Writing my last post made me realize that yes indeed, I was unhappy with the center of my Red & Black Scrappy Rug. It had been bothering me for days but when I took the photo for my last post I realized it just "didn't sit right" for me and I wanted to change it.
So, I did. I went into the studio today and ripped out most of the center and rehooked the entire thing. Much better!
It may or may not be significant to a reader, visually, but it has made a big difference to me. I'm happy also with what I am learning from doing this scrappy rug.
While it's still not perfect, I'm not looking for perfect. I'm just looking for a visual that makes me comfortable. If I had left this the way it was, I would always have bothered me. So I am feeling a big "Ahhhhhhhhh!" this afternoon.
Ok, how many of you Boomers see that title above, and hear the Petula Clark song in your head?
Right. That's what I thought...
[You can hit "play" and still continue reading, while listening to Petula in the background.]
The Wooly Bullies (my rug hooking group) headed downtown to Cynthia's today. Only five of us could attend--head colds and travel adventures limited our number. Cynthia was her ever-graceful self in her amazing South End townhouse.
So here is a mystery I cannot solve:
How is it I've been to her house several times and managed never to see these two fabulous murals on the walls? Cynthia and her husband uncovered these while doing some restoration years ago, and wisely preserved them. They have no idea who the muralist was. Aren't these wonderful?
I do not understand how I could have been to her house so many times and literally never have seen these. I CERTAINLY saw them today, and am so happy that I did.
Cynthia had baked some incredibly delicious slow-rise bread, which none of us could resist, and she served that with yummy smoked turkey soup for lunch. And there were peanut butter cookies! And good coffee and tea.
But let's leave the cooking and get on to the hooking:
Can I just say how stunning this rug is, now that it's in its place in her living room in front of the sofa. She designed and hooked this, and we got to watch as she progressed. It took a few years, but she got it done. It's a real centerpiece in her living room. So lovely!
Meanwhile, Maria was just beginning this cutie-pie rabbit, a chair-pad size piece. (M: I cannot explain why this photo & the next photo turned out so "blue." Odd.)
I'm looking forward to seeing this develop.
Cheryl the Rug Rescuer has been working on this McGown pattern of Feathered Tulips. (Cheryl, you can tell from the color of your hand in the lower left just how "blue" this photo turned out. Either that or you have a serious oxygen shortage. Apologies--I doctored it up and it's still outrageously blue.) When last I saw this piece--last month, I think, she hadn't really started it yet, so she's made great progress since then.
Here's a bit of the center of my Red & Black Scrappy Rug. I wish I had better technique--but then, that's why I'm doing this particular rug, to improve my technique. And I do see slow improvement. I'm trying to use up scraps here, although I swear they are multiplying behind my back in the dark of the bag they live in. I do not see my stash growing at all smaller. Hmmm.
I bet I will have to do some re-hooking here, depending on how much my technique improves as I go along. I'm seeing a lot of things I do not like as I look at the photo. Darn!
While we were there, we ogled all of Cynthia's rugs and her husband's wonderful art. Here is a rug she made years ago; it's now the main runner-rug in her kitchen, before her sink and stove. Designed and hooked (and I think the wool was also dyed?) by her.
And finally, we were all appreciating the view from her windows as we worked. I took this photo of a nearby skyscraper. It has a temporary piece of art, a trompe l'oeil of a window washer:
I love my Wooly Bully Rug Hooking group. Great people, good work getting done, wonderful homes, good food, hilarious conversations. A real blessing in my life. Thanks, friends.
Results of tonight's tangle experiments. All of these are new to me, so this is my first time doing each...just fiddling around. I like all these tangles and am sure I can learn to do them better, but even this much was fun.
On the left: Leafpod as a frame, with Balloya in the middle. In the center: Tamisolo. And on the right: Balloya on its own. All were shaded with the Rainbow Pencil, and I added some graphite shading on the Balloya on the right. Better views of each, and some mirroring fun, are below.
Huh?? What and what?
Ok, the title above comes from the names of the two new tangles I played around with this evening. Feels wonderful to have a pen/pencil in my hand again. [Tomorrow, weather permitting, I'll be back in the studio, working on one of the new rugs.]
With plain graphite on the 'Dillo tangle (created by CZT Lori Manoogian) and Prismacolor red and bronze in the center panel, Fission by Richard Anderson.
And of course there are two iPhone "messing around with apps" versions below, both of them using the mirror app in different ways.
Honestly, I find the apps as irresistible as the process of tangling itself. Ya never know what yer gonna get.
"Regard everything as an experiment."
Well, time is running out. I have an appointment with the accountant on Monday. Gotta get that tax prep done.
But hey! Today's only Saturday, right? So I have almost 48 hours to party! (Or at least, my version of "partying"--meditate, take an art class, read a trashy book, work on my rug, do more drawing. An introvert's version of a wild party.)
So this morning I zipped down to CT to take a "Gems" class with Meredith Yuhas, a terrific teacher. I've done gems before using watercolor pencils. I had not done them with regular Prismacolor pencils, which I love. And since I haven't had time to tangle for almost three months, I thought this class would give me some great practice. And it sure did!
Meredith did her usual thorough, well-researched, excellent teaching job. All class participants did the same gem, following the same steps, and now, of course, we all are prepared to do whatever the heck we want from here.
Here are the class results:
This was a two-hour class, focusing on the gem, with a final discussion on tangles we might use to surround it. You can see that some students finished their gem and others started to add some tangles. By the time the class ended, I was beginning to add tangles (mine is on the far right of the upper row of four). I deeply appreciated Meredith's tips and coaching; if you ever have a chance to take a class with her, do it.
I drove home pondering what to do to surround the gem. The photos below show the unshaded results, and then the results after shading.
And then, of course, because I never can let well enough alone, I had to fiddle with the apps on my iPhone to see what would happen. So here are two versions that I ran through different versions of apps. (In other words, I took the shaded photo above, and ran it through two different apps on my phone.)
Not too bad, considering I haven't had the time to pick up a pencil for three months. And with practice, I will improve.
Driving there, taking the class, getting back here, and finishing a trashy mystery took me most of the day. What a tough life. <kidding--I know how extraordinarily fortunate I am>
And the tax prep? As Scarlett O'Hara famously said, "I'll think about that tomorrow."
I SHOULD be doing my taxes.
I AM doing some tangling, which I have sorely missed...
I enjoyed doing this, although perhaps didn't do such a great job on shading. And that's just fine, since it's been so long since I've done any tangling at all I'm happy with whatever I produce at this point. Gotta start somewhere. Oh my gawd does it feel good to be drawing, again. So meditative.
What can't be grasped in this photo is the actual size of what I've done. This small-looking section is nearly the size of a regular hooked rug already.
(Most hooked rugs are about 2' x 3')
Before I realized this, I was beginning to flag, thinking that I hadn't accomplished much. But then when I spread out the rug today, I remembered what a huge piece this is going to be, and ended up being quite impressed by how much I've gotten done. If I were making a regular sized rug, I would nearly be finished. I am guessing I am only about 1/5th done, if that.
I've been listing to dharma talks and meditations as I punch. While I cannot do the meditations in classic fashion while I work on the rug, listening to them emphasizes the meditative nature of rug hooking/rug punching. The rhythmic nature of this art lends itself perfectly to tranquility and mindfulness.
How lucky am I, to be able to spend my time this way?
"...illumines this world like the moon freed from a cloud...'
Finally getting this rug very much underway. Still figuring things out. The best part is that the yarn I dyed yesterday finally matches the color I was going for. I'm not sure it will continue to look like this, but here is the beginning.
Between doing the blogging here on the Tarot Rugs, which took nearly two months, and then doing a huge amount of yarn dyeing for this rug, I've had to set aside all drawing and tangling. I can't wait to get back to having a pencil in my hand.
This was the sum of this weekend's efforts. Not bad!
...or so I thought until I got to the studio today. Every single color matched EXCEPT the light yellow, which was the one that worried me, and the one I need the most!
Which one is the light yellow, you ask? Yes, that is exactly the problem. I was worried that the light yellow came out too much like medium yellow. It did.
Back into the dyepots.
At least I have my original skein at home with me now, to compare to my next attempt. I made a serious mistake by not bringing the original home with me. Funny how all the others matched their original skeins like little clones, but not the yellow.
File this one under "partial yarn dyeing mistakes."
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh...I love it when I discover something scientific that justifies one of my so-called bad habits, and this video is less than 2 minutes long:
AND ABOUT THOSE KNITTED KNOCKERS:
Ok, so here is what I have been doing in the off-moments when I haven't been dyeing yarn for my new rug: making Knitted Knockers.
Yes, they are what they sound like and look like. They are ingenious prostheses for mastectomy patients to wear instead of the (usually) nasty implants or other heavy, unwieldy prostheses. You can find out all about them on this amazing website.
You see here a pair I have nicknamed the Blue Boobies...isn't there a bird called the Blue-Footed Boobie? Well anyway, I couldn't resist doing a pair in blue.
I was really moved by this project, and--given the trauma a good friend of mine is going through this very week--really wanted to be a part of it. So I am knitting knockers and I hope someone finds them useful.
Now that I've got the hang of it, they are easy to make and require no thought. But the first one! Oy vey. Let's just say I haven't worked with double-pointed needles in years (I prefer Magic Loop for socks) and it took me more than a dozen tries to get the first one going. But that was it--once I got that one started, the rest have been a snap. I just love this project.
I'm snowed in here so haven't been able to get to the studio to work on my rug, but I've been continuing the yarn-dyeing orgy and should have more skeins to show very shortly. I may--just may--have finished dyeing all the yarn for the rug. Just about 50 pounds of yarn. Phew. And each 4 oz skein has been dyed individually, by hand.
Outside, all day today:
Inside, all day today:
Results of all this messiness:
As Heidi Whipple (the dyeing teacher who taught me this method) says:
"Each skein is its own dye lot."
So true! I look forward to seeing if these will match what I need. Sure hope so. I want to move forward on my rug and I can't if I didn't match these well enough. It's nail-biting time!
Update the following day: YES!!! They match. Very excited.
I was recently away for seven days on another lovely, extraordinary silent meditation retreat at IMS in Barre. When I returned, I still had four posts to write in order to finish chronicling the Tarot Rug Project. Finally I got that done--it felt so good to complete. Since then, I've needed to catch my breath and catch up with the rest of my life.
This week I finally got back to the studio, and began to sort out how I'm going to handle this gigantic (for me it's gigantic, 3' x 6') Moon Runner, also known as the Moon and Clouds rug. I dyed all the background (and blogged about it here and here, as well as in a few other posts). Got all that done back in November, but I hadn't tried out the test colors I dyed for the moon or clouds. So in the last three days, I've done some experimenting. Here was my first try at a cloud:
I kind of liked it, but wasn't convinced. What was it missing?...it seemed too dull to me. But I beavered on, and today I tackled one of the moons:
...and finally got most--not all--of it done:
...and now, yes, the cloud is definitely too dull. But I think I'm loving the moon! And the cloud is very fixable; it just needs more yellow.
Am not certain how the moon will look against the background, but there is only one way to find out. More work on this tomorrow. I am getting WAY excited about this rug.
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), a long-time meditator, a certified meditation teacher and coach, and focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society