I was in Toronto for a short while last week. I visited a darling new family member, headed out on the streetcar for some fabric and two new patterns at the Workroom, saw Dunkirk and did this quick sketch of the back of a building on the corner by the subway station. We have been so fortunate to have such great weather, so I am trying to fit a sketch in whenever I can.
Last week we were lucky enough to make a trip to Main Duck Island. This is a 600 acre island in the middle of Lake Ontario, (so close to the American/Canadian border that my cell phone welcomed me to the US.) We made the trip with a small group of historians and birders and a film maker documenting the last lighthouses on Lake Ontario. It was a glorious September day, the lake calm and turquoise with little wind. The trip out on a commercial fish tug took almost two hours. We walked the 1.5 miles across the island to the lighthouse keepers’ house, abandoned now that the light is automated, and the stunning lighthouse. After lunch on the shore of the lake I opened my sketchbook to document the weathered house and the famous light, hoping to capture their elegance and tenacity.
The island was once owned by John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State under President Eisenhower. However, in 1976 the Nature Conservancy of Canada carried out the negotiations to purchase from then owner, Robert Hart, and resold it to the Canadian Government. The island is now a National Park, a haven for birds and wildlife. We saw hundreds of Monarch Butterflies on their way south and many migrating birds. With its abundance of natural beauty, as well as excellent docking facilities and trails, it is truly a Canadian treasure.
This summer I have been painting and hooking the views around our lake. This is a small mat of the view from the dock. I’ve painted this many times trying to capture the amazing variety of greens and blues. This is my first hooked attempt. It’s interesting how painting informs hooking and vice versa. For this mat I have used both wool strips and yarn, some recycled some new, many from my leftover bin. 14″x11″
When I am designing something new, I like to take the time to fool around with patterns and colours by making small pouches. Somehow the ideas on the new pieces seem to gel as I assemble the patterns into these little gems. I refer to the small pouches I make as my colour therapy. I can get lost in the shapes and colours. Here are a number of pieces I have made this summer, some of which will make their way to the online store when summer ends. These pouches are made of coated cotton so they are easy to wipe clean and they are lined with cotton polka dots and flowers.
This mat is based on an actual harbour. It is a gift, so for now I’m not saying which harbour. It was a different and more challenging experience to try to capture real buildings rather than hook them from my imagination. Still, I’ve taken some liberties with shape and placement, but hope that there is enough accuracy to spark happy memories. The mat is 13.5″ x 9.5″, hooked in a #5 with new and recycled wool.
A tree seen while paddling my kayak on our lake.
The blog suffers in the summer, I’m sorry to say. We are at the lake much of the time, and although we have cell service, it’s not robust enough to do blog posts. My instagram feed (link at top) is a good way to stay in touch. But here is an update of some of the things I’ve been making.
I’ve put a couple of the travel pouches in the online store. If you’d like one of the others just let me know.
And on the hooking scene, the orange roof trivet and the Fiona mat are both hooked and awaiting finishing touches.
I’ve been making these little double-zipper pouches for the last month or so, every time I have a chance. I love combining the different pieces of leather. Each pouch is lined with water-resistant fabric and has a separate zippered front compartment. I think they would be great for travel for phone, passport and cards. I love the bright flash of colour on them. Pictured below is one example so you can see the interior and the reverse side. There are a few more! It’s a great way to use the small pieces of leather I’ve liked best. And they will all be in the on-line shop at the weekend. Write using the contact info on the left if you are interested.
Here are a few sketches from my final days in Limoux in June. These sketches were unfinished, so I’ve been finishing them up and reliving the quality of the light in this lovely town. One of my favourite spots was the terrace of Le Monastère where we stayed. The first is taken from the balcony and the second in the courtyard. The last is a square just a block away.
My sketchbook by the end of a trip starts to be pretty grubby as you can see.
We were at the cottage for Canada Day weekend and the following week. (The reason for no posts.) This first weekend of the summer is always a weekend of family. Our younger son has always celebrated his birthday at the cottage–and now there are three of the next generation who have joined the tradition. Somehow the cottage affords opportunities for close encounters that don’t seem to materialize in the city. I don’t unusually include photos of family on the blog, but I couldn’t resist posting this picture of a grandson having his first hooking lesson. I didn’t know we were being photographed but was delighted when my daughter-in-law sent this along. And below–the sheer joy at the freedom of life on the island.