Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Queen of Tweak

Actually that is a title dubbed me by my (our) blog friend Kim of Glass Half Full.  While that title sounds somewhat elegant, I'm not sure it is deserving.  I'll explain why after I post this first photo.
In the picture above when hooking the flag poles thought a good color would be black since there is black in the Oriole logo, Zach's name will be black and there is black in the Redskins design so would pull it all together .  Hmm, not a good choice.  

First the black is too bold against the yellow and white flag.  Plus it makes it confusing against the checkered flag.  SOOOO, the Queen of Tweak pulled out the black poles and changed it.
Guess I'm a slow learner on color planning but am more confident in this color choice now.  

Must say that I'm not having fun hooking the checkered flag.  While I know the flag is curled under, there's no way it will look like that after I hook it.  But then..... this project isn't going to an art critic, it isn't being sent to Celebrations.  It will be a gift to my grandson who will only see the black and white checkered flag used at Nascar.  So CHILL Saundra!!!!

Do you believe tomorrow is May 1st??  Me either.  We are midway thru the year of 2016 already and I'm just 2 weeks from leaving for a delightful rug camp with magnificent Barb Carroll.  Contact her if you have a group of 5 or 6 who would like to attend a camp with her personally.  OR.... if there are only two of you tell her you're interested as there may be 3 other people who would want to attend.

I can tell you that you have never encountered a better class with anyone ever than the small class you will have with Barb.  There are many teachers I've loved and continue to take classes with.  But at large rug camps there are 12 or so students in a class.  With Barb, at her Woolley Fox retreat there are just a handful of students and we get special attention.

Have a great evening, happy Saturday!!!!


Friday, April 29, 2016

Labeling Rugs

My labels don't get printed out until I have a full page to print. One of the rugs was finished in 2015 but didn't want to waste a sheet of printable fabric with just one label.  Having printed the labels out figured it was time to start stitching them on my rugs.  

First one stitched was the Spring Challenge designed by sweet Kelley Belfast and hosted by the Out of Hand Rug Hookers group.  Since the deadline for this challenge is May 1st wanted to be certain all was accomplished.  The finished size of the rug measures 19" x 24".
For those wondering..... Most of the rug was hooked with #8.5 strips. But some narrow worms were used and for the proddy daffodils the size varied from #8 to #9.5.  Below is the label which shows the original design by sweet Kelley Belfast.  Thought the line drawing would be a nice documentation to have on the label attached.
Next to have a label was A Day in the Country, a design by Tonya Robey of Mad Hen.  It was a kit purchased a few years ago and finally hooked in November/December 2015.
The label attached has a copy of the sample rug Tonya hooked. Since I took liberties with a couple flowers thought it best to show the original hooked piece by Tonya on the back.
Next in line for a label was Flag Day Sheep.  Again I took liberties and changed it to look a little more like a design which Woolley Fox carries called Woolley Sheep.
It was only fitting that the label to the back be how the original Flag Day Sheep design looked like on the web site.
Another rug recently hooked and needing a label is Rainbow Cabin, a design by Carol Endress and offered by Woolley Fox.
This one still needs to be stitched but is just pinned in place.  The label shows a photo of the design hooked by Barb Carroll.  I've seen her hooked version in person and the photo retrieved from the web site is showing up far brighter than it really is.  
Although I've posted how to do these labels on my blog before, if you're new or wish to revisit the how to... click HERE.

For those working folk... TGIF... oh but I remember that well.  It is still rainy, dreary and after all this rain the grass will be be in dire need of cutting.  But meanwhile I'll keep on going on.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

There's A Storm Brewing

That storm isn't weather related but rather happens to be within my house. May 15th I'll be attending rug camp with the wonderful Barb Carroll at her lovely home in Ligonier, PA.  Here is a picture of me and my gal pal Deb back in 2010 at the Guest House.
Although that is still two weeks away I hate waiting until the last minute to pull wool for my rugs.  Have made that mistake before and the mess remains in my wool room even after I've left for camp.  At least this way hopefully the mess can be organized before I really pull out of the driveway.  So now the chaos begins.
The design I'm taking is Karen Kahle's "Simple Gifts".  It is a Magdalena style design so will love playing with it and am sure Barb will too.
Trying to figure out a good way to carry wool for camp isn't always easy.  The 'under the bed' containers are nice to carry pieces of yardage in of colors you know you'll use.  But that can be bulky to maneuver in a classroom.  

So I've found that putting sections of wool as large as 1/4 yard pinned to a ring is a great way to present the wool.  I'll have a ring with background color ideas, another ring for border ideas and various smaller strips in those colors I'd like for my smaller motifs.  However, I still carry that plastic container with the larger pieces in case they are needed.  They may stay in the car and can be retrieved easily if more yardage is required.

Hey guys and gals, this chaos isn't over yet.  The storm is just coming into the area.  

Have a great evening.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Are you Seeing Double??

Is something happening to your eyes? Do you see double images? That's because you are.  
In a recent post, out of the blue, realized the Orioles motif was way off kilter.  That meant re-drawing the image in another color and I chose red.  Can you imagine hooking that b**ch while seeing double?  Believe me when I say it was ...slooow going.
Most of my concentration has been on the Oriole but here is what my grandson's Favorite Sports Rug looks like now.  At least it has been started and still have 8 months until the December "C" word a friend of mine has requested I not say. 
As you can see there is a long way to go.  Next I'll finish the checkered flag then move to the 6th flag to the right.  Remember....hook what is on top first.  Otherwise, if you were to hook the flag on the bottom it would distort the shape of hooking the one on top later.  

There are no rules in rug hooking, only guidelines.  However, there are certain tried and true techniques which work best.  I've been fortunate to have learned from various teachers but also learn from experience on my own from mistakes and tweaking.  Heck, you saw a huge lesson in this rug where my first drawing was WAY OFF.    

Have a great evening.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My Boy Ben

Thanks to those of you who have inquired about my boy's health.  Here is a picture of him just after adoption and before he had a fenced in back yard.  Since it had been established he's an avid car chaser I had him tethered while working in the yard beside him.  Good grief, this was November 2011 and he was 3 years 7 months at that time.
To those who may have missed the previous posts, I discovered a raised lump on Ben's underbelly.  It is soft and looks like a worn pencil eraser. Compare the size to my fingernail.
That raised spot appeared almost overnight because he shows his vulnerable underbelly side often and I would have seen it.
After surgery I started calling the vet after 5 days hoping the biopsy report would be in early.  Then day 7 I called again and it still wasn't so the staff said the vet would call as soon as it came in.  The doctor called yesterday late afternoon after his office visits.

Ben has a low grade (thank God) MAST CELL tumor.  Thank goodness I took him in to have it removed immediately as it could have developed quickly into a worse problem.  I've never seen this on my other dogs but understand it is common with both cats and dogs. 

It was a soft tissue and looked harmless.  BUT, had it been on my body I'd have wanted my dermatologist to remove it immediately.  Since my boy Ben is my companion and my FAMILY I treat his health as tho he were my child.  

You can learn more about that health issue by Googling MAST CELL TUMOR.  And, please consider adoption for your next pet.  This is a sweet loving Rottweiler (okay, he hates cars and trucks) but he loves people, particularly kids.  He will go right past adults to seek out children and he loves my grandson.

A disclaimer, as with any pet purchase or adoption, please make sure it is a suitable fit with the family and learn about their history if you can. 

I love my handsome boy Ben.

Hugs to all.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Where To Start Hooking a Rug

At least a few loops have been pulled on Zach's Favorite Sports Rug even tho grass cutting and weed pulling season is upon us.  

Do you wonder where to start hooking your new project?  If there is one central motif I usually start in the center...take for example the Sheep challenge which just recently occurred.  It was the sheep which got my attention since it stood out in the very center.

Hooking the center of the rug is not always what to do.  I've learned from knowledgeable teachers that you hook "what is on top first".  So in the case of my grandson's Favorite Sports Rug that would be certain flags.
There were 3 options for me to start with and I chose to go from left to right.  As you can see (above) the yellow flag sits on top of the one to the right so hooked that first.  Then I went for the middle checkered flag which slightly covers the bottom of a flag on its left.  Next in line would be the 6th flag which will be a red.  In a previous post the explanation of the flag colors were explained.

Not an impressive start but Christmas is several months away so can take my time.  Besides, in less than 3 weeks I'll be starting a rug with the magnificent and talented primitive hooker Barb Carroll in Ligonier, PA.  I'm looking forward to being there once again.  

Oh NO!!!  You followers know me and how I tweak (unless you're a new follower, and thanks for the two who just joined!).  Anyway, when drawing out on the flip side to re-draw the design, I measured the distance of the logos at the bottom to be sure they were the same distance from the border line.  

Well hell!.  It looks unbalanced now with the the Orioles logo being lower. The feathers of the Redskins logo is what threw me off. So now guess I'll have to buy a red felt pen to redraw the O's logo up a tad higher to make it look even.  

Sometimes this woman doesn't see the forest for the trees.  I've often wondered what the hell that statement meant but now think I know.

Have a great evening everyone and hope you had a good Monday.  Stay tuned to see what ranting and raving I'll go to next.  But as my good friend Evelyn says..... "I'm my own worst enemy".  


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Maggie the Cat

Just pulled the last loop and thought I'd check it out on the monitor to see if anything needs replacing before steaming it.  
Wanted to keep the circles to break up the background but wanted them toned down rather than look like bright bulls-eyes.  Below is what the circles looked like before. 
Tho a little difficult to pick out, there are a few very light spots in the cat's body which were replaced with a darker grey.  So there's a challenge for you to find the spots.

I'll just let this mat rest over night and look at it again tomorrow to determine if it gets steamed or tweaked. Meanwhile I'll put away my woolie worms and get ready to start my grandson's rug next.

Happy Saturday to each of you.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Show of Rugs

As I've not started hooking my grandson's project yet and not quite done hooking the cat mat figured my followers needed a little eye candy this Thursday evening.
An equestrian running for the roses.
The Before and After rug may have been posted before.  It was  hooked by Barbara Merry of Maine and must depict the before marriage and after.  Or could be youth and senior.
Always popular is a cat rug, right Kelley?  Well here are a couple more for your enjoyment.

The rug above must have been the inspiration for Karen Kahle's design. Provenance of this was to be early 20th century New England Folk Art.
Striped cats and leaf design was listed on the auction site to have been hooked between 1920-30 in Boston, MA.
The rug above is hard to see but there are two scotty pups at play.
Another unclear rug to see hooked rug was listed as a sheep with the initials EJ hooked.  
The striped animal I'm guessing is a tiger although the description on the auction site only suggested 'striped animal maybe cat'.
There is something rhythmic about the cats paw a/k/a penny circle rugs.  What makes this rug so delightful is the commonality of the red in the center of each circle.  See how it brings everything together even tho the border and other colors aren't consistent.  Love it.  Makes me even think about hooking another using my worms.
Since I started with a horse thought it only fitting to end with a horse. What a great job that person did on depicting the detail in the saddle.  

Hope you have a great evening and looking forward to your Friday and upcoming weekend.  Since I'm retired .... for me.... everyday is a weekend.  


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Preparing to Start

There's still a little more hooking to do on the cat mat but as soon as it is done would like to start on my grandson's Favorite Teams rug. You're seeing lots of lines around the perimeter of the design.  That is because I know for sure that I'll not be making changes to the border or size of rug.  

I don't do this style each and every time before starting to hook a rug, only to the ones I'm sure size and design are set in stone.  And that task is a lot easier to manipulate a rug in a sewing machine when it doesn't have the weight and bulk of it being hooked.   
So I machine stitched two rows of straight stitching 1" away from the border line and then joined them together with one row of zig zag.
So now you also see another drawn line just inside that and 1/4" from the border's edge.  That is the sewing guide line for me to attach the binding fabric.
Wanted to clarify tho, that I do always, always, prepare the edge of my foundation before binding.   Never do I leave a raw loose edge on my foundation even if it is covered with binding tape or rolled and whipped edge.  That unstitched edge is still moving with each pick up of the hands and making it vulnerable to teasing.

As I'm cleaning out and donating my fabrics thought this black and white checkered fabric would be perfect for the binding of the rug/wall hanging.  It is plenty wide enough for me to sew on a sleeve for a dowel to be inserted for it to go on the wall.  Or, no dowel if it goes on the floor.

Have a great evening.  And pay a visit to our old friend who has a new face.... that would be our Kim (previously of Millie's Mats) but now is a Glass Half Full.  Go pay a visit and be a follower.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Maggie the Cat is Back

Any of you remember the movie "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" with Liz Taylor and that hunk with the bluest eyes Paul Newman?  That is what I thought of as I'm walking to throw down my cat mat for a photo and wondered how to title the post. That name seemed rather apt since my 'seat of my pants' rug planning has leaned toward Magdalena style.  So Maggie the Cat it is.
Well you know what's coming.... I see things I want to change.  To my eye some of the light grey wool needs to be pulled out and replaced with darker grey at the mid back and hind quarters.  The light needs to be in the tail to define the tail.  Some light spots are needed as grey cats do have white stripes in them.  But find this cat too distracting with that much on the back.  Plus it makes one wonder if the fur really does grow that way.. which makes me feel inadequate in my hooking skills.  

Also I find the bulls eye dot in the top middle and bottom annoying but will hold off pulling those out until later.

You can see how my design changed from long slow swags and flowers to corner swags which Magdalena did. 

Am happy to say that I'm still working from my woolie worms except for the dark primitive background.  Some is left over odd pieces of texture but as I use a LOT of primitive dark backgrounds those fly out of my bag and always need replenishing.

Next on my frame will be my grandson's rug but want this one hooked first and the binding will wait.

The weather the last two days has been extremely out of season with temps over 80 both days.  Tomorrow will be more normal but will seem 'off' since we've gotten use to the warm temps. 

Even saw my first black snake of the season....and he saw me.  I'm not afraid of snakes but remembered a post someone made about their dog being bit by one so put Ben back in the house while I cleaned out my fish pond filters and filled my bird feeders.  The month of April I believe is mating season for snakes so kept my eyes aware of where IT wasn't so as to not appear to be a threat.

Enjoy the spring and summer coming as the pollen is falling in layers. After the sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes think of all the fresh garden vegetables and BBQ gatherings you can have outside.

Have a wonderful evening everyone.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

On the Flip Side

Well finally drew another grandson rug on the flip side of the other one. Hopefully this will work better for me.  The logos and Zach's name have been enlarged a tad and the flags have been spread out a bit to extend further across the top.  
The room at the top left and right will have my initials on one side and the year 2016 on the other.  I will still sew a label on the back but if that label should become disconnected wanted the info hooked into the rug.  In case you've forgotten what I previously drew you can see it below.
When transferring the Redskins logo, sadly my newest drawing has a bad nose on the Redskins logo.  The transfer fabric or my pen slid so will rectify that during hooking.

In an effort to de-stash I've been busy listing some of my stitchery designs on eBay.  I figure if they sell it will be a couple bucks in my pocket rather than getting nothing in return by taking them to the thrift shop.  And, who knows if they would end up in their dumpster anyway.   I'm listing some red work, The Basket Case 12 month Angel series and a few others.  What doesn't get listed by the end of the day will be listed next weekend as I want to hook on my cat mat so that my grandson's rug can get started soon.

Happy Sunday.


Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday Chit Chat

On Fridays, just a mile away from my house there is a weekly wine tasting at the liquor store.  Usually there is one white, two red wines and a dessert or Moscato wine to sample for those who don't like dry wine.   Tonight my favorite was a Bogle brand "Phantom".  That winery only produces that blend once a year and it was delightful tonight.  

See my glass photo below?  The etching on the wine glass says QUEEN and was a gift from my son and sweet daughter-in-love.  It is an inside joke with our family after first meeting Cathy, my son's wife.
Moving right along....the cat is all hooked and now am beginning to consider the background of the cat mat.  It was wonderful using up left over wool strips for the cat and so far the attempt at background is also left over strips.  ME thinks the background drawing will change but not sure how yet.  Maybe I'll look at some Magdalena rugs and redraw rather than having those swags at the top and sides which had been randomly drawn before.
Or, maybe I'll choose to do something else....who knows.

Today I flipped the linen and re-drew my grandson's rug.  I extended the 7 flags a tad to spread further across the top but left enough room for me to hook initials and date.  Yes, I plan to do a label to attach to the back but IF that should get worn off would want my grandson to have the date and my initials in the rug forevermore.

You'll just have to wait for the picture of that and plan to start hooking that in a week or so.

Yesterday forgot to mention that I'd put out my Hummingbird feeder. In our area the scouts usually show up around April 15th.  Wanted to be sure to put one feeder out to get attention.  It is located in view of my kitchen window near the pond so keep looking for the first visitor.

So folks, spring is upon us.  Hope  you enjoy your weekend.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Back to the Drawing Board

I've fiddled a little with my grandson's design again.  
Instead of two crossed checkered flags have decided to do the line up of all the different types of flags which are used at Nascar races.  I've never been to a race but did learn about the flags on the internet. The green flag starts the race, yellow is to caution there may be debris on the track, a red flag tells drivers to stop on the track in a designated area, black flag tells that driver to get off the track since he did something wrong.  

A blue with yellow stripe tells the driver there is a fast approaching car about to pass and the driver must yield to that vehicle.  A white flag tells the lead car he or she has one lap to go in the race.  

The black and white checkered flag at the lead car means he has won the race.  

Additionally I enlarged the motifs as well as Zach's name.    For comparison, below is what I'd originally drawn on the linen.  But the flags over powered the small motifs and the flags were longer than they should be.  
With the linen flipped over I'm still considering the possibility of drawing the new design.  Don't want to be too hasty this time so meanwhile I've the small cat mat to work on.

Have a great Thursday, and for those wondering, Ben is doing great. He is back to his normal self and challenges me in a play position but since he isn't supposed to rough house for a week am not promoting the play thing.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ben's Bad Day

Ben loves to ride in the van, although encountering vehicles passing or crossing our path still gets him agitated.  I wasn't looking forward to the ride to the vet as Ben was having a spot removed from his under belly.  It was me upset about him more than the spots I've had removed from me.  As a human we understand the procedure but not my boy.

He was delivered to the vet before 8:30 a.m. and the first surgery of the day it was a minor spot removal.  Minor still isn't a comforting word when this is your major companion.

Ben's surgery was done by about 9:30 a.m. and picked him up about 10:30 a.m.  Since the surgery was on his underbelly placed a soft fabric on top of the van floor before picking him up. I didn't want any rough surface scraping against the wound.  

As I couldn't coax him out of the van decided to put a cup of water in there and check on him every 15 minutes to be sure he was okay.
Another view of my boy Ben from the other side of he van.  You can see he is still on drugs.
The child gate is placed between the front seats and back so that Ben wouldn't attempt to climb in the front.
Eventually was able to coax him into the side yard with a leash from the van where he relieved himself.  He immediately went back into the van. Perhaps  to him it was sorta like his safe cave.  I continued to check on him every 15 minutes.

Finally was able to get Ben inside the house.  Since the doctor told me there could be some spotting from the belly decided to put a light colored piece of flannel on the area near me so I could see just what spotting occurs.  My boy is still not fully alert.
Finally was able to get Ben off the light mat with a kong filled with a cookie.  That way could see if there was the oozing the vet expected from his belly.  there are a couple small spots but nothing to worry about.
Ben is still out of it and while he was interested in the Kong with a cookie put inside he wasn't alert enough to figure out how to get it out.

This morning he is more alert and on antibiotics.  He is not supposed to jump or run for a week so am hoping we are able to avoid any vehicles in the development.  Also hope the squirrels stay at bay in the back yard.
We should get the biopsy report in about 5 days.  HappyWednesday everyone.