I swore I’d never dye. I have so many stashes and work stations and the rest, I just didn’t feel like taking on one more endeavor. But a dearth of sunny yellows and primitive reds for some of my post popular designs, in addition to a pile of unsuitably colored specimens culled from my cashmere box lots, pushed me over the edge. The days are barely warm enough to venture outside for more than a bit at a time, so I hunker in the workshop and hobble together tools and supplies. I barely follow the directions, but am feeling successful with my first efforts nonetheless.
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.
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.
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.
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.