Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Red Bird after Walnut Dye Applications

After doing another application of walnut dye solution here is the result of my attempt at making the rug appear like an antique.  Not that I will say it is an antique, but to try to replicate the loved and worn appearance of an antique. 
For comparison, here is a picture of the original.  And yes, the original is so warm and mellow; that is what endeared me to rug hooking in the first place.   
At the moment I'm still tugging along on the hit and miss spiral chair pad and admit I get less accomplished on it than on the Red Bird in the same time.  Frankly I'm not sure if it would make any difference in appearance if I were to just stick my  hand in the tote full of worms and pull randomly or do the search and make woolie worm knots.  Random might even end up looking better than my selection.

Sure hope the spiral is done in 18 days because that is when I leave for Woolley Fox camp.  I'd like this done to take a new small project to work on first night in the cottage and next day while waiting my turn with Barb.

Have a wonderful evening.  Mine will be great because I'm getting ready to start a pot of hearty vegetable soup.  Yummmm.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Toning Down of Red Bird

This morning I thawed out my walnut stain from what was stewed up 2 years ago plus brewed up a cup-o-tea to decide which should be applied to my rug to tone down the cream border.  But first I hooked a few rows on scrap foundation using the same wool as in the border so I could experiment first.  

 Although my mentor Lori said I couldn't go wrong with walnut staining I still wanted to practice first.  And Lori was right...... I like the look.

There was a little difference between the walnut and tea; the walnut made it look like a dirt stain with age and tea had a mellow appearance.  I wanted the dirt to replicate an old rug with use over time vs. the near dip dyed look.   
The far left row is unstained wool; the upper section of the top right hooked wool was dabbed with the walnut stain and the bottom top section was dabbed with the tea stain.  You can probably see a gentle difference in the color of the wool without it being a slap in the face.

I took an inexpensive half inch brush and dabbed some walnut stain randomly all around the rug.  Since wool naturally wants to repel water it would lay on top so proceeded to brush it a few times in the same place (just on top). 

Lori reminded me that antique rugs get stains just on the top of the loop and when the loops are separated you can then see clean lighter colored loops.  So I didn't douse the rug but rather tried to paint the top until that first amount was absorbed into that 1 - 2" section.
The above photo was taken with a flash and the one below without so you figure the rug looks somewhere in between.  And, notice the shiny speck to the left of my brush stroke below?  That is the solution on top of the wool being naturally repelled by the wool.  That is why I would brush the liquid a couple times until the dollop was absorbed.
HA!  You thought you were going to see a picture of the rug tonight, didn't you.  Since I liked the results and was a little timid this first time think perhaps I might think about touching it up a bit more.  Are any of you old enough to remember the "Burma Shave" road commercials?  I recall reading signs along the road and the one that sticks in my mind is "A little dab will do ya".  Well, I think more than one dab will do me better.  Come back tomorrow for another update.


p.s.  My friend Lauren says it was the Brylcream commercials where they said "a little dab will do ya".  Thanks Lauren.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Red Bird rug with Color

One of the Red Bird of Pennsylvania patterns was purchased from Margaret.  Before drawing it out asked her if she wanted me to do dashes where the original antique had different background color and she said yes.  But once she started hooking decided she didn't want blocks of different color after all.  She also said she wanted her version to be more colorful particularly with the anticipation of spring after this winter.

Margaret is one fast hooking machine and she will probably have hers done before mine gets bound.  I did steam mine this morning so it is resting right now.  Then it will get toned down and rest some more before it eventually getting bound.

Here is the way Margaret's vision looks right now.  She said it isn't really as bright as it appears in the photo and plans to send another when she gets  more done of the border.  She also said the background is cashmere and camel hair color wool from her stash.
It is always great fun to see other people's vision of the same design.

Have a great rest of the weekend.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

So you say, It's About Time?

For those of you who are tired of recurring posts of the  antique adaptation which I've named "Red Bird of Pennsylvania" you will be pleased to see it is all hooked!!!!  The rug hasn't been steamed yet but since I've been so remiss in posting thought I'd better post a picture of something so my readers don't disappear.
Plans are to age the light and bright cream border as well as other areas of the rug so it appears more antique.  My pre-hooking attempt at mellowing the cream wool with the dye bath was a little to weak I guess.  Here is the original antique. 
Yup, a big difference in color here for sure.  There is also a difference of camera, and the picture of my rug was taken on the back deck with no flash and in the shade.  However, when I printed off a picture of the original antique my color choices seemed 'right on'.  But obviously not from the difference of photos. 

Anyway, I do plan to stain it with walnut stain after it is steamed.  In the meantime I'll pull a few more loops on the spiral chair pad.  Oh but can't wait to finish that one either!!!!!

Have a fantastic weekend.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

More Progress on Red Bird

I'm getting so excited now because this great design is getting close to being finished.  Which means it can be steamed and I'll be able to do the mindless and boring binding while in the car on the way to Woolley Fox in about 3 weeks.
Yes I've made some adaptations from the original antique but that is what we do, right?  If you scroll to past posts you can see the original antique and see that I chose to not include the gold line from the right hand berry to the teal line. 

The original hooker did a great job outlining a simplistic design of a single bird and berries to be the main focus by using a cream wool.  And her 'using what she had' for the background in different wools just adds to the fun of the rug. 

You will also notice in my rendition as well as the original antique that the cream border is wavy.  It is wider in some areas and then thins down.  When I first started hooking this design my thought was to make it the same thickness throughout.  But that is not how the original was and so I gave in.  Well, that is except for the very outside border. 

Man, I'm torn between wanting to sell this finished rug and keeping it.  I really really like how it is turning out but how many rugs can I possibly keep?

Tomorrow is to be a wonderful warm day again and hope all of my readers have a great warm Wednesday.

Thanks for visiting and PLEASE be kind to one another.


Monday, April 22, 2013


.... but which way ~ downward, upward, forward, backward?  I took two steps forward and then one back when I reverse hooked the very perimeter of the mat only to discover that maybe there was a plan for it to be that color anyway?  Well I'm not reverse hooking until I know for sure this time.

Perhaps I have made a little headway even tho areas were re-hooked.  It looks like the space is a little uneven between dark spirals on the right side so will fix that eventually.  And, I can see where the curvature of the hooking is different in places ~ some places it has a faint curve almost straight and in other areas it looks almost like a "C" shape.  Must admit that I was tempted to pull out and re hook but it is not going to be judged in a contest  or on display at a show, but will be sat on at home and placed on a stool or chair.

Here is what it looks like now.
This is what it looked like when I found it tucked under hooking supplies.
I believe that when this chair pad is finished I will have had my fill of hit and miss for a while.  Between this and the geometric I'm ready to move on to greener pastures.  Well, my Red Bird would do just fine and that is what I will work on this evening.

Have a great evening everyone.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Deux Red Bird Updates

Currently I'm flipping between the spiral hit and miss chair pad (with the emphasis on currently) and the delightful antique adaptation which I've named Red Bird of Pennsylvania.  I named it that because the auction house gave credit to PA so it was either hooked or discovered there and was hooked in the early 20th century.  This is what I've accomplished so far.  The photo was taken outside in the shade without a flash so it has natural light and oh my but you can see the color in the dark background.  All the blue, red and brown hues.
Taking pictures of rugs and dolls that I make is very frustrating.  If you take pictures inside with a flash it sometimes washes out the color or renders them bright.  Taken outside in the sun does the same thing.  If you're lucky to get a picture outside in the shade without a flash it is usually great.....usually.

Today I received an update from Karen, one of the people who purchased the pattern from me.  But since the other patterns were sold most recently, only Karen has had the time to hook and share her progress.  I think Karen has done a lot of hooking in such a short time and great color choices.  She also chose to try and replicate the original antique using 'what she has' (as I am doing).  I sure do like her colors for the berries better than mine tho.
However folks, just because Karen and I have chosen to try and replicate the original antique doesn't mean you can't use colorful yarn or wool, silk, cotton, etc.  If the design strikes you and have a different vision I'd love to post your rendition on my blog. 

Thanks for dropping by for a visit and please be kind to one another.  A smile and kindness goes a long, long way and is contagious.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Spiral Chair Pad Update

Did a little reverse hooking by removing the brown/gold along the edge and re hooked it with darks.  And also managed to pull a few extra loops.  Now that has been accomplished will sit it aside and work more on the Red Bird.
And in looking at the picture I had an 'ah ha' moment.  Maybe, just maybe I did have a reason to hook the edge in the brown/gold.  However, it is now gone and will once again have to be reverse hooked back to the old way.  You see how the dark spiral blends into the dark edge?  What the heck am I going to do/hook in that narrowing down part?

Now look at this picture that I'd saved many months ago.  Sorry I can't remember from which blog I saved it from so please let me know and I'll give you credit.
So, that was the reason for the more neutral tones I previously hooked..... duh.  See how clean and nice that one above looks?  Well now I'm frustrated but rather than set it aside for months or years guess it best that I pull out the dark loops and re hook the dang thing in the brown/gold again.  Guess I should have done my research thru old pictures before pulling out all those loops to begin with.  sigh.  Would you believe I've been hooking for all these years and managed to do yet another stupid and silly mistake?

Thanks for dropping by and be kind to one another.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oh No, Guess what I Found

While rummaging around I found another UFO which just happens to be another hit and miss.  When Karen Kahle started hers and posted it on her blog MANY months ago thought it was beautiful and decided that would be a great way to use up those woolie worms.  Well this is as far as I'd gotten.
Since I would compare my progress against her perfect specimen it definitely didn't measure up so guess that is when I lost interest.  And in looking at this picture perhaps the brown/gold perimeter is what pushed me over the edge.  So think that needs to be pull out and make it the miscellaneous darks as in the swirl.  Hmmm.... think that IS what I will do.

You can see in the picture that I re-drew the lines.  That is after I went back to her blog to read the instructions and found out how far apart she drew her swirl from the previous swirl.

Okay, so now I'm determined that since this hit and miss is much smaller than the Geo hit and miss this one will be worked on until finished.  Keep tuned for my progress.  But before the progress will come the RE-hooking of the perimeter.

OH!!!!!  On another note....  This is a message to those of you who have chosen to have a "NO REPLY" blogger e-mail.  When you write me a question I cannot answer you because you don't get the reply.   So for those of you who have asked about walnut dying I couldn't reply and I'm not ready yet do do a blog post about it.

Have a wonderful evening, thanks for visiting and please be kind to one another. 


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Little Red Bird is Back

Finally pulled the Red Bird off the Snapdragon to take a picture but part of me wanted to hook a little more until the whole bottom right section was finished.  As I've not posted anything since Saturday thought an update was long overdue. 
Frankly I need to be outside pulling weeds; however, the pollen is so bad that my throat is sore from sneezing, my eyes water and I'm miserable.  Normally I don't have this bad a reaction so guess the news folks are right in that it is the worst pollen season ever.

The temperature here in lower, slower Delaware at 4 p.m. is 82 degrees, ah lovely.  What is even nicer is that for the last several days there has been no need for the heat to kick in nor is the A/C needed........ yet.  But I have a feeling that we will go through a quick spring and straight into summer.

Hope you are enjoying spring temperatures but hope you don't suffer with allergies due to the pollen.

Thanks for dropping by.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Saying UNCLE to the Geometric

Okay, I hooked a few more blocks and really tried to like what I was doing but am crying "UNCLE".  After it was pulled off my smaller sit-upon frame for this picture it was immediately rolled up and put back in the tote from which it was retrieved. 
Perhaps when I'm between rugs and have nothing else planned  or ready, I'll pull it out again to pull more loops to fill a block.  And, could be that the design will become smaller and reduced by 1/3 it's size next time around.

So now I feel free to think about the next project while working on Red Bird.  Since seeing some pumpkins recently posted on other blogs and getting NotForgotten Farm booklets, am thinking about a cute design on my frame next.  But first think my Red Bird needs attention and will ponder the colors of the next mat.

Have a great weekend everyone.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Back to the Red Bird

Guess it is time for a Red Bird rug update as it has been a few days since the last one.  For those just checking in or not remembering the dimensions, the pattern is 18 x 35.  The original antique was 21" x 39" but that was larger than I wanted to hook so decided to make the pattern a more suitable size for me.  Contact me if you wish to hook along or to hook later.  This is my accomplishment so far.
For sure this will be fully hooked before I leave for Woolley Fox in just a little over a month from now.  But might save the binding for the 4 hour ride from my gal pal's house (she drives my van) to Barb's in Ligonier, PA.  Since I hate binding that will be something to keep me entertained for the ride.

I did pull a few loops on the geometric today in hopes of posting that update......  But since I didn't manage to get one complete block hooked today, just maybe that will happen tomorrow .

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, April 11, 2013


I always love getting goodies in the mail even when it is something I've ordered and expecting.  It is the anticipation of getting pleasant mail rather than bills and looking for the next hooking project.  Last week I placed an order to NotForgotten Farm's etsy shop and picked up two great booklets that I'd some how missed previously.  This was my nice mail today, not only the two booklets on the left but a great unexpected gift too.
The unexpected NotForgotten Farm Sheep logo tote made my mail even more special.  Oh, that booklet on the right side I already had so have no idea how the other two published in 2010 got past me.  Thanks for the tote Lori!

It is yard work weather again and am trying to prep my yard for grass cutting so today raked up another huge amount of pine cones and debris from my yard in yet another area.  Unfortunately yard work is going to eat into my rug hooking enjoyment. 

There was a time when it was great fun to pull weeds, plant flowers, do the mulching and cut grass.  Hmm, not so much fun anymore when it is me who has to do it all.  Would be fun to delegate some of that work out ...fun for me that is.

Tomorrow I plan to give an updated picture of either the geometric or the Red Bird of Pennsylvania.  Loops have been pulled on the Red Bird but no more loops pulled on the geometric since last posted.  Guess I've got to get my act together.

Today the temps hit 92 degrees and higher than usual for this time of year.  Tonight we will have storms come thru and even our first thunderstorm as I hear from the weathermen.  Must admit it has been nice to not have heat or the A/C..... YET.

Have a good evening everyone.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Red Bird of Pennsylvania

After taking a break from Red Bird to pay homage to my long suffering geometric (which posted yesterday) thought I'd show an updated picture of the progress on Red Bird. 
There are still issues I have with it ~ It needs a tea or walnut calming of the cream and will have to compare it to the original antique but think I've too much dark background in the upper left between the berries. 

Today I spent part of my day with this glorious weather, waiting INSIDE a building for a repair on my van.  It needs to be in ship shape before I go to Woolley Fox next month. 

Since my patience level is at ZERO thought it best to take something to keep me occupied during the wait.  All my rugs have been bound so had none to work on..... both the Red Bird and geometric with all the wool and frame would be too much to haul.  SO.... I started a needle punch project.  Eventually I'll share it with you but think it will be one of those projects easy to carry to doctor appointments when you sit for an hour past your appointment time.

It has been such a long time since doing needle punch that I had to read the instructions on how to thread the dang needle.  But it kept me entertained and the time flew by.  And so did my money when I saw the cost of repair for sway bar links and bushings.

Have a good evening.


Monday, April 8, 2013


Oh but it feels so good to finish two blocks of this sorely ignored UFO and feel like I've redeemed myself in some way.  Red Bird didn't get anything hooked today but at least those two unfinished blocks on the geometric are complete now.
When I first started this rug figured it a fantastic way to use up worms and I'd just reach my hand in and pull out colors and hook.  Easy peasy, right?  Nope; not as easy as I thought it was going to be. 

One block starting out is not a problem..... you choose compatible colors to be side by side.  But then the next color inside the block needs to not only compliment the one beside it but you need to choose a light, a bright, a dark and a dull to pull the block all together.

So then the NEXT block you don't want to replicate what you just did with the one you hooked so you toss those worms around until they get in a knotted mess and lose interest and put it away for a few years.  Or at least that is what I did.

But now I'm determined to work on this and not place it 'out of sight' instead will work on it until it is done sometime in 2015, har de har har.

Have a great evening everyone.  Cannot believe the temperatures reached close to 80 degrees today.  Guess we are going from winter to an almost spring and summer.  Hey, as long as I don't have to purchase propane for emergency heat until close to next winter that is a good thing.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Skeleton's in My Closet

I think everyone has them and thought that I only had one but found two.  I'm talking first about UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) but the other was a gaggle of more woollie worms.  And just when I thought my woollie worm explosion had been reduced to color.

My readers already know what main rug I'm working on along with Karen (Red Bird), but thought I'd retrieve the last of my UFOs and work on that an hour or so now and then.  You notice how non-committal I am about JUST how much time I'll spend on it.  Last time it was pulled out think I hooked just one strip of wool and put it back.  Here is the last of the UFOs (at this time in my life).
This is a very old geometric style rug design and originally thought it would be a fantastic way to use up my worms.  It is a geometric that could be hooked to look like the grandma's afghan in the process.   I'm not sure why I lose interest; maybe I'm just not fond of hooking geometrics.  Just love them when looking at geometrics at rug shows but personally find them boring to hook.  That one exception was the Sincerely Jane Challenge rug.  Now THAT was FUN.  But then each square was different; you can see mine below.  

For those of you just tuning in, the story about how the challenge came about from an antique quilt done by Jane Stickle from the 1800s is in Rug Hooking Magazine, the Nov/Dec 2012 issue.  There are also pictures of the rugs each of us hooked displayed in the magazine.
And now for that other skeleton...... that one would be this huge tote full of woolie worms which was what I saw under the UFO.    OY!!!!
Guilt has me wanting to finish the UFO rug AND reduce this rat's nest of worms in the process.  Have a wonderful Sunday evening and hope the next week is perfect for you in every way.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Another Version of Red Bird

After the hooking introduction of Red Bird on  my blog, Karen wrote to say she wanted to purchase the pattern and follow along.  Talk about a fast hooker, I dare say that she will finish hers before I do.

Clearly Karen's choice of background brown was a better mine.  I also like the berry color differences in her rug.  Here is Karen's accomplishments and said she'd have another picture for me to share with you next week.  Uh, wonder if she will have it done by then?
This is what I've hooked so far.  Believe it or not there really is a slight difference in the wool used for my berries but I like Karen's variances.  But nope, not pulling out what I already hooked.  However, I just may pick additional wool for the other berries.
And this is what the original antique rug looks like for those of you just beginning to read the blog.  Karen nailed those other berry colors.
It is supposed to be a great weekend and the yard is in need to work so perhaps that is where my energy will be focused.  Also the curtains, windows, sills, just everything is yelling at me for help. sigh.........

Have a great weekend how ever you choose to spend it.  Thanks for visiting.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Antique Adaptation Red Bird

Finally back to hooking after having bound Big Dog ~ just hate that binding part of hooking but it comes with the job.  A few messages ago I posted a picture of my attempt to make the edges look old and worn but it didn't seem to float my boat.  So I took that binding time to think about and look at the rug.  Finally decided to pull out the questionable aging look and put in the regular cream color.   Here it is as of today.
Obviously I'll need to get out my black walnut dye or tea stain once it is hooked and apply it to tone some areas down a little.    No way can I hook to give the mellow loved and worn appearance of an antique. 
For any of you just now joining my blog this is the original antique that I am attempting to replicate. And if you look further back at previous posts will see what I tried to give the worn look at the top left side of the rug.  But I didn't think it would work.
It was hooked and/or located in Pennsylvania and the auction house suggested it was hooked in the early 20th century with cotton and wool.  I have named it Red Bird of Pennsylvania to credit that state for the find.
Have a good evening.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Big Dog Hollow all Bound

Oh but it does feel good to completely finish a rug.  And I hate binding but once done there is a sense of accomplishment and relief.  At one time think I had 3 rugs to bind and was hooking yet another and it drove me crazy seeing those rugs laying in the wings.  Here is Big Dog Hollow all done, again thanks for initiating the swap Kathy.
A few posts ago I showed how I prepared the foundation before rolling it forward.  The next thing I do is do a stay stitch (whip) it in position using a heavy thread.  Doing it this way might seem like double work but it goes more smoothly for me rather than rolling and holding the roll while it is being whipped with wool. 
I am using a different wool yarn than I've used before.  Previously I've used Halcyon bulky yarn to whip rugs and asked my friend Evelyn what kind of wool she used.  She provided the name of elann to me and their wool yarn is a lot cheaper.  As you can see from the label I used Highland Bulky.
The finished rug measures 27" x 33 1/2" and took just a smidgen less than one skein of wool to whip the rug using doubled yarn.  The skein measures 54.5 yards (50 metres).

So now I can finally hook on the Red Bird of Pennsylvania antique adaptation without guilt.  I've missed these last couple days of non hooking so perhaps tomorrow I'll have a little progress to show you on my Red Bird.

Have a wonderful evening.


Monday, April 1, 2013


Happy April 1st.... otherwise known as April Fool's Day.  Well Cathy of Orange Sink drew me in just like they did to me when I worked.  Guess I'm a really gullible type personality.  That was fun Cathy.

This is my April quilt piece that was stitched in anticipation of the building of this house which was completed 1997.  At first I wasn't sure if these 12 month sections would make their way to a quilt of if I'd do individual finished squares for the sofa table.  As you can see they never made the quilt and this one didn't get finished either.  But it is still fun to pull out a new piece to celebrate the arrival of a new month.
There were 12 designs by Indygo Junction and some of the designs would even look cute hooked ~ which I've thought about.

No more hooking has been done on the Red Bird of Pennsylvania and I'm slowly wool yarn whipping the edge of the Big Dog Hollow.  I'd forgotten how laborious it is to whip with wool yarn.  So perhaps next time I finish a rug I'll do that wonderful wool covered cording again.  That makes such a lovely look and think it goes a whole lot faster too.

Have a great evening everyone, and please be kind to one another.... I think kindness just might be contagious.