Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Today's Train Trip Home

This afternoon as I was coming home on the train, I pulled out my Cat Rug to work on the border. I got away early so it was quiet and I had a four-seat booth to myself. Next station though, seemingly hundreds of 8-9 year old girls got on, chattering away excitedly and swarming the carriage. Teachers cooeed and coaxed them into some order and I, in short shift, was surrounded by five darling little blossoms with ten massive eyes who immediately, without any hesitation or shyness, pored over my rug asking questions. All before we got out of the station.
They loved it and asked all kinds of things, then felt it, turned it over and made suggestions about what I could do next (A dog and a gold fish apparently. Why? Because the dog chases the cat and the cat chases the goldfish of course). I told them it was made from old blankets and an old cardigan and the hems of kilts and that in the old days......... still hooking rows as we spoke.
I learned all about their Guinea Pigs and the names of their cats and did I have a cat? (No I don't because we work every day and it wouldn't be fair for it to be locked up, which reply met with solemn, nodding approval and some puzzled self reflection about their myriad animals at home all day, alone).
I said it was easy to make rugs and we talked about how to draw a picture with just a few shade variations. They understand things like high contrast photography and downloading Tabby Cats to use as the colouring-in example. Mobile phone aps were mentioned.
You could see tick, tick, tick with the possibilities. "You could do a face" someone said, so I told them about Chris's 'Husband's Face Rug'.
By the time we arrived at their destination we were all firm friends and we smiled and waved and smiled. They all got out and were ushered into rows to be counted. I could see these five looking for me and then as they saw me, burst into new smiles and waved and I waved and we all smiled and we all waved and smiled until they were gone!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Kitty's Ready Now, Yay!

So, The kitten is finished and I'm onto the border. Yay! I had loads of fun dyeing bits and bobs to make out the various details. Mostly it's old blankets. Almost exclusively.
The kitty circle is 53 cm across and the whole is 50-ish cm across.
I am now thoroughly addicted and took it on the train and did some at work too. Business men in suits probably wondered where all of the fluff on their trousers came from. I tried to shield it with my scarf but...
They're used to me doing things at work and cast me affectionate glances (I'm pretty well alone as a crafter there). Happy La!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Moving Right Along!

It's getting there.
The orange bit will be the sides of the seat cover. I'm going to put a blue stripe in it though, nearer to the blue background though, to funk up the transition.
I did find a pile of old plaid style (and other) blankets at an Op Shop last Thursday. Really grand 70's style colours, tans and creams. Great also for dyeing, which I did into the wee hours last night. The browns were just the thing.
Photographing is a good way to get a look at what you're (I'm) doing. I hadn't noticed a few things until just now! The left ear, for example (our left, kitten's right)... it's finished in as much as there is no gap left, but I can see I may need to edit it a little, to define it better.
I intend to embroider some whiskers last of all. I'm sure that will change the look dramatically.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Moving Along

I hope I don't bore everyone with my incessant progress reports? Hmmm...

I've trimmed the face on the right side (our right) and altered the eye there too, a bit. Maybe I could do a little more? Yes, I think I will. Getting there...

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Elisabeth's Three Sheep Rug

I finished my first wool strip rug hooking project... the '3 sheep' rug, on the weekend.  I have to say that I am very proud of myself.  I have even put the binding on (with thanks to the internet)!  
I am currently designing my next pattern.  It will be a geometric style rug allowing me to use lots of different colours... very excited about starting it!  I figured it was a good idea to keep practicing before I spend the dollars on buying a kit from the US.

I first started rug hooking by using yarn. I found this quite a challenge as I kept splitting the wool. We had our get together last month and I found out (with help from the lovely Joy) that my technique was not right. I wasn't getting the correct tension. The yarn rug was put aside (for the moment) and out came a kit that I purchased from the US. Once I started working with the wool strips, and the correct technique, everything came together. I was truly hooked! My rug hooking frame rotates, which I found very helpful, no need to twist and turn. I must confess though... I have 'hookers arm'. I must wear long sleeves and avoid the bare strips on the frame! Nothing a bit of Olay cream won't fix!
I guess my tip is, as a beginner, to relax and enjoy the journey! Holding your first completed rug is such a wonderful sense of achievement.
Now... onto project number two!

Here is a picture of the new venture.  I have pencilled the design and if anyone has any tips/ideas, please let me know.


Friday, 14 June 2013

Cat Update

I can see that I need to make the background wider on the right hand side. And my One True Love says the eyes are too blue. I will think upon it. Obviously, it's not a realism issue, but is a graphic issue. Soft green might be prettier.…Also, I don't think the orange patch in the right side ear is right, so that'll come out too. It's so easy to edit! Please jump in with suggestions at any time!
This is the picture I've used (kind of) in the colouring in. I should have used it as my original sketching references, it's a pretty little kitten and mine's a bit grumpy.
What do you do with your finished rugs? When one is head over heals in love with rug hooking and you just keep hooking you end up with more rugs than you have room for.

What do you think of  an ad page for selling and swapping?

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Pasta Drying Racks from Aldi

Anne put us onto these pasta drying racks from Aldi at the moment. Great for hanging wool strips.
I need two, one for actually making pasta!

What are you working on

Hi everyone
What are you working on at the moment. Would love to see your current projects and a description of it. [does anyone actually read our blog? I'll know by your answers to this question]

OK, here is my [Chris'] hubby rug?

It is being hooked from a photo of my husband. I am using mainly recycled wool in 6-8 cut [3/16"- 1/4"] woolen strips. I am also using a bit of eyelash yarn for the moustache and in his lovely white hair, but I haven't got to that yet. Sorry but I took the photo at night and it is not very clear. I have just about finished the face and will be starting on the hat or shirt next. I am going to use denim strips for the shirt. :)

Next is my love rug.
I have had to do major alterations here. It was pointed out to me that the tree in the first photo is too light. Not enough contrast between the values, even though I like the colours; and ultimately some of the photos- especially my grandson on the lower right of the tree got lost. You can really see this in a grey scale photo as the values show up better. I knew about this theoretically but hadn't done it, which I am sorry about now as I could have saved myself a lot of work. 
In the second photo you will see that I have started pulling out some of the tree and re-hooked it in a darker value. The photos now show up a whole lot better, but I still have to redo my grandson as I am not happy with him. I am learning lots by my mistakes, but that's how we learn, it's OK. :). As I roll my rug to the next section I will pull out the tree and re-hook like the bottom bit.

Sorry about the strips I left lying on the rug when I took the photo. Didn't see them at the time.


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Started At Last!

This is my first 'rug'. The cat foot-stool cover. I didn't have the ginger-tabby colours I'd thought to use, and hadn't a pot for dyeing (actually I bought a large bowl at lunch time just now), so after sorting out my woollens, decided to use the tartans (I have heaps since it's almost all I ever wear).
It's loads of fun!
The eyes are too big, the buttery-palest-yellow (looks more cream here) is not quite right but Oh Well. I've since pulled out all of my tabby-cat pictures, and outlined the highlights, which are different than what I've hooked so far. I can see how I could have made it friendlier... and better... might not be too late and I can always give it to my grand-daughter and do another. I'm feeling relaxed about it though, since it's number one and The Official Trial Run.
This is my first attempt, other than a little yarn thing I started 20 years ago. I've never done hooking with the fabric strips and am in Love! Lerve! Luff! I am genuinely as happy as a lark! It's good to be so easily pleased!
The light blue/pink is the sample of my background. Those old pink and blue checked blankets work up to be just gorgeous!

I've used varying widths of fabric, varying weights too. I'm not trying terribly hard to maintain consistant loops, more to get the colour down. It's such a pleasure.
The backing is cheap coloured hessian from Spotlight. Nothing special.
Already, with my other (more important and linen backed) rug design pinned up near where I work, so many ideas are forming.
It's terrific to have started and there's no turning back now.
I found Jeanne Sullivan's tutorials very helpful. She reminds me of Kaffe Fasset, the way they are so matter-of-fact about things. "You just do this", no fuss, and hence no intimidation. If you love something, you'll pick it up, is my philosophy.

Monday, 3 June 2013

June Hook-in at Anne's

What a wonderful day we had. It was wet, cold and raining but the atmosphere was warm at Anne's home. She received us with typical Victorian hospitality, a cuppa and a piece of cake.[Oops, yeh, yeh I know, the rest of Oz offers the same hospitality].
This month we had five ladies present- Anne, Joy, Lis, Jen and Chris. We all got down to what we came for pretty quick this time- except for Anne who was our hostess and did lots of running around.
You would think we had all been friends for a life time, we had so much to talk about.
After an hour or so of hooking- cross stitch for Jen, we enjoyed a lovely lunch of soup, home made breads, cakes and pastries. We certainly did not go home hungry. 
After lunch Anne took us for a peep at her absolutely, to die for craft room. Man, her room is as big as my lounge room. What she didn't have in there wasn't worth having. Wool, yarn, fabric, books, all sorts of notions, frames, hooks, and a view to boot. You name it she has it.
After lots of drooling [not a good look] we reluctantly went back to our hooking, had more cuppas and departed happily, looking forward to our next meeting at Chris' at Loch, in beautiful South Gippsland. Thanks Anne for a great day.

Plenty of food to eat

more food to eat