Sunday, August 8, 2010

The GMRHG Summer Hook-in

The Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild Summer hook-in took place in tha main conference room of the hotel. It was a large room and there was plenty of space to spread out. I met up with some friends who are members of Tin Pedlars, and saw many other people whom I have met before. A side table always had refreshments and laughter was abundant.
The thing I love about a hook in is being able to go around and chat with people about what they are creating. Everyone is open to share why they chose a particular pattern and how they selected their colors.
I believe you should be able to click on any of the pictures to get a close up view.
There are many talented people in this group, and there were informal classes given on the side of the room for anyone who wanted to join. I took a class with Rose Ann Hunter on how to make jewelry from wool. She partnered with a woman who makes wire jewelry, and showed us how to make closures for our necklaces when they were completed. They took on personalities of their own and came out quite well!
As with all gatherings of rug hookers there were rugs that were partially finished and some newly completed ones that were held up for the "oooh's" and "aaaahhh's" of the crowd. I'm sorry that I didn't get the names of the people who made these rugs or their designers. They were wonderful. but things were moving fast and I could barely focus my camera!

Isn't this a fabulous background?

And I love the colors in this one. I wish I had gotten a close up shot for you because the hooking direction makes the rug, but you really can't see it well in this photo. Try clicking on it!

Many people got up and spoke for 15 minutes or more on a fibery topic. It was great being able to sit and hook and listen to them. This next one was about teaching children to hook. These small projects were all made by children in an ongoing class. I believe the ages were from 10 and up. They each created their own design and made the entire project including finishing and sewing it together!!!

The colors in this rug are fabulous! These are my colors!!! I want them!!!

Molly Colegrove shared some of her whimsical sculptural designs and I had never seen anything like them. This hooked vessel was quite nice although the legs didn't do much for me! These are made with a wire base that is molded to the shape that you want, and then you hook through the holes in the wire. It is awkward but after a few minutes it isn't very hard. You need a small hook as you would use with a 2 cut! I like the beaded embelishments she used.
This crow was fabulous, and very detailed with lots of color that doesn't show in my picture. Her eyes are made up of tiny turquoise beads. You may be able to click on the photo for a close up.
Rose Ann Hunter gave a wonderful overview of the history of rugs. Prodded, proggy, shirred, standing wool, beaded, knit and crochet rugs were discussed. I have heard her speak several times before and taken classes with her, but each time she has new information that she has discovered. Here are some of the rugs she brought to show us. Most are made by Rose Ann as she was trying to duplicate stitches or rugs she has seen in museums. She is a wonderful rug historian. This one has knit or chrocheted strips, and then the strips were rolled up in jelly roll fashion..

The one on the right used the same technique, but a row of shirring was added for the ruffled effect.

I believe this next stitch might be called the straw stitch or something similar. It is created with a piece of straw and that is sewn over with wool yarn creating the loops. It is very dense and sturdy.
This was created by taking a long strip of wool perhaps 1" wide, and sewing a sturdy thread in a running stitch down the middle. With every stitch you give it a double twist. Then you pull on the thread and the wool puckers forming a plush long strip. That strip can be sewn into a circle mat such as this, or made into a necklace, or it could even become your Christmas tree garland!
This is a standing wool mat. They are actually quite easy to make and work up fairly quickly!

I'm showing the back of this rug because from the top I would have thought it was prodded, or proggy. But the wool strips are actually sewn and cut. I don't remember the name of this technique.

I sat in on the class with Molly as she taught us how to make the vessels. These last two pictures show her cutting the wire screening and then she made cuts on the sides of the screening like a dart for clothing. Then she pushed it into a sturdy bowl to create the shape, and the "darts" she had cut overlapped. She placed a slightly smaller bowl inside to firm up the shape. Then she tossed them to the onlookers and we began hooking! The vessels can be embellished with felting, beading or stitchery or whatever you want.I will show my progress in another post. This type of screening can be purchased at Dick Blick art supply.
I hope you enjoyed my post about the hook-in as much as I enjoyed being there. There will be a Fall hook-in too, but it is the same weekend as a spinning bee called "The Gathering" that is only held every two years. Both will be held in Vermont within 20 miles of each other! Arrrggghhh! So many fiber choices! Life is good!

Vermont for the GMRHG Hook-in

I have so much to tell you! I will attempt to offer you several posts today in order to share my activities with you. Last weekend I headed over to Vermont to attend the Summer Hook-in for the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild. I feel a kinship and loyalty to that group as their rug show is what endeared me to rug hooking and prompted my journey into a wonderful new way of creating things with wool. Many members such as myself do not live in Vermont but enjoy the activities and amazing talent in their guild. Their membership enjoys some of the best rug hookers in the world.

Vermont is beautiful. I believe it is one of the prettiest States in our glorious Country. No matter where you look you will see rolling hills and beautiful sights. I had plenty of time so took the path less traveled. I came upon a lovely covered bridge back in the woods on a gravel path. I spent a few minutes enjoying the quiet and listening to the stream running gently under the bridge.

Vermont is celebrated for their farmland, and of course they have an abundance of cows. Isn't it curious how animals identify each other with butt sniffing greetings? I'm so glad that humans merely shake hands to greet each other!
The weather in the northeast has been wonderful and the crops are doing well. Cornfields are abundant and it looks like there will be a healthy crop this year. Most farmers plant a few rows of "pig corn" on the outer edge of their fields so that if thieves grab a couple of ears they will get the pig corn and not the good stuff.

Along the road I passed by Queechee Gorge, and had to take a break from driving so I could take a walk and see the beauty of the gorge. The first picture is a shot straight down from the bridge so you can see the height. Some nearby teenagers dropped a large stick over the edge and it took a full five seconds to fall to the ground where it shattered into mulch. The second picture shows one side of the gorge and Queechee river going into the distance.

After I arrived at my hotel I met up with many rug hookers, and will show some rugs and more about the gathering in my next post. I drove around a bit to watch the sunset and take some pictures. This is from the parking lot of the hotel.
I came across another breed of cows that I have seen before. They have shaggy red coats and wonderful horns. I believe they are an English breed and if cows can be cute...they are!

The sun was setting so I headed to a high spot to get a few shots of the magnificent sunset. I didn't have to go far as these pictures were taken in the K-Mart parking lot!

I headed back to the hotel to unpack, and enjoyed a relaxing jacuzzi by the pool with some women from New Jersey who were visiting their sons at nearby Castleton College. It was a relaxing day and I looked forward to the hook-in the following day with anticipation.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Garden Party in Searsport

I was looking forward to a day of rug hooking at Searsport Rugs and meeting up with a few friends who live several hours away from my home. Of course I encountered heavy traffic (dang tourists!) until I got above Freeport as traveling on a Friday night on the Maine coast during the summertime is not advisable. Heavy thunderstorms added to the traffic as it was obvious that some people can't drive on a wet road (dang tourists!). Thank God that they seldom visit when snow is on the ground. Once I hit Augusta I took a favorite back road and left all traffic and storms behind.
Here is a nice shot of the beautiful Searsport harbor. 
Saturday morning brought a heavy fog that burned off and developed into a hot day. A tent had been set up on the large lawn behind the store and numerous chairs were nearby. There was also a hooking space available inside the building. Kat and Merideth and I chose to sit a bit away from the crowd under the shade of a beautiful tree. Within a few hours everyone in the building came outside because of the heat, and the tent was unbearably hot so everyone ended up sitting in the shade of the trees.
A gentle breeze developed and it was quite pleasant.
Kat was working on a wonderful primitive rug that is a memory rug for her dog. It has two dogs on it and a fabulous tree that she hooked using a variety of subtle colors that really give the tree life. Hopefully she will post a picture when she gets it finished.
I was working on a rug that I began last year and had not picked up for 6 months. It is a Patsy Becker design and I am using some bright colors on the five center tulips with a dark teal background. Behind me you can see the "chairs deemed unsuitable for hooking" area. They were too high, or too low, or too hard, or too soft, or the arms were too high.
Of course the shop was open and is always a pleasure to go through. It is in a large rambling house with rooms dedicated for different items. For example, one room held mostly books and kits. Another room is full of patterns arranged by type such as geometrics, and there is the dye room. And the largest room holds luscious bolts and cut pieces of wool. Numerous samples decorate the walls and entice you to purchase patterns or kits.

This sweet kitty caught my eye and I liked the colors
Here are some of the beautifully dyed wools in the main wool room.
Last year I had purchased this pomegranate pattern but have yet to hook it as I need to finish some other UFO's. I took this photo to give me some ideas of what I like and might not like to do when I pick up the hook and begin my pattern next winter. I like the interior colors but might choose a light golden brown for the border background. We'll see!
And yes, there was food. Glorious food. Delicious quiche, warm popovers, pickled asparagus, fresh salads, and delicious deserts including cakes and a fabulous hot peach turnover in syrup. After lunch we waddled happily out to our tree for a couple more hours of hooking.
I totally enjoyed the day and was quite surprised that I actually knew about half of the women from other places such as Tin Pedlars or the Alfred hook in. It was a relaxing day, and it prompted me to put away my spinning wheel for a bit and pick up my hook. It felt good.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Spinning Bee

I recently attended a Spinning Bee at Tare Share Farm. This homestead was built in the mid-1700's which is the same time frame as our home. It is also a Cape home like ours. The difference is that this home has been kept as authentic as possible over the years, and is historically correct.
They had tents out on the lawn for the spinning wheels and I would guess about 50 or more spinners came to enjoy the day. It was hot, but there was plenty of shade and refreshments.
The owners of the property set up several games for people to play. The niddy noddy contest involved placing measures skeins of yarn on a swift and on the mark everyone tried to spin the yarn off the swift onto a niddy noddy the fastest. After narrowing the field the winners were announced and they won lovely fibery prizes to spin up. I have it on video but am not sure how to post a video here!
My favorite part of the homestead was the Spinning Barn. Yes, they have a barn dedicated exclusively for their collection of antique spinning wheels and spinning tools! Almost all of the wheels are from this local area and they have an extensive collection. This photo shows the large loom in the barn. After all, you have to make something with all of the yarn you are spinning!
The loft area held some nice old wheels that had a wonderful patina. These wheels are in working condition.

The barn also had several walking wheels, chairs made of spinning wheel parts and an assortment of tools. It was a very interesting place to spend some time!
Another loft held yet more wheels. They were everywhere! I wanted to spend all my time investigating all of the antique wheels but also had to spend some time spinning, watching competitions, eating snacks and of course checking out their house.
Since it is a working farm they had some critters. These colorful little friends were underfoot and seemed to like the sound of all the spinning wheels.
Of course there were sheep...quite a variety. Thi one caught my attention because of his fashionable hairstyle. I don't think he could see much!
There were red cows with long horns but they were shy and every time I attempted to take a picture they walked behind trees. The inside of the home had small rooms and the original fireplaces. It is furnished in period furniture, which is mostly primitive in the style of the home. It was a great way to spend a day and make new friends. And it was only a couple miles down the road!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I've been busy!

I'm sorry that I haven't posted for so long, but I've been busy! Here is a month in my life...which includes a bit of everything! My dear better half enjoys ripping things apart, and luckily he is quite adept at putting them back together. Our barn windows had probably been broken and crooked for 50 years, so he fixed them. First he took off the entire top side of the barn. Then he framed out the windows.
And as I said he knows how to put things back together with a fresh look! My role in this is to keep a cold beer in his hand and keep the phone handy in case he falls off the roof or
does damage to an important body part!
We attended the wedding of our friend Bob and his new bride Evelyn. They were both recently widowed, and we think they compliment each other quite well. It was a quiet and lovely ceremony.
Sometimes we all are able to make friends on the internet. I have been writing with Debbie St. Germain for a few years and she and her husband paid us an unexpected visit for a few days. While I was working during the day they enjoyed the area and went kayaking and beach walking. Each evening we all sat outside and chatted until it was dark. They stayed in our cabin you have heard me speak of and I believe they will return in a few weeks. Don't worry Debbie...I won't post pictures of you! But here is the cabin:

I went to my favorite auction house and although I bought little I always enjoy the scenery. This is a shot I took by Mt. Chicorua as the sun was setting.
In the winter they run sled dog races and ice sailing races on this large lake.
My friend Laura and I both love music. I couldn't tell you how many concerts we have attended over the past 34 years since we met. This time we went to Gillette Stadium to see the Eagles, Kieth Urban and the Dixie Chicks. Now when a stadium holds 75,000 people you can't expect great seats or great sound. You go for the experience of having that many people all singing the same songs at the same time. It was such fun!

Living quite near the coast gives me the chance to see the ocean every day at work, and there are certain places that those dreaded tourists haven't discovered yet. Here is one of them, but I can't tell you where it is other than the town of Kittery Maine. Lovely view, isn't it?

We celebrated the 14th birthday of our wonderful dog Brutus. He still does pretty well, although he has lost his hearing and his legs just don't work so well all the time. We used to let him run in the fields but since he can't hear us calling him back he has to stay on a lead now.
His name is tough but he's our loving, ever loyal and non-judgemental baby.

Some other friends arrived from Tennessee for a couple of weeks. Steve and Rosie are such fun! They come up each year and make our cabin their home. We all went to a camp and had a big lobster bake with some friends. It was a relaxing gathering full of laughter.

Yup...when in Maine you have to have lobstah, steamers, mooseburgers and fresh corn.

I also spent some time in my "Gardens of Weedin". I adore my gardens but seldom have them all looking nice at the same time. My lupine looked really nice this year.

And this little garden is called "Mo's Garden" after my dear friend who is now an angel. She and I purchased the lilies together at a local garden place that only sold varieties of lilies. The hummingbirds love them.
We also attended another wedding. It was for AnnMarie and Eric. They planned it for a year, and had the most beautiful flowers. AnnMarie personally made all the invitations, centerpieces and candle gifts for all her guests. She also made the bouquets at the end of each aisle with garden hooks found at the Christmas Tree Shop, canning jars and some wire. She's so clever! They had a fabulous chocolate fountain too!
It was a joyous celebration.
And three weeks later...she's expecting their baby!!!
I have also been spinning a lot in the hopes that I will get good at it. I'm improving! I figure I can make yarn during the summer and knit it up during the winter. Of course I have been rug hooking too, but lately that has taken a back seat to spinning. This is my spot to spin overlooking our back field. Often deer and other critters come out because I don't make any noise while spinning.

Here is some spindle spun Blue Faced Leicester that I worked on during that concert:

And this is my first try at blending fibers. This is a mix of Coopworth wool (from my favorite sheep named Dolly) blended with angora bunny. I am proud that I was able to make it thin and rather consistent. I must say that blending angora is a bit of a pain because of static. I know there must be a trick to make it easier but I don't know it yet! However it is worth the effort as this yarn is butter soft and lovely. I am going to spin up another batch for a pair of fingerless gloves.
And this is a skein of my lovely thick and thin yarn. It has character, doesn't it? This is actually my first full skein that I dyed, spun and plied. I just like looking at it!
So that catches you up with many of the things that have been keeping me away from blogging for the past month. Oh...and did I mention that I work full time? Yup...I've been busy. But don't feel neglected. I'll be back really soon! Hugs to you and stay cool!