In this closeup, I hope you can see what I mean about the black. The cat almost looks striped altho it is all black. It gives the piece some dimension.
The challenge with the rug is to keep the figures from "Floating" off of the backing. I have been thinking about this for some time and finally came up with the idea to make a "parkay" floor as the background on the lower part of the piece. This meant drawing many small squares on the background. I decided the squares should be 1 inch by 1-1/4 inches and two shades of white. In the picture below are the tools I used to get the squares on the backing.

A yard stick, a plastic strip cut 1-1/4 inches wide and the mesh fabric is the "crack." This fabric is evenly woven which makes it easy to get things straight and is "sticky" on the back side. You lay it on your design paper and after transferring the design simply peel the paper off. Then lay the crack on your backing and press down. No pins needs. The crack won't move thus making the transfer to your backing easy, easy, easy. I know that I will never use red dot again. This is such an improvement.

This is how it looked pressed onto the linen of my design. As you can see I only put the floor grid on one half of the crack. I knew that since it was easy to get the grid on straight that I could "pick a thread" and extend the design completely across the fabric.

This closeup shows how I was able to lay it over part of the design that is already hooked. It did not pull any of the wool or its fuzz off of the already hooked portion . Also you can see that I have trouble drawing a straight line with a ruler. That is where the crack really helped me. It is woven completely straight so I could correct my pen slip with ease. I am very grateful to Linda at the Grant Street Woolworks for introducing me to this product. It also is very inexpensive. As all of you know hooking supplies have gotten very costly and to find an inexpensive product is a real bonus.
Thank you, Linda.
I'm looking forward to this week. I think I am going to have 3 days when I can stay home and hook. I also need to get into the dye pots - it just all takes time!!
Quote of the day -
A true friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart.
Have a good week everyone.

Friday, June 26, 2009


On Saturday (after my dye class on Friday),
I rinsed and dried the wool we had dyed. On Sunday I made up the kits for each attendee. All of a sudden I was caught up on my work - the house was fairly clean, I had cleaned the kitchen after dyeing and found myself on Monday morning with a day to do what I wanted! How refreshing! When I went out to get my paper I saw these beautiful Asian Lillies in bloom. They seemed to all come into bloom at the same time. I really love them. They are so colorful in the garden.

This is a mixed group that we just planted last fall. There are some small purple flowers planted in between and the color combination is just lovely. The red beauties in the picture below have been in for about 2 years and have spread and are very full this year. Mother nature at her best.
I discovered that in addition to admiring my flowers I had time to hook - a great day. I actually worked on my new piece for 4 hours. The cat is finished and the little boy is almost done. Sorry no picture at this time - I just forgot to take one.

On Wednesday I went to my Pearl McGown guild group. This is a great group of hookers. On this particular Wednesday 4 of our members are at Carraway hooking school and several other are on vacation - so a small group this month. We met at Violets home in Florence, Md.

Violet is not only an excellent hooker but she excells at quilting. On this day she was working on a quilt for her young great grand son.

Lina and Ginny are looking at pattern books. Ginny wants to do a large oriental as her next project.

This is the center motif of the oriental that Violet is currently working on. It is truly a beauty.

Approximately one half of the rug. She has about two-thirds of the rug finished. The colors are certainly a departure from the normal Oriental but it is working up beautifully.
On Thursday I went to the hook-in at the Grant Street Woolworks in Chambersburg. What a fun place. I got there about 11 am - the first to arrive. Linda and Pat were in the sewing room where we all sat and chatted for a while before going into the shop area. Shortly after , Kathy arrived. She has finished her rug and is starting to put the edge on. Pat planned to work on her Santa rug.
Along came Patty Clark with her daughter Beth and Beth's two daughters visiting from Ohio. What a joy it was to meet Beth. I know Patty's other daughter, Sherri, but had never met Beth. Here they are talking to Linda.

Kathy and Pat working on their rugs and talking, talking. I find that I get no hooking done but Oh! the laugh's are worth it. Nothing like a day at Linda's to break the bordom of just being at home! I am ever amazed at the stock in Linda's shop. Seems to me every time I go there is more wool, more accessories and certainly more fun. I pity any hooker that has not found this shop and its owner.

As I said Kathy is finished hooking her rug. Here is a fairly good picture of it. Kathy said that she had walked a mile and a quarter on the tread mill that morning. I can vouch for the fact that there is not one inch of fat on her body. However, catch a load of those cute chubby knees (I'm LOL).

Linda is deep in thought here. She was leaving Thursday night for Pittsburg to attend a funeral. Probably not a very happy trip but we all wish her well and a safe journey.

I don't know where the time goes. Here it is Friday already and there is more laundry to do and the vacumn cleaner is standing in the corner shouting at me that it needs exercise. Womens work is truly never done - at least at my house. And so, my week is gone and now I need to plan for the week to come. Lots of hooking opertunities in the coming week. I hope to keep the hook moving and I still have a lot of dye pot experimenting to do Don't know how anyone could say that they are bored.
Quote of the day -
There is no psychistrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.
Ben Williams
Have a wonderful week.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Last Friday I held my last workshop of the season. Naturally it was a day in the dye pots. Normally, I think that 6 attendees in my kitchen is a crowd but I accommodated 8 on this day since it was the end of the season.
I like to soak my material in bowls. Each dye lot in a different bowl for ease of handling,
The "tools" of the trade laid out and ready to be used. Note the jar of salt for cleaning measuring spoons. So important not to contaminate one dye with the residue of another dye.

Jill and Brenda at the dye pots. This was a part of the coat hanger dyeing. Jill wanted to see how it felt to "wiggle" the strips so that you don't get a line where the different dyes meet. She soon found out it was not as easy as it looked. Brenda is standing by to take over when jill's arms get tired.

Joan is braiding the wet strips of wool for the braided dyeing part of this session. Joan is an expert braider. She does a four strand braid that is exceptional.

Lunch break. Time for everyone to stand, stretch and get something to eat. This is always a time to exchange ideas and discuss what we have done so far and make suggestions for additional classes. A good question and answer time.

Everyone comes to lunch - here is the chief scrounger at her best. Looking for a "patsy."

Ah - Ha! I found a ham sandwich and a kind, kind lady to go along with me. Hope mom doesn't see me under this table! (I did, of course).

Now for the results of our dyeing session.
On the left is our "abrashed" piece. We dyed a half yard of natural wool with blue dye and when the water cleared we added a small quantity of bright green dye. We waited for the water to clear and then abrashed the piece with more of the green dye. On the right is the result of our braided dyeing. We used blue dye on one side of the braid and gold dye on the other. As a result we have blue, gold and green in one strip of wool.

We did two dye lots of coat hanger dyeing. On the left is a green formula dyed over 4 different colors of wool. This is an excellent way to dye if you are doing scrolls. On the right is three different dyes dyed over natural wool. A good method for doing leaves and flowers. We used bright green, rust and dark brown dye this time.

This is the rsult of our cassarole dyeing. I call this autumn leaves. A truly beautiful piece of wool with many uses.

An aside from Eloise - I knew the ladies were coming today so I made the bed. I thought I did a good job and I don't know why mom is so upset!

A girl gets so tired after a day in the dye pots!!!!!

Enough said! Until next time keep the dye pots boiling and the hook moving.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The Mason-Dixon chapter of ATHA always hosts the Region Three meeting. Sarah Province, the Region Three coordinator is a member of this chapter and one of its past presidents, so it is fitting that the chapter acts as hostess to this event. We always have a speaker and a pot luck luncheon. This event took place on Tuesday in Ellicot City, Md. in a beautiful church which allows us to use their facilities for which we are most grateful.
As you can see, we had a very good turnout not only of chapter members but of regional representatives.
A table loaded with all sorts of good things to eat - I'm not showing the dessert table!!!!

The most popular line - the food line - as always -

Let me introduce you to Norma Batastini, our speaker for this event. Norma's topic of the day was backgrounds and how they effect the overall design of the hooked piece. She had a wonderful handout for us that showed a number of rugs all featuring different ideas about backgrounds. Very enlighting! More on this later.

Following are pictures of the items she brought to show us. I could not get pictures of all of the pieces because the lighting on the back of the stage, where the rugs were placed, after showing, was very dark and my camera said "no lady, not enough light!"
These are the tote bags that she has created. They are shown in the latest issue of Rug Hooker Magazine. Be sure to check them out in the mag as those pictures are much better.

A close up of one of the totes.

This picture shows the handle construction. So many of us have trouble with adding handles to the purses or totes we make. Norma said she found these in a knitting shop.

The sample materials in the upper left corner of the picture are pieces of the materials used in the background of this rug. Note that the border design is hooked of the same material as the leaves thus coordinating the color.

This is a very interesting piece. Some of the material is felted and applied to the design instead of being hooked giving a three dimensional effect.

In this piece note how the background becomes a large part of the design.

A two color background the lighter one denoting morning and the darker one denoting night and creating the feel of movement on the morning side.

This piece hooked to honor her daughters doll collection. Note the background hooked to simulate wall paper.

These penguins are adorable! Please look carefully at the back ground. She has hooked a line of "shadow" penguins marching in the background.
I hope that you all will enjoy these pictures. I just wish all of you could have been at this event. If you ever have an opportunity to hear Norma give a talk or to work with her I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity. It was a truly great hooking experience.
As many of you know, I have experimented with color over a long period of years, in the dye pot, and on the hooked piece. I have created a one color rug (monochromatic) and a two color rug using only two dyes but many shades of those colors. I am now experimenting with a black and white rug. Something I have wanted to do for a long time. As often happens, I wasn't sure how to keep the figures from floating and was waiting for the rug to "speak" to me. Instead, I listened to Norma yesterday and all of a sudden my creative juices began to flow and I now know how to handle the background of this rug. Thank you Norma for giving me such inspiration!
Until next time, I remain a Happy Hooker!!!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009


On Friday, my friend Traci and I visited the Lurgan Nursery in Pennsylvania. Altho Traci had been to the nursery several times before she had missed the Coie pond. We were both fascinated by the fishes. The sizes and colors of them are spectacular. My picture does not do them justice. This was my first visit to the nursery and I loved the water gardens that are spread through out the grounds. The one below is my favorite.

Some day I hope to have such a water garden adjacent to the rear patio. I purchased several herbs since I like to cook with fresh herbs and a beautiful clementis vine, dark red. I just hope I have good luck with it since this will be my third try with clementis! On the way home we stopped for lunch at a very nice place and had a lovely meal.

When I think of summer in Maryland, I think of two things. STRAWBERRIES and CRABS!! Since the strawberries are the first to come to the state they come first on this blog. My friend and neighbor Margaret and I attended the strawberry festival in Rhorersville on Saturday. It was the first time either of us had attended so we didn't know quite what to expect.

Strawberries, of course! Lots of great food on the menu including fried oyster and ham sandwiches, fries, homemade soups, all kinds of drinks and of course, strawberry shortcake, strawberry sundaes and strawberry pies all homemade. I can attest that the oyster sandwich and the strawberry pie was delicious. Margaret also loved the oyster sandwich and bought a whole pie to take home.

This is a view of "vendors row", and attraction that neither of us had expected. Later in the day there was to be a tractor pull. We did not stay to see that but I could not help taking a picture of this John Deere tractor. It was a monster! Biggist tractor I have ever seen!!! And like the song I have fallen in love with the farmer's tractor.

There were many very large tractors on the grounds. As you know Margaret is recovering from a serious operation so we did not stay the whole day. We did have a great time and I surely recommend it to the folks that live in this area. We were also surprised by the attendance. The place was mobbed. The longest line was at the food tent of course.

Then came Sunday and the family crab feast. Believe me, all members of the family were in attendance. All of Sheri's family, and all of what little family I have. We all met at Richard's about 2 in the afternoon and did we have a wonderful time! Of course, I had to take a picture of the STAR of the day -

Beautiful Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs!!!! How lucky we are to live in this area and enjoy the bounty of the bay. In addition to the crabs, the menu included, potato salad, coleslaw, pasta salad, corn, sausage on the grill along with shrimp on the "barbie" and other dishes to numerous to mention. Believe me if you left hungry it was your own fault. The weather was wonderful, just right for eating crabs at a picnic table.

One table of eaters! A messy job but OH! so good. I thought I would not bore you with lots of pictures of the family, but believe me when I say all had a good time. Lots of conversation, lots of laughs, lots of messy hands and faces, many suggestions of the best way to pick a crab and overall good fun.
And now it is Monday and time to get back to the real world and prepare for the week ahead. On Tuesday I plan to go to the ATHA Region Three Meeting in Ellicot City and on Friday I will be holding a dyeing workshop in my home - so a busy week ahead. I hope that all of you had as wonderful a week as I did and the coming one will be just as pleasant. Until next time -

Sunday, June 7, 2009


On Saturday I attended the meeting of the local chapter of ATHA. I am always amazed at the youth represented by this chapter. The enthusiasm of this group is remarkable. With the exception of only 2 or 3 members all hook primatively and don't seem to be at all interested in fine hooking. I keep wondering what Pearl McGown and Joan Moshimer would say about that - however, times have changed. Everyone seems in such a hurry! Here are Maryanne, Traci and Ruth hard at work.

Ron, Caroline (president of the group) and Mary (secretary to the group) hard at work.

Nada brought her Santa rug for all of us to see. She had been working on it at the last few meetings. So glad to see it finished.

Joan, Nada, Gerry and Maryanne. Please note the stack of purple wool in the foreground. I'm getting to that!

Joan brought this rug for show and tell. I think the name is pumpkin man but I'm not sure. It has a beautiful background that she dyed.

This topsy-turvy rug is also Joan's. Its always great to see the finished products of this group.

Now to get to COLOR. Beth is known as the purple hooker, always wears purple, owns a purple car, her house is decorated in purple, you name it and its purple! She was asked by the president to show us how she uses purple in her rugs since several people wanted to use purple but were reluctant to try. In the foreground of the last "people" picture you will notice a stack of purple wool. Beth had brought this to show the different types of wool available for use. She also brought a wide selection of her rugs and wall hangings all of which had purple in a main element. I only took a few pictures - these are my favorites of the ones she showed - I hope that you enjoy them as did I.

A Santa of the woods instead of the usual red, blue or green Santa. Very innovative.

A leafy scroll with a lovely lavender background.

A patriotic barn with interesting purple trees and many purples used in the foreground. Love the foreground - its like a quilt!

All in all, a good show! Beth was most generous with her time and knowledge. She suggested that we do a swap which most of the group seemed to think was a good idea. The swap is to be a piece 6 x 18 using purple ( altho other colors can be incorporated) depicting something in the autumn. Swaps to be presented at the September meeting. Sounds like a fun project for the summer.

Remember no meeting in July because the library will be closed on the 4th of July.

I can't believe that I have done all of this - transfered pictures from the camera and written this whole blog on only one cup of coffee! My daughter is free today so we will be spending this Sunday together. As all of you know family is the most important thing to me and I am looking forward to a great day.

The quote for this blog is as follows:
Growing old is inevitable - growing up is optional.

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