New Tools

As well as getting to see lots of fabulous new rugs and get great ideas, another reason that I love the Hooked in the Mountains show is for the vendors.  Now, a lot of the temptation to buy is removed because I don’t really hook with wool strips and they are primarily selling that over yarn.  But I was seriously tempted to buy some more silk sari ribbon.  If I had finished the blue and the green that I purchased last year I would have been able to justify it to myself but since I hadn’t I resisted….There’s always next year.

I did, however, pick up two new hooks.  I already have a bent hook but find it a bit “clunky”.  So I picked up a primitive one and a fine one.  I’m finding each is better for specific yarns.  I wish they had had a medium one- will have to keep my eye out.


I was also searching the booths for a spring proddy but was disappointed to find that no one had one.  I was really wanting to try one to see if it would help me to add more texture to my pieces.  Last week was my Birthday and I decided to treat myself to one that I found online.  It arrived this week and I am anxious to give it a try!

Have a fantastic weekend!


Bring on Christmas!



Amidst the long nights, the feedings, the diaper changes, Birthday parties and playdates I somehow managed to do it.

I finished the stocking.

It is by no means perfect; the seams are a little ugly, you can see a bit of the rug warp along the edges, the shape is a little off.

But it is done and it was made with love. And now my son has a handmade stocking just like his sister.

And, almost more importantly, it is done in time for Christmas!




I lined the rug hooked side with one of my favourite Christmas themed fabrics to protect the loops.

So glad it is done.  Next on the list?  My daughter informs me that the advent calendar that I quilted for her when she was a baby (and that I thought the two of them could take turns sharing) is for her alone.  So I’m putting my thinking cap on for a design for his.  Since he’s so young I can get away with not having to address that little issue until next year….

In other news I have started a small piece that may hit some of the items on my “12 in 2012” and is allowing me to experiment in a manageable way with some ideas that I have been kicking around.

Too early to share but will soon!



Hooked in the Mountains XVI

I’m still basking in the glow of the show this past weekend.  Such an awesome time!   Yesterday I was so motivated that I moved the new piece that I sketched out before my son was born onto the rack.  That’s progress, right??   I am brimming with new ideas and dreams.  The only problem is time- and that’s even with my husband home on parental leave!   When this baby starts getting onto a schedule I totally forsee being able to get lots of work done.  Until then, it will be bits and pieces here and there.

And of course first I have to finish the stocking.  I’ve finished the hooking on it and have to start the sewing so will be able to show you progress soon.

In the meantime, as promised, here are some pictures of my favourite pieces from the show this weekend.  Totally inspiring!!


I have to start with Jen Lavoie’s “This Train.”  The photo does not capture the true magnitude of this piece- it was huge!!  And so amazingly spectacular.  The attention to detail and the skill-level exhibited in this piece can’t even be described.  She won the ‘Museums Choice Award’ and a ‘Viewers Choice Award’ for this piece and rightly so!

“Koi Motion” by Carol Murphy.  Loved the colourful fish and how she managed to capture so well the concept of motion in the water.  My daughter really liked this piece too!

I was attracted to “Waiting for Leftovers” by Grace Collette because it reminded me of our big group camping trip this past September and got me thinking about some of the really funny stories that came out of that trip.  In the back of my mind I’m trying to work out how to do a rug to capture the funniest story!

“Old House at Ste-Famille” by Francoise Vezina Gagnon.  I loved the colours of this piece and the slightly wonky feel to the shapes.  While the setting is in Quebec, I was reminded both of a trip we took to Italy and my favourite church in Iceland.

One of the three featured artists at the show was Cathy Henning from Ontario.  She had many spectacular pieces including this one entitled “Silhouettes.”  I have tried the silhouette approach in terms of buildings in one of my pieces but loved how she did it with people.


Another of her stunning pieces was this one of the Queen’s University campus.  My husband did both his undergraduate and Master’s degrees at Queen’s so we know the campus well.  It got  me thinking about whether I could do a rug of either of my alma maters.  The Carleton campus itself is attractive but the buildings are not.  And the Ottawa U campus is, well, kind of unattractive.  So, maybe those won’t be future rugs….


I was fascinated by this older Cathy Henning piece.  What an amazing use of mixed media, and even more impressive since it was made in 1974!  It must have been very cutting edge at that time.  Love the use of birch bark in the background and all the textures.  It was also heartening to see that after 38 years the piece is still looking great and the natural materials have not fallen apart.  As I am slowly incorporating more mixed media in my pieces it is good to see that such materials can last over longer periods of time.


This was another huge piece- “So this is the World” by Anne Cox.  Loved the sky and the awesome reflection on the water.


And last but not least was “Calm Before the Storm” by Jen Lavoie.  What an amazing sky!  Almost makes me want to get into dyeing just to be able to achieve those gradations of colour.

An amazing show with amazing pieces and this was just a small selection of the over 300 rugs that were there.  Can’t wait until next year!


Back from Vermont…..

We had a fabulous weekend in Vermont!  Iceland is definitely like our home away from home but Burlington, Vermont is certainly familiar to us as we have now been there three times and pretty much know our way around and have several haunts that we always frequent when there.

 The highlight of the weekend (and the reason that we went there) was, of course,  the “Hooked in the Mountains” show at the Round Barn at the Shelburne Museum.  The show did not disappoint- so many spectacular pieces and new ideas.  It is always so neat to see what people have been working on since the last show and to see how a lot of people are pushing the boundaries with a mixed media approach to rug hooking.

 I had two pieces in the show- “Solitude” and “Atlantic Mascot.”   I had to hunt a bit to find “Atlantic Mascot” on the second floor but “Solitude” was in a great location on the first floor and had a whole wall panel to itself.  I can’t say enough about the organization of the show- each rug is displayed in such a great manner and the whole show is organized by theme which gives everything a lot of cohesiveness even though each rug is so different from the next.


But the biggest excitement came this morning when we went to pick up the pieces and discovered that “Solitude” had won a Viewers Choice Award!!!   I was so thrilled- there was so much talent at the show and it was exciting to think that people liked  my piece enough to want to vote for it.  Thanks so much to everyone who voted!!

Later this week I’ll show you some of my favourite pieces from the show!



Christmas is Coming!


Finally, here is a look at what I am working on!  This is simplicity itself- a Christmas stocking for the new little boy that has just come into my life.  Apologies that it is not the best photo but I literally just took it off the hoop and laid it on the floor and snapped a picture.

For my daughter’s first Christmas I quilted her a stocking using fabric and pieces from some of her little baby sleepers.Thing was, she was born in late Spring so I had lots of time to get it ready for Christmas.  This little guy came four weeks ago so I am scrambling to get it done.  I sketched it out and did a little bit of the hooking before he arrived but the majority has actually been completed this week.  And you can see that I am not quite done yet.

I’m hooking the stocking in a variegated blue yarn.  The stars were traced on by my daugher.  They are a little lopsided in places and I originally contemplated tidying them up when she wasn’t looking and then I decided that there is no better keepsake than to hook it following the stars that she drew so I kept them they way they are.  The stars are outlined in strips of a receiving blanket that was ripped and so I thought why not use it instead of just throwing it out.  Originally I was going to do the entirety of the stars with the receiving blanket but then thought that like my daughter’s stocking I would incorporate some of this baby clothes.  So I think I am going to use strips from the little sleeper that he came home from the hospital in to fill in the stars.  The strip at the top I’m going to hook with some of the fancy new Martha Stewart glittery yarn.  I’ll see how I like that and if not I can always rip it out and try something else.  I’m still deciding whether or not to back the stocking with the fabric that I have set aside or find something a little thicker.

And, I learned a lesson from my daughter’s stocking which I made too narrow and so Santa sometimes has trouble fitting things into it.  He should have no problem with this stocking as I’ve made it a lot wider.

Will post a photo of the finished product.  Not sure when it will be finished but it is actually close to completion and really, I have to have it done before Dec. 24th anyway!

The drawback to this project- doing repetitive background in one colour is kind of boring.  It is kind of mindless work which is good for my current sleep-challenged state but man, am I looking forward to sinking my teeth into another design soon!

Enjoy your weekend!


Hooked in the Mountains XVI


So, we had decided ages ago that this year we weren’t going to do Hooked in the Mountains.  It would be too much so soon after having the baby and he doen’t even have a passport yet, etc. etc.

Well, as mentioned last week my husband suddenly sprang into action (totally unprompted by me I might add, as I had pretty much accepted that we wouldn’t be going).  To cut a long story short, “Solitude” and “Atlantic Mascot” have been registered with Canada customs and are currently sitting in the Round Barn at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing the show!   Love the venue and am excited to see what new and fabulous pieces have been created since last year.

Now, just have to wait for that passport to arrive…..


What on earth are we up to now??

Well, no one could ever accuse us of being idle.

Because we apparently don’t have enough on our plates with a brand new baby, my husband has taken a notion to something and this week has been putting his plan into action.

It is all very exciting- but I still think he is crazy……




Looks like we are all on this crazy ride with him.

More on this next week.  And a look at what I am kind of working on (but more often not working on) next week too.  Enjoy your weekend!