Thursday, November 9, 2017

I LOVE my students!!!

The last few weeks have been a hooking teacher's dream. Following my weekend at OHCG school in Ancaster, I have been receiving pictures of progress in the school and this week, more pictures of finished bags.

Drumroll please, for these finished bags. I love how different they all are. And remember, there was no pattern and everyone was working with their worms stash - no cutter was present (someone needed one and had to go to another class). People used yarn, sari silk, velvet, wool strips - and there was lots of wonderful sharing going on among the students. Somehow, worms are free game when everyone has a giant rubbermaid tub of them on the table. lol. For the middle bag, Sandra dropped in a little pre-made cosmetic bag.

If you click on the images, you will see interesting embellishments like quillies and wool roses. I love the zipper pulls on the first two bags. The third one is a clutch style with a beautiful button that has great sentimental value.

If that wasn't fabulous enough, I am thrilled to have FOUR new rug hooking students here in Peterborough!!! They all contacted me within the last several weeks and after each had a one-on-one session to get them pulling loops, they are now a wonderful new group for a Wednesday night class in the studio.

They are each on their way with their very first projects. One is doing a Karla Gerard pattern for her daughter. Another is doing a "moose" pillow (we are obviously a match made in heaven). The third is doing a series of chair pads for her cottage - in polar fleece. And the newest person to join the group is doing a poppy rug that she will start next Wednesday.

So many opportunities for "lessons in the moment" and for them to learn from one another. They are all at the very beginning and can share their journey with someone at the same place. Lots of fun and they will be well into their projects before I desert them for sunnier shores.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Double Up Pups

Another wonderful work by a Newfoundland student to share. And this one has quite a story.

When I was looking for photos from students for my photo to mat class, she was the last one to get photos to me because she was so busy going from workshop to adventure, all over the place. And when the photos arrived, this ambitious hooker sent two picture of two different Black Labs in her life - Brody and Boscoe - though I'm not sure which is which. 

So, I did the photo editing magic and sent her two colour plans, expecting she would choose one or the other. Oh no!! This dynamo decided to incorporate them both into a single mat. And a large mat to boot. Eager beaver falls short in describing this woman, who is a relatively new hooker, but takes on a challenge with a fierceness and dedication that is inspiring.

These are the photos we started with.

And this is the photo of the finished mat I received from her today.

Pretty incredible right? When we left school, she had both dogs pretty much done, and a little background in on the right hand photo. She also had a plan for the background and borders framing both images.

As you can see, the background on the left side pup was simplified, and made into an outdoor scene versus indoor, which I think makes the mat far more harmonious. And makes sense of the leaves in the inner border.

I think it is fantastic and will be a keeper for life that preserves these wonderful dogs. And what a learning curve for their creator, who had never hooked smaller than an 8-cut. She learned how to do smaller, lower loops when necessary, and go bigger when she can. Learning to combine different cuts in the same piece is a wonderful lesson.

Am I bragging? Only in that she is a very special person who I am proud to call my friend. I know she will be inspiring me and the hooking community for years to come.

Kudos to you, Margot.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

One Gorgeous Pooch and Three New Hookers.

Another finished mat to share from my wonderful class in Newfoundland. Here is the first finished pooch - one of 6 of the featured in photos in the class. When I said the class was "going to the dogs", I meant it literally, not figuratively.

This mat combines wool strips and wool yarns in order to get the many colours of brown. The expression in his eyes is totally captured and I love how Linda changed the background from snow to something less cold. Nope - not a big fan of snow, even in a mat.

I will have a couple more to share in the next while, since two more students have said they are done and just need to take photos. How awesome is that!!

I am also thrilled to say that three new hookers have contacted me in the last six weeks, looking for a teacher to help them get started. I think that they are all 'keepers'.

Kim was well on her way on a small sunflower chair pad, but wasn't sure she was doing everything the right way. Well, she was doing just fine, but some tips and a little guidance and she was off and hooking. We are meeting on Monday to discuss finishing. And she is going to try a sit-upon gripper frame that I am sure she will order from John Boorman, a local frame maker here in Peterborough.

Jennifer had just fallen in love with hooked pieces and wanted to learn. She was a natural at loop pulling and before she left after our first session, we had decided on a design for the first in a series of chair pads for her cottage. A simple design with fish and some brightly coloured polar fleece and she is killing it. She stopped by this week to try John's frame and had two fish done already.

Jill, the newest, arrived last night, bubbling with energy and enthusiasm. She brought a bag full of wool garments ready to be recycled. And a pretty big pillow pattern with a moose ready to go. Another one whose first loops were a breeze. With a few corrections to her pattern to get it on the straight of grain, she is ready to dive in.

How fun to have them find me and have each of them find out that "yes" - hooking IS for them. Hoping we can create a little group to meet on a regular basis, so they can get guidance from me and camaraderie from one another.

And before you know it, I'll be here bragging about them as well.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Some Very Serious Bragging.

Let's begin with the safe arrival of Everleigh Rae Scott Saville. She came into this world on Sunday, October 1st at 1:15 a.m. And we got our first glimpse less than 10 hours later. Her big brother, although a little tentative in the hospital setting, was quickly bewitched, as you can see in this picture.

At the very first glimpse of her, I was amazed at how much she looks like her brother. And everyone seems to agree, including their mom. Here is a picture that she shared on FaceBook that pretty much seals the deal. I guess the recipe was perfect the first time lol.

After staying in Toronto to help over the first week, I brought big brother home for Thanksgiving weekend while mom and dad continued to adjust to the new addition. I sent them back their very own turkey on Thanksgiving Monday.

I headed back again this week for a few more days, following a minor procedure Everleigh had to correct a tongue tie. Hoping that this helps the breastfeeding move forward. Dad Kris had to work the rest of the week, so I went to offer whatever help was needed.  I drove back home this morning and it sure is quiet here!!

Within two weeks, Everleigh seems like she has been there forever, and is adored by all. The infatuation her brother has for her holds tight. He can't wait to have his turn to hold her and is thrilled when she comes to meet him at the end of a school day. That will be Laura's big challenge - to not be feeding EXACTLY when it's pick-up time.

Here's a cute shot of them yesterday. Jackson wanted to watch "Frozen", so moved his stool over by her swing. As her eyes begin to focus, it looks like she is watching right along with him.

The other bragging comes in the form of two projects finished by my students at rug camp in Newfoundland this summer. They arrived in my "inbox" within a day of each other, and I have permission to share them both.

Here is Bandit, one of two cats hooked in the class. His mat was a gift for his owner who is the sister of the creator. Needless to say, she was thrilled to receive him. Although the background was simplified, there is no taking away how well she captured his 'catitude'.

The next mat is masterfully hooked from a photo of Quidi Vidi Gut. I am really hoping to visit there on my next trip to Nfld.

There is no greater compliment a teacher can receive than a photo of a finished project. It means that student enjoyed your time together enough to finish. Plus, we get to brag about them later.

Looking forward to seeing all the rest of them in their time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Projects done. Baby can come now.

Any time now - according to the doctor.

So, I am very happy that all the necessary knitting and sewing are done. Off the needles are this cute little dress and a stroller suit.

The dress was a pattern found here and the gorgeous yarn came from my LYS here in Peterborough, Needles in the Hay. The stroller suit was also from the same store, from a kit from Fleece Artist, whose yarns I love. But this pattern was not my favourite. Very vague instructions  - and very small!!! I did the larger size, but think it will truly be newborn size. (Note to self: read all comments on ravelry before embarking on a pattern.)

Anyway, they are washed and blocked and ready to go.

So the next project was the "big brother Spiderman quilt". I bought the panel and the other Spidey fabric online and then went to my Fabricland for the red fabric and the backing. Most of the panel was quilted on my machine, but then I had some fun hooking by hand. Some small areas on the panel and the eyes on the upper and lower print panel. It is also washed and ready to go.

Now we wait. Daughter is more than past ready to have the little one here, but as the doctor said, "she could come any time." So our ears are on alert for the late night call and we will zoom to TO and stay with Jackson until his sister arrives.

Maybe tonight.......

Monday, August 28, 2017

Baby Nest is now a Hornet's Nest.

Here are some pictures of the finished Baby Nest plus the waterproof liners that I made for it.

But as I was sewing the last seam, Health Canada was on every news media warning about risks of suffocation. They continue to offer other advice such as "never leave baby unattended... many ads depict babies sleeping unsafely i.e. on their tummies...the best way for a baby to sleep is on their back, alone in a crib (that meets Canadian regulations)".

I heartily agree with all of that. But I wonder if, used correctly, a nest poses any bigger suffocation risk than things like blankets, sofas, comforters on beds or pillows placed around a baby. What poses the biggest risk of all is leaving a baby unattended. And that can be said for just about anything to do with babies.

Whether it is a commercially available nest, or one like mine made following a DIY tutorial or two, every single one I saw always specified SUITABLE FOR 0-4 months. That is because 4 months is often when a baby learns to roll over from its back to its front. And that is why you wouldn't use it once that stage of development was reached.

So, is the nest destined to become a cat bed after all? Perhaps. But that decision is up to our daughter, who would NOT leave her baby unattended. She would also never put a blanket on a baby, put it on its tummy to sleep, put bumper pads in the crib or co-sleep, while many choose to do so.

I am sure she will make the right choice - for her and her baby. And maybe for her cat.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Camp Killdevil Killed it Again.

Whoever said "You can't go back. It will never be as good the second time." has obviously never been to rug camp in Newfoundland.

From the moment I landed until take off 5 days later, I was once again charmed and delighted with the province and the people who live there. One of the camp directors, Sue, met me at the Airport and drove me to camp. Since my flight was late, we made the trek in the dark - a dangerous activity because of moose on the road at night, especially in Gros Morne. Luckily, the hundred or so frogs (plus one bunny) we slalomed around took the place of moose and we arrived unscathed.

Here I was, back again, and in the morning, the site of the cabins and the smell of the air were already familiar. And since we had a free morning, Sue generously offered to take me to Woody Point, where I bought a wonderful piece of art. The lupins of my youth interpreted in driftwood, beach stones and sea glass. 

This year, I was back as a teacher, with my 'Photo to Mat' class, filled with very personal memory photos. We had lots of dogs, two cats, one grand child, a boy in a pumpkin patch, a black and white wedding photo from 1939, a father-in-law, and a few harbour scenes.

Here is the wonderful group that came along for the ride. As you can see, it was a totally serious bunch.

It's ironic to do an internet-based class in a place that has no internet, but since all the prep work was done in advance, I didn't see it as much of a hindrance. And with all emails to and fro with the pre-work, I developed a relationship with everyone (and their subjects) even before I got there.

Each student had sent me their image weeks ahead - I had run it through some photo editing sites and sent back a few options. Based on the choice, I prepared a colour plan. For class, I had presentations on how to use the different tools versus a live demo on the internet. With these step-by-step instructions, they can play on their own computers at their leisure.

Each year at camp, there is a "theme". This year it was Elvis. And the students rose to the challenge of representing THE KING. Here's a video that just shows you how the folks from Newfoundland take on a theme challenge for a party. Within three beats of the first song, everyone was on the dance floor and pretty much remained there until the last beat of the last song of the encore.

My Elvis costume for theme night was a hooked Elvis face mask plus Hawaiian shirt and leis to be Elvis in Blue Hawaii. The mask doubled as a teaching tool, since it was hooked from a royalty-free photo. It also was my entry into the theme challenge and won first place. My prize was free membership in the Guild for a year.

At the festivities, lots of folks had their picture taken with it. Here are a couple of my students and one of the directors as "instant Elvis".

After the party, Saturday and Sunday passed in a blur of activity. Lots of hooking and one-on-one time to make sure everyone in the class was at a point where they could finish without me. I didn't take any pictures of work in progress, but one of the class members offered to be the official photographer. She is lingering behind in Nfld. with her hubby, so I will do another post when she is back in Ontario and sends them to me.

We had a little time to visit the other classrooms and see what everyone was working on. There were a few vendors selling wool cloth, wool yarn and other goodies. And Saturday night, there was a bonfire with lots of singing and an accordion player. I fell asleep to "Kumbaya". It doesn't get much camp-ier than that!

Sunday morning class went by in a flash, our last lunch was over, and camp was finished for another year. Everyone was sad to go and the rainy weather reflected the slightly melancholy mood. Lots of hugs and "see you next year" rang across the campground.

Luckily, I was in for another afternoon of Newfoundland magic before my evening flight back to TO. I was hosted by Jane, the other camp director, and her husband Jerome, who have a charming cabin in Woody Point where they spend their summers. We wiled away the afternoon sharing stories around their wood stove. I was treated to an incredible salmon dinner, prepared by Jerome and then chauffeured to the airport and hugged goodbye.

So, you definitely CAN go back. And sometimes the second time is even better!! If I'm lucky, there might just be a third. A couple of the Elvises (or is that Elvi?) told me they are taking my class next year. Apparently, there is a move afoot to get me on the teacher list for Photo to Mat 2018. Let's just say, I would be thrilled to return and teach it again.

Here's a link to the RHGNL (Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador) website. Winnie Glavine, the publicity and social media co-ordinator, will be sharing whatever images are sent to her by all the campers, so keep watching for those. In the meantime, grab a cup of coffee or tea and take a peek around the site. You'll enjoy the visit.