Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Coming right up

Yes, the end of the month ( my self imposed due date) and the end of my patience is likely to run out in a few days. I feel like a rug hooking robot as I repeat and repeat and repeat and repaeat, did I tell you I was repeating the same things over and over.

I'm loving the idea of October when the Vogue and I will part ways, at least the close proximity of it on my lap every spare moment.

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
Douglas Adams

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Colour Play on a journal rug

Sometimes I just love the way colours play together. (I think by the look of it some cats played on this rug too by the amount of cat hair!) Here is a section from my journal rug where I hooked a colour and a shape for every day for a month! It was fun!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Concepts and Creation

Here is a rug ( uncompleted as you can see ) from the way back time machine. It a was a piece did at Teacher's workshop many years ago. Swatches were the material provided but the teacher ran out and I was happy to try another way. This rug looks very different from others in the class and other Paisley Hexes I've seen since. All it took as a teaspoon of daring to be different and accepting a challenge where I might fail.

The problem with the type of teaching in these environments is we create the same things over and over and over without much deviation. This impedes progress.
In a perfect class ( in my mind ) at a teacher's workshop you would be given a pattern and thrown some extremely diverse materials and visual aids for half the day to create a concept that was uniquely yours and the rest of the day would be spent comparing and discussing these possibilities.
This way teachers would go home with 15 ways of doing this project instead of the predictable one way. What fodder we would garner for our lives as teachers this way, what a well spring of delectable fresh water we would drink down and bottle up for our students.
I feel a teacher's school welling up in me! Would you be interested?
It would require you to be open to your creative spirit and the creative spirit of others.

Once you get tuned in to your creative spirit and the feelings it creates, you'll feel it welling up all the time.
Welling up is a great word for this!
I like to tell people creativity is a vast ocean of possibilities, too vast for us to conceive of with our limited imaginations. You can tap into to this ocean or reserve of creativity any time you want. You can take a teaspoon. You can take a tea cup. You can take a bowl or bucketful. You can pump it in, you can build an aqueduct so the supply rushes through you every minute.
It is up to you how much you can use, share or allow yourself to wallow in. You might want to think about how much creativity can tolerate because it can be disturbing at times too.

Maybe you like a notion of the creativity well. You can go there when you have time to drink your fill, so you don't feel frustration from urges and itches you don't have time to scratch.

So many of you are marvellously creative already. You have been all your life and you don't feel the welling up because its always been part of you. Maybe this concept is foreign to you.

Here are some signs you are getting the urge to go to the well or the well is calling you.
You are having a hard time concentrating
You are waking up in the middle of the night.
You feel restless
You might feel lonely, unsatisfied somehow
You need to be by yourself
You think of angles, and can make a decision very quickly
You are hungry

It is time to get ratcheting the bucket down the well.
Get out your tools of choice and give them a whirl. Your creativity needs attention! Your house of invention needs it closets looked into and it's shelves repapered!

Look around you for recurring concepts and themes that are attractive to you
Don't worry about what will happen - just be in the now- make a start
Dare to follow your instincts
Don't rest on your laurels
Step out of the zone of feeling good and put one foot in the zone of unsure
Accept what transpires in your work, love it or just leave it
Look for support from those who can give it.
Make, don't look, read, think, ask ... DO

"In creating, the only hard thing is to begin: a grass blade is no easier to make than an oak."
-- James Russell Lowell

This message has been brought to you from the corporate headquarters of WandaWorks International where the well is never dry but the humour always is!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Go to the light or dark as prescribed

Light, God's eldest daughter... ~Thomas Fuller
When we hook we are so afraid to portray bright light or deep darkness. You can see both very dark and the ultra light in this photo. You will frequently find these two in the same vista. It takes one to create the other.
To hook this study in contrasts exaggeration is needed.
By squinting you can see how light portions of the rectangle containing the rocks really is. Yet we would resort to what we know instead of what we see. Yah ... Wood is brown, we only need one colour to do this, let's use a texture , more woody that way.... and carry on. By making this decision we are not letting the full potential of this wood to be revealed. We are not letting depth and form reach their nirvana in our rug.

See how the sun beams appear slightly violet in the sky and the white reflection of the sun on the water is much less coloured? See how it is the dark parts of the stones that create their shape? Notice also there is no special extra line at the horizon ?
The water is green, the sky a light blue developing in to darker blue. See how the gleaming reflection travels along the horizon?

Alls I'm saying is ... would you do what you see or what you think is there ?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Let's take a look at this!

I haven't done this in awhile and I hope you've missed these exercises as much as I have.
Today we are taking a look at this:
The Berry Pickers by Winslow Homer
There is a very soft palette of colours used for this painting. As is proper strong sunlight has washed out the colours depicted. We can also see it is a windy day by the shore by the hat ribbon. It doesn't seem to be a hot day though as there are no signs of haze or humidity (we see sharp edges of distant colour). And the shadow cast by the girl on the rock is sharp and strong, I bet it is close to lunch.

The berries being picked are a mystery but I think we can safely say they are ground growing berries by the posture of the pickers.
Looking at the foreground you'll see lots of details, both by line and colour. In the bare shrub and the girl in the ochre dress, you can see lots of variation in value.
The next plane away from us is the standing girl. If any of the design class students are reading this you will see immediately this is an L shaped composition. This girl who appears to be supervising gives a strong vertical thrust to the painting. You'll notice her colouring on her face is properly shadowed and muted as it should be, under the brim of her hat. Look also at the coloration from one hand to the other, not the same at all and provides even more clues to the strength and direction of the sun.
The rock she is leaning on is depicted close and from a distance. You can see three serious value changes along the way and are not presented in graduation form making them appear more dramatic and focusing our eye where things of importance are being revealed.

On the next plane are the two bigger boys and the girl on the other side of the rock. Light bouncing off the rock has made that girl a bathed in sunshine model but by making her features indistinct we are informed of her distance from the focal points. I enjoy looking at the blocks of colour used to create the straw hats both under and on top. There is not much " explained" here for us. In other words Homer didn't see fit as we sometimes do to help his viewer along by being literal, maybe we would try to hook with straw of make every line of stitching or use binder twine to hook it. Instead he used what he saw ( shapes and colours ) to give it form and function and to help our eye "guess " what is there. I believe this is the way we like to see. It is how our brains automatically default. If we try to be literal we take away from that natural understanding and can create confusion.

There are two loners over on the right hand side. They are indistinct patches of light and dark, just barely formed indicating their removal from the main picture. They are probably over there eating all the berries they pick, that's why they're being so secretive.

One thing I adore about painters and their paintings, the way they carry colour families around their paintings. The blue of the water shows up in the rocks, the grass, the twigs, the shirts and the ribbons of the girl behind the rock.
The sky... so subtle, barely any colour there because we are viewing the sky so close to the horizon. We could take a lesson there from Homer.
Look at the berry pails now, there it is again. Though the same value, look at the foreground portion of the rock and the sky. The brightness of the rock , the dullness of the sky makes them do their jobs, receding for the sky and advancing for the rock.

There is a bit of a story we are being told here, but the details are being left to us. I admire that skill.
Have a good look at something today!
Being a careful observer will take your work from ho hum to incredible.
Attention to details, making them congruent - that's a winning combination

Monday, September 13, 2010

Old School Vogue

This here is a progress report, I'm thrilled to say.

I'm really getting excited about almost being done my Vogue rug.
Now I'm down to brass tacks of getting colours on smaller elements settled. If you are looking for straight and even I suggest you look elsewhere, 'cos that's not the way this rug rolls.

The Before
In this case I needed the frill to relate to the center part of the rug which was a yellow green.

When we hook a rug we need to take into consideration the accumulation of the small things on the effect of the whole. This can be very hard to do.
I find it is for two main reasons.
The person is totally romantically involved with their rug and they cannot see how this colour they love or hate or the part they left out is affecting the whole rug. They are deeply and wholly in love, who can disabuse them of anything? He gambles, he drinks, he robs banks, he is a home wrecker... they just can't see it.
The hooker knows it isn't right but they have no idea why nor how to set about satisfying themselves. So they just finish up and go on to the next project.

I find no problem with either of these. I just don't have a supply of either. My blindness and disastifaction comes out in other areas of my life. So I stumble around, apply my group of adages and carry on until I feel feel good. Just watching me do this makes people uncomfortable. I feel great getting things improved. Here is what I think about to do it.

Colour Trouble Shooting

Why don’t my colours look good together?

You might not have taken care to pick the colour that will cover the greatest area first, if you do this you can play colours off that first pick and proceed knowing they work together and with the leading lady.

Stick to a theme, if your colours are Caribbean, stick with that, if they are Victorian always choose from the theme's colour palette. Don’t throw something crazy in, that includes poison... be mindful of poison, don’t use the same poison in your Victorian palette as the Caribbean one. Feel free to be artful and whimsical just not ugly. The answer you seek is probably staring at you from part of the rug already hooked. Remember your leading lady is the most important, beware of the domino effect, change too many things and you may lose your original colour theme.

My rug looks BLAH

Did you pay attention to colour temperature ? It is important to balance this. A rug with all cool colours lacks heart and passion, one that’s all hot will burn your eyes up ! You need the sweet relief of a cool colour.

Do you have a balance of light, dark and medium? Do you actually recognize these when you see them? THere are free lessons as part of The Welcome Mat membership to help you discover this.

This is all important !!! Don’t be afraid to use extremes.

I know its wrong but I can’t fix it!!

Here are the things I do.

Look carefully at the rug, determine if it is a value problem ( light/ dark, contrast is so important to create a beautiful rug,) a saturation problem ( how bright or dull colours are ) or a temperature ( do you need a cool or warm yellow , red, blue, green brown orange etc. ) problem. There are only those three categories for criteria.


All colours have special friends who make them look amazing. There are billions of choices, be sure not to settle when you are planning with colours. There is always a good- better- best scenario.

I spend a lot of time working with colour. Get yourself some coloured pencils, markers, paints , crayons, whatever you feel comfortable with to use. No one need see these experiments. Also I like paint chips, to mix and match and explore with. Look at layouts in expensive magazines, fabric, web sites to see effective and non effective colour interplay. Figure out what colours you like, then look at the different variations in that colour family for inspiration. Look around you. Be a student of nature , the best and most balanced use of colour is outside!!I cannot stress enough to PLAY PLAY PLAY with colour everyday to gain confidence and inspiration.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Procrastinator's Progress

Here is Vogue yesterday....
Still working on the possibilities! I couldn't hook today, we are back to a full complement for Thursday hook-in. Love that special wonder of hookers making their magic here, it is splendid and juicy to see the creative camaraderie.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I got a new boy friend! Edgar

Part of me thinks these "posters" we see everywhere are nuts and the other part of me can't wait to read them.
I'd say there are nuts all around this fall.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Marcus, you clever thing

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” ~Marcus Aurelius
Here is some eye candy from the Textile Museum of Canada while you ponder that one!

25 Hearts And Stripes- What a surprise!

Well call me amazed!
Not because I finished off the 25 hearts that were my goal yesterday and completed the stripes that run along beside them.
No .... When I stepped back from the rug I noticed and was delighted to see the overall effect of these and I was pleased. Formally I felt I may have made a difficult colour choice with them.
Behold they were good, not better, not best, but good.
They've provided impetus to carry on to finish and also gave a good direction for redirection in the centre, I need something darker in there. They gave a good strong message I want to carry on in my Do the don'ts section!

I think I might be interested enough to finish this rug. So far so good, and it is only the 6th. Aren't fresh starts darling?

Tonight on the Welcome Mat I asked the question posed by Patricia on The Playday Group:
What is the strangest thing you've ever hooked?
I was reminded of a swap I started on good old Padula years ago when I was sheriff.
It was called the butt rug swap (aka chair pads)
Here is my contribution, and you know I can't remember who has it even though I ran that swap! If you know who has it, let me know!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Happiness is:

Birdee is GLAD to have the Vogue Rug in progress again. She loves that basket of strips, there is more Birdee hair in there than wool.
A row of hearts and stripes both got finished yesterday!
I realized why I put it away, the hearts were crazy making... now only 25 more to go!!
I will try to do that today.
I hope you'll be hooking too!

Hooking Water and Skies

I just made a landscape rug for my RHM column so I can't show it to you, but for inspiration though take a look at this picture to reference as you read:I love hooking landscapes, even when I do faces I consider them to be landscapes with caves and hills, foliage, okay enough about my moustache...
Here are some great tips I really use to do my work!


What time is it ?

What time of year ?

What is the weather?

This is what you need to know about executing a good pictorial.

The light from the sky lights up or darkens the rest of your picture, it is NOT the last thing to decide but the first.

All other colours in the piece will “bounce “ off the sky.

Often in sunsets and sun rises, the sun glow colours are the direct opposite of the sky colours. You might get an apricot colour in a blue sky, a golden one in a lavender sky. Use this trick to get skies that are “ real looking”.

Blue - how often is the sky really really blue ?

Much more often than we realize, we get jaded looking at it all the time and we are focused on the horizon which is lighter than if we looked up into the sky.

What other colours can the sky be? List them on a page ti expand your ideas.

Unless a storm approaches or some other weather anomaly the horizon is always lighter.

What about clouds ?

For some reason hookers are not very good at clouds. We want to hook straight across when we do skies and we lose some vitality when we do this, we cannot provide depth to our sky.

We also often choose the wrong colours for clouds, using things that do not suit the sky colour well. Using various values of blue to white will depict light clouds. Make sure the colours of your sky suit the rest of your picture.

A cloud that is back lit with rays requires the cloud be dark gray made by dyeing blue with back. The edges of this cloud would be very light.

Skies need many colours of blue even if they are very close, we need to depict more lively skies in our rugs, ones that denote LIFE and DEPTH.

Clouds might be fluffy and pink there might be 7 or 8 colours in these clouds. Try laying out stripettes on your sky colour in a gathered up ball to see if they look cloudy to you, squint your eyes, does everything look like it belongs ?

Clouds need dark unpinnings, this is where they are glued onto the atmosphere.

Think about hooking ROUND ish lines in your clouds. Clouds far away will have more shadows, more emphasis on the bottoms less on the tops. These distant clouds will be closer to the horizon line, not as tall as they disappear and not contain as many values.

Hazy skies are indicated by unfocusing the landscape as its disappears into the distance. Do this with colour!! Duller and lighter as shapes recede, create soft edges with close values.

Use dark clouds with brilliant lights peeking through, be adventuresome.

Autumn skies might have a slight greenish cast.

Night skies can be violet,teal, green,purple,navy.... don’t forget to colour your moon to compliment the sky....violet sky - golden moon, teal sky ? red orange moon. Weather is cold? Make your moon cool colours.

Even skies we see that look lined or stacked up have thicker and thinner bands.

Start really looking at and studying skies, make quick sketches so you might remember them. Nature offers us up panorama each and every day. Get inspired by it.


Water will reflect like a mirror if it is still.

The sky is like a bowl, sometimes if we see water at eye level it reflects the horizon, if we see it from above , it is very dark blue because it reflects to upper atmosphere. You need to really look at the shape of the water you depict in a rug, and the view of it. Is the water a thin oval ? Then it will reflect the horizon probably ?

Is it close to the viewer, what is the vantage point?

This will dictate what part of the sky it reflects.

Because water is often a mirror it can be many , many colours including black!!

Slowly running water needs needs patches of high lights and darks, if it is shallow we will see the creek bed here and there. Hook these types with short patches, no need to use up a whole stripettes in a line.

Quickly running water will need lots of rich ( containing colours ) grays and whites with hooking strokes indicating movement.

It needs curves and highlights.

Reflections of plants and buildings, need to be broken up somewhat to show a slightly rippled wind ruffled surface.

If the water is still do a mirror image with the colours slightly duller in the reflection.

Water around rocks is lighter and will ripple around, use hooking direction to achieve this.

A summer day with sun glinted surface on a lake requires very bright (perfectly white) highlights.

I often provide distance with water by decreasing the strip width as I move away toward the horizon. I also decrease water movement by flattening out the curves I use slightly.

How to Separate Sky from Water.

It does not take much to do this but there is no magic bullet for success every time, trial and error teaches you a lot.

I leave the horizon to the end , it is usually the last thing I do.

I try out colours by laying strips into the space I’ve left until I find the right one.

You can rely on a distant shore to provide a break.

You can also make sure your water varies in saturation or slight value from your sky.

Look at water of all types in nature, from puddles to oceans, learn from this capture the water with photos. Study them to enrich your rugs.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Interview with a Flighty Fliberigibbet

Tonight I'm bringing you an interview. This is not a complimentary nor laudatory salute to our subject. Rather it is in the style of an EXPOSE´.
As you may have noted September has arrived. It doesn't feel like it, but it is upon us.
If you are a follower of this scurrilous blog you will note some time ago its author began a project which has largely been abandoned.
YES ... Wanda of WandaWorks you have been caught out!
It is September and where the hell is the so called " September Vogue " rug started last year at this time?
Let's go straight to the source with our questions:

Reporter: I'm sure I'm not the only one who wonders why you start projects and do not finish them, can you please shed some light on your habitual "interuptus"? Have you ever stuck with anything?

Wanda: I'm surprised any one noticed I wasn't finished. Aren't the beginnings of things much more fun than the slogging horrible middles and tedious never ending finishes? I can assure you I've stuck at many things in my life, cleaning litter boxes, eating chips, completing meal time rituals, like dishes to name a few. I start them and I finish them tout de suite. So there!

R: Cheeky ! Really we would like to know why you have kept us hanging on the edge of our computer chairs for over a year. Surely that simple rug you constructed has not got you knackered?
You are not defeated are you? Worn down by a few shapes and colours?

W: What I am is realistic. I'm trying to to live a life here. I've got things to do. Egos to stroke, moods to ameliorate, stomachs to fill, roads to ride. A frivolous pastime of pulling loops of fabric through backing... let them be moth food for right now... I'm busy.

R: What careless disregard for your readers! Have you no heart ? What beastly cold thing keeps your blood circulating and you from satisfying us? WE WANT TO SEE A FINISHED RUG!

W: Then I suggest dear reporter you and apparently my readers, if you are to be believed, get off your computer and seat yourself in the hooking position, one hand above, one below with a ready supply of strips and hook your own damn rug! Truly ! Vicarious hooking can only be dissatisfying at best.
Why wait for me, when you could do it yourself? Did I not give you a tool each day all September long last year?

R: Good Lord woman did you not announce yesterday the start of yet another challenge? How can you look at yourself in the shiny off set scissors?

W: Yes I did and quite shamelessly. Even with your pressure being brought to bear I feel nothing but joy as I anticipate yet another start. It's my job in life to be a boost, a jump starter, an automatic external defibrillator, a catalyst! So what if I can't keep up to myself?

R: WHO do you think you are?

W: Oh really try to find a question I haven't been asked before!!!!

R: Do you EVER think you will finish that rug?

W: I'll tell you what. It is here, parked beside the couch I hate to love or love to hate. What if I promise to really apply myself to it this month as to not have yet another rug languishing half done? I'll put the hammer down and try to get it finished by the end of the month.
That means hooked , mind you, not finished properly because that is another whole can of strips and for others who are more dutiful than I.

R: I really don't believe a word you are spouting, I've seen more sense in a crack house to be honest.
I'll be back from time to time to scrutinize.

W: What a pleasure! Somewhat like a bunion in new shoes or a hook that skins your thumb, or a needle that goes in the same hole over and over... Thank you for the prod, electric cattle prod that is.

here is what it looks like right now!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Challenge -The Garden Gate

My Father's Gate -- 2000 By Alan Sanborn
Alan speaks about this gate:
"Another one about my father. This is my father's gate. He owned the house I live in. He bought it and they were going to move up here to retire, but he kept putting off retiring, so after a few years we bought the house. When he still owned it, he built this gate. Years after he built it, it still opened and closed perfectly.
T"I saw the way the light was shining on it one day, the way the pickets throw shadows to form a pyramid with the opening into the yard at the apex. Our yard never looked so good. I ran and got my camera.

"When I painted it, it was just another painting, but now I know it's a very spiritual painting, it shows something deeper. My father and my mom opened a gate for me to go through. The pyramid shows all of the generations that got me to where I am. I think about my own kids, wondering if I will be able to honor the pyramid of those who came before me by making a gate as easy to pass through, as brilliant as this for my children to go through."

Traditionally September is the month for a challenge for me and consequently The Welcome Mat.
This year I was inspired by a quote.

"We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here's what I propose:
This year for our challenge we are going to explore the idea of the garden gate.
Through it, at it, by it? A close up of a hinge? A bird perched on it? Talking over the garden gate? Is it wrought iron, a gap in a stone fence, a wooden one?
What are you imagining? Winter, Spring? Fall? Is your gate open or closed?
There are so many amazing ideas to explore...

Here is a link to inspire you.
And another on styles of garden gates
Here is another of artist's renditions of garden gates
The parameters:
Your project needs to include some part of a garden gate. Do you need a drawing to start with? Find some to use below.
Any size you like.
Any cut you like.
Doesn't really need to be a hooking....
Must be done by January 15.
I will use this discussion to encourage and have a place for you to post your progress, cheering and questions and thoughts for others. I'd like this swap to be a bit of a supportive think tank. If we have enough interested people I'll start a group for it. I can't wait to start and I hope you will join in.
“Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

I hope you'll be inspired by the garden gate and join us!