I cranked up the Motown today while alternately standing and sitting to punch the rug, and was it ever fun! (If the above video doesn't play when you click on it, just click on the "view on YouTube button and another window will open and play it. You can listen and read at the same time.)
Martha Reeves (and the Vendellas) was one of my idols back in the day. Then there were all the other great songs...
"Dancing in the Streets," "Rescue Me," "I Heard It On the Grapvine," "R-e-s-p-e-c-t," "Up on the Roof..."
OMG, dance, dance, dance. Even when sitting down. How I miss Motown.
Thus, there will be an odd mix of Motown, assorted dharma talks, meditations, and the very long and wonderful George Eliot book Middlemarch (which I finished listening to a couple of weeks ago) woven into the fibers of this rug.
(Good mojo, I'm thinking.)
Tomorrow is likely to be very rainy and it might feel good to stay home and play with color. I may stay home to dye more yarn. Below are two views of the rug progress, plus a new tangle that I threw in at the very end.
A quick look at the back side of the rug, close up.
And here is the front. I spent 5 hours at the studio today and got a chunk more done. I am slowly moving toward being halfway finished with this very large rug (but am not there yet, not by any means). It's beginning to be hard to move it on the frame.
An experiment with some tangles. I had fun with this last night.
Not only am I blessed with many friends, but all my friends are gifted in some way.
And certainly they are gifts to me.
Today we had another small meeting of the Wooly Bullies (my rug hooking group) at K's house. We had several members who couldn't come and they were much missed, but we had a great time as usual. Here are the pictures to prove it.
This is Cynthia's current rug-in-progress. The last time I saw this rug was about 5-7 years ago; Cynthia thinks she began it about 15 years ago and then put it aside to work on her very large Kokopelli Rug, which is now finished. I highlighted that rug in my last blog post on the Bullies. Because she had put it away to work on Kokopelli, Cynthia hadn't seen this floral rug herself for a few years--now she has fallen in love with it again and is thrilled to be so close to finishing. She did all the dyeing for this rug. The background is a wonderful onion skin dye. (This made me want to delve back into onion skin dyeing myself--I so love her background)
In the "How-adorable-is-this?" category, the winner today was Maria's small bunny-board, above. This is probably less than 12" long from head to toe.
I mean, seriously, people--doesn't this have "THINK SPRING!" written all over it? Here is the back of the piece, in case you have never seen a rug-on-a-board before (really, a "ruglet-on-a-board").
Cheryl just completed binding her Parrot Tulip chairpad, another Pearl McGown design. She was working on this in February when we last met, and you can see the progress she has made since then. I love these colors!
Kathleen is nearly finished with the interior of her fabulous fish rug, titled "The Last Cod." You can see the small unhooked area at the very top. She will then have to decide what to do for a border and was taking suggestions today. (The Wooly Bullies are never bashful about giving suggestions!) This is an amazing rug, very large and complex. And a sobering theme. Designed by Kathleen, with most of the wool hand-dyed by her--a few pieces were dyed by Michele Micarelli as well. I have watermarked this picture because it's Kathleen's original work, all of it, and I don't want to take any chances (she has given me permission to post it).
And last but by no means least, Maria was working on finishing the background for her stunning apple tree rug. Whose pattern is this, I wonder? Another McGown? Someone else?
I am working on my red & black scrappy rug and did not take a photo of it. But you can see it here in recent previous blog posts, as well as the punched rug I am working on (see a photo of that in progress in yesterday's post).
Kathleen made a delicious soup, Cheryl brought cupcakes, and I brought two types of cheese (one was a really unusual honey-lavender goat cheese) and crackers from the local gourmet cheese place, so we certainly didn't starve as we worked.
We worried about, and missed, members who couldn't come today and hope all is well. I spent quite some time just listening quietly and thinking about how fond I am of all the women in this group, and how lucky I am to have you in my life. You each inspire me in different ways.
As the saying goes, "Good friends are like stars; you don't always see them, but you know they are there."
Thank you for being there. All of you.
It's spring, right? Time to fall in love?
So, ok...I'm in love. I don't know if what I'm in love with is the rug itself, or just the process of working on it. I kind of suspect it's the latter. The rug will certainly get quite a few tweaks before it's done. I am really enjoying the work.
Sometimes it's hard to sleep at night, I'm having so much fun.
"Be the weirdo who dares to enjoy."
"In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag."
(W. H. Auden)
In all the time I've been making rugs and using gripper frames, I don't think I've ever done what I did today. I was moving the punch-hooked rug on the large frame and for the first time ever I cut both hands and bled all over the rug. As I said, jeez!
Fortunately, it only showed on the border, which will be entirely cut away as I begin binding.
Best of all, I have no pictures of this event, You won't be seeing it.
Despite that, I did accomplish one thing I've been meaning to do for a very long time:
...I created a Rube Goldberg solution to the problem of having to sit down the entire time while I work on the rug. [There really was a real Rube.] How's that (above) for making Rube proud of me?
Before I tucked it up, it looked like this...which gives you an idea of the size of this rug (some of the rug is hanging down in back of the frame and can't be seen):
I used these clamps from the Wool & Dye Works in Florence MA to neaten it all up:
By the time I left, it looked like this:
Yes, much neater. And since the frame is sitting on top of two plastic boxes, it's the perfect height for standing while punching. I can also easily lift it off the boxes and make it the perfect height for sitting and punching. My intention is to alternate sitting and standing, about a half an hour each, every time I work on the rug. Last week I sat down and punched for about 5 hours straight, and when I finally got up to go home I realized that was a very bad idea. Waaaaaay too much sitting.
I am pleased with this solution; I tried it out today and enjoyed myself.
And here is my new dye cabinet. It was cheap cheap cheap (and looks it, I know) and hardly elegant ($30 at Michael's with a coupon) but it rolls and it will do the trick. Plus the gaudy colored plastic drawers mean I can sort the dyes by color, making them easier to locate quickly. You can see the sorted jars sitting just inside.
When I was unable to go to the studio over the weekend, I made a bunch of additional Knitted Knockers. I love knitting for that cause. The picture below shows them un-stuffed. To see what they actually look like when ready to be used by mastectomy survivors, see my last post on this topic.
After sending off my last batch of Knitted Knockers, I got a postcard with a thank-you message.
Such a wonderful organization.
I only wish they hadn't bought into the entire "pink ribbon" thing, but unfortunately, most of the public doesn't know the disturbing history of the pink ribbon--not to mention the insult to Charlotte Haley and her inspiring, original project.
In case I didn't make it clear above, my hands are fine--no lingering injuries from those powerful gripper strips (or at least only minor ones that will have healed by tomorrow). A good reminder to be more careful when punching near the border of the rug.
It was one of those days. Without going into boring detail, I'll just say I made one of those mindless mistakes while punching today and punched an entire section wrong.
Oh, to be truly mindful! Apparently I wasn't.
So after realizing my error--and playing with the concept that occasionally, mistakes turn out better than the original idea--I knew that I really didn't like it and didn't want to leave it as it was. This particular mistake just didn't work out well.
So...out it all came. Punch needle hooking is very easy to un-do. But then I had to re-do. It all worked out, but for the hours I put in today, I didn't get very far. Here's the way the rug looked as I was leaving. This is the overall view (you can see I'm not even halfway done yet, not even close to halfway!):
In the left bottom corner of the photo you can just see the rest of the foundation that is hanging off the table. The rug is about 40"x72".
Really all I got done today was the second moon. There are four moons altogether. Here is a closeup:
I went looking for a quote with which to console myself.
"Patience and tenacity are worth more than twice their weight of cleverness."
(T. H. Huxley)
Last week I worked on the red and black scrappy rug, which I am traditionally hooking with wool strips.
This week it's back to the punched rug for a bit, using yarn that I dyed by hand.
Back and forth. Get stuck on one, work on the other. Get tired of that one, work on the first again.
I was stuck on this Moon Runner rug, gave it about ten days off, and now, after much pulling-out and re-punching, here it is today:
I'm very much in experimental mode here. I ripped out all three clouds and re-punched them yesterday and today...I know that before I make any decisions about whether this is working or not, I need to fill in a lot more. Right underneath this is another moon, and another small cloud--I will see how it looks after I get those two motifs punched, along with much more background.
By the time I get all that done (and that won't even be half the rug!) I think I'll be able to tell what's working and what isn't. That's the working theory, anyway!
Trial and error...trial and error...
So I've been knitting a blanket while watching tv this winter.
Actually, the pattern says it's a "throw cover."
Perhaps I have been watching too much tv?
Methinks this has gotten a little out of hand. True, I am nearly at the end of the final skein, but I mean...who is this supposed to cover, Godzilla?
I should not complain. It most certainly will cover me, and then some. If only I had made this last winter, with all the intense cold and the ten feet of snow. This winter has been so mild. But since--thanks to global warming--we no longer know what we are going to get, I will definitely be well prepared for anything that next winter brings.
The yarn is, alas, very cheap acrylic. I'm kind of horrified by it; it's not stuff I would normally ever use, but the organic alternatives would have required a billionaire to buy.
I am also having to admit that I am coming to the end of my all-time favorite Rainbow Lead Pencil. I've used it so much that it's just a stub of its former self. Here's a tangle I did with it today:
The above was my first-ever try at Whirlee, and it was quite a challenge. I modified it to fill the page a bit more. Enjoyed doing this. I will be playing with it again, for sure.
And here is one mirrored version.
Below is the tiny Rainbow Lead pencil stub, which will soon be too small to sharpen and which will have to be retired. Sad. I have really had fun with this pencil.
I've mostly been tangling only in my Carole Ohl "Tangle A Day" calendar recently and have been tending towards covering one entire page, rather than using one of the three boxes on each page. Probably a good idea since I'm already over a month behind.
Heading out for a walk in the lovely sunshine; the next few days promise to be stormy. Good weather for making art!
When I left the studio on Friday:
When I left the studio today:
Talk about inching along...wow, is this ever going slowly. Reminds me of a button I bought myself at a rug hooking workshop years back. It was true then and it's true now:
"Hasten slowly." --Augustus Caesar
"Good artists –- those who retain their integrity and have grit –- are usually successful in time. It can't be hurried. Art takes time." --Bryan Dunleavy
Oh, ok. Phew!
Where the heck did the week go? If I didn't know better, I would say I had zonked out. But, not true--I did a lot of work in the studio. I don't have too much to show for that as there was a lot of unhooking and rehooking.
After getting home, I had some fun with a tangle that was all-new to me: Zonked. Here was my first take on it (and after that picture, you'll see the inevitable fooling around with the images via my iPhone camera apps).
Indeed, perhaps I did zonk out after all...
This was my first try. I decided to try it three different ways in my "Tangle a Day" calendar, using a regular pencil, an 01 Micron Pen, and shaded with the Rainbow Lead Pencil.
A truly wonderful blog on the meditative effects of Zentangle® is HERE, written by Eni Oken on her experience of doing Zonked in a mindful way.
Below are the images I created with the mirror app and the Waterlogue app on my iPhone.
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), long-time meditator and coach, focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
NEXT INTRO TO ZENTANGLE CLASS:
No immediate group classes scheduled (I'm open to hearing about a good venue in Western Massachusetts. I am always happy to teach 1-1 and/or in a small group in your home.
Come and amaze yourself!
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society