Monday, January 25, 2010


This seems so anticlimactic to post photos of this little runner after all the beautiful WIP's rugs from the last post.  Here is a close up of the center of the rug.

It is hooked in predominantly a 6 cut.  the wool was all dyed by Linda Bell of the Hookery in Haiwassee Ga. I started this a little over 2 years ago at a weekend workshop Linda taught in my area.  No it did not take 2 years to hook this little runner - I just did not work on it at all for at least a year after the workshop.  Typically if I start a new rug at a camp or workshop - I come home and put it away and go back to whatever my focus rug is at the time - that's why it seems like they have been WIP's for years - they have - well sorta but they are mostly in hibernation waiting their turning.  Here is the completed runner.  It is about 18" X 36" and looks really nice on my glass top sofa table.  I'm glad to have another rug completed.

I was gifted with not ONE but TWO pair of hand knit socks this week.  The first pair were knitted by DF and mentor Diane Stoffel. She is a great rug hooking teacher and dyer extraordinaire.  She has color planned a number of my favorite rugs including the mermaid and Shakespeare the marmoset moneky and Merrie Halloween. She bought this sock yarn (Fiesta Baby Boom) a couple of years ago while visiting Jacksonville for a rug workshop.  I had no idea when she bought the yarn they were for me - what a sweetie to make these lovely socks for me - they are a perfect fit too !.

the next pair of socks were a gift from a perfect stranger.  I arranged for a trade of a skein of yarn that I was looking for with someone on Ravelry. (an online knitting community) and so I met Colleen from Kansas.  She said she would be interested in trying some brand new sock yarn I had bought from the LYS since she had never seen it before.  When she shipped my skein - she said she put in a "little" surprise - OK nice - I was expecting a piece of candy - a freebie pattern - maybe a couple of stitch markers - OMGOSH - imagine my surprise when I opened the package on Saturday and inside was this  lovely pair of hand knit socks.

What a beautiful color they are and they are so well made with the reinforced heel and fit very well.  I am astounded with this random act of kindness Colleen.  You do meet the nicest people in the online communities.

I'm still knitting a lot - started a new pullover this weekend - I ordered the yarn from the LYS many months ago but was already distracted by the time it came in and never got around to casting on.  It is  a freebie pattern from Berroco using Inca Gold which is a Dk weight wool/silk blend in a beautiful rusty brown color.  The pattern is Wishbone and is very simple with a center cable down the front and back - I was calling it Fishbone because that's what the cable reminds me of.  I'll show a photo when I get enough of it done.

got the new SANQ issue on Saturday and there is a wonderful little Vierlande sampler in there repro'd by my friend Lorraine Mootz from Celle Germany.  I have pulled some suitable linen from my stash and gotten the DMC colors out and already started stitching the border.  I have suggested our local guild do this as a SAL since Lorraine has taught several classes and given lectures for our group - she is very dear to us.  I know a few people are committed already so that will be fun to do together as a group.  Thanks for visiting my blog - I'll try to come back for a chat real soon.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Well - what a GREAT time we had at rug camp this year.  I always love starting the year off right with this rug camp.  It was my 11th year of attending On the Ocean for 5 years and then Off the Ocean for the 6th year in it's current location. Being on the ocean just became too expensive for the directors of this camp who happen to be good friends of mine so they moved up on I-95 in Jacksonville and everyone seems to love the location.  Lots of great restaurants, shopping easy access from the highway and airport and it is still only about 8 miles to the beach for those who wanted to make the trip.  Our record cold snap broke just before rug camp last week and I was happy for all those who came from far away cold cold places like Michigan, Ohio and up east.  There were some last minute cancellations due to illness and so forth but I think they ended up with about 90 participants and 6 teachers. 

I did not take any photos of the rug exhibit and I actually ended up not displaying my pomegranate runner this year.  I was in a funk on Sunday and just did not want to be bothered so I will have to post photos (I promise) of that finish.  I do however have a lot of photos of rugs in progress.  Most of them belong to good friends and I apologize to any other good friends whose rugs I did not showcase - you were not around when I was taking photos. 

This year I wanted to do a traditional crewel rug.  Many months ago I started the selection process by looking at about 50 crewel patterns in catalogs at Katie's studio.  I narrowed it down to about 4 choices and Katie graciously offered to order them all (somehow they are SO much bigger in real life than in that tiny line drawing in the catalog LOL) - When the order arrived I was amazed at how big they actually were YIKES - another BIG rug but our group loves the "go big or go home" mantra.  I settled on Cumberland which was designed by the grand dame of tapestry rug hooking Pearl McGown.  It is 30 X 45 and it is a mirror image meeting in the middle of the rug - the tree of life extends upward to the center.  I selected for my teacher Sibyl Osicka.  She specializes in fine shading and she does gorgeous gradated 8 value color swatches - no spot dyes on this rug.  It was funny but after the 2nd day of hooking and thinking about starting the tree - I was up snooping around on her wool table looking at spot dyes and she said " and what are you looking for dear?"  I took a deep breathe and said - ummmmm- I was thinking maybe I could use a spot dye on that tree - AAAACCKKK - Why did I say that - why did I not say "oh I'm just looking - or oh I'm just stretching my legs"  - Oh my - I got the message quickly that changing the carefully selected swatch for the tree was not an option and that it could cause the whole color plan to collapse.  EGADS - I scurried back to my seat and put my nose to the canvas and did not go perusing the wool table again. LOL - all kidding aside -  Sibyl was GREAT - I don't want to make her sound like a mean old witch - she is a delightful person and a master designer, artist and dye master.  I am SO very pleased with my color plan on this rug.  Here is what she considered to be the focal point of the rug - she wanted this bird to be colored like a tropical pigeon and I am extremely pleased with how he turned out.  What do you think?

I worked approx one whole day on each major motif - for you rug hookers out there - this is entirely a 3 cut however I do plan to do the backround in a 4.  I am actually loving the 3 cut - fine shading is a bit of a challenge but I guess because of my needlework backround - I am always drawn to the tapestry hooking.  I do enjoy hooking with a 5 and 6 cut but I am really liking the 3 and 4.  Here is a shot of what I accomplished on this rug in 4 days of camp.  I already see something on the tree trunk I don't like and will have to pull out and correct.  Overall I think she did a magnificient job with the color plan - I did not request a single thing about the color plan except that I did not want the rug to have a lot of blue and most crewels do have a lot of blue.  Before you ask - I don't know what those weird bulbous things are by the bird -    I hate how they came out.  I worked so hard on them but they still look wierd to me - Sibyl said and I'm sure she is right - that when you get all the other motifs in and the backround your eye will not be drawn to that pink pear thingy.

I wanted to show you a good photo of my dear mother.  She continued on this year with the teacher we had last year.  Mom is working on a christmas tree skirt that DF Katie designed.  We had a great time even though we were in different classes this year.
Here is a close up shot of her awesome snowman - Dianne Kelly her teacher suggested embellishing him with a beautiful plaid scarf - LOVE IT MOM!
What about this darling Santa in the sleigh - the sleigh is actually a dark hunter green. The reindeer are so cute - I will show  them to you in the future. Her backround is going to be an awesome dreamy creamy light teal/aqua type color.  Her rug is mostly in a 6 cut but of course tiny details like faces in a 3 and 4.  Mom is a great hooker - very precise with her loops.  the tree skirt is about 48" in diameter so it is a biggy too.
Here is the most darling little rug - Ulysses by Lori Brechlin of Not Forgotten Farm.  DF Karen just started him at this camp.  I think he is precious.  I'm pretty positive she hooks in an 8 cut - some of the wool she had in stash but most of it was provided by Dianne Kelly of the Woolen Cottage in Hiram Ohio.  She's done lots of great rugs for me and I greatly missed being in class with these crazy characters.  I was down in the salt mines while they were laughing and cutting up like crazy down there in the fun zone.
Another cute and fun rug was loosely adapted from a needlepoint piece by my friend Donna.  I've been to many camps over the years with Donna - she is an awesome hooker and loves the bright colors.  She relocated to NE FL last year from Miami and you know how those people in So Fl love bright colors.  Here is Annie O the mermaid.  Can't believe how much Donna got done at this camp - I'm pretty positive this is a 6 cut and most of the wool was in her stash but some of it came from her teacher Diane Stoffel who is another favorite of mine.  She did my mermaid and also my Merrie Halloween canvas.

I have to show you a photo of an awesome lady and grand dame of rug hooking Angela Pumphrey from San Antonio TX - she is in her 90's and is just the cutest thing.  Always dressed to kill and never without  a great smile on her face.  She and her husband who is 1 year older still live in their own home and she still drives "around the neighborhood" she said spryly.  Angela taught rug hooking classes for many many years and taught at camps all over the US - she is retired from teaching now and doesn't dye much any more.  She was working on a great rug by Bea Brock another TX designer called the Angel Sampler (which I also have started urghhh) she told me she was using nothing but scrap  3 cut pieces in this rug.  Wish I had a photo of how beautiful it was coming out for her.  She is one awesome lady and I hope I am still flying and traveling to rug camps in my 90's - I am very blessed to know Angela - she reminds me so much of my dear grandmother and one of her favorite sisters.  They both lived to be in their 90's and were tiny and petite like Angela.  God bless you Angela.

Wish I had a photo of DF Henrietta aka Henri.  She does exquisite hooking.  Here is a close up shot of one of her beetles which was also color planned by Sibyl.  She has 4 out of 6 beetles done and I believe they are actual beetles.  Henri sneaked in a little backround which is antique black - ooh la la - very pretty. Henri and I sat together in Sibyl's class and we got a lot done on our rugs.  Henri is also in our sampler guild and she is a kindred spirit with knitting too.  I heard thru the grapevine that Henri left camp and went straight to Knit Witz our fave LYS - It's so nice to have friends who love the same things you love.

Well friends - I hope I did not bore you to death with all the chatter about rug camp.  I love rug hooking - it offers so much creative freedom.  I know lots of my followers are hookers and lots are wanna be hookers.  I would encourage you to try it if you are able but with the disclaimer - you just might become "hooked".  Thanks for coming by and taking a look today and thanks for your support and comments.  I love them all and enjoy hearing from each of you.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I finished 3 scarves last week.  One had been in progress for quite a few months.  I had taken a class at the LYS to do a moebius cowl earlier last year.  I loved the yarn I chose - Lornas Laces Shepherds Worsted in a semi solid and one of her spectacular colorways.  I don't know why I was unmotivated to finish it before but over the past week we have had abnormally cold temps here in NE FL and I turned on my addi turbos and zoomed thru the completion of these 3 scarves.Here is the Moebius cowl.

The next one is also a project I started earlier last year. A knitwear designer Jarrod Flood AKA Brooklyn Tweed had a freebie pattern that was wildly popular. You selected two colorways of Noro yarn and knit 2 rows off one skein and the two rows off the 2nd skein. The striping effect of the Noro yarn was further enhanced by alternating two colorways. Mine is more subdued because I chose similiar colorways and I was not looking for something wildly dramatic. It is just a simple k1p1 ribbing but is a very usable item.

Finally here is Jody's scarf - I was only two weeks late in completion which is pretty good for my non compliance of meeting deadlines in needlework. It is from the Berroco Men's book. It is the Juva scarf and is knit with Berroco Cuzco which is 50/50 Alpaca/wool - a lovely textured yarn and quite weighty. Jody loved it however I could not get him to model it. Guess he did not want his mug plastered all over blogland. LOL
It was a simple design but was charted to make up the patterning you see. It was a fun design to knit.

Again no stitching progress to show.  I am back to my parents anniverary sampler.  I have to really focus on that piece otherwise it will not be done by this summer.  As fast as time flies by I know I will be struggling to meet that deadline.  I did join the PS Alphabet SAL and I will try to find time to work on B is for Blackbird soon.  It will be a nice small piece to work on when I grow tired of that Scarlet Letter piece for my folks.  Another SL piece I am dying to start is And All Was for An Appil - Lots of my friends in blogland are stitching this one - just an informal SAL. I have acquired the chart but need to look thru my stash for linen.  I am going to try harder this year to pull from stash or at least look thru what I have before purchasing "MORE" linen. 
The other exciting news this week is that our annual rug hooking conference is starting Friday afternoon.  Off the Ocean is having it's 11th annual conferenece here in Jacksonville.  It is something that my mom and I do together every year.  She started hooking about 5 years ago and we share a room at the host hotel which makes us feel like we are miles away from home.  We enjoy this time together however this year we are in seperate classes.  I am challenging my skill level this year by taking a more advanced teacher (Sibyl Osicka) who specializes in fine shading.  I am doing a traditional crewel rug which is fairly large.  I won't have speedy progress on this one because the cut of wool will be finer and I will have to be tutored more on this type of hooking.  I have done *some*  fine shading so it is not totally foreign to me but usually I use a 5 or 6 cut and it moves along faster than a 3 and 4.  So next post - I will hopefully have some photos from our camp experience and a finish photo on my pomegranate runner.  I forgot to take that photo last night.  I enjoy hearing from each and every one of you.  I hope the new year is off to a great start for you all.

Monday, January 04, 2010


Well - I thought I would get around to posting a Happy New Year wish to everyone but I never did.  Not sure what happened to my 3 day weekend but it just flew by.  I spent a lot of time sitting in my wool room and organizing my yarn stash.  I have an exciting announcement about my yarn stash but I am going to wait until things are actually in place before I mention it in blog land.

I got a neat plate from Cazan redware back in December - one for me and one for my rug hooking guild exchange gift.  A good friend got my gift and I was SO glad - I know she likes pottery pieces so that was perfect.  I know lots of you got the personalized sampler plate but I thought the rug hooker one would be great for my wool room.  The tiny little acorn is a gift from DF Henrietta - she did the felted bottom and put a real acorn cap on top - tooooo cute!

I got these beautiful hand knit wool socks from DF Kris.  I think she said the yarn was plymouth happy feet for those curious knitters out there.  Will sure need them this week - we are having a "real" cold snap this week with night time temps in the low 20's all week.  It normally doesn't get that cold and doesn't stay that cold for this long - sure hope I don't lose my palms by the pool but they are covered with plant blankets. The angle of the photo makes them look HUGE - my feet are not nearly that big

I know I must sound like a broken record - all I have been doing is knitting.  We have so little "real winter" weather here is North Florida - I try to hit the wooley things very hard in the fall and winter months.  Speaking of wooley things - my annual "Off the Ocean" rug hooking conference starts in a little less than 2 weeks - I love this camp being in January - traditionally January was always a depressing month for me - a big let down after all the holiday activities, festive occasions to attend, beautiful decorations, food and more food and then the big wall hits - JANUARY - a time to dither about gaining weight, buckling down to a more strict schedule, what I did not accomplish in the previous year - yadda yadda - Having rug camp in January for the past 10 years has helped me pull out of the post holiday funk - I start looking forward to camp in the fall and usually have my project picked out and am working with my teacher on the color plan way in advance of the big day - the start of rug camp - I'll post more about that later.

Here is one last photo for you - this is a cowl with a bobble border on the top and bottom of the cowl.  It is knit on 13 needles which I definitely do NOT care for and a lovely hand dyed icelandic wool by Blue Moon Fibers - the pattern is from for all the knitters out there.  I saw this on a blog for a shop in Atlanta that I visited last February Knitch - it was so neat I knew I had to make one.  So I called them and had them ship me the wool.
This progress was all in 2 evenings - about 6 hrs total - that's why a lot of people like using big needles - you get instant gratification.  I hope to have it finished soon but I got the stink eye from Jody on Saturday night when he realized I was not hard at work on his scarf.  You know the one that was for christmas LOL - Last night I picked up some stitching and he definitely could tell I was NOT knitting on his scarf so I had to get busy as he said in the "oh so pitiful" voice that he could "really" use that scarf right now it was so cold.

So many blogs I read talk about new starts.  I dithered about this so long that I finally just gave up and did start something new on NYD - I started the Elizabeth Bechtel sampler by Essamplaire - it is a Schwankfelder (sp may not be correct) sampler from PA.  It has the silks in the kit but I changed the linen out to R&R Iced Cappuchino - I just did not care for the starkness of the kit linen.  It is sure a pretty sampler and I hope to devote a little time to her but my main focus this year will be the sampler for my folks anniversary - I'm about ready to show another progress photo.  Maybe I can get a little more done on it before I do.

Well - it's time to wish you all health and happiness in the new year - many happy stitches too.  I enjoy all your blogs very much and the friendship you offer me thru your comments and support.