Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Lollipop Dreams" Progress & Sketching Ideas

"Lollipop Dreams" is coming along nicely.  There are a few minor problems I see with the design but I think they will correct themselves when the background color/wool strips are laid in.  I must say, I have really enjoyed hooking this piece, not just because it's my design or the chance to use up left over wool strips, but just the liberating fun of being able to just picks colors on the go from what appeals and what I think works together......fun, fun, fun.  I really plan to design a few more pieces along this same theme to hook.  Just think this all started from a tiny sketch sitting at my breakfast table one morning!

This is a photo of my sketch book - see "Lollipops" in upper left corner.
Every rug hooker should have several sketch books around them so that when an idea pops into their heads they grab up that pad and quickly get those ideas down for future rugs.  The original sketch might not be the final product but it's a starting place.

See the original sketch for "Peace & Prosperity" in the center.
An idea that "popped" one day and the finished rug below.
The lady in the hat in her garden is yet to be hooked but I think about it.

A rug I really want to eventually hook of "Magi" (Lady Margaret) our beloved English Springer we lost in 2010.  I've often thought of doing a painting of her but it brings such sadness when I look at photographs of her I'm not sure I could sit through an entire painting with tears in my eyes every day - hooking a rug might be easier in the long run!

Back to the problem I created for myself in hooking "Lollipop......" and maybe I'm the only one who will notice this and it's the artist in me so I should also have known better,  but some of the objects are too close to each other with edges almost touching.  In design that's called "kissing edges."  How this happened was that I started in the middle and worked to the right without any outline.  When I started working on the sunflower I wanted to outline the petals around the flower to help them really stand out.  Okay, now I liked that so much I started adding a border around several objects - oh dear, they look rather touchy-feely I started to realize.  I did not intend to outline everything originally anyway because some are way too close to each other - oh well, I'll see how everything works out when I start the background.  I might have to pull out some of the black outline.....time will tell.  But, this is where I am as of now and my thoughts on design, sketch books and hooking.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Verdict In on Toe-Up Socks

I have given myself some time to think about whether I like knitting socks in the toe-up technique or whether there are any advantages, at least to me anyway.

After much consideration and evaluation the verdict is in and it is NO!  There is really little difference between whether you go from the top down or the toe up.  If you want to try on socks as you go then knit them on circular needles or if you really must try them on and you knit on dp's then move them to a  pair of circa or thread (a nuisance but doable)  - simple solution.  If you want a stretchier rib at the top then use a larger size needle to cast on - problem solved.  If you want to change colors at strategic points for a color change then it is as easy to do in both directions.

The problems I encountered with the toe-up techniques were minor and correctable, sometimes annoying but all solvable but then I have to ask myself "why do I want to bother continuing to learn multiple heels, toes, cast ons, etc. to knit a pair of socks?  I've come to the conclusion I know several and they have served me well for years and why fuss with a technique that works.  Toe-up socks are surly clever, a different way of doing something and trendy right now but life altering, I doubt it.  Will they give you something that much different from all the top-down socks - nope!  They all look more-or-less the same in the final product stage.  The only socks that look any different, no matter which direction you are knitting them, is some of the innovative socks by Cat Bordhi.....now there's a challenge that might be worth trying when you get bored with all the other techniques.  I'm sorry now that I have invested in several books on toe-up socks because the process was not all that satisfying and I'll probably stick to the top-down method from now on.  Or, I just might give a go at some of Cat's socks since I own all of her books - would be a waste to not at least try them, right?  So for now I'm a top-down knitter when it comes to socks!

Monday, July 2, 2012

"Designing Rug Hooking Patterns"

For those of you who have been wondering if I'm EVER going to hook another rug anytime soon instead of knitting all those blasted socks well, here it is!  I have been fussing and laboring (nah, not that hard), over this design for several weeks but today it was like a lightening bolt struck and I put the whole center design together in a little over an hour.  I knew what I wanted on the border but the center kept bouncing around in my head and was changing from day-to-day.

If any of you have ever tried to design you own rugs then you sure can identify with how hard this can be sometimes.  It's not exactly the design itself that can be the problem but trying to be mindful of the amount of materials and TIME that has to go into hooking a rug - will I be happy living with this rug for the next several months while I hook it is always the question?   I'm always torn between one design and another - do I do primitive or modern or whimsical or........?  If I'm going to keep this rug then where can I use it in my own home?  Do I have wool on hand (always have a lot of that but usually have to dye it, ugh) and of course just getting to the drawing, laying it out, transferring the pattern to the rug warp and getting to it!  I'm also right in the middle of a very large oil painting (24" x 36") so I didn't want to spend a lot of wasted time on the rug.....big hurdles to climb over but I've always felt if I gave something long enough to jell in my brain then usually a solution would present itself and today was the day!

I'm not exactly sure of the size of this paper which is butcher paper left over from a move 18 years ago! The movers left huge stacks of this behind so I immediately recognized its potential and have been working off about 500 sheets all this time.  Back to the size, I think it is about 30" x 35" but the complete design is not even all there because I'll have to add another 1/2 inch or so to the outside edges for a final edge/border.

Okay, ANYONE who wants to use this design or any part of it PLEASE DO SO!  It would be nice if you give me credit for the design but I won't come after you if you don't, ha!  Oh, one last point, I have not worked out the corner designs yet but that will come in time like all good things!!