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 a year and a half from start to finish. (I think I 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!
Oh, this was fun to do. It has been a long time since I've done any punchneedle embroidery, and I enjoyed every minute of this. I've done a lot of my own designs but when I saw this pattern by Lori Brechlin of Notforgotten Farm I just couldn't resist.
I recognize this sentiment as being universal to all rug hookers and rug punchers. Here's a shot of the piece before it was framed:
After all, a hooker can never have too much wool.
Off I went today to a local b&b owned by one of the Quabbin Rug Hookers. We hooked from 11-2 and really enjoyed ourselves at her unique and beautiful house on a gorgeous spring day.
And here are a few of the rugs-in-progress:
Judy was beginning this fabulous Bea Brock pattern and I love the colors she's using. This is going to be a stunning rug.
Next (below), if you've been following the progress of Phyllis's "Zen Sand Garden" rug, here it is as of today. She's almost done! I'm loving this rug. It's Phyllis's original design, and she's been improvising with great success as she's been working on it.
Although we'd brought lunch, Lynda served a wonderful tomato soup and warm bread (yum). So filling. During lunch I had a chance to speak with Jane, a brand-new rug hooker. Here is Jane's maiden voyage (first rug); she was also testing out some frames today to decide which one she wants to buy...
I forgot to say that there were only five of us present today at Lynda's cozy house. I totally enjoyed being there and meeting her dogs Kiwi and Harry.
Here is the progress on Lynda's Peace Pagada rug:
With thanks to Lynda for hosting, for all the "eye candy" at her house, and for inspiration from the other Quabbin rug hookers. Good food, good conversation, and good work today.
A page from my journal today. Not a masterpiece but at least it got me tangling and drawing, and I completely enjoyed doing it.
And speaking of roses, kudos and roses to my buddy Cheryl the Rug Rescuer. She has just completed a commissioned rug rescue for someone she knows who brought her a half-finished rug. As I recall, there was no wool with it, just the unfinished rug, so Cheryl had to match wool as best she could. The pattern, I think, was drawn by a rug hooking teacher who was unable to continue hooking, so I believe it's an original. Anyway, I love this rug (below). Let's first look at the rug on the floor of Cheryl's drop-dead gorgeous Victorian living room; then I'll post a closer view.
That's the rug in the foreground above, but isn't the entire room just so beautiful? And here's a closer look at the rug itself:
What a beautiful design. Very sad that the designer wasn't able to complete it, but at least the Rug Rescuer got it done! Now here's the hard part: She has to give the rug away to the woman who brought it to her. I would have a lot of trouble giving something this lovely away.
Now Cheryl is working on this wide-cut rug below (a real departure for her as she's not enthusiastic about hooking with wide cuts). I don't know whose design this is but it's very pretty: And yes, this is another Rescue Rug, started by someone before it was abandoned and turned over to her.
Quite unusual. I don't recall ever seeing this design before. Go Cheryl!
I haven't seen either piece in person yet; another friend took these photos for me (thank you, Kathleen). I'm hoping to see the actual rugs in person in a couple of weeks.
A few years ago I was fortunate enough to go to a hook-in in Vermont and met Dana Psoinas from New York, one of the most extraordinary rug hookers and artists today. I had already been mesmerized by her "Guardian" rug in a photograph, and suddenly, there was the real thing, right in front of me on the floor in Shelburne Vermont.
And there was Dana herself. A more talented and nicer person you just cannot find. She specializes in rugs that tell stories, usually stories from fairy tales or myths.
I was star-struck. We hit it off and have corresponded occasionally since then. Lucky me.
I am still star-struck by her work, and so will you be. Read on!
She recently showed me three drawings she has done--freehand, mind you!--on linen, to sell as patterns for other rug hookers. One of them is at the top of this post, and the rest are below, along with a sketch she hasn't yet drawn on foundation.
More information about Dana and her process is at the end of this post.
She sold these through her Etsy site--but please be aware that these patterns are NOT FOR SALE now. They were/are one-of-a-kind. She is busy with her own rug making and does not stock or sell patterns all the time. There is a wonderful photo of her finished Guardian Rug on her Etsy site--please have a look to see just how phenomenal her rug hooking is. She works in 2-, 3-, and 4-cuts to achieve her extraordinary rugs.
Check her site from time to time in case she does post something to sell...who knows, you may get lucky!
If you wonder about her creative process and want to know a bit more about her, you can check this recently-written blog post with more photographs of her rugs. Enjoy.
With thanks to Dana for letting me post this!
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 will be for a private group in October. That class is full.
I'll 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