Monday, August 31, 2009

Ten Minute Hooking Report

I got the hooking started on my Grasshopper rug. I tea-dyed some pink wool for skin, so I can't hook the face and hand yet until the wool dries, and I'm fulling some white wool for the breeches, so I can't hook them yet,either. I hooked the horse with directional hooking, so I'm going to try out anti-godlin hooking in the dust and dirt under the horse.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rug Designing, Step 2

Last night, I arranged my cutouts in a row so I could decide if that was the way I should use them - and it is.
I traced them onto linen today and the pattern is now 15" x 70".

I put a horse at each end, one with a taller rider, the other with a shorter rider.

So, we have a horse on the left, followed by a tennis court with two tennis players. Then the two who are dressed up are standing on a stage - a stage at the YWCA - they are participating in a fashion show.

Then we have the field hockey players - both fullbacks (because that was my favorite position after I became convinced that I could never run fast enough to be effective on the forward line.)

The field hockey game is followed by the swim team - only two lanes in that pool though. One swimmer is doing the backstroke and the other is swimming freestyle. The rug ends then with the second horse and rider. I left enough room for a border, with a couple things dipping down into it. I think it won't be a straight-line border since each motif will be surrounded by appropriate landscape that can be odd shapes with a background color surrounding the landscape. If I do some dyeing, I may have the border be a darker version of the background. I think I'll color plan as I go along...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rug Designing

I made two failed attempts at getting my Grasshopper rug design started. Sometimes I can draw, and sometimes I can't. Today was a can't kind of day, so I switched to paper cut-outs, but I had the wrong kind of paper and I had too much of Deanne Fitzpatricks Big Boned Women in my head. I had to stop and put it all away. I was thinking I needed to go to the store and buy some of the right kind of paper - but 11:00 on a Saturday night is not a good time to go buy paper. So, I dug through the waste basket and pulled out some of the junk mail. I found some paper that felt better and started cutting.
One of the things we Grasshoppers did a lot of was ride horses - some of us took riding lessons one night a week and most of us went riding as often as we could at a public stable where we rented horses. After I earned my first paycheck teaching school, I went back to that public stable and bought two horses, Millard and Thunder. Had lots of adventures with them.
Some of the Grasshoppers were on our high school swimming team - Georgia swam back stroke and I swam freestyle, so I cut out two figures that could do either stroke - so, I'll have to have some water in the rug.

We also played tennis, so I have two tennis players that I'll put in white shirts and shorts.
Ann will definitely be one of the tennis players, as I remember, she was really good.

In the fall, we played field hockey, which I look back on now as my favorite sport.
I wasn't great at it, but I played all the way through high school, college, and graduate school.
I'll put these hockey players in gray and red uniforms for our high school colors.

We also did dress up things. When we graduated from Eighth Grade, we all had to wear nice dresses and high heels. For many of us, that was our first experience wobbling along in high heels as we walked across the stage.

So, now I have all of these figures to play with and I have to decide how to arrange them - maybe in a runner, with the figures side by side - or, maybe just a mish-mosh the way I have them on the table now. Of course, I could make six or eight horses, lots of tennis and field hockey players, etc. I don't have to stick to two of each, I made two because that's how I folded the paper. I'm going to go to bed and see if an arrangement comes to me magically in my sleep.

Hooking Without Hooking

I was feeling really scattered today and I suddenly realized why - the photo shows my work table. It was a complete blank at noon when my mother's nurse came for a home appointment. Ever since, I have been doing a little here and a little there - sort of "grazing" on my various non-hooking but hooking projects. I went through Linda Rae Coughlin's Contemporary Hooked Rugs and was inspired by the tremendous variety in the amazing rugs inside. I re-read the chapter on rug hooking in the 1927 Home-Craft Rugs by Lydia Le Baron Walker - I really enjoy her history of rug hooking. She traces hooking back to just after the Colonial period - which I enjoy because I want rug hooking to be an American craft, not a British Colony craft. She also talks about home-made backing used for rugs before burlap was available. I also spent a few minutes in Cheticamp with The History of Cheticamp Hooked Rugs and their Artisans by Chiasson, Deveau, and LeBlanc - the story of hooked rugs rescuing a poverty stricken community is compelling, but the book is not easy reading, perhaps because it was not written originally in English. I put it down in favor of How to Make Hooked Rugs by Mary Perkins Taylor, written in 1930. She works with hand-torn strips and makes some very detailed rugs, but I was not happy with my attempt at her technique, so I was looking for clues to what I had missed - I think I just tore my strips too wide because I wanted them to be wider than I could cut easily with my cutter.

What I really wanted to do today, and will perhaps do when I am finished writing, is design the rug I will make with Deanne Fitzpatrick's Big Boned Girls patterns. I have decided to not use a photograph of my Grasshopper friends, I'm going to use Deanne's drawings as a basis for drawing my own impressions of those friends - which means they are not going to be the women who are gracefully ageing and talking about how Medicare works, they are going to be the young women I remember - Ann in her tennis shorts, Diane in a red and gray field hockey tunic, Georgia either on a horse or in a swim suit...and four more to go...

I also have a pack of rainbow colored fleece from Peace Fleece. I'm probably going to use some of it to make felted beads and some for texture in my Grasshopper rug - I wanted to buy something from the Peace Fleece website because I was really impressed with their attempt to bring peace to the world by purchasing fleece from farmers in countries that were former enemies. I find it hard to imagine people who spend their lives nurturing life, in the form of crops and livestock, going to war to kill people - but then again, I have heard some pretty vitriolic statements and political threats from local farmers around here (of course, this isn't real farm country anymore.)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

George and Patches dog rug

I tried to upload a photo of this rug on ning today, but it posted all stretched out, so I thought I would post it here. Diane Phillips was the feature teacher this year at Sauder. A few years ago, I took a one day class at Sauder from her. The class was about hooking dogs. The photo is of the rug I started in that class. The cloud dogs are Shady, Shep, and Ben, three of my best friends who have crossed over the bar. George and Patches are two of my current best friends. George was explaining a little about civilization to Patches, who joined our family after her first two horrible years - the first year she was shut in a basement and completely ignored, the second year she was adopted by a new family who moved and left her behind - she lived wild for a year, until the people who owned the chickens she was feeding on caught her and turned her in. She came to us because I was her breeder. Her mother is Blue, who still runs herd on our pack, and her father was Ben, the smallest cloud dog.

Diane Phillips hooks with the people in Vermont who are always sort of pushing the envelope, experimenting with the artistic aspects of hooking, so her rugs are quite varied. She had a number of dog rugs on display at Sauder, rugs that she used as examples for our class, so I didn't take new photos of them. She also had several portrait mats, and I did photograph a couple of them.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hooking Again, AT LAST!

Isn't this a silly rug? It's one I'm doing without a pattern, it started out as one thing and turned into something else, but I don't care, I am just very happy to be hooking again. My hooking isn't back to normal yet, though. About every fourth or fifth loop, my hook grabs the bandage on my thumb and gets stuck, but at least I'm not poking the healing cut. I changed the way I hold the strip in my left hand to protect my thumb and somehow, in the process, I rubbed the top of my left arm against the top of the frame - who can figure? All of a sudden I realized I was dripping blood on the floor plate of my frame stand - I looked at my arm and I must have punctured a little blood vessel with a gripper strip, UGH - a couple minutes of pressure and a band-aid and I was back in action. I know that the ten minute challenge doesn't provide for accumulating hooking time, but I figure I really need to pay back the days I missed because of my foolish knife handling - so, I hooked enough to cover twelve days before putting my hook down and taking a photo. I posted the photo, but I really took it to see what this silly rug looks like at this point. Sometimes photos look better than the close-up look while hooking, but I'd say not so in this case.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sauder Village Rug Show was Great - Again!

My mother and I made our annual one day trip to Archbold, Ohio for the Sauder Village Rug Show. This was the 13th annual show, and I think I've been to at least 12 of them, maybe 13. The first time I went, Cindy Jones drove and I went with her and Dianne Klamik. The trip was about shopping for antiques as much as going to the rug show. Cindy used to drive 18 wheelers and I was definitely car sick by the time we finally reached Sauder. I don't remember being able to enjoy much of the rug show - however, this show was entirely different.

We arrived before there was much of a crowd and were able to really see all of the rugs without bothering people with my mother's wheelchair. It wasn't long before I found my favorite rug. It was in the Celebrations portion of the show and it's called "Warrior Horses". On my first trip through the show, I took a cursory look at the rugs and I thought the horses were given their multi-dimensional shape by needle felting or possibly hooving, but a closer look later on revealed the horses were hooked with raised #3 loops. They were hooked through a plaid fabric - some kind of stiff even weave that I've never seen before.

I posted almost fifty photos of the show on Rughookers,

so I won't repeat them here.

I also told about my great chance meeting with June Mikoryak. She spent quite a bit of time telling me about the color plans in rugs hooked by her students. I really could see the difference between her students and other rugs, she really is a color expert. The secret on several of the rugs was just the right bit of spark, or poison. The poison color was one that you wouldn't normally include in the same color palette as the rest of the rug, usually a much brighter color. Those almost unseen additions added a depth and spark that set Mikoryak rugs apart from the other rugs - I'm afraid quite a few of the other rugs started looking quite dull to me.

June also taught me about something I'd never heard of before called "antigodlin" or "antigogglin" hooking. It's done so the loops look like rice thrown randomly in a bowl.
The photo is a close-up of a petal on a flower on a large bedrug hooked by Ann Bond.
June Mikloryak said she studied the old rugs and the old books and realized the old hookers used this antigodlin technique - it certainly works well in Ann Bond's bedrug. June said the trick is to be sure your bottom hand is keeping the strip from twisting. She also said there might be spaces left between strips and you can go back and fill those in. I think I learned more from my chance meeting with June that I've learned in classes. I've always heard about using poison in color planning but have never seen such good examples, examples where the poison doesn't even show up unless you know what to look for - I think now I might have enough nerve to try sneaking in some poison myself.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Planning a Grasshopper Rug

In June, I got together with some of my friends from elementary school. They came from New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas, and Ann Arbor to spend an afternoon getting reacquainted in a display garden belonging to Michigan State University. From left to right in the photo above, they are Ann, Diane, Me, Sharyn, and Georgia. Patt and Jane and Barbara are missing.

When we were kids, we formed a group called the Society of Pedigreed Grasshoppers. None of us remember for sure why we chose that name - although I remember that it was Ann's idea when we were having a get together in her home. We all lived in Northwest Detroit. Our school, T. Dale Cooke Elementary, was just about in the middle of our neighborhood. There were eight of us altogether, and about five of us started kindergarten together. The others joined our class of eighty some students before eighth grade, the last grade in Cooke School. Seven of us spent all of our high school years at Redford High School, and one of our number travelled downtown for part of her high school years to be in a special Art curriculum, then she came back and we all graduated together from Redford.
Seven of us got together last year at a school reunion, only Patt was unable to come - it is a long trip from California. This year there were five of us. I want to make a rug featuring the Grasshoppers. I used one of those conversion programs to make this year's photos into line drawings and those drawings are kind of interesting, but I'm not sure they'd make a rug. I've also been thinking about using Deanne Fitzpatrick's Big Boned Women patterns in some way - but I haven't figured out how yet. Way back when, we did so many things together - we played field hockey, were on the swim team, tennis team, basketball team and went horseback riding weekly, plus we had our Grasshopper gatherings - I don't know whether to go far way back when or the mature adults we are now.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

No Ten Minutes for a While

I made a foolish mistake tonight that will keep me from hooking for a while. I was going to cut up some cold chicken for a salad for dinner and somehow, I let the knife slide off of the chicken bone right into my finger and down to my bone. Owwweee, that really hurt.

When I wasn't able to stop the bleeding, I decided to head for Urgent Care, which is only about two miles away and is in the same office as my regular doctor. Unfortunately, it took a few minutes to explain to my mother that I was going, so I got there right at closing time - and they were closed. So, I thought I could get some butterfly band-aids at the grocery store. I had to keep mopping up the blood that kept dripping onto the grocery cart, so I bought a bag of frozen peas and wrapped that around my thumb. A twenty minute wait in the check-out line and the bleeding stopped.

I got a bag of first-aid stuff home, poured peroxide over the wound (because I'm reading a great book about growing up on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression and they used peroxide to "bubble out" the germs.) I taped the cut tightly together and then wrapped a bunch of stuff around my thumb to help me remember not to use it. I probably won't need the reminder right away because right now it's hurting enough to remind me. Anyway, I'm going to have to do my ten minute hooking on reading or writing about hooking - I do not want to get the bleeding started again by trying to hook.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

April DeConick of Red Jack Rugs has organized a challenge for anyone who chooses to join - the challenge is to hook for ten minutes every day, six days a week, for the next six months. If you go to April's blog and sign up, you can have a badge like the one above to place on your own blog or website.

The Ten Minute Challenge

I'm going to take on the Ten Minute Challenge posed on April Deconick's blog Red Jack Rugs To meet the challenge, all I have to do is hook for ten minutes a day. My understanding is that any rug hooking activity will count, and maybe that could be my monitoring of the activities on Rughookers and Rughookers Bulletin Board , but I think I will limit myself to actually hooking - maybe drawing a pattern or gathering wool might count, but not all of the other rug hooking activities that are always floating around in my mind, like the Rughookers Merit Program and reading the whole stack of antique rug hooking or hooking related books I've recently acquired (several by Dr. Grenfell and one about the history of Cheticamp, plus a few of the 1960s and 70s craft books that have only a few pages on hooking.)

My frame is all set up in the dining room. I had to put everything else away yesterday because we were having friends for dinner and I like to have small groups eat at the card table I use as a work table - my mother's cherry dining table is just too heavy to move and set up for just four people. This silly rug is still on the frame and I haven't done a thing with it for days - the ten minute challenge would push me to finish it and get on with some sort of planned rug.
So, many thanks to April for this challenge, I really like the idea of committing to ten minutes a day - why, I could be hooking right now!