I finished my last big project as those of you who follow the blog will know. So, I am in an in-between time and am working out ideas for the next rug by hooking small trivets. It’s a great way to think through your ideas and, because each trivet goes quickly, quite satisfying as well. Each is a little design statement. I’ve been watching episodes of The Queen and working with colour blocks. What a great way to spend the last dreary days of November.
There are three colour block pouches left in the store. If you are interested click on the on-line store under Navigation on the right of the page.
I’m now carrying the idea of colour blocks to some hooked trivets. This is the first in a series using the same colours as the pouches above. A great way to use left-over strips and ‘sketch’ ideas for a bigger piece. I’ve drawn up a few more and will post as I complete them.
I’ve been working some ideas out in small wool ‘sketches’. This is a great way to experiment with shape and colour and texture. These are not the best photos as it is very overcast and snowing here today!
The first is based on a white oak tree ring, the second on the memories of my time in a village in Spain this time last year. I like the repeated pattern in both pieces but not sure where either will take me. I’m going to try another version of the houses and colour blocks and see if I can work out what I’m not happy with in this first one. Maybe be more organized and methodical in my overlapping pattern? Or maybe fewer houses? I’ll try out some drawings this week. After all with snow on the ground, it’s a perfect hooking time.
It began here and as it goes with these things, it’s been a long while in the making. Many loops pulled, my thoughts thought. I think this Annie Dillard quotation is a good one to remember and I will enjoy having this rug underfoot, a part of our daily life.
Today we put it on a frame and stood it up outside against the garage in the autumn morning light for the first pictures. There is still some tweaking to do with the frame and with the rug, but next week, all going well, it will hang in the gallery. It measures 5’x7′. I didn’t keep track of the wool yardage, but I would estimate about 20 yards. There is off-the-bolt, hand-dyed and recycled wool in the mix. And a total of 65 houses. As for the hours? I didn’t keep track. How we spend our days…
I took a great rug hooking course this month in borders with Wendie Scott Davies. (Read here to see one of the things that happened at rug school and you will get an idea about how much fun we had.) At any rate, we were to bring the centre of a rug to class and spend the week designing and hooking a border. I started with this and over the last month have finished what I am now calling Crows’ Choice. It’s interesting how a rug develops. We had some discussion about whether this tree and branches are actually a border–I think they are, but just to fulfill obligations, I put a single line around the outside to create a ‘real true’ border.
The crows represent the two voices in my head: the one on the left critical and cautious, the one of the right full of ideas and ready to take a chance. They have an ongoing battle while I work my way through any creative project. The tree? Well trees represent many things, I’ll leave that to you. And the leaves are the ideas and creative projects, 13 of them, my key number.
I really enjoyed working through this process of hooking what is in my head. And whether that trunk and those branches make a border, I’ll leave that up to you as well. Finished hooked piece is 30″ x 17″ and once it cools down, (the weather, not the rug) I’ll dye some yarn in the same yellow for whipping.
On my list for the summer is a series of hooked mats which capture the views from our small island. This is the first, looking south west to the far shore with one lonely tree on a rocky outcropping. I used lots of textured yarn and really loved the feel and the sense of freedom that comes with it. I am already planning the next one, in a rectangular shape. I think I’ll do a watercolour sketch first so that I get a better sense of the big shapes. Sketching and rug hooking–perfect activities for a summer on the island.
Things have been very busy around here as our almost-three-year-old grandson has been staying with us for a few days. But after lights-out I found a little energy and time to hook the crows on Perfectly. If you read this blog regularly (thank you!) you know that this mat is for the Borders Class with Wendie Scott Davis in July. My last rug had the text as part of the border and for this mat the text is in the centre. So what will the borders be? I want to have an open mind going into the class and see what happens…but if you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them.
I’m almost half-way through the whipping of Annie. I’ve promised myself I will not post any photos until the job is complete, in another month, I hope.
But anyway, it’s time to start a new project. I’m part of a show at a local gallery next fall, so I thought it would be fun to hook my slogan, Perfectly Imperfect, with a couple of crows looking on. I’m taking a course in borders at our local college in July and we were to hook the centre of a rug and come prepared to design borders. So this little runner fits the bill for that too.
I’ve piled some colours that I think will work for the birds. I love to use over-dyed Pendleton shirts to get a variety of values and shades. I’m soon going to start on the crows whom I already know are smarter than I am!
I’m thinking about a new rug now that Annie is almost finished. I fell in love with Wallace Steven’s poetry in university and a recent article on him in the New Yorker rekindled my interest. (He was a complex man, of course, and apparently punched Ernest Hemingway in the jaw and for some time after that nursed a broken hand and puffy eye.) A 2009 journal of mine has his poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird pasted to one of the first pages with ideas for a rug. It has been in the back of my mind since then, or maybe before, to do a rug with blackbirds and somehow incorporate part of Steven’s poem. To stir the design process I’ve been reading Bird Brains by Candace Savage. Savage explains that crows, ravens and magpies “are tops among birds for overall brain size. Their brain-to-body ratio equals that of dolphins and nearly matches our own. What’s more their large brains are packed tight with exceptionally large numbers of brain cells.” Her book is filled with delightful tales of Corvids (their Latin name) outsmarting humans and making “complex decisions…showing every sign of enjoying a rich awareness.” I am going to enjoy reading this book and hooking some crows. Given the size of Annie, I think I’ll start with a few small pieces, before I tackle another rug.
Speaking of Annie..I have finished hooking all 5′ by 7′ of her. Serging around the edge in preparation for whipping proved to be difficult. I am not sure how much she weighs, but it is not insignificant and I had trouble holding that bulk up to the serger. At any rate, here are a couple of photos taken inside. Once the whipping is done, I’ll hang her up and take a proper shot.
I stood on a chair and leaned as far out as I could to take this photo–unfortunately I could not stretch to get the whole thing.
This photo is taken standing at one end, but it too has its distortion. But you get the idea!
One last close-up of the signature.
I haven’t shared an Annie progress picture for a few weeks. And this will be the last one showing hooking progress. By typing Annie in the search box on the top right you can follow the progress from the start in Wendie Scott Davis’ class in July 2013. I’ll be taking another class with Wendie this July and starting a new project–but more on that in another post. So, two more dark circles and a little more background and I’ll be ready to start whipping. Annie is 5’x7′, so the whipping may take as long as it took to hook the rug–but I hope not!! Below is the lovely hand-dyed wool I bought from Red Maple Ruggery to do the whipping.