Thursday, March 31, 2011

What are you doing on May 14th?

I received a reminder in my inbox today.....and thought I would pass along the details. Hope to see you there.

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~ A Social Gathering For All Those Interested in Traditional Rug Hooking ~

Everyone Welcome!

Sat. May 14, 2011

9:30 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.

Simcoe County Museum

The Simcoe County Museum is located at 1151 Highway 26, Minesing, Ontario, minutes northwest of Barrie. From Barrie, follow Bayfield Street North and exit at Highway 26. The Museum is on the south side of the highway.

Vendors, Auction, Refreshments, Entertainment

Hostesses for the day are from the Gray Highlands and Georgian Bay Branches of O.H.C.G.

If you wish to book a table to sell rug hooking supplies, please contact Linda Wilson at 705-835-7589.

Please bring your hooking projects, a mug, and a brown bag lunch.
Please Remember: The museum is a nut free building.


Gray Highlands Branch will display rugs using a new spin on a friendship challenge rugGeorgian Bay Branch took a workshop on the pattern by Heartland Creation entitled "Natures Element". they will show how they individualized the pattern.

NEWS FLASH: “Scissor Sharpening Plus Fraser and Bliss Cutting Machine Clinic”
Chris Poole will be in attendance and will sharpen your scissors and service your cutters. Drop them off with Chris first thing in the morning and he will try to have them ready before you leave. If not ready he will make arrangements to ship them back to you

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

meet my newest hook

I'm home again from a little tour and two great classes. My pictures are few (due to a lack of SD card for one class, and being just too busy having fun in the other), but there were lots of good laughs along the way, and I came home with lots of great memories and few new acquisitions.

My favourite new thing is my new hook. Those clever Campbellford girls have been making their own custom hooks out of Sculpy or Fimo and then shaping the handle to their own hands before baking. I was totally blown away by the idea alone – and even more thrilled when Beth whipped out all of the supplies so that I could craft one of my own....oh, how I love instant gratification.... :-D

My initial attempt was a little stubby, so I added onto the end to extend it a little bit into my palm (hence the mismatched appearance of an afterthought on the end). We baked it in the church's oven, and it was ready in no time. It feels so good in my hand -- and of course, it fits perfectly. I can't wait to give it a try!
(and if I don't procrastinate much and get my taxes done, that opportunity will come this I will soon be able to let you know if it's as amazing as I'm predicting).

Friday, March 25, 2011

I may be crazy....

....but I'm not insane! For the last day or two, I've flirted with the idea of buying my iPad 2 when they go on sale today. I was coming to the city anyway, so why not?

Reality came crashing down just now, when I counted more than 150 people in line ahead of me....and no guarantee that they will even have any left when it's my turn.

Some people have been in line since 5am--yikes! I guess it will be a few days or weeks before I get one. I'm going to go and try on clothes instead...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

very close

Right this minute, I'm very close to crossing several things off of my list...
  • fitting this no-longer-quite-so-big roll of rug warp under my bed (it's sure shrinking at an incredible rate)
  • being ready for my workshop this weekend -- and another one early next week (it always takes longer than I think it should -- and usually uses up all of the time I have)
  • making something I can eat for supper (yes - that's the real time....I've been busy!)
  • having an overnight bag packed and ready
  • choosing a colour for the smart cover on my new iPad 2 (fingers crossed I get in line early enough tomorrow....)
  • sitting down to relax and watch Grey's Anatomy (the first new episode in a month!)
  • finally posting something new on my blog (sorry it's not more exciting...)
Back soon with lots of stories....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

DYE LOG • March 20, 2011

I've been needing to dye for a few weeks now, but have been successfully able to procrastinate doing it until today. I had already raided my shelves for a variety of neutrals in lights, near lights, and darks....but still came up a little short for my needs.

Since I like the instant gratification that comes with quick accomplishments....I decided to dye the lighter values first.

The top third of the wools in the following picture were dyed with the above dyes....

and the bottom two thirds of the stack were dyed with these dyes....

One thing I've learned the hard way is that if you want your end result to be dark, don't start with something light as your base. It will take forever to get the colour where you want it will pig-out on dye while you're waiting.

So I picked over my shelves and pulled out a bunch of different dark colours -- some pieces I knew I had a lot of, others that were crazy marbleized pieces I knew I would never use, and some that were just looking a little stale from sitting on the shelf for too long. Then I chose some dyes and mixed up cups of each....

and transformed them into this....

(sorry I forgot to take 'before' pictures....I will try to remember to do that next time)

The best part is that now that it's all dry and folded, I'm quite sure they will blend right in with their cousins pulled straight off the shelves. Tomorrow in the daylight, I will divide up all of the stacks into smaller piles, further separating by colour and value.

Have I told you lately how much I enjoy dyeing wool? Some days I think I like it even more than hooking....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

super moon

Have you seen the so-called "Super Moon" tonight? It's really quite bright...and what it showed me -- more accurately, reminded me -- is that I need to spend more time learning how to take better photos (but at least it is actually round in this one, not a football like in some of the others....LOL!)

It's more than just the week of the Super's been a pretty super week around here. I'm getting lots of things accomplished and ready for upcoming classes and the Annual, but there's been time for other fun things, too. One thing I've noticed in the past few years is that the older you get, the longer birthdays last. I haven't even had my birthday yet this year (it's in a couple of days), but I've been celebrating since last weekend.

My 'to me, from me' gift arrived on Sunday -- I finally broke down and purchased a set of Addi Clicks for myself. Despite investing a fortune in Turbo needles over the years, I was far from having all of the sizes....and promised myself that the next time I didn't have the size I needed, I would treat myself to the Clicks. The only problem was when that happened (at Christmas to knit Motley), they were sold out everywhere. AB came to the rescue last now I just need to start a new knitting project so I can put them to good use.

Tuesday was tubing with the kids for March Break. Wednesday was a birthday lunch with an old friend and co-worker. Last night was yummy supper + cake at Wendie's (topped off by a virtual trip to the East Coast for a few hours, with a concert featuring David Myles and then the Joel Plaskett Emergency at the Stockey Centre in Parry Sound. Awesome!) Today was more visiting with Wendie + more cake. Tomorrow is a family party (it was my mum's birthday yesterday - so we're having a joint celebration)....and we still haven't even gotten to the 'big day' yet.....

Super moon, indeed :-D

Monday, March 14, 2011

welcoming Spring

I woke up in horror on Sunday morning, thinking I had had the longest sleep-in in years -- and it was only from reading someone's blog that I realized it was Spring Ahead Sunday. I guess with all of the horrible events of the last few days, it didn't make the news cycle.

While getting up in the dark is never my favourite, I am really loving that it is still light and bright out for so long after I get home from work. Even at 7pm, when I sat down to eat supper, and still now, it's light out. I had no urge at all to cook tonight-- it almost felt like the summertime. So I made a non-supper: bruchetta and a beer. Not the healthiest choice, but the beer was light and so was the feta, the bruchetta mix was barely oily and the bread was it easily could have been far worse :-D

Hope you're finding lots of fun things to do with your extra hour of daylight...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Salvaging the Selvedge

When I first started dyeing wool and didn't really know any better, I kept the Selvedge on. I still leave it on -- not just because of my tendency to be lazy, but because usually it's good wool and sometimes, if you're lucky, it will give you a couple of interesting strips that are different from the rest of the wool. And, on occasion it's provided me with that little bit of extra wool needed for a rug.

If you've ever tried to run the selvedge through your cutter, you've no doubt regretted it some of the time. In my experience it tends to pull to one side, cause the handle to be tough to turn, make you think you are going to break something, or worse: all of the above. But since I still can't get past the idea of wasting that 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch, I persist.

Usually I start cutting at the opposite side of my piece of wool, leaving the selvedge for last, and hoping that my last cut will just barely miss the tricky part. But with my new cutter head (that cuts twice as many strips), this is working out less and less often for I had to come up with a new plan.

My new method of 'salvaging the selvedge' is to cut my piece of wool starting with the selvedge edge....

The trick is to take your time and not try to rush this first pass through the cutter....and as you can see, the end result is a perfectly usable strips -- even the first (proper selvedge) strip is usable on this wool and can provide some sought-after texture.

But the selvedge is not always a perfectly flat extension of the rest of the piece. Sometimes just a small section of it is flipped and folded back. There was a piece in my pile that had this happen.

So I started cutting, and slowed when I got close to that part, folding it back to run along the guide and holding it down with my left index finger. I carefully hold it flat as it enters the cutter head, making sure that the wool is still straight and that the little blip doesn't fold back and get caught.

After the wool passes through the cutter, it will likely fold back on it's own.....

But not to worry.....all of the remaining strips are in perfect condition.....

Even though there is a white thread running along the edge of this wool, the 2nd (quite usable) strip has a different weave and texture from the rest....and can add a hint of contrast to your work. A little planned imperfection....

And not all wool is perfect. Sometimes after dyeing, the selvedge has shrunken a little or a lot less than the rest of the yardage and it's a wavy, ruffled mess.

When this happens, I usually opt for the simpler solution of ripping off the afflicted section. And then I 'fix up' the first strip (with the torn edge along one side), by running it through the cutter a second time....running the cut edge along the guide.

The resulting strip looks just like all of its cousins, once the fuzz is trimmed.

Please note....if you are ever cutting wool and your handle doesn't seem to want to turn, STOP -- don't force it. Chances are that something is caught -- and if it's causing one of the plastic spacer rings to go out of alignment. If this happens, then you can chip, split or break one or more plastic spacer ring(s) -- which will have a detrimental effect on how easily and smoothly your wool feeds through the cutter and you will likely cut wonky strips until it is repaired. My suggestion is that you try to get the wool out of the cutter as quickly as possible -- which usually means cutting it off as close as possible to the intake and making less than a (very slow and cautious) 1/4 turn of the handle, to remove all of the wool.

Luckily this has never happened to me or mine....but ever since I used a cutter that had big chunks missing from its rings, I've been a lot more careful. It's important to baby our tools....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

new handle shipment

In preparation for the Annual at the end of April, I ordered some more leather handles and they arrived in the mail today. I took a couple of quick snaps when I was putting them is the the current colour spectrum....

Long rolled (L>R): old brown, new brown, amber, new nude, old nude, olive, lime, turquoise, hot pink, red, black....all in leather ($46 per pair) + NEW in suede: denim, red, burgundy, black ($48 per pair)

Urban (T>B): brown, red, hot pink, grape, turquoise, olive, black ($68 per pair • $35 for one)

I didn't think I would ever feel like making another purse.....but I gotta say that I'm feeling pretty tempted lately. Maybe it's just because I know that I don't have time for it right now -- just a fantasy -- or maybe it's because I want to design one with a special iPad2 pocket. Not sure -- but there is lots of time to sort it all out. I can't even think about starting until mid-May, anyway. Maybe by then the novelty will have worn off (and I can devote all of my spare time to working on Jumbo ...)

Monday, March 07, 2011

how dyeing is like golf...

Have you ever golfed? I made a bit of a serious go at it several years ago -- I even took lessons....(which is so amusing to me now -- oh, the wool I could have bought with all of those green fees..... :-D). I was tired of everyone I work with leaving early to go and play, so for a couple of summers I decided that I would join them. The one thing I will already remember from my time golfing is that it doesn't matter how good you are, or how long you've been playing.....but everyone is capable of making an amazing and unbelievable shot ( the time I was in the sand pit and chipped up, my ball went right into the hole!) Of course, you can also have a very horrible, not-at-all-what-you-expected shot, even if you are a pro.

I feel the same way about dyeing, especially dyeing slub yarn. Now I don't profess to be an expert dyer -- I'm not a chemist, I don't follow recipes, I may never be able to duplicate the same thing twice.....and it doesn't bother me. It's all part of the fun of dyeing for me -- the experimenting and playing and just never quite knowing for sure what you have until it's dry. Plus, early on I did try using recipes and not once did I get what I was I've learned to trust my own eyes instead.

Okay, so back to the golf. Sometimes when I'm dyeing, I have that same golf luck...and wonderful, exciting and completely unexpected things happen -- waaaaay better than I was aiming for in the first place or I could have even hoped for.... And for me, it's why I love dyeing so much and why I find it such fun. Sometimes there are last minute surprises that happen in the cook-off pot (where I put my wool to simmer and set, once I declare it 'ready'), due to a little bit of transfer from one piece or skein to the goldy-brown patches on these sky skeins.....

Of course, I've also have my fair share of 'mulligans' -- I just put them back into my dye cupboard and forget about them until the next time I dye, when they can be reincarnated..... one day I'll do a post with before and after shots -- I forgot to take pictures today).

So what prompted this philosophical reflection? I decided to dye up a bit of slub tonight....and on top of a dozen new skeins, I also breathed some new life into last months uggers ....and they are now whole (like the beauty, at the top of the post that was a too bright cerise). Some of the skeins are simply too pretty to contemplate cutting, let alone selling (LOL!). I will try to remember to take some snaps tomorrow....when the rest is dry....

Friday, March 04, 2011

it's good to be home....

...and the best part about being at home? My morning latte...I like it better than Starbuck's (even though I do use a teaspoon of their Vanilla syrup)

Well my own bed is pretty nice, and my shower.....and my hair is loving the well water (free from all of the chlorine and whatever else is in city water....yuck!) Plus I'm happy to report that no one came in and started mixing up all of those wool piles. No one cut any either, though....which would have been nice.... :-D

My goal for today is to get stuff done, but at a relaxed pace. No real expectations for what or how much or how fast. The only deadline I have is that I need to get into town in time for my 1pm massage appointment. Yes, it's going to be a tough day today.....LOL!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

welcome to March

I'm very glad that February is is always a crazy busy month for me at work. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I am away more than I am home. 'February' will end a few days late this year – I'm in the middle of a week-long interview trip that has me coming home on Thursday. 7 nights in 6 different hotels is a lot of strange it will be great to get back to my own cozy bed and maybe even wake up without an alarm for a couple of days.

I'm also eager to get back to work on preparing stuff for the Annual and a couple of upcoming workshops. Although it's a lot of work, it's a fun kind of work that I enjoy doing. I was thinking that I might do some more dying on the weekend, but I've since had a change of heart and think that I should finish off some of the other things that are lying around half-done - like cutting up the many piles of wool that are waiting to be made into Crazy 8s, drawing matrix mat grids onto the backing I cut and zig-zagged over a month ago, and getting my year-end business reports done so that I can do my (yucky) taxes. Oh how I long for the day I feel I can afford to pay someone to take care of that pesky job.....

Soon I will be home and back to doing fun stuff to share. Right about now I am tired of eating out, and even the thrill of Starbucks is waning.

I had a quick stroll through Crate and Barrel the other day though, and saw the tablecloth or runner pictured above.....seeing it instantly made me feel like hooking pussywillows. Not a subject matter you see every day in hooking -- but I think it would be fun.