Thursday, June 24, 2010


The weather here in Maryland is atrocious! They just announced (it's 2:30 pm) that it is 100 in Frederick. We have had a straight stretch of 10 or more days with 90 plus degrees. I'm sure that everyone is working their air conditioning overtime. Since my house is not so equipped, Eloise and I have been running the fans 24/7 at full speed.

The good news is that the garden is beginning to produce. I have been getting Kohlarbi for several weeks - but the squash and peppers are just beginning to be big enough to eat.

This is yesterday's harvest, two kinds of squash and the kahlarobi and a hot pepper.

I got up early yesterday morning trying to beat the heat. Into the dye pots I went and before 8 am I had done 4 different coat hanger dye lots.
I am very pleased with the finished product. I moved the drying rack out on the lower patio and the wool was dry in no time!
When I went out today I noticed that one of my favorite lilies was in bloom so I just had to take this next picture.

I decided yesterday, that in view of the weather forcast, it was going to be to hot to cook for the rest of the week. Seemed to me that a trip to the Dutch market was in order. It is one of the most delightful places in Hagerstown. Come along with me and see some of the items available!

The market is on the Leitersburg pike just off of Northern Ave. Easy to reach and with lots of parking. It is the anchor store of a small shopping center.

There is always something interesting on the "front porch" as you walk in. Look at these cute birdhouses. So charming it would be difficult to choose just one.

Once you are inside there are so many choices. Beautiful furniture is available along with all sorts of wooden things and nick-knacks of various materials

This is one small portion of the cheese counter. Not only are there lots of imported cheeses but many homemade ones as well as homemade butter! The butter is so yummy!!!
This is just a small sampling of the types of things available. The meat counter is always lined and do take a number if you hope to get waited on.
Rhiels bakery sends your smell and taste buds to heaven. Just look at the treat I bought myself.

Did you ever see a prettier cherry turnover - or one so big for that matter. I will not get on the scale tomorrow morning - better to wait a few days and diet hard
Here are a few more goodies I brought home. Lovely home grown tomatoes, scallions, strawberries that look as tho they have been taking harmones, jars of pickled asparagus and dilly beans. and skewers of vegetable and sausage. These are all things that I love and can eat cold (except the skewers) on these very hot days.
As I have been preparing this blog, the sky has darkened and we have had a few claps of thunder. No drips of rain as yet. At the first clap, Eloise went under the bed and I'm sure that I won't see her again until the barametric pressure returns to normal. Try to keep cool and have a wonderful weekend. Don't forget to be kind to each other and tell your family how much you love them. Unkind thoughts have no place in our world!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The June meeting of this ATHA chapter was held last Tuesday. It is traditionally a pot luck luncheon at which the chapter hosts the Region 3 meeting. All of the chapters in the region are invited to send representatives and generally speaking they have a short meeting with the Region 3 coordinator after the program and luncheon. The Region 3 coordinator was not present this year but 3 or 4 of the chapter representatives attended and we were glad to have them.

In addition, the program was given by Margaret Wenger. Margaret is the chairman of fund raising for the Bicentennial meeting to be held in Lancaster in 2011. However, that was not the prime thrust of the program that she presented to us. This is a general view of the group as we listened to Margaret begin to tell us about her use of alternative materials in rug hooking.
Here she is showing us a piece of "flimsy" yard goods that she has hooked with. She showed us velvets, lame', chiffons, laces, and "ribbon yarns" that she has hooked with and many other types of materials, other than wool.

This "flying angle" has very little wool hooked into the piece.

This piece was made in a class with Jane Halliwell Green and is wool that has been torn in 1/2 inch pieces.

Another rug, an oriental, with very little wool involved. I admit that the colors are brilliant and certainly, it does look oriental.

This rug is done with wool and was worked in a Nancy Blood workshop.

Another rug with very little wool but lots of chiffon and other things.

This rug has been done as a teaching project and represents Grant and Lee and the civil war. Very little, if any wool was used in this rug.
In all honesty, I came away from this program with many mixed emotions. On the one hand I admire Margaret for her imagination, and her willingness to get out of the box. On the other hand, I am a traditionalist and have the following thoughts about this type of work.
When Margaret was questioned by a member of the audience about the wearablilty of her product???, could these items be put on the floor????, and how could they be cleaned??? She admitted that they could not be put on the floor and that they would not wear well. Also, she had no ideas on how they could be cleaned and kept fresh. My question to myself at that point of the discussion was why call then rugs? That is the reason that I have called them products.
Traditionalist that I am, I want my rugs to be all wool, go on the floor, wear for 100 years and be cleaned and kept fresh. To me, the Old New England Traditional Rug Hooking is an art form of great beauty. I want my rugs to reflect that beauty. I am thrilled when someone looks at my rugs and goes WOW! Somehow or other, alternative materials take the art out of it for me. I'm sure that many of you will disagree with me and I will be very interested in your comments.
I have been hooking since 1970 - I realize that that was before many of you were born. I'm not saying that that makes my rugs any better than anyone else's but I think that it gives me a different take on what is a rug. Barbara was sitting next to me at this meeting. She started hooking in 1968 and her comment was - well, she hooks! I suspect that both of our feelings are a generational thing. Don't hesitate to leave your comments as I will be very interested in knowing how you feel about alternative materials.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Yep, Kris Kringle is finished. I started this piece in April when Norma Batastini came to the Grant Street Woolworks in Chambersburg, Pa. It was a real fun piece to hook. I asked Norma to dye the background for me. I was busy with students and other things and just didn't have the time to do it myself. She did a great job and I really like the way the background turned out. I'm not sure it really shows in the picture but I have hooked it in swirls so that it looks like he's in a snow storm. The "fur" on his robe, his beard and hair are sculpted. I have never figured out how to make sculpting show in a photo so you have to take my word for that. I am really pleased with him and am planning to enter him in the Maryland State Fair.

My Asian Lilies are in bloom. What a delight they are! We have planted a long row of day lilies along the front of the property and they will start to bloom next week and last thru August. The Asian Lilies are in another flower bed adjacent to the day lilies and bloom first. They are extremely tall and have very large blooms this year. They speak for themselves!

I hope all had a great day with their fathers or thinking of the good times they had with him. Have a good week and try to keep cool.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


On Monday the regular monthly meeting of the Blue and Gray hooking group met in Gettysburg, Pa. During the summer month's I always expect that fewer people come to any and all meetings. Summer is such a busy time, gardening, vacationing, kids out of school and a million and one things to get done in the nice weather. However the Blue and Gray hookers are a dedicated bunch and the turnout was very good for this time of year.
Here are Pat D. and Dolorus working hard at their hooking. Pat is the head of the Bucketstown Rug Camp to be held in October in Maryland. She is one busy lady!
A general overall picture of the group. This group of ladies is the happiest hooking group. There is always lots of laughter, jokes galore and just plain good fun!

This is Becky's rug. Becky comes all of the way from East Berlin to attend these meetings. She has done a great job on this rug. I especially like what she has done in the corners.

This is Brenda's stained glass window rug. She started this rug with Norma Batastini just a short while ago and here it is finished already. It turned out beautifully. It is a gift for a friend - don't you wish you were the friend?

This rug was brought in to show by Nancy. It was hooked in 1968 and sold at a yard sale for $25.00. Can you imagine finding a bargin like that?? It has been folded in the middle since it is quite a long runner and as a result there are several very small holes in the rug. Nancy is going to find out about having it repaired. I looked at the holes and feel that it is an easy repair - EXCEPT - for matching the background wool. That always is a problem in any repair of a rug that has had a chance to mellow.

This is Joan's beautiful and different rug. The colors in this rug are soft and lovely. It is expertly hooked and a beauty to behold.

I believe this rug is Joyce's . Please don't hold it against me if I am wrong. I do know that Peg helped put the design on the backing but forget just who did the hooking. Again another great job with lots of attention to the details in the design.
Monday turned out to be a great day even tho it was hot as blazes. I had a really nice time at the B&G group and loved all of the rugs shown that day. On my way home I stopped at the grocery and picked up a few things I needed. I was going to the Mason/Dixon Chapter of ATHA on Tuesday - it was there annual pot luck luncheon meeting along with interesting speaker. By the time I got home, took care of Eloise, made potato salad for the next days luncheon, read the news paper, worked the crossword puzzles I was one pooped pigeon.
On my next blog I will tell you about the luncheon meeting, show pictures of the rugs at that gathering. All in all, a most interesting week, and I have yet to think about going to Grant Street Woolworks on Thursday!!!
Even tho it's summer, lots of hooking things to do. I have finished my Kris Kringle piece and am putting the binding on it. I am hoping to have that and another piece that needs binding, finished in time to enter them in the Md. State Fair.
I'm busy, busy, busy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Due to the death of Linda Keller's mother, yesterday, in Pittsburg, Pa. . the strawberry sculpting class planned for June 12th at the Grant Street woolworks, has been cancelled.
Our prayers and sympathy go out to Linda and her family.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I have received one of the nicest gifts that a rug hooker could be given. Due to the generosity of the Taylor family. I have been given the wools and reference materials of the late Mrs. Mabel Taylor of Middleburg Heights, Cleveland, Ohio.

I did not know Mrs. Taylor. Her son Bill is a farrier and always took care of our horses. When he came to shoe he would often talk to us of his mother and her wonderful ability to make rugs. Somehow when you hear about other hookers that you don't know, you tend to listen with one ear and discount half of that. Little did I know! I have taken only a few pictures, but I think that you will get the jist of the matter from them. The picture above is dip dyed material actually done by Edna Fleming. I don't know how many of you are rug history buffs but for those of you who don't know, Edna Fleming wrote the first book on casserole dyeing. It has a copyright date of 1965. The formulas in the back of the book are still some of the best color combinations for this type of dyeing. The swatches that were in the box I received ranged from 6 pieces to 10 pieces and ranged in price from .75 cents to $1.25. Can you imagine? Believe me when I tell you the picture does not due the color justice.
This picture is of some of the original Connie's Cauldren swatches. The copyright on her book is 1974. The orangy swatch on the left is a 6 value swatch retailing for .55 cents. The pink to maroon watch on the right is a 10 value swatch retailing for $1.10. All of the materials I received had been wrapped in tissue paper and the wool is just as soft and usuable today as it was in the 60's and 70's. I do think that some of it belongs in a museum, however since I know of no such place I intend to use it in special rugs in special places. I cannot believe my luck in receiving these wonderful pieces of wool and history.

This picture shows some of Edna Fleming's casserole dyeing and her book. The colors in these pieces is truly beautiful and very brilliant. A lot of the pieces have a very modernistic look to them. I wonder how far ahead of her time she was?
In addition to these wonderful wools shown here, there are seven (7) more boxes of wool in my garage waiting to be used by hookers. I have offered to share this wool with the group that hooks at the Grant Street Woolworks. By sharing with them, I know that the wool will be appreciated and put to good use.
Last but certainly not least, a box filled with books and phamplets. I could not believe my eyes. I have been a history buff all of my life and so have been very interested in the history of hooking and have an extensive library of material starting with Mildred Sprout in the 1950's and going up thru the present day, including all of the rug hooker magazines started by Joan Moshimer. In the box I found several books that I did not know existed as well as books by Stratton, Margaret Hunt Masters, Estelle Ries, William Winthrop Kent and Dorothy Lawless. These ladies and gentlemen are truly the old time guru's of rug hooking. Many of these books are signed by the authors. I also found a number of books that I already have copies of. I have offered these duplicate books to Linda Keller for the Grant Street Woolworks library. She has an extensive group of reference books that she loans to hookers, free of charge, with the promise that they will return them so that other rug makers can also enjoy them.

What a wonderful treasure trove the Taylor family has given not only to me but to all of the rug makers that will share in Mrs. Mabel Taylors legacy. To say Thank you seems so inadequate but there is nothing else to say. I will continue to read the materials that I have not had in the past and enjoy the beauty of the wool received. Keep the hooks moving!