Friday, 24 October 2014

Strathalbyn Rug Expo October 2014

People from all over Australia converged on Strathalbyn for the Expo and workshop weekend during the weekend of the 12th and 13th October. Some flying, some driving, some even walking.
Four members of the Yarra Valley Rug Makers attended, with two members teaching workshops on dyeing and portrait hooking. The students were a bit low in number, but those who did attend workshops had a wonderful time sharing, getting to know one another and renewing friendships.
One delightful and very helpful ex-rug maker, Faye Godfrey, had a stall with her husband, selling off all her access materials and tools, as well as giving lots away. We were certainly blessed by this and brought much home for our other members to peruse.She was so willing to share of her talents in rug hooking. I personally loved listening to her rug tales and helpful advice.

                           Marion is transferring the pattern of her                           Jo, teaching her skills to a workshop participant
                                    husband's portrait rug to her backing

                               Chris' portrait hooking workshop                                        Judy with her beautiful sculptured rug

Some of us also purchased patterns on burlap and Chris ambitiously bought a lovely 5’ x 7’ Persian pattern on Scottish Burlap. As a result and through the exchange of emails after the event I [Chris] learned a lot about the rug hooking history in Sth Australia in the 1970s and 1980s. I was amazed and surprised that there was such an active and good sized group of women who did beautiful work through the guidance of their teacher, Pam Whitehead, who was Pearl McGown accredited. I received some photos of two finished rugs the same as was purchased by myself, which was a great help in colour planning my own rug.

                                                            Joy in the dye kitchen                   Marion and Chris working on Marion's portrait rug

                                     This is a photo I took of the rug pattern.           This is a finished rug of the pattern, 
                                                                                                                            hooked by one of the women of 
                                                                                                                                Pam Whitehead's group back 
                                                                                                                                           in 1970-1980
 More on the history of Rug Making in Sth Australia at a later date.
Judy also had lots of lovely wool to give away  This was a wonderful and generous gesture on her behalf for those starting out and have only a small stash at home. It also was much appreciated.
We were so well looked after by the Sth Aus ladies, who provided meals for the three days of the weekend. This was much appreciated and we all enjoyed each others company very much. 
Thanks ladies for your hospitality and friendship.

 Luscious meals were enjoyed by all. Thank you to all the S.A and W.A ladies for all the effort you put into making the Strathalbyn Expo the success that it was. :)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Not So Nylon Now

The background is following a mood of Magdalena Briny Eby, sort of. I don't have a plan so much as am working abstractedly. Originally I thought I'd use all blues, then all drabs, but now the combo of shades and colour is melding the dear little deer into the image, rather than having it too prominent. I think the (wide) border will be striped, fanning outwards? Hmmm... not sure yet.

The beginning of the rug was Grandma's clothes, but the fabrics I've accumulated over many embroidering years are Vast and Silken, so they come into it when the colour is right. It's nice to work with silks too.

I almost 100% refuse to buy synthetics, but sometimes there's bling that wants in.

I've been cutting my strips off grain. Not particularly on the bias, just enough to avoid fraying. Or, cutting wide and folding the raw edges into the centre. I have an iron set up next to my table. The more I do, the less I use the iron though, and just hold it in. I've never really been terribly fond of 'rows' of loops, so try to twist them a bit... it depends. The ironed strips are very uniform as loops you see.
A few of the silks I've had to hold two strips (worms) as they haven't been thick enough to stay.
I'm really enjoying this rug... do I say that every time? This feels more me than the last (fox seat cover) and I'm learning loads. It's harder on the hands to use regular fabric... wool is so gentle, but worth the effort! I've used an old skirt of mine that I wore to death and fading. It's a nice pink and now it's all gone and no longer a burden (burden as in, sitting in my stash wanting to be used). I LOVE using up my fabric! My lifetime goal is to use all of my fabric.

Monday, 20 October 2014

October at Anne's

We had another lovely play at Anne's house in Warrandyte Saturday past. Anne is here Still working on her pear chair pad. The colours are amazing (hand-dyed). I've thought I could quite happily nick those greens many a time.
Here I am (Robyne, on the left wearing Grandma's shirt, which I pulled out of my stash when I started my new rug, but kept to wear instead of cutting it up with the rest of her clothes) with Sandra from Hastings. Sandra seemed a little daunted, as I did the first time I tried hooking and got the hook in a tangle and thought it seemed harder than it is after an hour on my own. I sincerely hope Sandra stays and gets the bug. We have a lot to talk about... crafts of course, but also Sandra is keen on Genealogy and so am I. Mad for it actually (me that is, at least). I didn't have time (in my brain) to stay long enough to really chat (too much to do at home)... so maybe next time??
We all hope so. This is a most satisfying craft. I love the practicality of it and plan vast floor coverings for when we've finished renovating (haven't started on the house yet so have time to work towards it). 

Joy is our resident teacher. She patiently goes through the steps (difficult to do with me offering helpful advice at every step) (You can see me here watching and being terribly ready to jump in).

I found Joy, then Gene Shepherd, very helpful to watch and listen to... but found my stride after it,  seeing Heather Ritchie, who 'just goes for it'.
Joy explains the technique patiently and clearly so one understands the concept and practicality of the loop, which is the basis from which to jump. Heather isn't so precise in her tutorial (and you need the basic understanding) but 'paints' and jumps in in a way I love. When I say precise, I mean that some hookers like the even-ness of same sized-same direction loops and others don't so much. Of course there are no rules, only interesting 'marks' or textures.
Anyhow... on I go as usual.
Our little group is little, but so fond and warm and delightful. I can only manage to get there every couple of months, and perhaps not for a whole day (sniff!), but I look forward to it and feel renewed by the nice, enthusiastic, happy crowd that we are.
Thanks Blossoms!! xx

P.S. I think we have another dyeing day looming. Not next month, but soon.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Jen and Esther's Dyeing Day


The first photo is of Esther who was finishing her Year 12 Art final assessment piece. She created a mixed ink-print book with a mixed media cover. She is putting burlap and twine on black cardboard for the front cover.

I wanted to do some dyeing before we move house for a new rug I have in mind. As you can see in the photo's I didn't have a lot of room to work with the stove inside the chimney (not for much longer!!).

It's nearly impossible to pour anything into a pot when cooking. Anyway, I made a 'dip dye' yellow and a 'dump dye' yellow-orangey-pinkish wool.

Winnie-cat demanded her hot pack and blanket, she was cold, right in the middle of applying dye to the wool. She has a great sense of timing!

I'm happy with the way the wool turned out and have plans for more... I don't think I would have tried this if it hadn't been for Joy who helped me with my first batch of dyeing some time ago. Thanks Joy!.

Hope you all enjoy Strath.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

October Get Together on the 18th

Due to the Strathalbyn Rug Hooking Expo, and our happy little group's participation there, our next get together will be postponed until October 18th at Anne's very welcoming home in Warrandyte.
The fun of it will be, for me in particular, I haven't had the run down on everyone's recent travels, and now the Expo stories as well.
Come along, it should be fun.

One of my favourite sources for inspiration (over many crafts) is the amazing Patricia M (pilllpat (agence eureka) on Flickr. These vintage matchbox images are very rug-like. Go and have a look. The link is to all of her albums, but these are from Here, here and here.

My grandchildren have had hours of fun making some of these old fashioned toys too. Nothing to do with rugs, but good to go to.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Rememberance Day Poppy Project

Here are Jen's poppies for the 5000 poppies project.
To quote the website:
Between 2014 and 2018 Australia will commemorate the Anzac Centenary, marking 100 years since Australia’s involvement in the First World War.
The aim of this project is to create a field of 5000 poppies which will be displayed publicly in Melbourne on ANZAC Day 2015 as a community tribute to commemorate more than a century of service by Australian servicemen and women in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australians have been involved.
Now I know that 2015 seems a long way off … But there is a LOT of work to be done between then and now and a milestone or two to meet along the way.
Poppies can be crocheted, knitted, felted or stitched in any design you like and must, of course, be RED and no more than 15 cm in diameter.  That’s the only criteria.

poppies 2

Please follow the link to find patterns and updates about the project. As of September 2014, the count is 35,000! What was once a goal of 5000 has now jumped to a goal of 102,784. You'll have to read up on what the significance of the number is.

Jen's hooked poppies will be a different note in the scrum!