Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Garden Inspired Dye Day

In the Pacific Northwest, we seem to be having an early spring. I am inspired by all the colors that are blooming in my garden and neighborhood.

So, of course, this inspiration has to some how translate into my rug hooking.

This week I have been dyeing wool and not getting much rug hooking done. I dye batches of wool with amounts ranging anywhere from 1/8 yard, which is my test batch, to one yard batches. Within the next couple of weeks, I hope to have plenty of wool to offer at a vending event, or in my ETSY shop.

It is a fun experience to dye wool. I find it exciting to create new formulas or tweak old ones. Yet, I will have to admit, it takes a lot of dedication to persist dyeing batch after batch of wool. I have developed a systematic approach, yet, sometimes it seems like I am juggling a lot of balls all at the same time. From choosing which wool solids or textures to dye, to then soaking wool, to figuring out how much of which dyes to use. Sometimes I repeat this process six times in one day. Tonight, my back is telling me that I have been doing a lot of standing over the dye pots this week. My dining room table is covered with wool batches and recipe cards that need to get organized and updated. Even with all these steps involved, it is very gratifying to be surrounded by lovely wool.

Next week, my goal is to focus on dyeing some lighter neutrals, but for now, all the colors of the garden inspired the day!


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Listen to Your Heart

I know, I know, Valentine's Day was LAST weekend. Some folks might think it is time to put away the hearts and gear up for the next holiday. However, I like to have hooked rugs and mats with uplifting words or symbols decorating my house throughout the year.

There are many examples in books and on the internet of antique hooked rugs made with heart motifs. I like to look at these old rugs, as well as, needlework, quilts, woodwork, and nature for inspiration on ways to express love by using heart shapes in different ways.

I love all the symbolism my simple mat, Listen to Your Heart, has hooked into it! Of course, the most obvious are the hearts! Four hearts in all with the biggest heart echoing out to the border. It is suppose to symbolize that love isn't contained, that love radiates out beyond our edges, if we let it.

The words and little heart, LISTEN TO YOUR ❤️, are clearly spelled out, so that every time you glance at the mat, you will READ that subliminal message, even if you aren't aware of it.

The heart in hand symbol, is an old Shaker symbol meaning charity given from the heart. My use of the hand, is meant to symbolize your hand cupped to your heart, to amplify "your voice" pounding forth from it, just like you would cup your hand to your ear to hear something more clearly.

All those little red dots that outline the two main hearts represent roses. I adore a red rose that grows in our front yard. Really though, their placement was practical because I wanted to spread more red around the pattern.

I hooked this mat using again, my already cut wool strips from my previous big rug that I finished in early January. I cannot believe, I am going to say this, however, I am getting tired of green! Well, maybe I will take a step away from green for one or two of my next promises!

The background four corner areas were hooked in similar value hit-or-miss directional hooking. For binding the edges, I used off-the-bolt yardage of three different textures. I really should try some other finishing techniques, but crocheting the edge goes so fast, and I still like the way it looks to complete a rug.

Listen to Your Heart measures 14"x17". It is available in my ETSY shop as a PDF instant downloadable file.

I have my two most recent designs hung next to my front door, to serve as a reminder when I leave and when I return to strive to have a heart-focused day!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Follow Your Heart

This week commemorates my one year of blogging! My very first post was about hooking hearts, and so it is fitting that this one year anniversary post is too. Thank you to all of you that follow me, and those who check out my musings now and again! I love the idea that I join you for your morning cup of tea, coffee or commute each week! I am truly grateful for all of you!

This design, Follow Your Heart, 14" x 17", is one of the panel ideas for a larger rug design, that I have mentioned before, called "Matters of the Heart". In fact, in the next few weeks, I will be exploring some of those designs and make them available in my ETSY shop as I contemplate whether I want to follow through with getting the large rug design from paper to linen. It is such a big job! I am catching my breath before I commit. The goal is to use my already cut wool strips for this big project!

I am happy to say that I DID USE ALREADY CUT WOOL STRIPS, for at least 75% of this little mat. I am feeling so virtuous! In fact, these wools were ones that I cut for the Dove In Flight rug (see post from last week of January 2016). I am thinking that after every big rug I hook, I should challenge myself to design some smaller rugs to use up cut wool. Why haven't I thought of this idea before?! Time will tell if this really happens, but I can dream right?!

Colors used in the big heart are greens, grays and tans to complement the cool pinks used for the heart that surrounds the dove. Dirty whites are used for the dove and the "messy" hit and miss background surrounding the big heart. In that background, use a variety of gray green, taupe, whites, pinks, (cool and warm) with some reds and rusts thrown in, here and there! Yay for using already cut wool strips!

I realize that Valentine's Day is almost upon us. So why am I just now showing up with a heart focused rug? Hearts have been used throughout the ages in textiles, architecture, ceramics, paintings, poetry and songs to express our appreciation for nature, love and beauty. I think we need more than just one day out of the year dedicated to LOVE! I am voting through creating my hooked heart pieces, that we have a week, a month, a year, celebrating LOVE, not just one day! Goodness, we could all use a little more love in our life, right!?

The little heart-like weather vane with the dove within, is meant to remind you, that no matter how the winds of life blow you about, remember to FOLLOW YOUR HEART! Fly straight as an arrow!

I'm excited to announce that my design, Follow Your Heart, is available as an instant downloadable PDF in my ETSY shop! You do not have to wait for the mail carrier, you can start hooking to your heart's content today!

Cast your vote for LOVE!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Guest Hooking Artist: Patty Rogers

From a rug hooker and designer's perspective, it is always an honor when another hooking artist, likes your patterns enough to hook multiple designs of yours. What is even better, is when you get to actually see these rugs.

I recently had the opportunity to view my rugs being used and displayed in Patty Rogers home. They look beautiful! Patty often uses a more saturated color palette than I do. Which totally works with her home decor and color scheme! It is so much fun and educational for me to see my rugs interpreted in different ways!

This is a quilt-like inspired rug Stars & Squares.

I really like the little details of how she used a lighter value to age the pinks near the star.

Notice how she uses reds, browns and rosy pinks to blend the background colors to make it more interesting.

Patty did a lovely job of hooking a few of my salmon motif rugs. She really nailed the technique to make the background look like rippling waves in Salmon & Wild Roses.

Below, in The Valley, is a close-up of the pictorial middle section of the rug, and a section of the border. Unfortunately, I could not get my camera to cooperate to show the high contrast between the motifs and outer border background.

Finally, these two sweet mats, the Lullaby Bunny is cleverly made into a pillow. The Garden HIdeaway is a table mat used in her hooking room.

Patty has been hooking for many years and has so many varied and interesting rugs in her home. She used her rugs on the walls, as table mats, as bathroom mats, in the kitchen, as pillows on the bed or couch! Her hooking pieces are as small as mug coasters, to a huge 4' x 6' rug in her entryway! Maybe the next time I visit I can show off all of these!

Thank you Patty for letting me admire all of your amazing rugs in your home, and for letting me showcase my designs hooked so beautifully by you!

Please visit my ETSY shop to see many of my pattern, designs, and hand-dyed wool.

*Yin & Yang Salmon opening photo