Hmmm, I appear to be working on a series of posts with titles named after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Yesterday was Grumpy, today Happy.
A good night's sleep makes all the difference (oh no--I can foretell a forthcoming post with the title "Sleepy"). That plus the fact that last year at this time I was still unpacking, and would feel terribly guilty if I tried to find the time to do anything creative when I felt I "should" be working on the house.
If I know anything about myself it's that a day or two without time to do handwork or drawing renders me hyper-cranky and anxious. I'm afraid I'm addicted. It doesn't matter if the result is only mediocre; it's the act of creating that releases stress and puts me nearly into a state of bliss every time.
Today I was able to do some rug punching (for a pillow not a rug) and at the same time practice singing. My singing was absolutely horrible, but who cares? The combination was my idea of heaven. Start of punched pillow is below.
Contrast this punched version with the identical but traditionally hooked pillow (see my post from December 27th) to see the difference between punching and hooking. Both of which sound either violent or sleazy, eh?
But they are the polar opposite. So soothing.
In less than a week, 2018 is done. I'm doing my annual review by re-reading my journal and reflecting. It's always a bittersweet process.
That's not all that's winding up. On the right is yarn I over-dyed yesterday, preparing for my next project. I just finished winding it into this yarn cake.
Here it was in the dyepot just before I nuked it for the final time. And yes, the lighting was different. The color in the photo above is truer. The original yarn, a worsted weight, was beige. When I saw this in the dyepot It looked so much like spaghetti I couldn't believe it.
Also winding up--and now actually finished--is this hooked pillow I put together yesterday. The pattern is from a vintage piece of pottery, and I'm thrilled with how it came out.
The yarn I dyed above is actually going to be used in a twin of this piece--I will punch hook the same pattern, to illustrate the difference between traditional hooking and punch hooking.
Here's another short post on OTHER PEOPLE'S WORK (not mine). My buddy Cheryl is a Rug Rescuer--she takes partially completed traditionally hooked rugs from people who cannot complete them (usually due to age, illness, or unknown reasons) and finds a way to finish them. She's a genius at it!
Here are a couple of her rescued rugs, then a 3rd rug that she hooked NOT as a rescue but just for fun for a grandchild. And finally, a rug in progress from another wonderful rug artist, Cynthia (not a rescue--her own design).
I believe this pattern is an old McGown or Moshimer pattern called "Frost Oriental," (after Edward Frost, an itinerant peddlar in the 1800s who figured out a way to transfer rug designs to burlap). Cheryl rescued this rug and finished it--I've long loved this pattern and have often thought of hooking it, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Love what she and the original artist did with this!
Also by Cheryl the Rescuer. Although I can't remember if she rescued this rug and finished it, or if she decided to hook it all herself and then ran out of wool part of the way through and had to scramble to finish. Either way, I love this rug. Both the pattern and the wonderful difference in values, giving it an antique look.
And last but not least, a rug by Cynthia (another traditional rug hooking artist in our group) of her own design. This isn't the first time I've featured one of Cynthia's rugs--she does all her own designs and dyes or recycles the wool she uses. The added bicyclist (lower right without any wool around it yet) and the boat (lower left center) both have special meaning for her family. She does wonderful work.
I got to see these lovely rugs, and others, at our meeting last Friday. It was hard to tell which was more fun--the rug hooking, the conversations, or the fabulous groan-inducing foods. We met at Cheryl's amazing and stunningly decorated old Victorian house.
"When life gives you hands, use 'em to make stuff."
The beginning today: I began designing another large rug. It's too early by far to show anything, but I am pleased with the start.
The ending today: After endless rain and then multiple overly-early snowstorms, we finally got all the leaves cleaned up. It took all day. Since I'm focusing on gratitude this month, I want to say how relieved I am that I no longer have to do this myself. Because I live in a condo, someone else does it for me, and of course they have all the right tools & equipment, saving my old bones the effort. Thank you, thank you.
Two small tangled pieces today...
Above is a black Zentangle® 3-Z tile with White Gellyroll pen and White General's Charcoal. The tangle is called XLnt and it's by CZT Jody Genovese (you can find it on tanglepatterns.com). This is my first try at it, and wowza, it was not easy for me to figure out. I like it very much though and think I'll be using it a lot. This was done for the "It's a String Thing #271" Challenge on Adele Bruno's website.
And this one is done on a tiny Bijou tile (2"x2") using Gold Gellyroll pen and A bit of White Gellyroll, with colors by General's Chalk pencils. The tangle in the center is Zenith, and that was our assignment for the Gratitangles Project, day 25. I mixed in a Footlites tangle on either side (same project, day 14). Zenith is a tangle I always mean to use, and rarely do.
While working on these tiles I could not help thinking of things I am grateful for today: For example, safe housing, with great caretakers who moved those leaves efficiently and who also take care of the snow and ice. I'm grateful for the snow tires I had put on my car yesterday. I am grateful that I even HAVE a car and the money for snow tires.
“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.”
I finally finished my "Red & Black" rug today. This piece feels as though it's been underway for years.
It's not a big rug, either; it's probably about 2'x3' at most.
After I finished the binding and then the final steaming, I laid it down on my tile floor to dry and went into my journal to search for the starting date of this rug. I couldn't find it, but it has to be either 2016 or 2017, early in the year*.
So in actuality, I don't know how long it did take me. But certainly over a year. Things got incredibly complicated when I bought the house, packed up after 40 years in one place, moved, started unpacking, and broke my wrist.
There were a lot of lessons in this rug, and good memories too.
I thought when I designed it (yes, it's my design) that I could use up all of my red and black wool. Well, that didn't work out! The wool apparently multiplied itself secretly overnight and I am left with what looks like the same amount of red and black wool as I finish the rug as I had when I began. So one lesson is that wool you want to use up never fully goes away, while wool you are worried about not having enough of will ALWAYS run out in a crucial spot. Guaranteed.
I thought hooking in straight lines would be a cinch. Surprise! Not so easy for me. I learned I am not good at hooking in straight lines at all. But...I kept on truckin'.
I started it while living in one place, and finished it in another. I miss my Woolies so much...and at the same time am forging new friendships out here. I feel fortunate to be making some new friends. (But still wish my other peeps weren't so far away...)
I had to put it down and pick it up about a zillion times, with long delays in between due to packing, moving, unpacking, and my damaged wrist and hand. There was a major lesson in patience and persistence to get it done.
But I got it done. That's the biggest lesson.
"Nevertheless, she persisted."
*Addendum: Checking my photos of this rug, I see that I started it in January of 2016, so over two years from start to finish. Yikes. (I may have put it aside to complete at least one other rug in the meantime, however.)
One of the very kind Quabbin Rughookers invited us all to her lake house in Spencer on Sunday. What a house! And it has a wonderful history (too long to go into here but I delighted in hearing it). Anyway, we sat in a lovely room overlooking a gorgeous lake in beautiful weather--every moment was enjoyable. It was such a fun day. Here are the rugs people were working on (photos by permission, of course). With thanks to Diana for hosting us.
Wow, stunningly beautiful weather this last little while--sunny, warm (but not hot), and no humidity! Today was lovely. I drove to a friend's house for a rug hooking event, and we were able to work outside in her gorgeous backyard. Perfect weather and no bugs! We hooked on her patio while viewing her colorful garden and listening to the din from hungry baby birds and their parents in a birdhouse not more than 4 feet over our heads. The birdy-parents came and went ceaselessly, trying to stuff food into the mouths of the kids. And were those kids noisy and demanding! Parenthood is never easy no matter who the parents are...
Here are some of the rugs I saw (of course I got permission for these pictures--thank you all!):
And now for something completely different...
Diana had just gotten back from babysitting for four days while family members took a short vacation to Aruba (something they had won! What luck!). They brought back this amazing object for her. Even more amazing is the description of the artistic process that was used to create it--it may look painted, but it isn't. See the photograph right underneath it describing how it was done. I have never heard of this art before, but I love this little critter. Isn't he (or she) a beauty?
Truly impressive. I will have to google "mopa mopa," which I've never heard of before now.
I capped off the day by 1) treating myself to a wonderful documentary on David Hockney's 2012 and 2016 exhibitions of landscapes and portraits. More visual delight!
And then came home and finished a tense and good WWII-themed novel.
All in all, a delightful summer day. I am feeling fortunate indeed.
Two of my good buddies have been wanting to learn Zentangle®, so I went over to their place and did a class today. They did great--have a look at these results:
Really well done.
Of course, I forgot the handouts I had carefully prepared and printed before the class. It's been about two years since I have had a chance to teach tangling, mostly because of buying a house, packing, moving, unpacking, and then the Great Broken Wrist Adventure.
So it was truly wonderful to be able to refresh my teaching skills today with kind friends. Mind you, I have NO idea what they thought about it, but I sure had fun, and am delighted with their results. I hope they are also.
Much of what I've been doing in the last month involves embroidery with punchneedle and wool yarns. Unfortunately, I can't really show it here because the designs I'm using, both of which came off t-shirts I own, are not mine and I can't reach the artist for permission. But I'll show a portion of one of them...the back end of a horse. Here it is. I am really in love with working with wool yarns (these are lace weight and/or sock yarns) in my punchneedle.
The pink-ish background is a single ply hand-dyed Malabrigo lace weight yarn. Really the possibilities are endless since sock and lace-weight yarns come in so many colors now.
One of the best things about this is that I can try out rug designs in punchneedle first, before going ahead with the dyeing for a large rug only to discover that the colors or the design are not working. Better to find that out in a small punchneedle piece than after spending money for wool yardage or expensive wool rug yarn.
It seems Spring is scarce as hen's teeth around here. It comes and then goes just as quickly. Fortunately last Saturday we had one glorious spring day, coinciding with our rug hooking meeting in Connecticut at Ann's farmhouse. The weather and sun smiled upon us; all of us were able to attend, and we had a blast.
I have only a few pictures (since many of us have been working on the same projects for quite a long time) but they'll be worth seeing.
Well, of course--those of you who've been reading the rug hooking category of this blog will recognize Cheryl the Rug Rescuer's name and title. Yes, this is ANOTHER rug rescue by our intrepid colleague. I believe the designer's name is Denise Mitchell...see this close-up below:
Apparently Denise (if I have her name correct) was a rug hooking teacher who died recently. Before her death she designed and hooked most of this rug, but was unable to finish it. Another rug hooker who didn't feel able to tackle the job approached Cheryl, asking her to do complete it, and gave her the remaining wool for the rug. Cheryl accepted the challenge and is basically done with the hooking now. Someone else will take care of the binding, and then the rug will go to the woman who asked Cheryl to finish it. Denise, wherever she's currently existing, would be proud to see her rug completed. A better photo is below.
Elizabeth was punching away on this beauty:
And Kathleen had brought along this pattern to work on for the day (K is in the middle of two other very complicated gorgeous rugs, too large to carry around):
That's it for the rug photos, but wait until you see what is coming next. Ann, our hostess, brought out a hand-embroidered tablecloth that had us all drooling down our shirts. One of her relatives (grandmother? uh-oh, I can't remember) had begun this, and I think Ann prevailed upon an aunt to complete it. It is just stunning. I took lots of photos. Here it is:
Here are more photos of various motifs, and some close-ups. What a labor of love.
You may be wondering (but you probably aren't!!!), "Where's your rug?" My rug is so close to done that I've decided to wait until it is done to show the photo. Since I am moving at a snail's pace--too busy to work on it much--that could be another month, but I hope not. I'll try to get it done and on here sooner.
Instead, since Ann had been asking me about punchneedle, I did bring my latest punchneedle project. I finished it this morning. Still debating how to frame it. Below you can see the original tee-shirt I've had for at least ten years, if not more, with this design on the front. And next to it, my punchneedle version. The tee-shirt is fading, and I've loved this redwing blackbird image for so long that I cannot bear to lose it, so I wanted to immortalize it in punchneedle.
The one problem: I cannot find any contact information for the original artist, Rob McClellan. I believe I've traced him to Ohio, and have even found a gallery there that sells some of his work. But the most recent work they have is decades old. I wrote to the gallery to see if they could help me locate him, but they wrote back to say they have no idea how to do that. If anyone--anyone!--knows how to locate him (I suspect he may be long dead--I've found some photos of someone with that name on the internet but they too are decades old), PLEASE let me know. Clearly I did this for myself only and will not be selling or profiting in any way from the piece, but I would love to find him and thank him and credit him even more than I can by doing this.
A happy Spring to all. May it come, and stay for awhile, before the summer.
A lovely ride with new friends this morning to a rug hooking event at a church about an hour away. Very well organized, and 165 people in attendance. I only photographed a few rugs, but aren't these wonderful?
Good people, good food, good vendors. What's not to love? I even won a prize, and I never win stuff at these events. All in all a very satisfying day. We started out early in very cold weather and saw plenty of snow on the ground and gorgeous snow-laden trees. Driving home, all the snow was gone. Spring is on the way...if we can only hold out long enough!
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:
My next Beginning Zentangle® class is not yet scheduled--stay tuned.
I may be teaching another beginning class at the Greenfield Community Center in the spring of 2019, date to be determined. They do not have a website so please call them for more information.
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