Sometimes I’m just baffled why it takes me so long to get some things done. I’m going to chock it up to too many ideas, too little time. This hooked mermaid pillow literally began to take shape three years ago. I kid you not. An impromptu iPad doodle was destined to be a hooked work of art one day. I just hadn’t expected it to take so long. Life happens and other projects rise to the surface, orders with deadlines clog the creative highway from time to time. But after a visit to Susie Stephenson’s studio and admiring her hand knit mermaid dolls, I was inspired to dig out the long buried image of the serene bathing beauty from under the sea.
As long as the gal has been percolating in the back of my brain, parts of my stash that went into her may have been percolating longer. The kinky golden wool yarn I used for her hair has been sitting waiting for its purpose for some eight years since I picked it up at a fiber festival in Western MA. Being a hooker, I frequently buy old suit garments to harvest the wool, but I’ve never been able to discard the linings. They’ve just been accumulating quietly in the closet for years. Here, they finally shine. The little hints of iridescence they add to the aquatic background are perfect. Several years ago, friends and I made the journey up to Deanne Fitzpatrick’s studio. One friend purchased a skein of silk sari “yarn” and then later gifted it to me. A mermaid’s body was perfectly filled out with terra cotta warmth against the cool blue sea.
If you are interested in purchasing the Mermaid Pillow, it is available here. If you’d like to hook it yourself, fear not! The instant download pattern is in the works. If you are in a hurry, just email me.
This project has been calling to me for some time. These pillows are a precursor to the alpaca rug I want to hook next, but these are definitely a creative pursuit I could both sink my teeth and toes into. The alpaca is milled just for me by a couple local family farms. The all around goodness of them is swoon worthy. If you want one of these for your own snuggling purposes, they are available for purchase at The Barn at Todd Farm in Rowley, MA or you can purchase online.
I am fascinated by the primitive. The old and weathered. The patina of life’s wear and tear. The functional side of folk art. Dave and I have designed and made several pull toys together, but this one is an altogether new undertaking. Three dimensional, fiber art, and salvage combined all in one piece. I am just thrilled with the results. While the piece functions spectacularly as a pull toy, due to governmental oversight, I need to tell you it is not a toy. It is for decorative purposes only. Nonetheless, our Primitive Hooked Giraffe Pull Toy has won over our hearts.
Still cold out, but in my head my toes are still tucked in warm sand. The Vintage Bathing Beauty needs a Beau. And I think I may have finally come up with a design I’m happy with. Still tweaking, but I’m liking it overall.
My head is dancing with ideas of how I’d like to hook this, what materials and colors I want to use. I know a lot of folks color plan their rugs, but that just never works for me. Maybe more to the point, I don’t seem to be good at sticking to a plan. Free spirit and all…
Truly, I can’t believe we are well into August. The summer seems to be speeding by me. Already, I smell the whiff of fall in the early morning air. Not a complaint really. I’ve been quite productive. I’d much rather work out the details of a six foot stole in a cool breeze than bind a four foot rug in 80 degree humidity.
Like summer produce, everything all ready at once, the studio has finally completed two big projects just in this past week. (Fanfare, please!) The Amsterdam Rug, inspired by a photograph we took in the fields of Holland last year has finally been hooked, bound, and installed. We are both thrilled with it, and I encourage any of you hookers out there to transform your own favorite photograph into a treasured fiber memory.
Second, I’ve finally pulled together the pattern for my favorite stole. I love this thing and use it for everything from chilly summer mornings to dinner outings. The pattern is in full color with two different types of written directions to match your knitting style and lots of pictures.
Some trips are imbued with more meaning than others, and our trip to Amsterdam was more significant than most. It was a combination of the longing to see the place for so many, many years and where we were emotionally in our lives. It had been a big year. The trip, the experience, left a big impact. It seems suiting to hook that emotion into a rug for our home.
There are so many “moments” that I could tell you about. I roll them around on the tongue of my memory as I sit and hook, my dogs nestled up against my feet. But the nascence of this rug is the most cherished. A tandem rickety bike, my husband, and a tour through the country side that started in quaint neighborhoods, progressed through the fields of tulips and hyacinths, and ended in the blustery dunes of the North Sea. We were fortunate enough to have captured the perfect photograph, too.
I’m trying some new things with this rug. I wanted to play with perspective a bit so started at the bottom of the rug with 3/4″ wide hand torn strips of wool, working with narrower strips as I move up. I’ve never hooked with so wide a cut before, and as a known packer, I completely over did it. I’m rehooking select rows to ease up some of the tension. That said, I’m very happy with the result, and it was a satisying lesson.
My Sunflower Hooked Pillows are one of my favorite things to make. It is even more fun and rewarding when you are working with a great client and tailoring things to suit their desires and decor. And talk about being given a great inspiration piece to work with! Look at that great painting in the client’s living room, where these two pillows in progress will eventually inhabit. Thanks, Julee!
ps. Click on the photo, and you will see it nice and big.