Wednesday, March 30, 2011


In my last posting I talked about my "stitches" workshop. Several e-mails arrived asking me what that was all about. Guess I really didn't explain the purpose of the workshop. This is a 4 hour session where we learn to use 6 different embellishing stitches and do one element of the design as a "proddy." The proddy element is the sun, the tree trunk is done in chain stitch, and the wall in the brick stitch. There are other stitches involved but I'm sure you get the idea. This is a really fun course and everyone that takes it seems to have a ball. I have taught this on 5 different occasions and have seen the finished product farmed to be hung on the wall, finished as a table mat, and several mounted as pillows. The pillows seems to be very effective. I hope this clears up the mystery of what this workshop is.


Several of you have asked about the design that I use. Several years ago when I first started thinking about this workshop I consulted my friend Pat Wenger. I am no artist, strictly a "stick figure" girl. I showed Pat thru the stick figure process what items I wanted in a pattern, the size of the pattern and the approximate places I wanted the elements. The rest was up to her. She produced this charming pattern and I have used it for the past 2 years. In addition, Pat has done several other patterns for me. She is a wonderful artist and has some very imaginative ideas when it comes to rug designs. If you ever need a design or a design enlarged, I suggest you contact her.


In the past I have told you several times how proud I am of my students so I have decided that from time to time I will feature one of them on my blog. This blogs feature is Syd. Syd is a new hooker, that is, she has been taking lessons from me since last fall. Before that she did not even know about hooking. She saw a demonstration at a fiber artist's meeting and decided to give it a try. The demonstrator told her about me and so she joined my Tuesday class.

Here is Syd going thru part of my stash looking for just the right color for a project. In the past Syd has raised sheep and is very familiar with the feel and usage of wool. She also is used to the feel of burlap since feed bags or made of this. It feels natural for her to work with these two products.
This small piece, featuring a tulip, was her first hooking. Sorry the picture is not of the finished product. Unlike many hookers, Syd has to finish things even if it mean staying up a night! I assure you this piece was finished and is very nice. In addition Syd has done another small piece that I don't have a picture of. Since she wants to hook with a three cut, following all of the old principles of Pearl McGown, I sugggest that her next piece be a rose. She like the idea because she has an antique foot stool that needs a new cover. So working together, we put a very nice full blown rose on a backing for the foot stool. At our next class Syd expressed her concern that her stitches did not look good enough to work on the rose and she would like a "practice" piece" in order to perfect her technique.

I drew up this piece I call "bare bones." The idea of doing this practice piece was not only to improve her technique but to be adept at doing curves, rounds, and to understand what the difference is between hooking vertically and horizontally. as well as making sure straight lines are straight. Syd has a frame that rotates 360 degrees and I asked her not to use it. I wanted her to see how the stitches pull when you have a frame that is stationary. When she started on the piece she had more lumps and bumps on the wrong side than the had on the right side. Also the right side loops were many different heights.


As she and I discussed this project, the other members of her class also get a lesson in hooking techniques. To do this worked out well for all of us. My expectations of Syd were as follows: I expected her to do several of the circles, to do about a half inch of straight hooking, to show us how she could do curves in a few lines of hooking and that her technique would improve somewhat. In addition to the pattern, I furnished her with a few strands of assorted green wool left over from a project. The following pictures are of the finished piece she brought to class two weeks later!

Vastly improved techique. No lumps or bumps on the back and the right side looks vastly better.

The finished product is lovely. She added the browns and the off white background. The picture does not do the piece justice. Up close and personal, as they say, this looks like an American Indian creation. It really is beautiful. There is no substitute for imagination and creativity. These kinds of surprises is what makes teaching so rewarding.


Happy hooking until next time.



Julia said...

Doris, you are such a busy lady. I wish that I could take one of your course. I'm sure I would improve too.

This is such an interesting post. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your student work. I''ll be off Blogger for a few days but I'll be back. I'm going to a Retreat for Fiber Artist in Nova Scotia with my daughter and her friend. I hope to bring my camera to take pictures.

I hope that April will be warmer than March. Take care. JB

Rugs and Pugs said...

Doris ~
That Pat is one of the most talented persons in blogland. I don't think there is anything she can't do!
Syd's work is coming along nicely. I bet it's because she has such a great teacher. Lucky her to learn from you!!!
Pug hugs :)

Tamera @ the Stone Fence Cottage said...

Doris--do you post a listing of your classes and workshops and dates???