Thursday, March 31, 2011

Magdalena Eagle rug

Magdalena's Eagle rug has been hooked for a while but since I'm not fond of binding rugs (I'd rather hook'em) it sat around rolled up for a while.  Finally I couldn't avoid the inevitable since I've gal pals coming here in April for a hook-in so figured I'd better bite the bullet and bind it.

The original Magdalena Eagle rug measured 30" x 42 1/2" and mine is a tad short measuring in at 27" x 39 1/2".  And it does require some fudging when it comes time to hook if trying to stay fairly true to her color scheme.  While I did a lot of hooking in #8.5 there were some areas where I had to reduce the size to #7 so I could wedge the colors in.  But then I'm sure Magdalena used various cuts and used what he had.

I will put a label on the back of this rug, just as I did my Domestic Zoo and the Dog and Birds, indicating the original size and the size of the reproduction.  That way people will not be mistaken that the rug is the same as the original hooked by Magdalena. 

The picture of the rug shows up as lighter and sorta washed out whereas in person it is darker.  But with the walking on the rugs after they are displayed, that will mellow these great pieces just fine. 

Perhaps I'll take a break from Magdalena rugs for a while.  My intentions were to have 3 Magdalena rugs in one particular room in the house.  I haven't put the other two out yet because I wanted them to age at the same rate.  And, even now that the Eagle is bound won't put it out because it will go for a show-n-tell at Cape May in September. I have a dog and don't want dog hair all over it before I take it to the rug show. So all 3 of them will have their grandstand showing in my home when I return from rug camp.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's Spring?

The calender tells us that spring has arrived, Pauxatauney Phil made his prediction, my yard is showing signs it is spring, or close to it..... but, the temperatures are below records for this time of year in Delaware.  Here you can see the periwinkle and one daffodil in this group that survived the nighttime frigid temperatures of late.

I'm waiting for bird activity in my many birdhouses which I have spread around this woodland wonderland.  I've even tried to entice birds with a little painting of an ivy around the front of this one... no takers yet.  But then this is too far from my house to watch the activity while hooking.  So it could be there will be occupants there soon.

I do not know how many birdhouses I have in my yard but know there are many and my many bird feeders keep me busy.  My register receipts can testify to the fact that I have many birds calling for the black oil sunflower seeds that I willingly provide sustenance for.  Oh, and let us not forget the squirrels who take more than their fair share.

I can see a birdhouse which needs repair, but perhaps the future resident will like it's modern entry and exit design.  Sure will make it easier for the little ones to learn to fly out rather than up and out.

And then I like this bird house.  I used to have an unrepairable cuckoo clock in the center of that heart but that finally disintegrated after several years so put this birdhouse for a new occupant with spacial living accommodations.

And of course spring would not be spring without the pollen spread by bumble bees.  Here is a cloth bumblebee I made (you can see it on my web site) and it is carrying it's own bee skep with Sweet Annie to help pollenate my big woodland wonderland.

OH!  That green birdhouse in the above picture with the vintage door knob was purchased at Cape May, NJ and was made with pieces of the Chalefont Hotel.  I attend rug camp each September at the Chalefont hotel so this is a wonderful reminder of my time there.  Each day when I look at it brings back fond memories of hooking with my pals and walking the beach.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rugs can get facelifts too

Have you ever hooked a rug and it bugs you every time you walk by it because you know it needs something done to it to make it better?  But, since the rug has been hooked and walked on for years and you have new things to hook you just don't bother doing anything about it?  Well that has happened to me.

This is a pattern by Karen Kahle which I loved and since I was sold by the colors she had in the pattern I tried to hook fairly close to her color palate, that plus the fact I was still timid in doing my own color planning and figured why not just follow her
colors.  So here is how I hooked it and I was happy...... for a while.  As you can see the value in the background and border are too close.  The rug really needed a beauty line or dividing line between the border and the background.  But hey, it was done and I'd moved on to many other rugs and had more patterns on the frames.

But then I realized I'd never be truly happy unless I put that line in.  So I got some #6 wool strips and cornrowed a green that would work between the border and background.  Voila.... mama was happy.  Well, at least happier.

Actually there still is something I'd like to change in the rug but not sure that will be done.  I'd like to change the color of the white rabbit and would make it a little darker, not as dark as the rabbit to the left nor quite as dark as the background so it gets lost.  Hmm, come to think of it maybe it is okay like this after all.

And, the photos were taken with two different cameras, as well as one being on my back porch in natural light and one inside the house with a flash.  So there is a difference in photo color presentation as well.

Now, I have another rug which was hooked in 2005 which needs a similar face lift and perhaps one day I'll take care of that one too.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Since I do mostly wide cut hooking my favorite type of backing to use is primitive natural linen.  I have used burlap, monks cloth, hairless linen and rug warp. 

Burlap is not a favorite of mine because it is scratchy and too brittle for my liking.

Even tho it is soft, I do not like hairless linen because when I've purchased yardage of it and went to pull a thread to cut on the straight of grain the thread kept pulling apart and I chased down that same thread all across the width of the linen.   And that was not a random event because it occurred every time I pulled a thread from either direction anywhere on the yardage.  So I figured that if the fibers were so weak to tease easily apart then I did not want my hard work to go into a rug for the floor which would disintegrate before my eyes.  I still have some left and will only use it for mats and something which will not get much use.

Monks cloth I don't like for a couple reasons.  For one, my hook would aways get caught between the small threads that make up the weave and then I'd have to pull the hook out and cautiously insert hook again.  Another issue is the cotton seems to stretch to much for me, I find myself packing too tighly and the rug won't lay flat; so didn't go back to using that either.

I have used rug warp and liked it....not as much as linen, but I really don't have anything bad to say about it.  I hear all the time that rug warp is for fine cut; and so it may be, but I have successfully used an #8 cut to hook the rug you see below.  Sorry I didn't take a picture inside before I sold it because it looks all washed out in the natural sunlight on my back deck.

So I know from personal experience that rug warp can be used with an #8 cut.  Now, I use a Hartman hook which has a nice thick shank which aids in pulling wider loops thru backing easier.  So perhaps the hook is part of the key to sucess.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Black Binding dye results

This is the small amount of wool I used in this experiment.  It probably amounts to 1/4 yard all together. 

Well I'm rather surprised by the results.    I can see a definite change in the tan pieces I dyed and minor results in the piece I was sure would absorb more of the dye. 

For the heck of it I went in search to see if I had any more of the grey tweed wool so I could definitely see if there had been a change.  And there had been.  But strange that even in this picture it looks different than the shot above.  Maybe this is the reverse side of the piece above, dunno.  But the piece of wool did absorb some of the dye and it does have a purple cast to it.

But hey, it was available color without having to buy dye.  I suspect that if I had washed a larger quantity of black binding there would have been more dye to absorb but I only rinsed what I needed for the next two things I need to bind.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Black Binding Tape

Soon I'll be binding another chair pad as well as my Magdalena Eagle rug (finally).  For those of you who read my previous posting about binding a round chair pad, you may recall that I mentioned that I had not washed the binding tape which, had I done so would have make it lay more smoothly when I gathered the inside edge. 

Frankly, I'm guilty of not washing the black binding anyway, particularly when I have a primitive black background or border.  Even tho I know that if the rug got wet it would bleed I still didn't when there was the primitive black border. 

So since my Magdalena Eagle rug isn't primitive black around the perimeter and since I am soon going to bind another round piece I decided to soak a length of black binding in just regular warm water. 

As you can see my black binding is still black and it is somewhat softer and will gather more nicely on my round piece when I gather it to fit.

And, just look at what leached out of that binding in only about 10 minutes.  Imagine what damage it would have done to my lighter wool in the rug had it gotten wet.

Later today I plan to find a small piece of wool to put in that dye pot as I can always use more primitive black.  It will be interesting to see what I end up with because this dye has a purplish cast to it.  So the wool probably won't come out as black but rather purple grey.  So I'll decide what wools to pick and perhaps will pick a couple just to see what turns what color.  Should be another interesting dyeing without dye project.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Snippet Dyeing Results

Yesterday after I'd put the off-white wool sprinkled with snippets in to soak I pulled out another piece of wool but chose a pink piece of wool.  This one I filled with longer pieces of wool strips, yarn and more lavender.

Here is again, a picture of the off-white piece of wool I sprinkled with snippets in yesterday's picture. 

And below you can see that the bleeding of the red family wools have influenced the results of the white piece of wool which is on the right side.  That piece also had more orange, gold and salmon colored snippets.  I was surprised that the lavender placed on the pink piece of wool didn't make much of a showing.  But then you just don't know what is going to be a great bleeder until you try it.

And when I flipped those two pieces of wool over it is obvious to the eye that the part of the wool on the bottom was that part which was exposed in the pot and has a more even dye effect.  You can also see where the tied sections were.

This was fun to do again and will make adding pieces of this into a flower more interesting. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dyeing with Snippets

Previously, Linda asked me if I'd ever dyed using snippets and it has been quite a while so thought I'd do it again to demonstrate the results.  Here you can see that I have a small piece of off-white wool and it looks like a wool pizza sprinkled with various colors of snippets.

I then rolled it up just as I'd done when I did the marbleized wool. 

To add more color to the exposed wool I tied it with various colors of wool strips which will also bleed onto the wool.  After I post this I will go do another piece of wool but this time will use a colored piece as the base and sprinkle it with various colors.  I'm sure the colored piece of wool will be much more desirable to hook as flowers but just wanted to demonstrate the difference. Right now the roll that I have pictured is soaking and will soon add the colored piece of wool in the same pot.  Check back to see the results.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sincerely Jane makes an appearance

Yikes, this blog thing is a real commitment and feel like I'm not living up to my end by providing a learning experience to newbies or information to oldies like me.  I've been busy, life happens and now that warm weather is upon us (which is a GOOD thing) it also requires grass cutting and other extra curricular activities other than hooking and dyeing.

I have hooked the first row of my design and think the rest will be a lot more of a challenge.  I'll want to use some of the same colors but won't want them next to one another, nor will I want them in the very next row.  I've tried to keep the colors in a medium value and not brights yet.  But now don't think it would be a good time to introduce brights since the first row is rather generic and a dull palate.

When I started this project I really did want to try and hook it as Jane did with her quilt, particularly with the light background and sashing.  Also her color palate wasn't really bright.  Yes, she has some gorgeous red calico fabrics which I was really looking forward to hooking (red) but then the other colors in her calico neutralized it a bit.  So now the work begins for me.  I'm so afraid of picking colors that won't be compatible with the colors above, below or beside the other hooked squares.  I guess that is why this is called a "CHALLENGE".

I'm sure that I'll break a few rules along the way and I just might reverse hook some colors after it is all hooked to try and make a good family with all the square's colors.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Playing in the Dye Pots

This past September I purchased a wonderful fat quarter of hand dyed wool from Kris Miller.  My intentions were to immediately come home and try to dye some using that color as my standard.  Well, life got in the way and it is now 6 months since purchasing that pretty yellow-green wool.

What lit the fire under my dye pot was my hooker friend Shari who said she was making more of a yellow-green for a rug she was working on.  So she inspired me to dust off my dye pots and finally try to duplicate the green before I weakened and used the piece up in a project.

So with about 1/3 yard of two different pieces of wool I used 1/16 t. bronze, 1/16 t. olive green and 1/32 nugget gold dye in 1 cup boiling water.  This is the pot shortly after submersing the wool.

I simmered the pot for maybe an hour until most of the dye had been absorbed and put in a heaping teaspoon of citric acid.  Then, letting the pot of water cool down on it's own for a while the wool was rinsed, spun dry and dried in low heat until dry.  While I am pleased with the final results it doesn't really match the same wonderful color of wool I purchased from Kris.

Then I realized that about 2 years ago I had pulled some wools to hook a Karen Kahle rug and just might have another variation of a similar green..... upstairs I went and pulled the basket off the shelf which has the pattern and wools selected to hook the pattern.  So while my dye job today wasn't successful in duplicating the exact same color, you can see that the wool I had coveted and was holding for a special Karen Kahle design is closer.  And thankfully when I did that dye job a few years ago I put a tag on it which tells me how I can reproduce this one again.. YIPPEE.  It is Emma Lou's #50 Brick Gold ~ I think.  har har har....... just under my note of #50 Brick Gold I have 3 question marks.  So guess I won't know what those question marks mean until I try Emma Lou's recipe once again.  But I've plenty of yellow-green to last me for a while.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sincerely Jane back on my frame

Now that my stool pad has been hooked and bound it was time for me to do a couple more blocks on my Sincerely Jane challenge rug.  I wanted so much to try and stay more close to the colors that Jane Stickle used in her quilt piece but because I randomly used designs to fit a #8 cut found it necessary to change color.

After hooking these I noticed they are all medium values and guess that is okay since I've a light value as the second color and for me to use a dark would over power the piece and to use another light value would be lost with the light value of the back and sashing.

 What I might do is reverse the same colors in the 3rd row.  So the top left color would be used in the far right square of the 3rd row.  And would choose (I think) some different and some same colors or similar colors for row two and four and reverse those too.  Well, that's my plan right now but who knows what direction I'll end up going in when the rubber meets the road.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Star Chair Pad Done

I'm finished with the chair pad, actually a stool pad for me.  Last night I even hooked another block on my Sincerely Jane challenge piece so my next posting will have a picture of my achievement.

Here is a picture of the black binding tape before it is sewn to the edge of the last row of hooking.  Cotton binding tape has a gathering thread on one side.  One edge is a little more rigid than the other and that is the side which has that gathering thread.  It requires you to do a little picking at that edge but eventually you will see a thread that if pulled will gather for you.  If you look closely you can see the thread and the gathering.

Next I hand sewed the straight edge of the binding tape close to the last row of hooking and then pulled gently on the thread so it would gather.  I carefully pushed the gathering toward the other end but no so far that it would pull the gathering thread in, thus not providing any gathering at the other end of the tape.

Here is what the back of the piece looks like after it has been hand sewn around the perimeter of the edge, but it still needs to be tacked down and steamed.

This is what it looks like steamed.  At almost the 3 o'clock and the 7 o'clock position it looks rather wavy and that is because that is primitive black hooking protruding beyond the cotton binding.  And, it goes without saying there would be an inevitable amount of puckering on the inside edge of the binding because the same amount of binding that is along the perimeter of the piece is now being forced into a smaller area.  But it is a more gentle puckering than if you were to bind it without gathering it.  And It is quite possible that had I pre-washed my stiff cotton binding there would have been a much nicer appearance to the back of the piece ~ but hey, I was in a hurry to get this baby done to put on my stool and get back to my SJ challenge piece.  Besides it is for me and no one will see the back side.

Here it is now on my computer stool.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Star Chair Pad hooked

Last night I pulled the last loop on my chair pad and steamed it before going to bed.  This morning I marked about an 1" or so around the chair pad and did two rows of straight stitch and then a row of zig zag stitch to secure the edge.

As you can see I once again am being frugal and saved half of this piece for either another chair pad or purse yet to be drawn and hooked.....waste not want not.  And then I cut around the chair pad and steamed the excess to the back of the pad.  But before I even sew my cotton binding on I just had to see how it would look on my vintage stool which I sit on when working on the other computer.

Next posting will show how I bind a round rug using cotton binding tape.  I had considered whipping the edges with wool yarn but decided that I wanted binding tape plus figured it might provide a mini-lesson to those who have never bound an oval or round piece be continued.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Star Chair Pad

I'm playing hooky from my SJ challenge piece to hook a chair pad.  This week I purchased a cool old stool for in front of the computer which holds my web site...long story on that. 

So since I've some hooker pals coming here for a friendly hook-in for a few days I wanted my antique stool to have a new dress.  The stool was perfect because my computer table (for that computer) has metal legs as does the stool.  Here is my newly adopted and functional stool.

The pattern was inspired by a Karen Kahle design which was in a former issue of Rug Hooking magazine.  I'm making mine just a bit smaller because I want some of the beautiful old wood patena to show around the perimiter of the pad.  Yeah I know, everything needs to be dusted and waxed but hooking is number one on my list for now but the cleaning will happen before my hooker pals arrive.

Hit and miss is not as easy for me as I'd like it to be.  One thing that is nice is that I'm using worms from my basket, ya gotta love that!  As you can see I've hooked some in and ripped it out; that is how it has been thru the entire short project so far. 

I've tried to get a few light but mostly medium value.  Then I look tru the value finder and see too many lights near one another or too many mediums.  And, I'm trying to put a variety of colors in the piece yet don't want a chair pad that is made up of only golds, reds, blues and greens. 

Sometimes I think the hard part is working on it because I've noticed that even when I over-thought hooking a piece I always loved it in the end anyway, even with it's flaws.  I always excuse it away with the thought that..... "that is all she (perhaps Magdalena) had, so that is what she used".

Friday, March 4, 2011

SJ Challenge update

Last night I finished the 4th block and could have easily done many more but life gets in the way plus there are 3 other projects underway at the same time.  Oops, if you consider the Magdalena Eagle rug which needs to still be bound that makes it 4. 

And as much as I love seeing the robins and hearing all the bird sounds and watching the activity at my bird feeders, that does mean spring is knocking on my door.  Yes, spring is a wonderful sight to behold after the last two winters and snow here in Delaware, but that also means sharing my hooking time with grass cutting and other yard work.

Here is my Sincerely Jane at the moment.  And I'm hoping to have more done when it is time to post my progress in the Rughookers photo section.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sincerely Jane Challenge

As Jo-Anne indicated, this project doesn't get boring because you have a different design to hook often and they do seem to go fast.  I've used #8.5 cut for the sashing and #8 for most of all the designs except for the green in those small sections.  I probably could have used #8 but decided for the small area it might work better with a #7.

I'd initially wanted to stay true to the colors that Jane used in her quilt squares for the respective design, but the 3rd block small sections were too similar in color to the color in my first block so decided to use a green.  So already I'm veering off with alternate colors.  But I am keeping true (so far) with the light staying light and color in the sections of the blocks where Jane used color.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sincerely Jane Update

I was holding my breath today as I drew the border from my math (gawd I was horrible at math in school and never got better with age) attempted to figure out the measurements for my border which I've decided to go with.  This will not be a border like the original quilt but will give the feeling of it I HOPE. 

I finished the second block today and drew my border so all is good with the world.