There is nothing about this Prim Whale Pull Toy that I don’t love. All the little bits and pieces that have become its creation DNA have their own story. I discovered the wool at a local fiber studio located in a one room school house that made me green with envy. The button that became the most perfect all seeing eye has been in my stash for years. I was always certain that one fine day this one lonely button would find its purpose, and it certainly finally did. The wheels are made from antique spools. I especially always love a project that Dave and I work on together and we had great fun putting our heads together to figure mechanics, design, and materials. We rummaged through our growing debris pile as we made repairs to our old farmhouse to salvage the perfect rustic wood to give form and function.
Knitters, quilters, hookers, and other hand-workers of all sorts and skill levels–come gather in the bucolic setting of Dandelion Spring and Straw Farm in Newcastle, Maine. Join us for an afternoon of companionship, laughter, and progress on all your UFO’s surrounded by the fields, animals, busy farmers, and an abundant farm stand. While this is not a class, I’m happy to answer questions to the best of my ability—dabbler as I am in many things… And truly the best thing about a bee is the community and shared creativity. It is a time to be inspired by and to both learn from and teach each other.
I’ve just finished up and delivered a fantastically enjoyable project: a commissioned hooked pillow that I took through the process from beginning to end. The Landmark School was celebrating the retirement of a much loved teacher after 40 years of service and wanted a gift that would truly reflect their admiration for her and her own personal loves as she embarked on the next phase of her life’s journey. After multiple discussions and drafts, we finally honed in on the perfect design. Hooking was a joy—there is never such a pleasure as finding the perfect shade of wool to express what you are trying to convey or deciphering the direction and style of the hooked rows of wool to pull it all together.
The creativity did not end when the hooking was done. We found a gorgeous crewel work fabric to back the pillow with, and another teacher beautifully hand embroidered the date, school, and sentiment throughout the design. This project was truly a labor of love to celebrate a person who so clearly deserved it.
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.
We are hunkered down here with Hurricane Sandy bearing down on us. But really, it is a rather normal day. A meeting was canceled and water bottles were filled, but other than that, things continue much as they always do in the studio. Pillows were made, patterns cut out, a bunting is on the knitting needles, and starfish are being hand sewn. The work is meditative. It is a quiet but busy day. Just the way I like it.
This one’s for me. Or rather, us. This is our wedding rug. Yes, I know. We’ve been married for a bit of time, but it took a while for all the pieces to come together, both in my mind’s eye and in what would go into it. I had always wanted to do something for us, as I’ve long been enamored with the notion of wedding quilts and the like. Not being a quilter, that one never came to pass. Rug hooking has been a whole new adventure for me, and one that I feel I am best able to express myself in. Finally, it seems I have exactly the right medium in which to celebrate our marriage.
Things started turning over in my mind when I spied an antique piece of embroidery in a museum collection. There was a tree motif that just sort of settled in my head. I clung to it for ages, not quite figuring what I would do with it. Then, you may recall, my Tipsy Quilt wended its way into our home. Its complete ease with its own imperfections unstuck something in me. And suddenly, one day, I whipped out a quick sketch of exactly what we needed.
The Tree of Life is a universal symbol that both crosses and unites a multitude of theologies, scientific schools of thoughts, and cultures. And for numerous personal reasons, it is also exactly the right image for us. Hooking this piece has been a joy, and it allows me to bring so many pieces of our history into play. Some of the wool was handed down to us from the wardrobe of a great aunt and uncle. The leaves and bits of the sky are highlighted with yak yarns my husband brought home for me from a very special trip to Tibet with his father. What may be even nicer, is that we sit together in the evenings while I hook, glass of wine and plate of fancy cheeses, fire blazing, talking about the rug together. What kinds of textures, what other elements, where we will hang it. It’s becoming a very special marriage contract of its own.
swatches of life get loved, used, worn out, discarded
to be collected again and treasured
the suit jacket grandpa wore to church every sunday
dad’s goofy pants he donned to support his favorite baseball team
your mother’s woolen skirt–the one you clung to when strangers came to the door
a rug made by drawing up loops of fabric or yarn through a foundation fabric such as burlap or linen to form a pattern.
a technique developed in the mid-1800s in N. America using bits of wool from old clothing and feed sacks for the foundation.
Sources: dictionary.com and Old Oaks Ranch.