Wednesday, August 3, 2016

"Basket of Flowers" Embroidery Update

I'm chugging along....

I have moved over to the right side and have added the darkest of the dark greens (not shown here) plus some details on the left so it's moving forward.  Think I will tackle the big flower at the top of the basket next.....should be exciting to see that flower come to life.

Weather permitting, been very busy pulling weeds, raking and scraping peeling paint - aha, such wonderful summer fun and terrible heat to contend with.  Much more work in the yard to look forward to.  I always dream of winter when engulfed in 90 degree temps and 90% humidity!  I'm a cold weather kind of girl - except I do love the flowers in summer, but I hate the bugs and the humidity of summer in Maine!  Because of all that fun, some nights I sit and stare at the TV and do nothing, until I can go to bed.

That's it for now and I'll be back!

Monday, July 25, 2016

"Crewel Embroidery" in the works

Hi all,

I'm off working on something I've not done in decades.  I used to love to do crewel embroidery but once I acquired a loom in the late 70's,  then more looms plus spinning wheels, I was off spinning and weaving for years creating blankets, throws, garment fabrics, rugs and placemats.  I no longer need more rugs, garments, blankets and the like so next came rug hooking.  Then there was my desire to learn to knit properly so that became my NEW craft of choice in the evenings in front of the TV.  Embroidery sort of fell out of favor for many years and all those unfinished projects and never opened kits went into a box in my storage room to never be seen again for decades until now!  Of course Rug Hooking dropped in front of my eyes one summer upon walking into Seaport Rug Hooking here in Maine one day and then has enveloped me, along with knitting for the past 10 years.  Now I'm back to embroidery again.  Like I said in my profile "can't settle on any craft forever!"  I love them all!!

I've had this Erica Wilson embroidery packed away that I had barely started when I got distracted but have always wanted to finish.  I suspect, as I'm working on this piece, that I ran into yarn problems, or lack of, that brought me to a halt.  Now I'm getting creative and ignoring most of the instructions and using ALL of what I have on hand!  I've also had this itch to do less strenuous crafts with less lint and embroidery seemed like a good idea!  Ever notice how much lint is on your face after an evening of hooking?  Try a 15X mirror and you'll see lint all over the skin!  Shocking!  I wonder how much of these wool particles wind up in our lungs?  Worth thinking about.

I recently bought a new floor embroidery stand along with a couple of big quilting hoops to use on it until an order from England for a set of  Millenium scroll frames and stretcher bars arrives.  Only heaven knows when that might be since you pay for the frames and then wait because they are so backlogged, as I laugh, NOT!  See review of these bars below plus there are some videos on YouTube:

 This is a BIG piece of embroidery so this undoubtedly will take a few months to complete but I'm stitching away on it every night.  The hoop is an 18" quilting hoop (yes, I've done several quilts also but that wore itself out quickly by the shear magnitude of putting together king size quilts for myself and gifts for family).  The whole embroidery design is over 25" wide and tall.

For those of you who might be interested in any type of needlework and want a floor stand I advise you to take a look at this beautiful stand.  Scroll through Judy Odell's website and see lots of info on this stand along with a lap/between the legs frame.

Review by Mary Corbet of the "Just a Thought" needlework stand:

That's it for now.  Happy rug hooking out there or whatever craft you love.  I'll be back and post
 up dates as I go along!

Friday, July 22, 2016

"Uncle Sam's Hat" FINISHED!

I've had this rug finished for more than a week but as most of us know life has a way of intruding on the fun things in our lives.  Hear, hear for more FREE time to create!

New home on the floor in front of the TV and YES, my sweet Bizy's new favorite place to park herself!   BTW, Uncle Sam is straight on all sides but it's the big Oriental rug that has a wave along the border right where you see the gap between the two rugs.   

Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Uncle Sam's Hat" in the final phase.....decided to post once I got it written and set up.

Bizy Bea is still not giving up her attraction for this rug!  
As you can see I did not even take this rug off the frame and lay it on the floor this time to photograph.  

The minute I spread out the end of the rug she got up and came over to get on the rug and wasn't going away!  So strange.....

As you can see I have kept the original intent of Polly's design but have swayed off in a variety of directions with the colors and flowers.  I've added several extra flowers plus leaves as I was hooking along, changed the design of the flowers and didn't pay too much sway to the fact that the original design had ALL the flowers looking the same.

By the time I was ready to start the border I decided I had worked on this rug long enough and wanted to keep it simple and get it finished so I opted for the random strips of colors or "hit and miss" rather than the design in the book with a darker navy border of three rows.

I am working on the border and then it's on to the backside to do the stitching of the hem.

I was trying to "shoo" her away but she wasn't having any of it from that look!

 Almost lost her focus with an itch!

Messy work area.  Bizy still standing guard over the rug!

 Bizy not going away!
It will be interesting to see how she behaves once the finished rug is laid on the floor in front of the TV.  Will she take up permanent residency?  We'll see..... 

Almost finished.  Hooray.

Have more fiber activities I'm going to pursue over the next couple of months - more to come about that over time.

Bizy finally grabbed up her ball and said "Enough with the computer and the photos - time to go play BALL!"

My Big Fat Excuse For Being MIA!

I had some new cabinets installed under my island in my kitchen where once was a breakfast bar.

  The installation was easy but I was tasked with the painting and staining of all the shelves and the ends SO THAT'S WHAT I'VE BEEN DOING ALMOST EVERY DAY along with painting a new cabinet around a NEW oven (see way below)!  I also had an almost never used trash compacter removed and a new cabinet with roll out drawer for kitchen utensils and another drawer above to hold towels.  That cabinet needed it's front and door painted.

Because all of my woodwork in my home is an oil based, custom mixed paint, I had one dealer in the entire Bangor, Maine area that sold oil based paint (pox on the house legislature for this bone-headed move a few years ago) called Sherwin Williams.  Their paint takes THREE DAYS to cure to the touch so I had stools, benches and boxes cluttering up my kitchen for two weeks while various stages of the cabinets were drying.  It was a slow slog to get all the painting done but it's finished now (almost)!!  


A little history about this island, so if you are not interested in my tales of woe about my kitchen,  then you can just skip this post and wait until the next post to show up, which it will tomorrow about "Uncle Sam's Hat" and the progress - there's been a lot but I've just not had the time to take the photos, write the post and get it up on Blogger.

This kitchen was designed by a kitchen designer out of Portland, ME, two hours from my home so he never saw the house but did see the floor plans.  I managed to give him input when I could get away from the whole building job,  but I'm afraid my attention was not all there when we built our house since I was charged with EVERYTHING else to take care of so the kitchen sort of took a backseat to everything else.  I designed the house, I bought all the materials, hired the crew and worked in the house painting and hanging wallpaper for 18 months until it was finished.  Kitchen looked good on paper and I yawned when I saw the plans and said "okay" let's get it built, I've got other things to do!

Okay, now that I purged my conscience of my lack of attention to the kitchen I'll finish the rest of the story.

Lots of problems when cabinets were made and delivered to the site!  Tall cabinets for the center of the kitchen which were to house large Subzero Freezer and Refrigerator,  didn't work for the layout of windows, light and views.  I looked at them in place for a couple of days and finally said "I can't live with these - no way, no how!"  I moved those cabinets to closets and our dressing room.  I solved the problem and had the island built instead, change the back wall of the kitchen and moved the refrigerator and freezer to their now location.  I designed the pot rack to go over the island to cover up the nasty mess that had been done to the ceiling - horrors! I thought then that all problems were solved.

After finally moving into the house, I set about arranging the island with the breakfast bar with Victorian oak high stools/chairs which became a NIGHTMARE to live with!  They were always in the way of the refrigerator and freezer and anyone sitting at the bar......groan!  

I complained to my husband who only looked cross eyed and yawned, waited and complained some more and finally I said enough of this, saved the monies I needed and TOLD HIM I WAS DOING THIS and finally after 18 years I hired the original finish carpenter that worked in the house to begin with to fashion - based on my needs and design - new cabinets!  You think I waited long enough?  I do.  It was easy to ignore for a long time.  Then I finally moved the stools out of the kitchen, plastic food tubs then sat under the island for several years which were so handy but messy looking.  I decided several months ago it was time to act and I did!

  Here's what has been taking up my attention for several weeks:  

Unfinished, in place and ready to be stained and painted.

Since there were these fancy bar supports at each end of the bar and I didn't want to change or lose those I decided I would accentuate the already existing feature with stain on each end and make the center shelves also stained along with the inside shelves.

See all those white plastic 5 gallon containers sitting at the end of the kitchen?  Those were shoved under the island for the last 4 years that kept all of many of the grains and flours I use most frequently and couldn't get in my pantry.  Did I say I didn't plan all that well when it came to this kitchen?  I should have built a bigger pantry also!!!!!  These buckets are now in the basement in cabinets and I have nice 3L jars in my new cabinet with all of the grains I need close by.

After the primer was applied along with the stained oak ends to the cabinets.  Doors, face and kick plate is built out of popular.  Oak shelving for the inside of the cabinets and the book shelves in the center to house my most frequently used cookbooks.

In case you haven't noticed yet - there are THREE mixers on this island!  Why would anyone need three mixers?  Long story.  I have two 7 qt and one 5 qt.  All used for a variety of tasks.  I have managed to get one of the 7 qt. mixers into the cabinet below but can't live without the other two close by standing ready.  One finish coat of paint on the cabinets with screws in the doors for knobs.

 Painting finished and waiting for the new brass knobs to show up.  See the one mixer below along with my tall Vitamix.....not sure how long I can live with my blender tucked away and having to move it out almost daily.  I'll live with this for a week or so and see how well that works, ha!

All finished - no knobs yet on the doors but they are coming!


Only thing I have left to do is urethane the oak at each end of the cabinets.  I'm pondering, thinking, considering and mulling over the idea of a stencil at the end of each cabinet in the cream color before I urethane.  Should I do that?  Hmmm, have to keep looking for just the right image.

Modifications to the existing cabinet that housed the old Viking oven.

New Bosch oven to replace a wider old Viking oven that was very tired along with modifications to the cabinet to hold the new Bosch along with new cabinet doors below because I lost a roll out drawer where there had been three and now two behind those new unpainted doors!

Pot rack I talked about over the island that was built to cover large holes in the ceiling!  A real stroke of genius if I say so myself.  Notice how the shape mimics the island shape.....

This last two years has been a remodeling challenge and nightmare at times.  It all started with two frozen heating pipes in the ceiling of our master bedroom.  Five months later there was a new ceiling, MORE  blown in insulation,  new paint, new bathroom floor (that needed doing so why not while we were in the middle of chaos), new reworked curtains and drapes, two carpeted rooms redone with hardwood,  new TV cabinet for a flat screen and now the work in the kitchen.  I'm tired of all this remodeling!  Tired, tired and more tired!

All of you who owns homes know how a house will suck the life out of you not to mention your bank account!  I'm done for a while with the remodeling - I think.  I do have a worn out gate (custom built) and a screen door (also custom built to fit a difficult Anderson French locking door) that has to be built but that will come over the next few months as my carpenter has the time.  Just a few months to breathe please would be nice.

By now I'm sure you've had enough of my kitchen and house sagas and you want me to get back to fiber things and more specifically "Uncle Sam's Hat."  Tomorrow, I promise!  

Saturday, June 4, 2016

"Uncle Sam's Hat" PLUS Miss Bizy Bea

I had to take this rug off the frame today so I could turn it around to do the corner lettering so I figured why not take some more photos.  Look who wanted to be in the photo - my sweet girl "Bizy Bea!"
She didn't want to get off the rug!  I guess she thought it was for her to lay down on, LOL!

Anyway, here's some full size photos to scan through.

 I called her off the rug which lasted about 30 seconds.  Minute I lifted the camera she headed back to the rug!

Bizy is determined to stay on that rug!  She's claiming it I guess as her own.

Got her to move a little and then she plopped right back down in another position!

                                       FINALLY,  a photo without a dog in the middle of it!

Friday, June 3, 2016

"Uncle Sam's Hat" Sneak Peak

Chug, chugging along!  I'm closing in on the three-quarter mark of getting this rug finished.  Well, maybe not quite three quarters just yet since I will still have the border to hook and of course there is that really fun part of finishing the edges.

A little over half that is mostly finished....(provided I don't make any changes after I see the whole rug finished, ha!)

Working on second half of rug....

Closer view

Progressed a little more last night with the rose colored flower and background.

I'm looking forward to the flag area - straight strips to hook after all these curves and round flowers.  

Since my goal with this rug was to avoid buying or having to dye any wools I will see how the reds will look in the flag once they start to get hooked.  I have some pretty but bright reds in my stash and I might have to break my pledge to myself and dip dye some strands to tone them down a bit.  We'll see.

I'm really liking what I'm seeing so far with the rug.  The off the bolt plaid I'm using for all the leaves and stalks is an interesting look I've grown to like.  It's not as pronounced as the the original colors in Polly's rug but I think I like it.  Gives a more subtle presence in the rug.  The plaid has always looked like water to me when done in large areas.  I did a rug, further back in the blog, which I turned into a pillow "I Love Rug Hooking" and I really liked the water-look the fabric imparted to the piece.  Often thought of doing a big fish of some kind with this plaid as the ocean.....hmmm, another idea for a rug for another day!

That's my thoughts on this rug for today.  I'll post some shots of the red in the flag and get some feedback to see what others are thinking.  

Come back and visit again soon.

Monday, May 30, 2016

"Fibers to Food" Tip for the Day

Thought I'd throw a little curve from fibers to food today.  I was chopping up some onions this morning and wondering how many would be interested in this technique/tip.

Everyone buys scallions or green onions?  Almost.  Right!  Hate how they go bad QUICKLY in that plastic bag in the refrigerator?  Here's the solution:

Wash, cut away tips and chops.  Line a plastic or glass container with a double layer of paper towels.  Mix up the chopped onions and drop into the tub/container and seal.  These chopped pieces will last for more than a week without starting to rot on you.

Love green fresh chopped onions for breakfast in my chopped boiled eggs with a dollop of Greek yogurt, garlic hot sauce and those lovely green onions.  Enjoy.

"Uncle Sam's Hat" rug is more than half finished and I'll get a photo and post this week.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"Uncle Sam's Hat" Update

Chugging along.....

Funny things you don't notice until AFTER they are hooked!  Left side of bottom of the hat is "pointy" so will have to fix that.  Far left bottom flower is too close and at the same level as the blue and white one so I'll have to drop that flower down an inch or so before I start hooking.  

Otherwise it's coming along.  I actually have hooked top left flower and all that blue background over to the flower and star so photo to come.

Okay folks, that's it for today!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

"Leg Warmers" update

Leg warmers almost finished.  Have already started the ribbing on second warmer and will be binding off pretty soon!  These warmers almost scream out for a name.  Do they really need a name?  Why not?  What should I call these?  "Butterscotch" or "Evening Sunset" or ?  Oh well, they are a collection of pretty colors!  

Sunday, May 1, 2016

"Uncle Sam's Hat" Beginning

I'm off to a start....nothing too exciting yet but thought I would check in and let you see where I am at the moment.  The dark line around the hat is the navy blue background color that will fill the entire background of the design.

I'll be back soon since I have other things to post.  See you in a couple of days!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

"Thread Removal Tip"

This will be short and no photos.  Sorry, but I suspect everyone knows what sewing threads look like along with two fingers!

As I was adding/sewing on the wool extensions to the linen for "Uncle Same's Hat" rug today I was picking out the ripped threads from the wool extensions and thinking?  

How many people pull threads that have been ripped out of wool or other sewing projects and find that those dang things fly all over the place, on to our pants and in general NEVER want to leave our hands  ever again as you bang away trying to get them in the waste basket?

If you have this problems then here's the solution!

So simple.  Took me years to figure it out though!

Spit on your index and thumb fingers - okay, maybe "spit" is too unlady like a words so moisten your fingers BEFORE you pick up the threads.  Pick all the loose threads you can hold and roll your fingers together and pitch in the waste basket.  

Gone zo on the first tap!  

Thursday, April 21, 2016

"Uncle Sam's Hat" Rug Hooking Design

Finally I've come up with a design for my next hooking project.

After playing around with some of my own designs, searching the Internet and scouring through my book collection of patterns and designs I ran across this design below by Polly Minick (second photo).  

I finally decided that I didn't need to reinvent the wheel but come up with something I liked that would play happily next to my family room Oriental rug (see below).  The added bonus was that the colors were already right for where I needed to place the rug.  Perfect!  

The bumped out area on the front of the TV cabinet is approx. 50".  I did not want to make the rug longer because it would start crowding into a chair and ottoman on the left side and a spinning wheel/chair on the other side of the cabinet so 50" is what I finally decided on.

 Perfect colors to play happily with my Oriental rug in family room.

Line drawing in the book.

Paper taped together to get the right size I needed (28" x 50") and now in the process of free hand drawing the design on to the paper.

Speaking of paper, I have been working off a 500 sheet ream of moving company packing paper I was left with after our move to Maine in 1992!  This is a great resource and I have more info further back on my blog about using this paper in the article on "Designing Rugs."

Thought you might like to see where I work in my studio weaving,  sewing, cutting out patterns and painting. 

 Paper laid out with a large piece of poster board between my sketching and the cutting table mat along with my tools.
 One photo of my work table and two of my four looms in my studio.
Big loom in front of the window is a Cranbrook 60" maple loom, 8 shafts and 12 treadles with a shaft switching device (that's a story for another day).  The loom on the left is a Leclerc 45" tapestry loom with two treadles.

Another photo of studio and another 60"loom, book cases, threading bench for back of Cranbrook loom.

Drawing in progress and starting to add felt tip pin over the pencil lines.

This loom in the photo is a 60" J-Made 16 shaft loom with 3 worm gears to crank the take up of warp onto the front beam and move the warp off one of the two back beams.  Lots of treadles and mind blowingly beautiful since it is made of all cherry wood!  Woven lots of fabric on this loom along with a few rugs! 

Sewing area with two Viking sewing machines and lots of storage.

By the way, this is as clean as it ever gets, LOL!  I can guarantee that it can get a whole lot messier if I'm deep into several projects at the same time!
Wall of cabinets along back wall of room with a ledge for my wet paintings in progress along with a sink for brush clean up or whatever else I need water for.  An old computer to the right that sits there lonely and forgotten since I have a 27" IMAC in my painting area.  Should get rid of it but you know how that goes - just haven't gotten around to it (for years)!

 Another view of sewing/cutting/drawing table.

Sewing table with a look towards the other end of the room where you can see some of my painting area, easels, shadow box and an iMAC computer plus storage.

About now you are drooling over my studio and its size but I look at this room as a lifetime of vacations that I've never taken, LOL!  Enough said!

Okay, back to the Minick design drawing.

Half of the design sketched in and gone over with a felt tip pen.

 Finally the finished drawing!
  I made some modifications to the original....little tweeks here and there but minor.  Now I have to transfer this drawing to either linen or cotton rug hooking material.

I'm on my way to starting the hooking.....except for all those copies I have to trace yet.