Saturday, July 29, 2017

Basket of Zinnias

What do you do on a hot day in July?  Expand your world, challenge yourself, take a basket class.  This is the bottom of the basket.  The test was to weave the basket tight enough so an M & M could be contained inside the basket.

Standing the basket.  
Our teacher, who was wonderful, shared that weaving the first three rows of the basket was the most difficult part.  She was right and she was right beside each of her students, encouraging, sharing tips, correct mistakes.  The water bottle is to keep the reeds pliable so as not to break them.   The fillers sticking out at the ends of the basket became a part of the basket called chicken feet.  Over under, tighten the weave, keep those corners square.

Here is a sampling of some of the completed baskets.  (Mine is the last basket on the left). The handle of the basket is a beautiful oak.  The weaving at the top (x's) reminds me of needlework with its cross stitch.  

It was a fun class and each and every student left with a completed basket.  Am thinking of staining mine with some of the walnuts from our backyard.

Thank you Fran!  You are an excellent teacher.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Did you know there are more than 100 different varieties of sheep?  The National Sheep Association classifies sheep into either meat, milking or wool variety.  Merino, Dorset, Shropshire, Suffolk and Jacob are some of the more familiar varieties.  Don't you just love those names?  The Leicester sheep with his curly hair, the Suffolk with his black face and legs, Merino which produces the softest of wools and the Lincoln with those dreadlocks.

This is my first hooked rug.  It was the first rug hooking kit I had ever purchased:  it was small and primitive and had sheep.

This sheep photo has been in my rug hooking inspiration box of ideas for years.  The photo reminds me of the photographs/portraits farmers would take of their prize winning livestock.  I have often wondered how those animals were able to hold up their oversized bodies on pencil thin legs.

When I am lucky enough to find raw wool, I purchase it for filling/stuffing for pillows and pincushions.

Here are some of the things I have learned about hooking rugs:
  • let the holes breathe--every hole does not have to be filled (don't pack the hooking) aka a tight hooker
  • every loop does not have to be even
  • make sure the linen is tight on the frame
  • all tails in one area is the weakest part of the rug
  • pick one and stick with it:  hook on the line, hook inside the line, hook outside the line
  • do not hook in straight lines
  • to keep movement in the background hook in the shape of puzzle pieces

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Beat the Heat 2017

Beat the Heat 2017 is officially in the record books!  It was awesome.  Liseanne and Ron outdid themselves.

I was to busy visiting and catching up with my rug hooking buddies and neglected to take photos of some beautiful rugs.  Carol is hooking an American Eagle which is breathtaking, there were Thanksgiving turkeys being hooked, and sampler houses.  Janis had a beautiful mermaid which I neglected to photograph and Jane was hooking a Celtic rope in autumn colors.  Instead of taking photos, I was drooling over beautiful rugs.

This is a design from Prairie Road, wonderful inspiration for Christmas.

I know lots of young boys who would love to have this dinosaur in their collection.  Isn't he just the bomb?

My penny rug is my traveling project.  It is very transportable (doesn't take up a lot of room in my hooking basket) and doesn't require a lot of thought, so I can visit and sew blanket stitches.  But instead of sewing blanket stitches, I shopped.  Lots of lots of wool came home with me.

This is one of my 2016 Christmas presents.  I had some usable wool in my stash and knew Beat the Heat was coming and would be a great opportunity to do some serious wool shopping for my Callie Mae rug.

Since Callie Mae is a Calico she will be hooked in the black, gold and orange wool.  The greens are for stems and leaves and the reds are for the flowers.  Whew!  Thank goodness my hooking buddies were there to help with wool selection--I was trying to stay away from Christmas greens and reds.  The gray is for the background.  Lisanne is a wonderful teacher and answered many questions and shared hooking tips.  

July has been hot and rainy and the grass and weeds have been growing like crazy.  It has taken considerable effort to stay caught up (some days I think the weeds are winning).  There has also been tomato juice to can, corn to shuck and beans to break--hopefully there will soon be time to pull loops for the Callie Mae rug.  

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How I spent my summer vacation (Fourth of July)

Introducing Baby Tinnie

Earlier this spring AppleJack and I saw a tin man made by one of the Master Gardeners.  I was smitten!  A closer look at the design and construction revealed tin cans joined together.  I thought I could make one.  We began collecting tin cans.

Tin cans, pull tabs, washers, screws, coat hanger wire

Tinnie will be living in Next Year (the garden) among the herbs, pepper plants and flowers.  July has been a very rainy month and the grass and weeds are growing like crazy.  AppleJack has collected more tin cans--Tinnie may have a friend.