Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Autumn's Perch - Rug Hooking

Last week I posted a peculiar look at my latest obsession - rug hooking.  I have resisted the Siren call for quite a while, but thanks to the kindness and persistence of a friend, I decided to give it a try.  My studio certainly has some wool lying around, I reasoned, so why not put it to another use (other than merely doing the usual "wool work" (sewing a pattern - like a wool bird - on fabric).  This new hobby is simply pulling wool strips through sturdy fabric (similar to burlap though not as rough).  As with anything, there are tricks to how one achieves a desired look, and that is the sort of thing I need to learn.

Once again, here is "Autumn Perch" (the name of the pattern will become apparent once all elements are hooked) the first photo of what I did during my lesson:

And here is what I accomplished during the week:

In this photo, you can see how the fabric is stretched over nails.  That may look dangerous, but it really isn't.  Those nails aren't sharply pointed like the ones used for pounding into wood, but they are small enough and numerous enough to hold the fabric taut.  They are all around the top of my hooking frame.  You can also see the lines in the pattern that indicate certain basic lines that one can hook in a darker color to show the indentations in a pumpkin.  I chose to change colors often so my version would have more depth, but that isn't necessary.  Some people, like my teacher, prefer a more primitive look which is achieved by far less shading.

Anyway, I am really enjoying not only seeing the pattern emerge but the hooking, also. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Another Art Form - Rug Hooking

For some reason the photo of my latest "Rocks" exercise in paint refuses to be uploaded from my phone. Next I will try using my regular camera and attempt to upload the photo from that.  However, it did give me a smile thinking that maybe the rocks were simply to heavy for an ether transfer.

On to my latest enthusiasm - rug hooking.  What you see below is not a spider.  It is the beginnings of a pumpkin;  the greenish stem is at the upper right hand quarter of the pumpkin shape.  The lines of differing browns mark the shadow indentations between the curves of the pumpkin.  It will be interesting to track the appearance of the design.

However, since I am new at rug hooking, it will take a while before there is any appreciable progress - especially since tomorrow I will start a three-day Quilt Weekend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Rock Day

Geology was not a subject I studied in college, and I figure that may be one reason I've had such a struggle painting rocks.  Of course, I hadn't expected the difficulty because "Zero Degrees" featured some a rather sizable formation.  Just as a reminder:

On the other hand, today's painting was about a totally different sort of rock - which I should have realized.  Not that it made things any easier, but maybe I wouldn't have felt so stupid.

It's frustrating.  For some reason I cannot upload the photograph of today's work.  I'll have to ask you to be patient (or instead I should counsel myself to be patient!).  It will be shown at some point.

I hope!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Bringing The Blog Up-to-Date

No entries posted for a bit, and that's because we've been so busy doing ordinary things.  At this time of year (especially with such a late spring), we're up to our necks with things like spreading mulch, mowing lawns, trimming overgrown shrubs, and laying down fertilizer to name just a few chores. Of course, probably everyone I know is doing the same things.

When not working outside or just enjoying our patio after working outside, I had time to spend in my studio.  There's nothing to show because I just worked on cutting pieces for a quilt.  The pattern was in the QuiltMania magazine several years ago.  It's a slight variation on a spool design, and I fell in love with it.  When I came across the fabrics I had selected for the quilt while going through my bins, I fell in love all over again.  Unfortunately, the published quilt is a wall-hanging that is too large for our walls, and there are yards of fabric.  So guess what I'm going to make . . . a king-size quilt! 

But first things first, tomorrow I will be helping to spread the last of our mulch on the big backyard garden - or spreading the mulch as far as it will go.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Singing the Blues: Violet-wise

While D was on a conference call this afternoon, I decided to go out and pick some of the solid blue-violet violets in the lawn (doesn't that, "violet violets" look odd!) since the variegated ones I picked yesterday were so pretty.

Once I was out there in the sunshine, I started wandering through the garden area to see what was coming up.  Even though it's only been one day since I last checked, at this time of year flowers can shoot up quickly.  While things did look taller and there appeared to be more buds on the early spring flowering plants, there wasn't a great deal to pick.

So I wandered over to the patch of lawn that the violets have co-opted and started picking those that weren't fully open yet.  Amazing how many one can pick and how pitifully small such a bouquet can look in one's hand!

Noting that, I drifted around to the front yard to see what else I could find that might add volume to my bouquet.  Four grape hyacinths had been over-looking by bulb-eating critters so I took them.  Then I checked out the bed of lily-of-the-valley and found the flower stalks were up, but the buds were tight and tiny.  Didn't matter.  The texture would add a nice touch so I cut some. 

Next I realized I didn't have any greenery except the violet leaves and it might be a good idea to add a different shape.  Lily-of-the-valley leaves wouldn't do as they would overpower the little flowers in my hand.  I turned my attention to the white-flower berm and found some really lovely leaves on the anenomes and their flower stalks arch beautifully and end in a visible, slightly hairy bud.  More texture.

All very pretty .

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Violets in the Lawn

Today, before supper, we went outside and sat for a while just enjoying the lovely weather.  Everything is popping; the leaves on trees, flowering shrubs, and even the grass.  At one point, I got up and started to wander through the garden to see how the plants are growing.  Unfortunately, I discovered that the chipmunks are coming back vigorously, the moles are tunneling happily, and the violets are . . . 


Violets?  We don't have violets!  The occasional dandelions, yes, but violets?  No, surely not.

Well, guess what.  The are burgeoning neighborhoods of violets in our lawn.  Where on earth do they come from?

But they are pretty.

These were found in the garden and are blue and white.  All the ones I found in the lawn ate pure blue.  Interesting.  

But still they will be dug up.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

One Chore Leads to Another

Today there was no work done on either sewing or painting projects, but I didn't mind.  It was a day to finish a left-over chore that weather delayed.  By now I would normally have changed over my wardrobe from winter to spring.  But with the weather as cold as it has been, I kept putting it off as I didn't relish the idea of waltzing around in a sleeveless blouse!

Anyway, three weeks late is better than not at all since the weather is finally warming up.  

As usual, doing a chore like this one opened my eyes to something else that needed doing.  First, a quick description of what "changing out my wardrobe" means in terms of the work involved.  Yes, there were bins with summer tops and socks and things of that sort.  But there were also the many items hung on hangars that had to be carried from the basement to my closet on the second floor.  Since I can't carry too many at one time, I had to make many trips.

All those trips meant I had lots of time to check out the clothes in the basement.  It also made me realize that many of the clothes in the basement haven't been part of any seasonal switch in wardrobe and have been hanging in the same place for years.  The items are primarily jackets that I wore to work and haven't needed to wear since then.  It was hard to part with my pretty things, but now I realize it's just silly to hang on to them any longer.

I'm going to go through those jackets and get them ready for donating in the fall.  While it may sound weird, it has taken me a long time to be able to let go of something I connect with a job I loved, but I'm finally ready now.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Last Night's Show

Yesterday D and I went to see "The King and I" at one of our local theaters, and it turned this year's theater experience around. Let me explain.

First of all, I had an ulterior motive for buying season tickets this year.  By doing so, we are guaranteed tickets for "Hamilton" next year.  Not very noble, right?  Okay, to make it even worse I am not a big fan of musicals of an earlier era - like "South Pacific" or "Sound of Music".  So I was skeptical about many of the shows we were to see this year.

Unfortunately, my skepticism was partly right.  While I didn't detest the shows we saw, I didn't love them either.  To be really fair, my dislike was partly because they amplify the sound so much it is brutally painful, and oddly enough, one can't hear the words (odd, isn't it? - when the sound is too loud, one can't discern what the separate elements are).   Because of that I had been seriously thinking about dropping this activity in the future (after next years tickets which have already been purchased).

Okay, but . . .  Last night's performance was not amplified!  Nor did it need to be.  It was also true to the original - or least quite close (I had only seen the movie version).  What surprised me and what I didn't remember is the part in the last act where the members of the palace re-enacted Uncle Tom's Cabin for the visiting English ambassador.  I may not have remembered that part because it may not have been memorable or because my memory is faulty!

Last night's re-telling of the American classic was perfect!  For example, the position of the dancers' feet and hands could have come from sculpture or other art work of Siam (aka Thailand).  And it was really well done.

Basically, I had a good time last night and will have a more positive outlook

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Another Wallhanging

While I was gathering fabrics for the border of the crewel embroidery wall-hanging mentioned in an earlier entry, I came across still another unfinished wall-hanging.  This one was only about five years old - or maybe a bit older.  Who knows?

I had planned to work on cutting the borders for the crewel piece, but since there were still a few fabrics to select for that one and since the border for the newly discovered piece needed only a one fabric, simple border, I chose to do that one.

Today's wall-hanging consists of hand-pieced blocks set in a background that is machine sewn.  It may sound odd, but while I enjoy hand sewing intricate pieces (as in the blocks), straight seams make for dull sewing.

Here is the wall-hanging with all its borders completed.

The binding was also made today, and it has an appointment to be quilted in June.  So it's well on it's way even though it has no name.  Do you have any ideas?