Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Love Packages ! ! !

Oh boy, did I have a fun mail delivery, I received my partner's Spring Swap mat today.  This has been a very fun event and the second of four that is a part of the Sensational Seasonal Swap which I joined on  For those of you who have been reading my blog you already read about the winter swap as I posted a picture of the snowman mat I hooked.
This is the great mat my partner sent me.  Along with the great wools, and the spun yarn which she used in the sheep which is pulling the wagon of flowers.  And, hey, check out those wool covered magnets.  I can use them to put on my linen to hold my scissors but decided to put them on my fridge door so I can see them whenever I walk by or open the door.    Thank you Barbara!!!!!!!  I love it all.

This is the mat that my partner received from me.  I also sent along some wools and chocolate to her.

I've already planned my Summer Swap piece but don't know yet who my partner is.  The wonderful Jo-Anne on the group takes precious time out of her day to host these various swaps.  She hosts 'ugly wool' swaps where it travels around to the locations of the participants where someone takes out something and puts something in return; then it is off to the next recipient.  But if you think about it, there's NO ugly wool. Yet, for someone who likes only brights a drab dark might be an ugly.  So bet'cha that dark drab wool would be my favorite since I like primitive.

Oh, it was also Jo-Anne who started the Sincerely Jane Challenge.  She is one enthusiastic rug hooker and does a lot on the group to keep us an active group, focused, interested and challenged.  So whether you just read, participate, post, or whatever, here is the link to join.  But please be sure to read the messages on the home page.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tweaking Patterns

Have you ever seen patterns that you are really attracted to yet to your personal taste there is something you'd like to change?  Not that the pattern designer didn't have a good design because otherwise you wouldn't be attracted to it in the first place.  That is how it was with me for a couple patterns I purchased.  

I hooked this great design by Wendy Miller of The Red Saltbox but tweaked the rug so that it would suit me.  It is called Flying Trio; now don't misunderstand, I was not making the changes so that I could call the design mine ~ I was only changing it so that it was more in tune with my tastes.  

This is what the original design looked like that I was attracted to.  Wendy has some fantastic designs and would eventually like to hook more of her whimsical rugs.  Check out her patterns at:

Obviously you can see that I changed the border, including making the border wider.  Wendy provided a lot of excess margin which was wonderful and made the enlarging of the border quite easy.  I liked the wavy line thru the border which plays off the flow of the string the angel has attached to the star and added more stars in the border.  And I changed the size and shape of the angel's wings as well as changing the direction of the flying bird's legs to indicate they were flowing behind him in flight.

Another rug design that I tweaked was one called Crow Sampler by Ali Strebel Designs for Kindred Spirits  This is the way the design was originally hooked.  Now you just gotta LOVE those primitive and whimsical crows; I knew that I liked the design....but.

And this is the way I hooked mine and the change is obvious.  Again there was adequate excess linen for me to play with the widening of the design so that I could do the border all the way around.  It seemed a little off to me to have it framed only halfway around the rug.   Yeah, it is a sampler after all, I get that, but it had to please me so I fiddled around with it and more than pleased with the way it turned out.

So, don't hesitate to purchase a pattern if there is something that draws you to the initial design because you could always take creative license to make the design something you'll be happy living with even more.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Magdalena's Dog Rug and Oscar Party

Here is how my rug is looking right now.  I didn't get much hooking in yesterday as I was busy finishing up the assembly of two eye glass cases, making some repairs to a party dress, and generally didn't accomplish much because my friends were picking me up at 6.  Why does it take me so long to do things now days?  Sheesh.

So yes, I went to an Oscar Party..... not THE Oscar party, but one in town hosted by a good friend of mine.  

This is Jon, the host (notice the red carpet??)  This dress is ancient.  I purchased it for a trip when I went to Iceland to see a friend around 1995.  The dress had been in my attic since then and the elasticity had stretched due to the summer heat all those years since having been in the attic since 1997 when I moved here.  I was amazed that I could still fit in that thang.  And NO, I did not have a wardrobe malfunction, everything was snug as a bug in a rug.

Jon's jacket is a Top Chef jacket and he really is an accomplished great cook and bartender.  Snacks and drinks were wonderful.  Actually I met Jon and my gal pals (below) at wine tasting Friday night a few years ago.  Anyway, I had never had a Buttered Martini until last night and while I don't usually drink hard liquor had to try it.  My drink of choice is vino.

Jon goes all out for this party and gives all his guests a CD with music from movies up for an Oscar.   Jon has an extensive collection of autographed pictures of movie stars in his home on display all the time.  But for party night he pulls out all kinds of Oscar memorabilia.   It is also buys Oscar posters and has all his guests sign them the year of the party, then he has it framed.  Oh, Jon also does an all out Halloween party and everyone must go costumed.  

These are my friends Karla and Paula who live a few miles from me so picked me up along the way.  As mentioned, I met them at wine tasting as well.... and me who had to be coerced in attending even the first wine tasting; now it is my weekly social event.
This is my second year going to Jon's Oscar Party; missed last year so it was 2010 when I went and was so excited about it decided to dress outrageously.  My plans were to be the aging actress who was making a comeback movie.  I had this gaudy gold lame' dress, wore rhinestone jewelery.  That year my gal pals followed suit and one dressed as a French Director of my movie, complete with beret while the other slicked her hair back dressed in a suit and tie and was to be my escort to the Oscars.  Again, it was a lot of fun so felt as tho I had to get dressed up again this year.

Here is a picture of the Oscar on display which is like a pinata but serves the purpose as a an Oscar for this special annual event.

Notice some of the wine and the name.  The one with the white label is Frances Ford Coppola's Director's Cut and was a good Cab.  I brought him the other bottle of Frances Ford Coppola Cab as a house gift.

And, sorry the picture is on it's side.  For some reason when I tilt my camera to take a picture, even tho I do the rotation thing thru the Paint program and save it, the dang thing reverts back to the way the shot was taken.  

Not sure how long the party lasted but the gals had to go to work today so we left at 9 p.m. and I came home and walked my boy Ben then hit the sack.  But here are some who were no way ready to leave yet.  These are just the ones in the kitchen area and there was a room full of people watching the Oscars on the big TV in the living room but it was too dark to take a picture.  I was so glad to see a husband and wife came dressed to the Oscars so that I didn't feel like a dope.  But I'll bet all those other folks were a little more comfortable that I was.  

So now I'm thinking about what I should do for next year..... dress up again or go comfortable?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

American Summer

Man oh man, was Lauren right when she said this book is a 'must have'.  I received my copy in yesterday's mail and have been going thru the book over and over trying to decide what design I want to hook.  

There are 12 rug hooking patterns to enlarge including the July 4th Parade so it does include the boy pulling the dog in the wagon along with a kid on a bike and one pushing a wheelbarrow ~ oh so adorable.  There is also a mermaid pattern, a big fish, Moby Dick, a game board, lighthouse, bathing beauties, vintage swimsuit, just to name a few.

There is so much to look at that I have to keep  going thru the book to look again because it seems I see something new each time I peruse it.  The photography is wonderful with beach scenes and stores, which I think are probably in Nantucket.

Oh, there is also a section on rug hooking basics and a how to on binding.  There are are also two quilt designs and a handy dandy tote pattern.  At the back of the book there is a wonderful article about Polly's passion of helping the wounded Marines.  If you would like to learn more about this program and how it helps families, check out

All I can say is you better hurry and get your copy before they are all gone.  Here is a link to contact Polly for your copy.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Polly Minick Designs I've Hooked

While awaiting Polly Minick's new book I thought I'd post a few pictures of things I've hooked from her designs.  She thought she'd put it in the mail to me but when I opened the package it was other stuff she meant to send as well, but forgot to put the book in.  It is in the mail now and am anxious to see which of her designs are in this one.  I'm pretty sure I can guess tho....... sailboat, flags in sand pail, flags in water can, vintage swimsuit, maybe an oar, lighthouse?  

I just adore this rug of the boy pulling the dog in a wagon...Oh, maybe that is in the book too, or perhaps her larger version Fourth of July Parade.

This one was the first of her designs I hooked as part of her Semper Fi endeavor. That is where the proceeds of kits sold was donated to the Wounded Marine Foundation, for those of you who may not know Polly is very passionate about making contributions to the wounded military foundation Semper Fi.

I liked hooking this sand pail rug as well and think it was the following year's Semper Fi offering.  Her last of series of four designs last year I didn't hook tho.... I loved them all and particularly want to hook the vintage swim suit one.  But, too many rugs too little time.

These small purses were quick and fun to do.  The evening bag was hooked with black eyelash yarn and silver yarn.  That one wasn't so much fun to hook tho.

She does a really great job on her books; Victory Girls is a nice book too with different motifs that could be adapted to various rug designs and has great vintage pictures in there.  If you would like to see her book collection you can see them offered here:

Friday, February 24, 2012


I have had several very frustrating days trying to post on my blog.  I wrote numerous messages of "it is broken" to Google Blogger and some nice guy in the UK finally walked me thru what I needed to do.  And I'm guessing it will work because at least I'm able to type this now.  

Ended up that I had to download Goggle Chrome and open that up in order to find my blog.  There has been an issue with Internet Explorer being compatible with Google Blogger.  Don't understand the mechanics or the politics of that issue all I know is I couldn't post on my blog.

Anyway, Here is an update on my Magdalena Dog rug.  I'm liking how it is turning out even tho it had a mind of it's own for a while.  I have taken a couple different shots of it because the color seems to change with the different settings.

And another shot which gives a crisper albeit washed out view.

I've a couple eye glass cases to assemble for someone so not sure if I'll get any loops pulled on him today or not, but sure hope so.

So it IS nice to be back posting.  And I'm hoping this is going to actually be my newer post since the previous done on February 19th.  Crossing my fingers here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dog Rug Update

I've hooked a little more on the Magdalena Dog rug and think I'll set it aside for a bit and work on something else ~ actually want to finish binding the candle mat I just finished.  So it will give me a chance to get away from the rug and decide if I will keep the colors I have used thus far.  Actually, for the background in the upper left I'd chosen a lighter brown blend of wools but they were much too close in value to the light dull red in the corner curve.

I have taken two pictures with two different settings; one shows too much the color mixtures throughout and the other shows too dark so thought I'd let you choose which picture you prefer.
Quite a difference in photos, eh?

My plans are to change color for the bottom part of the background but once I start hooking who knows what I'll end up with.  Frankly, this isn't how I'd intended to hook the rug as I'd planned on a softer appearance.  However, seems like it has chosen it's own destination some how.  Sorta like taking Ben out..... he walks me, not the other way around.  But then I figure it is his walk, not mine and he can follow his nose is he wants.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hooking Time

Now that my wool room is organized again and I've even vacuumed up the wool dust, I was finally able to put the Magdalena Dog on the frame and begin hooking again.  Yesterday I had full intentions of posting a picture of the rug, took a picture and then because the picture showed the flowers as more orange than red, decided to pull out loops and hook more so I'd have a little better color plan.

You would think that with all the yardage of wool I have in my stash that I'd be better at color planning.  I'm always second guessing myself and feel inadequate even when I try to do it by the color wheel.  I have a friend Shari Lutz who is a natural and everything she hooks looks wonderful and well thought out.  And frankly don't think she puts in a lot of effort out doing the color planning.  She just goes to look at her stash, grabs this and that, cuts it and away she goes.

So here is what the rug looked like yesterday.

And below are two different camera settings that I just took as they each show the rug in a different light.  And darn if it still doesn't show the flowers as more orange but believe me when I say it is red in person.  This time it is staying put.

Next photo is the other camera setting.  And I do see something I'm pulling out ~ under the dog is a blue/green row of hooking and that will come up as I want to put the neutral color there and have decided that I will add the blue/green in some quadrants of the rug.

My plans are to make it a sorta scrappy and echoing rug as Magdalena originally did but not with the color choices she made.  Normally I try to stay true to her colors but use what I have available from my stash.  This time I'm using a little more color and that is why I'm having a problem.

Oh well, if I don't like it can always pull out wool and re-hook.  And, the rug isn't all that big and could always hook another.  I say that but have never hooked the same rug twice.

Monday, February 13, 2012

WHEW..... just in the nick of time

I started the process of re-organizing my wool room early Saturday morning and just finished a few minutes ago and this is Monday late afternoon/early evening.  Frankly I could only stomach working in the room for half an hour max at a time because I was ready to give it all away and stop hooking I was so frustrated.  Welllll, maybe not give it all away.... nor would I have really stopped hooking.  But to say I was frustrated is an understatement.

Just in the nick of time because when I went to get my mail about 4:30, my bundle of joy had arrived via USPS priority.  These are very lovely wools.  Turkey Feathers I've used before and those were in the tree trunks of both my Woodland Deer and the Log Cabin rug and wanted more now in case when I want more Betsy doesn't have it.  And, if you don't presently get their flyers you should sign up to get them as the wool looks much better in person than on their web site.  Frankly, the wool looks better in person than it does in this picture I took.  So write them to get the next flyer; you can check out their web site and contact information at

I was going to pass on the Raspberry Crumb at first but it sure did look like a color that would be used nicely in the rug I'm planning to hook at Barb's in May so had to get some of that.  And just love those olde looking lights and I always need primitive dark backgrounds or animal colors.

So lookie.... lookie what I finally accomplished.  Yes, I have 3 bags of wool pieces, snippets, and crappy wool that was too loose a weave that I'm dumping.  Hey, had to get wool on shelves some how.  See, I told you there was a wonderful ice cream parlor table and chairs under that heap of wool.  The top is white marble and I've vintage hooked chair pads on the chairs which I picked up at the thrift shop in town.

And I also measured and pinned the dimensions of serged excess linens and placed on my quilt hanger.  When I get pattern orders there is usually always some excess linen and if it isn't serged then it will fray.  And having the dimensions pinned to it makes it a lot easier to locate an appropriate piece of linen when I get another pattern order.  That way there is no waste and I can use up what is already cut and serged.  Plus I use a lot of this excess for my own use.

My serger is in the background, but here is my nice clean table which is used to draw patterns, cut wool and color plan.  Then when I get back from camp the chaos begins all over again.  If ONLY I would keep things straight and put things back immediately.  sigh.....  guess it is a sickness.

And here are the other shelves which are more or less organized.  Well at least I can see my floor and the tables are clean.

Uh and this one I think I forgot to show you.  So this is yet ANOTHER shelf full of wool and these are mostly my darks.  Sheesh, makes you wonder how many dark background rugs I have planned ~ I mean??????? 

So my new wool is being washed as I write this.  And, you ask..... where the hell am I going to put it?  I haven't a clue either.  Guess I'll have to purge something.  Oh, and these shelves in my wool room ~ ~ I haven't shown you the attic wool.  I know, I know.  That needs to be cleaned out too since those are mostly flat colored clothing that I started to collect to build up my stash.   Uh, the stash I never thought I'd ever get since I had no wool when I became a hooker.  OMG.!  I am an addict... a wool hoarder.  Think that I need therapy! ! ! !  I'm not buying another yard of wool as long as I live. However, sadly I'll probably be holding my breath until the next Betsy flyer comes in the mail. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wool Room Chaos

Oh my gawd!  I've ordered some delicious wool from Betsy ~ uh, like a moving van full.  Well, okay 9 yards. And frankly they were so beautiful that I wanted to buy more wool than I did.

Okay, so then it was time to re-organize my wool room, straighten the stacks, put like wool together from the wool that I'd taken to camps and put back with the bulk on the shelves.  And when pulling out wool from the middle of the stack the wool oozes out, hangs down.... you get the picture I'm sure.  Which meant that before my wool arrives I needed to reorganize my stash.  STASH?  My room looks like a hooking shop.  I do not ever need to buy wool again as long as I live (Betsy and Erica, I've been known to say this before, so I lie). 

Isn't this pretty?  Well at least it is starting to be pretty.  Wait til you see the other pictures.  Ya see the mesh tote sitting askew?  That is the wool which is left over from the class with Lucille Festa this past November, which still needs to be put away.  And, under that mess is a wonderful antique ice cream parlor table and chairs but you can't see it because of all the mess.

So then pulling off wool from the shelves and dumping on the floor just made for even more of a mess than I had in the beginning.  I should have taken a before picture before I started putting wool on the floor.  But now I'm overwhelmed.  Sure wish I'd started this clean up BEFORE buying these additional beautiful 9 yards of wool.

Okay.... Courtney is supposed to be dying this week she is off.  So I'm thinking that I should take some of the this and that's odd pieces and dye too.... IF there should be a color I need (NEED???? am I crazy??) then I'll dye it.  God knows I've enough wool to play with and put in dye pots.

I have a very nice table on which to cut wool or draw out a pattern.  Frankly, I have a very nice wool room but it is in total chaos.  Here is a picture when my room was more organized.  Isn't it pretty?

But this is the way it looks right now.

Okay, think I'm done for the night because I cannot stand the chaos any longer.  And poor Ben wanted his mommy with him so he came up to lay on the mounds of wool and he makes a big heap to walk around.  So I'll continue tomorrow during his nap time so I won't be missed.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Magdalena Dog

I've not really made a lot of headway with my new project but I am savoring every loop I pull.  Plus, I'm in no hurry to finish it as there is no deadline.  Well, I say in no hurry ~ but I wanted to hurry and hook at least some flowers before I posted a picture so it would look like there was progress.  Yet, since life gets in the way ( you know the boring stuff like vacuuming up wool dust, dog hair, laundry.... yawn...) then I didn't get as much accomplished as I'd hoped. 

I'm still working thru what wools to use on what I have here (uh, like I don't have enough to choose from).  For this Magdalena I'm not going to try and emulate what she did for her original.  I did try to keep close colors to her other three rugs I hooked. 

However, I am trying to make the rug look old and like it was hooked using wools that 'She' had.  Heck, all women like Magdalena used whatever they had.... they had to use it up, make do or do without.  Just love the areas of change of color in the body of her animals and this dog. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Starting something New

Moving on to newer grounds.  Well, Magdalena Briner rugs really aren't a new project for me since I've got at least 3 under my belt.  But am getting ready to hook this beauty now.  This is the original by Magdalena but I'm not doing the original size of 36 x 45.  I'll hook a much smaller and quicker to hook piece. I've been wanting to hook this design for quite a while since seeing the smaller version that Barb hooked in Ligonier.

Meanwhile, I've still a couple rugs to bind and am soaking black binding tape to bleed out the black dye now so it doesn't happen to the rugs should they get wet.  It is amazing how much dye comes out of just a warm soapy soak.

And tried so hard to work on a rug that I'd started about 3 years ago and ended up hating pulling loops.  HUH?  Me?  Hating pulling loops?  I liked the design, I didnt' like the wool I was using.  Yeah, I was using some undesirable wool, thinking that placed here and there it would not be noticed.  HA!  It looked like hell.

So for now I've stuck the wool and pattern aside and will pull out all the wool around the undesirable wool and put it away for some time until ready to tackle it again and with all good wool.  So it just doesn't pay to use crappy wool even tho you like the color, as it just doesn't position right and I wasn't happy.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Avocado Pit and Onion Skin Dying Results

Last time I leached out color from the avocado pits I did it over several days.  I'd bring the quartered pits and skins to a boil and then turn the pot off but let the pot remain on the burner at room temperature.  This went on for a few days to be sure that I got a lot of color.  This time I didn't do that ~ I brought the pits to a boil then turn it to simmer until I was ready to dye.  I put both cups in the pot of water with the wool but saw no change in color hardly.  So, I put all the pits and skins in the pot of water in the hopes to get more color.

And with the onion skin juice I'd retrieved from my freezer, put the two cups in the other pot of wool.  Again, perhaps I had too much wool and while this pot was producing more color than the avocado pits, it still wasn't dark enough for my liking.  So, decided to use the onion skins I'd been collecting and go for broke.

These onion skins I just saved from cooking.  But the first time I did the onion skin dying I asked if I could clean out the onion bin at the local store and they were happy to have a free cleaner-upper and I went home with a couple shopping bags full of all kinds of onion skins for free.

Here is a picture of the results.  The top row of wool is what I achieved from my dye project of several months ago using avocado pits and using alum as the mordant.  The bottom row of wool is what occurred from this project.  The first piece of wool on the first and second row is the very same wool; top was from previous dye job and the bottom row is yesterday's dye job.
The following picture shows the top row using avocado dye and the bottom row is using onion skins.  The checked piece of wool on the top row is the very same wool as the one below it and you can see the difference in color.  Same thing for wool #2 on bottom row and the one above; ditto with the orange plaid wool next to last.

You can see the onion skins do a great job of dying and I shall not bother saving avocado pits any longer as it isn't worth the trouble.  However, it was fun to experiment.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Avocado and Onion Skin Dying

A few months ago I experimented with avocado dying and used alum as the mordant.  That is what was recommended in the information I'd read.  This time I'm going to use vinegar to set the color instead of alum and see what, if any difference there is.  And recently on Rughookers Yahoo group there was some chatter and questions about onion skin dying.  So I thought I'd do another experiment and post this link on Rughookers for interested readers to check out.

Of course today's avocado experiment has the variable on how strong the liquid was that I used before and how much wool for the uptake of the color.  However, it is always nice to have different values of the same color so it will be fun to do the dyeing again.

I've gathered a sampling of reclaimed wool, wool that needs a little color boost and some of the same wool previously used in the other avocado dye project for comparison.

Here is some wool that will be used for the avocado dye pot. Bits and pieces of this and that and wanted to see how it might tone down the bright yellow.  The 4th piece from the left is just like what I used for the avocado before.

This is wool that will go in the onion skin dye pot.  Since the dyes look sorta similar in color inside the measuring cup, thought it might be fun to see the difference in the results from like pieces of wool.

This picture blow shows the avocado liquid on the left, which was achieved by cooking a collection of avocado seeds (with skins) which I halved or quartered in a pot of water.  On the right is some onion skin liquid that I pulled out of my freezer from juice saved from a previous simmering of skins which I put in a nylon stocking.
These are 2 cup measuring cups and will start out using just one cup until I see the results and will add more to each pot as I see fit.  I will post a picture of the results when the dying is done.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February.... Really?

First of all, where has the time gone?  I'm not talking just about this past year, I'm talking about the last 15 years!!  When my ex and I were having this house built back in 1997, I started making cute individual applique pieces to put on a sofa table at the foyer to welcome guests and made one for each month of the year.  And so that the date would forever be remembered I embroidered the year of the birth of the house on each of my pieces. Oh dang, this was folded up in a drawer and the line you see isn't soil, it is a shadow from the fold.  These 12 designs are the art work of Sarah Sporrer.

Thankfully it has been a very mild winter this year as the last two winters were horrific here in Delaware.  But must admit these warm temps in January and February have my flora rather confused.  Here is one flower which was in full bloom the end of January but was closed up this morning when it was drizzling and overcast outside.  And of course there is a group of dead tree leaves with grass popping thru but for me it is a little too early to go weeding and mulching.

And of course the daffodils are wanting desperately to pop out in bloom; you can see the yellow tops ensconced and protected from the cold until time to unfold.

I'm between hooking projects with two rugs which now need to be bound.  Since binding isn't my favorite thing to do I'm pulling out UFOs.   While I really have no interest in hooking them it is something to do while I decide the next project.  At least it will make a little headway toward a completion (I hope) and can suffer thru to get a few more loops pulled.