Monday, February 20, 2012

The Lion Roars

I didn't get as much done on the lion as I expected to last night. A man came into the store wearing a big Russian fur cap, so he said "Hello" in Russian, and I said, "How are you" back, in Russian - the full extent of my high school Russian. We had quite a conversation, turns out he was a student, in fact, the class president, at University High back when I was a teacher in the same building. I was teaching first grade in University Elementary, almost 45 years ago. He came back a second time and brought with him a book of Edgar Guest poems -- a book he had taken from the school library way back when. Since the school has been closed since 1970, he felt giving it to me was as close as he could come to returning it to the school library. Talking with him reminded me of a lady who had been the much admired school librarian, Ms. Sarita Davis. She was the most caring and dedicated librarian I've ever met. She encouraged me to write stories for children, was even going to send one of my books to a publisher, when she literally dropped dead in the hallway walking between the high school and the elementary libraries.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Less Frosty Lion

I removed the yellow/cream tweed that was showing up in photos as bright white and am now hooking the mane with mostly yellow/tan/light brown tweed. I like it a lot better. It's too bad the photos don't show the colors more accurately, the black background is a very active antique black - lots of colors showing through. I wish I could get a photo that would show those colors. I decided that hooking at the store just isn't enough, there are always too many interruptions, so I'm packing a bag and taking the lion home. We'll have a lovely eveing of dogs, television, and hooking. I think I'll even bake some scones - I found an "easy" recipe that uses lemon-lime soda.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lion Too Frosty?


I haven’t been able to hook since Thursday, but while I’m resting at home, I’ve been thinking about the Frost Lion.  I’ve been working on the head and basically only looking at the head – and, by itself, the lion head looks a lot like some kind of unusual space monster.  I decided it was time to take a good look at the whole pattern and see how the head is going to fit in.  I’ve been anxious to get enough hooked to see how the antique black background will do, so I have hooked just a little bit around the top of the mane.  When I look now, I see way more of the very light colored mane hairs than I should….

Frost Lion Head

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Frost Lion Day 3

Again, not nearly enough hooking time. I had a computer lesson with a really nice gentleman whose children told him he needs to join the computer age - taught him how to search for dump beds for pick-up trucks. He's coming back tomorrow to learn how to use a laptop. Then I had a one person hooking lesson. Dee is hooking a picture drawn by her grandaughter that's really cute.

Next I had a visitor, a really nice woman who visits every so often and frequently brings me special things. She met Gadget the last time she was in, so today she brought me a book about a farm with border collies. After she left, I couldn't get into hooking until I'd read at least the first chapter. My job is supposed to be selling things so that things leave the store, but some of my best days are filled by the kindness of people bringing me thoughtful things and/or just stopping by to talk.

Anyway, it was already sundown by the time I got to hooking. I'm trying to close up and go home around sundown, but I felt I had to do some hooking anyway. I gave the lion some ears and a few strands of mane - I wanted to get some mane bumping into antique black, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm wondering now what the lion is seeing - maybe he heard the noise of a hooker sneaking up behind the flowers on the far side of the rug.

Frost Lion Day 2

Only a little more done on the lion today. I didn't get to the store until 3:00 and then had customers in and out the rest of the afternoon. I had one Indian chief who bought an antique microscope for his medicine woman's valentine present, and then I had a little woman who grew up in New England but has always wanted to live in England, in high society a century ago - she makes button greeting cards.

Funny what you learn about customers. I think I almost like talking to customers as much as I like hooking! I had one grumpy guy who strode in, strode to the back of the store, strode back, said, "Got any local photos?" and I said, "No". I do, but he walked right by them twice and I didn't feel like sharing them with a grump. I'm thinking about putting whatever local history I have into a little book - I may run an ad asking people to share stories about my building. I heard one the other day from Donna at the Senior Center - she met her first husband at a dance upstairs (in what is now my rug hooking studio). She went to the dance with a girlfriend. This man walked right up to the girlfriend and then turned and asked Donna to dance - and then she said, "and we danced together for twenty years!" Lots of people have told me stories over the years and I should have written them down. I guess I can't start any sooner!

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Frost Lion

I've started hooking the lion in the Frost Lion rug. I've had a hard time trying to decide what colors to use for the lion. I've researched photos of lions several times now and had thought I would use wool that I dyed with Cushing's gold and old gold, plus some wool I bought on eBay called "lion's mane", but the colors just didn't seem right.

I'm having a terrible time trying to get Blogger to let me put my photos where I want them, so I guess I'll just leave them at the bottom. I looked at a lot of photos taken of live lions and I also had a lot of fun studying Edward Hick's paintings with his Kingdoms that included lions that changed and aged as his paintings changed over many years. You'll be able to see in the first photo that I've decided to do a shadowed gray/buckskin lion, although right now, with so little hooked, the lion looks more like a goat.

This is one of Edward Hicks' lions

A second Edward Hicks lion

Close-up of an African lion

My favorite lion photo - I'd love to know what he's thinking.

I decided to use Hicks' lions for my models. I'm guessing that a post-American Civil War rug hooker would not be familiar with live lions and would have to rely on available books or paintings or photos. Edward Hicks, a Quaker minister, painted at least 62 different "Peaceable Kingdom" paintings and they all included a lion. Those paintings could have travelled from his Pennsylvania to other Quaker meeting houses in New England and elsewhere, so I'm guessing our early hooker could have seen at least one of them. Of course, the pattern gives some information about how the lion should be hooked. The pattern gives a longer face to the lion, but that's all workable.