Monday, February 13, 2017

Love Binds Us

Valentine's Day seems like the perfect time to be reminded that, "love binds us"!

This phrase, "loves binds us" kept bouncing around in my head, as 2016 came to a close. So, of course, when an idea gets caught in my brain, I did what I always do. I pulled up loops and hooked it into art!

I like the simplicity of this design and the soft, romantic colors. The background was hooked with mellow greens, camels, gray and other neutrals. The outline of the hearts was hooked with sari silk. I liked the sheen of the silk, and the unpredictable way the loops lay, because of the differing widths of the silk. I used yarn as well, to add accents to the outline. The inner areas of the hearts were hooked with warm neutrals.

The three little separate squares are each 6" x 6". You can hook one or all three. This idea is a spin-off of my previous Heart Prayer Flag idea, but simpler in construction. Each little square is hooked and finished with a wool backing. A simple sari silk loop is attached to the top. At this point you can either use the loops to attach the little heart squares to a rope, or you can individually pin them to the wall.

This design, with all three heart patterns, is available as one PDF at my ETSY shop. So if you need to meditate on good things, creating this project will be a happy distraction. Once completed, this positive message will help remind you to focus on the positive, to breathe, to relax, to remember to find joy, because after all,...."love binds us"!

 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Doves Ascending


 

I like the idea that my first rug of 2017 has the message of love, doves and hearts! Doves Ascending is a hopeful way to begin the year don't you think!

The scrolling hearts were the original idea that brought me to my sketch book, the doves came later. However, for over a year now I have wanted to do a primitive style rug featuring doves, and some how, some way, the doves insisted on being part of this design.

Interestingly enough, last year, my first 2016 rug, was an antique reproduction that featured a dove. My new design, doesn't look anything like the antique one. My intent was not to copy the motifs of the antique rug, rather I wanted to recreate the feeling of peace with doves, and the feeling of motion by how the background was hooked. I had found those elements so inspiring in the antique rug.

The color plan is a simple complimentary color plan with reds, dirty greens and neutrals.

The doves, the "love" motif, and background are hooked with an 8 cut. The scrolling hearts are hooked with a 6 cut as is the background within the hearts.

 

I really enjoyed hooking each part of this composition.


I like how the doves seem to be flying upward, with the background "movement lines" hooked with the wool loops at an angle, seeming to push the doves along.
I hooked the doves in dirty whites and light to medium grey.

The word "love", seems grounding and significant placed at the bottom of the rug. I like to think, that the doves are carrying that message aloft, upward and onward. Notice how the red outline of the word, disrupts some of the flow of the inner part of the letters. I did that accidentally, but later chose to leave it like that because, well,...love isn't perfect.

The earthy green/brown background was the ideal foil for the red hearts. I found that hooking them in a 6 (or smaller cut could work too) was the best way to not have everything get too squished. There are three different, close in value reds that I used. Each line of the heart is a different red. That helped me not get confused as to what line continued where, as they scrolled and circled around to create the connecting hearts.


 

A friend suggested I offer three different variations of the rug. So there is the original design, Doves Ascending, that is 11" x 30". Two other variations feature the top half of the rug, Scrolling Hearts and Dove. Another variation, Love, Dove, and Hearts, with the lower half of the original rug. Those two designs measure 11"x 17 1/2". (See the listings at my ETSY)

Hooking this rug was very therapeutic for me these past few weeks. What can be better than practicing your craft, creating a rug, or wall hanging in which the colors, the motifs, the hooking technique all come together to make a design that sends out a positive, love-filled message.

I feel blessed!

Please visit my ETSY shop to see these new designs, or other hooking related items.

Also, I'm excited to say I will be teaching this September in Fredericksburg, Texas at Two Stars In Texas Rug Camp. Come hook with me!

 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Heart Prayer Flags

When it comes to hooking, my guiding force has always been, "Hook what makes your heart sing!" Creating these Heart Prayer Flags does just that. Yet, perhaps you are wondering, just WHAT are Heart Prayer Flags? Let me explain...

Earlier this year, the idea came to me to create banners. We rug hookers are always thinking of new ways to use our rug hooking skills. We make all sizes of hooked rugs from very large to small. We make table mats, wall hangings, chair pads, stool covers, mug rugs, ornaments, tree skirts, standing hooked items and even little stuffed animals.

For me, the original concept of simply calling them banners, quickly evolved into calling them hooked Heart Prayer Flags, because the idea became much, much more than just a way to use up wool strips.

Hooking my Heart Prayer Flags, follows the custom of traditional prayer flags, that honor special events and to share blessings. The prayer flags send out a sort of prayer of peace, love, and kindness to spread out on the winds to the surrounding countryside. Instead of real winds blowing through my Heart Prayer Flags, the winds of creativity, flow through my hands to share, peace, hope, and love in a whimsical, happy sort of way, out into the universe.

I am offering two different sets of patterns at my ETSY shop, and you can order them two different ways. As an instant downloadable PDF and as PAPER patterns. The first pattern set is Heart Prayer Flags: St. Nicholas & Reindeer, with three designs. The second pattern set is the Heart Prayer Flags: Snowmen & Snowflake, also with three designs. There are several photos to aid in color selection, how to hook hints, and detailed instructions of how to assemble the Heart Prayer Flags.

Making these Heart Prayer Flags: St Nicholas & Reindeer is a fun, sweet way to herald in the holiday season!

I find it reassuring and cozy almost, to make these heart prayer flags to celebrate the homey feel of winter. Notice how in between the Heart Prayer Flags: Snowmen & Snowflake, the word S-N-O-W, is spelled out.

As an artist, I often use hearts as the main theme for a design. I love the idea that the heart symbol universally represent positive, encouraging and love-filled thoughts. Making these Heart Prayer Flags seems like a natural way to share love in a fun and playful way, all embedded with a heart, my favorite.


I plan to have many more Heart Prayer Flag pattern ideas to share in the new year. Stay tuned for Valentine's Day, Easter, Americana, encouraging words, nursery, baby animals, gardens, fall and Halloween,...Oh my, the list goes on and on. New designs will include this triangular shape, as well as squares and rectangles.

I cannot wait to see all the clever ideas you come up with in recreating these designs! These designs would be perfect for punch needle and wool appliqué too.

Please visit my ETSY shop today and get your Heart Prayer Flags, and start sending your creative, good vibes out into the universe too!

Happy Hooking Friends!

 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Color Studies

Making a small hooked mat is a perfect way to experiment with color. Maybe you are in-between projects yet feel the need to have wool and hook between your fingers, so you grab a small design and commence with the hooking. Perhaps you have a large pattern and want to experiment with the colors on a smaller scale, before you commit to using them in a large rug.

These scenarios were just the case for me, earlier this summer, when I was finishing a rug. If you are like me, you most likely have another project vying for your attention, before you have even completed the current one! I had a big rug design/idea in my head and sketch book yet I had not quite settled on the lay-out of the elements. I also had a couple of color ideas, inspired by antique rugs that I was trying to decide upon. So, picking up a small design to hook seemed like a good way to take care of my desire to hook, and to experiment with the design and colors.

As I hook a small mat, I am experimenting with many aspects of the rug. There are several questions I try to answer when I first begin to hook. It's not a stringent strict test, but more like an eye-opening exploration of ideas. A flow of give and take, a journey, with a hopeful open-mindedness on the road of discovery. There is a feeling of anticipation and excitement as I begin.

What design elements "work"? Do I want part of the motif to fade into the background. Should I use a thin strip or beauty line to outline an area of the motif to make it stand out more than another area? What wools do I want to use. Do the textures I hook with "read" darker or lighter once hooked? If I use an as-is texture, is there a dyed-wool or one of my marbleized wools that will also work with it or could be substituted to add interest and depth to the piece? Do the values of the wools reflect the feeling I am trying to achieve. Do I want my neutrals to lean to a warmer or cooler tint? What hooking techniques will I use? How about using hit-and-miss (as a way to use up already cut strips). Will non-directional hooking for the background be a viable choice as a way to give a naive-sort of look to the piece, and as a way to move color, or will I use a blending technique. Do I need to dye wool, or will my stash be enough to complete my rug with the color choices I am hoping to use? Do I want to finish the rug with a crocheted edge or a different finishing technique?

Below are some photos that show how I hooked some of these ideas into my mats.

My large, yet unnamed rug, is 28" x 50". I am excited to get hooking on it. I really had high hopes to use my already cut wool worms, as a way to deplete that ever growing pile. Yet, I have to confess, I suffer from an affliction of wanting "just the right color", so the dye pots are never far away in case I need to augment my wool supply.

These little color studies are so fun to hook! They can be used as home decor, wall hangings, mug mats, or to use as gifts or donations.

Happy Hooking!

 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Forget Me Not

My latest design, Forget Me Not, was inspired by an antique rug. The original piece featured several flowers with a narrow border. I wanted to simplify the array of flowers, and add a geometric aspect to play off of the organic shape of those flowers. Above all, I wanted the design to look muted, time-worn, washed out, soft and faded. The large rose-like flower with the oversized leaf, surrounded by different flowers reminded me of a vintage-type postcard, which made me feel sentimental, hence the name, Forget Me Not.

Once I decided on offsetting the two large flower-filled squares, the diamond and triangle shapes surrounding those flowers followed! To add a geometric portion to border the flowing-flower shapes seemed so right. Maybe that is why we like fences with flowers planted alongside them, an arbor covered in roses, or a checkered pathway with a riot of flowers on either side. The uniformed with the unruly, the tame with the wild!

I knew I wanted the rug to look antique, instant OLD! This was achieved by using medium values for the background, flowers and diamonds, so that they blend into each other. I did use lighter and darker values with neutrals too, but I tried to use these sparingly. I found it interesting that the diamond/triangle shapes didn't need to be the same exact colors that were used in the flower portion, but rather, keeping them within a range of medium values was what mattered most to make the whole rug feel balanced.

The rug measures approx 20" X 40". The two squares of flower bouquets are similar but not exact replicas of each other. Drawing them slightly different and hooking them that way too was my way of knowingly adding some charm to the rug. The lines for the diamonds and triangles are also purposefully slanted or crooked in some spots to add a feeling of naïveté. The edges are drawn on the straight of the grain.

Forget Me Not, other patterns, and hooking related items are available at my ETSY shop

Step back in time with Forget Me Not!

 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Gallery: Kids At Play

In the spring of 2014, three rug hookers, independent of one another, told me I should design a goat rug. And so I did! In this rug, Kids At Play, each goat represents them and their favorite flowers...trillium, hydrangea and the heavenly-scented sweet pea. I love how happy these goats are! It truly is a good day to be a kid!

For me, what is even better than designing a rug, is to get to see other rug hookers interpretation of my design. Below are photos of the beautiful rugs made by them. It is really inspiring to see how they make the design their own, whether through subtle color changes, or a totally different color plan. It is also interesting how some chose to make it more primitive or add more detail. One of the rugs, is an adaptation I made for a friend. Her sister had been gifted two goats to be companions for her lone horse. I love their names and this story! We adapted the rug's name too and called it, Boys At Play!

The rug hooking artists are in alphabetical order and the rug gallery that follows, reflects that order starting with Marie Beers, Kathy Burton, Joan Humen, Cathy Lanning, Maureen Lowrey, Lilly McIntyre, Patty Rogers (the adaptation) and Lois Sutton. Thank you Ladies! Beautiful Work! Seeing all of these cute goats makes me want to run out to a county fair to pet some kids! BTW, all three rug hookers who inspired this design, have a hooked rug included in this gallery.

Please visit my ETSY shop to see Kids At Play or other patterns and hooking related items.

 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Safe Haven

Finally, the story of the grey fox gets to be told.

As with all stories, a bit of folklore and mystery gets wrapped around the retelling.

Remember, I was raised on a small farm, where a small mountain top, rolls into forestland, which rolls into meadows, and finally the farm. I adore all things wild, roaming and free. I have been on a fox kick for a couple years now. In February of 2015, I blogged about an uncanny experience that I had while hooking my first fox pattern Cozy Fox, visit my blog post HERE to reread.

This grey fox pattern, Safe Haven, is an indirect result of that Blog Post. A dear friend of mine, who has lived out in the country for over 20 years, had a mystical encounter after reading my blog about the fox. She was traveling home, after in-town errands, in the late afternoon. She saw a pair of eyes bounce off her headlight beams. It was still late winter, so the sun was low in the sky, that time of year when dusk comes too early. As her car approached the animal that had been in the middle of the road, skirted off to the side. It had an elongated body shape and a big bushy tail. It's silhouette suggested fox, and then it did something unexpected. It climbed up into a nearby tree to hide. She thought her eyes were playing tricks on her! Isn't that crazy! Who knew foxes could climb trees? Apparently, grey foxes can!

It's true, they can! Grey Foxes, are a carnivorous mammal in the Canidae family, and the only American canid that has the ability to climb trees. At one online site, I read that they can climb branchless, vertical trunks to heights of 18 meters! They sometimes make their dens up in the tree canopy, within old snags, or on the ground in areas of heavy brush and undergrowth.

So I suppose you are still waiting for the punchline. Well, it isn't really all that exciting. I just thought it was so fascinating that in all the years that she had lived in the country, she had never seen a grey fox until after reading about my fox experiences, and now she had her own fox story to tell.

For me, it is a true blessing to be able to interpret my experiences through my art. When my friend told me of her grey fox encounter, I immediately imagined some version of this rug, Safe Haven. I wanted the background to be dark, to make it feel cozy and safe. The rug measures approx. 19"x 23". The narrow border has simple scrolls that are suppose to suggest ferns and the way the tips unfurl in early spring. A wreath of brambles and wildflowers protectively wrap around his hiding place.

I like that this fox looks content and peaceful. He doesn't have to worry about being secretive or scrambling up into a tree for safety. Rather, within his den he's found his own little piece of paradise, his Safe Haven.

Please visit my ETSY shop to see this pattern and other hooking related items.