Sunday, August 24, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I sometimes find that I am obsessed with textures and colors that I see in the world. I love the variations of color in simple things, and the way things feel. The grain of a piece of wood, the structure of bark, the coarse surface of a boulder. When I see something that appears to have an interesting texture I have to touch it. When I shop for clothes, I shop more by the feel of the material than the style of the outfit. Today I took a few photographs of things around our home that had interesting textures. I could also have taken pictures of garden flowers, and vegetables. We are all familiar with a smooth ripe tomato, a fuzzy peach or a bumpy ear of corn. And of course the corn silk!!!
Smooth, bumpy, soft, sharp, dry, spiny, rough, flat, knobby, weathered, furry, sticky, coarse, grainy, slimy, wet and so many other words can describe the textures that we encounter. One of the activities we do with the children is to play with cornstarch. Take a cup of cornstarch and add a cup of water...then run your fingers through it. Try to pick up the cornstarch. It can feel dry and wet at the same time, both liquid and solid.
Perhaps that is why I love working with wool. There are butter soft wools, and scratchy wools. Fluffy wools such as angora and mohair. Each wool has a different feel. I believe that other fiber artists also appreciate the "feel" of the fiber in their hands. The lanolin content of the wool will change it's structure so that it feels different. I have noticed that there are wool "snobs" who will only work with particular wools that have a feel they enjoy working with. Perhaps that is my future?
Music has texture too. Ever notice how smooth some music can sound, or loud, or coarse or soft?
My love of texture can also apply to my friendships with people. after all, texture is about the essence of something...the character that it has. My closest friends are quite different from each other and all have textures within their lives that compliment me. Their texture might be rough or smooth, and relationships might be bumpy or fluid. I just love the character and texture of the things we encounter each day whether it be an object, music, food or a good friend.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Have a great day!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
After many months of chatting with internet friends and doing homework about spinning wheels, I made my choice. Last week I ordered a Kromski Minstrel from Copper Moose in Vermont. Several days ago a package arrived that contained a bobbin and some nice fleece. The wheel would arrive from North Carolina. Yesterday the UPS man arrived with a big box. It's here..."some assembly required"!!! The Kromski's said that it should take only an hour.
So this morning I opened the box and laid out all the pieces so I could look at them and determine what they were. Being new at this, I don't have the correct vocabulary fully memorized. The package contained (so the directions stated) wheel pegs, tension screw, support rod, footman, brake band, treadles, bobbin kate and lots of other parts. Now they were kind enough to supply written directions, as well as a video. The problem arose later when they contradicted each other. They were also assuming that I had some knowledge of what I was doing. Never assume!!!
I started with step one and assembled the legs on the wheel frame unit. This has to be done while the unit is upside down. I thought it went well until I flipped it back over and...crap...I was supposed to attach the treadles. So I undid step 1 and started over. I flipped the wheel frame over, and used one hand to support it while also holding the leg in the hole and pounding it with a rubber mallet. At the same time I was inserting the (floppy) treadles and supporting rod into the leg posts. They didn't tell me I needed 5 hands for this step!!! I got the legs and treadles on correctly, and proceeded to attach the wheel, and the footmen that go vertically behind the treadles. Not a problem. I ran some parrifin wax on the leather parts so they wouldn't squeak.
The package came with three long strings, and I assumed that one of them was the drive band...but which one? And how do you put it on? I assumed you would have to knot the end to form the circle...but where? I set them aside to figure out later.
Then I began setting up the "Mother of All". There is a reason why they call it that. I caught myself saying "Mother #&*$#*!!!" several times, although usually I refrain from swearing. All parts in this area must be placed in the correct direction or you have to re-do the process. I was able to complete it without breaking anything. I went on the internet and found clear pictures of drive bands on wheels. I set them up and they seem good.
I finally completed all the steps and tried the treadles. They worked smoothly and soundlessly. I oiled it where the directions told me I should. I had learned that the seat should be about 19" tall, and found the perfect antique claw & ball seat that I had gotten at auction a few years ago. I am signed up for the "Intensive Spinning" class at Halcyon Yarns in Bath beginning Friday. I am looking forward to proudly taking my new wheel and learning all about the proper way to spin. Life is Good!!!! Now I have to wash dishes, do laundry and all the other little daily chores that we all must do before we can play with our new toys and wool.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Have you ever had a favorite photograph? This is one of mine that I thought I'd share. It is a picture of my Mother when she was a teen in the 1940's. I have always thought it was a special scene, and I love her dress and almost bare feet. Rather risky in a pasture as you never know what you might encounter! Mom passed away in the 1970's, and I'm lucky that I have some special momento's with which to remember her. If you ever want to see a close up of any photo on my blog you should be able to simply click on the image.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
This Padula rug was started last year and is my first attempt to create my own design. It is 19" X 38". I had never used monks cloth before and found it to be soft on the hands, but very stretchy. I stopped working on this for several reasons. The primary reason is that I'm not sure if I should leave the tongues on the edge. I had planned to do the inner row of tongues in darker colors from the rug, and the outer row in darker colors from the rug. I was going to surround each tongue with a thin row of the dark eggplant that I dyed. I don't like it! Another reason that I haven't gone back to this project is that I can't seem to find the background wool that I had! I think I overdyed it for another project! What to do!?!
I began this rug last fall when I took Susan Feller's class on Fractur's at the Hooked In the Mountains show in Vermont. It is 24" X 36". It was a huge challenge for me to create this design, but I like it. The side borders were adapted (copied? borrowed?) from a design by Debbie St. Germain (Woolen Sails). The class was three days, and I spent the first day figuring out my design. I spent half of the second day learning how to tranfer a design onto the background, and the rest of the time hooking. I stopped working on this because I had also started another rug at the same time and the busy holidays were approaching. It needs some tweaking and re-hooking in areas, such as the leg of the deer that doesn't look connected. I dyed all the wools and like the way they started to hook into the design.
This large "white on white" wool penny rug can't count for the challenge either. But it deserved finishing! It is 30" point to point on the long side. All I need to do is sew the completed top pennies to the background and finish the edge. I think I'll put this one in the basket next to my chair in the living room so I can work on it in the evening while hubby watches TV.
The wool in this rug was my first attempt at dying wool. The pattern was given to me by another rug hooker, and I do not know who the designer is. It was something she said she would never get around to making. Someone else showed me the rug on the cover of rug hooking magazine hooked by Gail Dufresne. I love sunflowers, so dyed the wool and started it. I used wool yarn for the center of the flowers. I have learned so much since I started this. One thing I can do now that I could not do then is hide the woolie tails! (Thanks Gene!).
This is our Turket Street rug that I designed. It is 36" X 26". It shows our little red Cape home, as well as our barn and the stone wall. The house was built in 1772, and the barn in the early 1800's. This was started for several reasons. I wanted to create our wonderful property on a rug. I had attended Deanne's workshop and wanted to play with textures, yarn and wool strips to show our fields and the sky in her style of artful hooking. The challenges in this rug "kicked my butt" and that is why I put it away for awhile. I don't like the way the windows look. The driveway is flat and needs to recede in the distance. The boulders in the wall are...I don't know...just not right. How do I make them look like a wall instead of looking as if they are laying flat on the ground? I think I need to learn a lot more before I continue on this rug. But perhaps if I choose it for the challenge I will learn as I go? After seeing some of these UFO's on the computer screen I am getting a different perspective on each of them. Now I just have to figure out which one to finish. And of course I didn't even mention my Old Glory eagle rug on this post!!!
Friday, August 1, 2008
My Goodness! I got a wonderful honor from my internet friend Trudy! It's the "Blogger Award", and it makes me smile to know that she thought of me. Trudy has so many talents, and seems to have a wonderful family who keep her busy all the time. She doesn't know that her encouraging words over the months that I have known her have been both motivating and inspiring to me. I'm sure that I am not the only one whom she had held under her inspiring wing. Thank you Trudy!
My chosen winners of the prestigious BLOGGER AWARD are (drumroll please!):
Heidi Wulfraat: http://thewoolworks.blogspot.com/
Debbie St. Germain: http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-ZyS8q8kjcq7UA87mCjryCA--?cq=1
Brenda Gervais: http://www.withthyneedleandthread.blogspot.com/
Gene Shepherd: http://www.geneshepherd.com/blog1/
Deanne Fitzpatrick: http://www.hookingrugs.com/newspage.html (scroll way, way down for her diary)
Honorable Mention: Linda Repasky
Now, the rules for accepting the award are pretty straightforward:
1.The winner may put this logo on her blog!
2.Post a link to the person who gave you the award!
3.Nominate 5 of your favorite blogs and post their links!
4.Leave a message for them on their blog! So, here goes:
Trudy at Bits of Wool awarded me this honour. I am being challenged to make these links "clickable", so if you need to please go to my links area on the right to access them easily. Now, I have chosen my favourite blogs.....and it was hard!!!
1. Heidi Wulfraat's blog at London Wul Fiber Arts in New Brunswick. I met Heidi at Deanne Fitzpatrick's symposium last fall and envied many aspects of the life she has chosen. She has a farm full of wooly critters and her blog posts often remind me of a James Herriot novel with her tales about her life with the animals and the care involved. I am not surprised that she has a bit of a veterinary background. She spins the most glorious textured yarns that you have to touch to appreciate. Her dye pots always seem full and her variegated wool colors curl my toes with pleasure!
2. With Thy Needle and Thread. Brenda Gervais uses the most wonderful subdued colors and creates beautiful patterns for rug hooking, punchneedle and stitchery. I find her blog to be a relaxing tour of the rural country and gardens, and it helps me gain insight into her inspirations. She is one of my favorite designers for punchneedle.
3. Deanne Fitzpatrick. Deanne has more of a journal or diary, but perhaps we can encourage her to start a blog. Attending Deanne's symposium last year enabled me to understand that every one of us has a creative thread within us. Her speakers encouraged us to experiment and to not be afraid to try new things in order to find our niche. That was an important lesson for me, and her blog is both a teaching tool for design as well as an affirmation that daydreaming about our loves and lives is wonderful. It's just amazing what you can learn about yourself on a walk along the ocean or with a cuppa tea. Thank you Deanne...for allowing me to relax and create without worrying too much about criticism for not following "the rules".
4. Debbie St. Germain (Woolen Sails). I consider Debbie another internet friend and we have a lot in common including our enjoyment of kayaking, nature and the fiber arts. She is an incredibly creative person and I enjoy reading her blog posts to see what she has been working on. She has created wonderful booklets containing patterns with themes such as Halloween designs and fractur designs. Be sure to check out the links on her blog to see what she is currrently selling for patterns as they are great designs for both punchneedle and rug hooking.
5. Gene Shepherd. One of the first books that I purchased was the Rug Hooker's Bible, and it taught me the basics that I needed to know as I picked up my hook for the first time. As I progress I continue to refer to that book as a teaching tool. Gene has a wonderful way with words and I enjoy the lessons, information and wonderful photo's that are found on his blog. I have learned a lot from him and he is another of my inspiring teachers on the internet.
Honorable Mention: Linda Repasky (Woolen Whimsies). I could not leave Linda out because she is one of the best teachers that I know, but I do not believe she has a blog. Perhaps this will encourage her to start one. She should! We are both members of the Primitive Punchneedle group, and she is able to answer every question that comes to the group clearly and patiently. I have met up with her several times and she is a genuinely nice and caring person who is constantly giving of herself to others. Her words are always positive, and that is so important to someone like myself who wants honesty but fears rejection. She is able to put the negative into a positive and guide me toward my goals. Thanks Linda...for all you do for your wooly friends! Hugs!