Pan Am/ParaPan Games 2015 Ignite project, Day 2

Para/Pan Am Games 2015 Ignite project, Day 2

The OHCG (Ontario Hooked Craft Guild) challenged its members to come up with at least 41 rugs, one for each country entered in the 2015 Pan Am Games, as participation in Toronto Ignite 2015. Ignite is meant to increase community involvement and introduce a cultural component to the Games. The rugs are to have Canadian content and be 16″ x 20″. A reasonable size. I picked one of Trish Johnson’s designs; here’s what I’ve hooked so far. Day 3 today – hope to get the pine needles/clumps done and maybe some rocks. Deadline is mid-March for me as I have a workshop at the end of March. Better get a wiggle on, as my boss used to say!

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Sunshine Rughooking

Here’s another rughooker’s blog – Elizabeth Martel at Sunshine Rughooking. Currently hooking a lovely rug of Lunenburg, NS. Being productive watching the Olympics – good idea – off to work on my Pan Am 2015 Ignite mat, assigned by Trish Johnson for the OHCG challenge to hook a small rug to give one to each country in the Games. A little bit of Canada to take home.

Elizabeth Martel's adaptation of a Gustav Klimt work

Elizabeth Martel’s adaptation of a Gustav Klimt work

This is Elizabeth’s “Althea” rug, from the OHCG’s Annual in Kingston last year (2013). Very striking! It’s an adaptation of Gustav Klimt’s work.

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Thinking woolly thoughts as Editor for the Ontario Hooked Craft Guild (rughooking)

I haven’t been doing a lot of rughooking lately, but I’ve been thinking, writing and talking a lot about it. I took on the semi-volunteer job of “Multi Media Manager” for the Ontario rughooking guild (OHCG) which includes editing and layout of the full-colour, 36 page quarterly newsletter/magazine, editing and maintaining the website

© Winterberg | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Mother and baby – wool on the hoof

and Facebook page. So, for anyone who hooks rugs and lives in or near Ontario, there’s likely a branch near you. If there isn’t, it’s pretty simple – and fun – to start one… will get you going. Membership is very reasonable and you get a terrific (I hope) newsletter (36 page full colour magazine) four times a year!

So, I’m doing some hooking, particularly trying to finish a covered bridge mat for the New Brunswick section of the Hooked Rug Museum of North America, newly minted and totally wonderful, in Queensland, Nova Scotia. Well worth a visit, and make sure to figure on a couple of hours. Then I have an alternate textures mat to finish for the OHCG Annual in Oshawa in May.

collage for texture swirl matThis has been fun – absolutely no wool at all, but lots of other fibres and textures – t-shirts, silk, ultrasuede, sari silk, taffeta, ribbon, polar fleece, linen, cotton broadcloth of various thicknesses and strengths, rayon, even a little dreaded polyester. This one won’t be walked on, so it doesn’t have to stand up to foot traffic. The theme of the OHCG Annual this year is MAT – Mad About Textures. I began this rug at a wonderful workshop with Diane Cox of Cornwall, UK. She led us in paper collage, tearing up magazines and making up a design – I’d been leaning towards abstracts for a change, so this swirly design just grew. Great technique – very freeing!

Anything but Wool mat, unfinished

Anything but Wool mat, unfinished

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Summertime hooking – smaller mats

Two Posies

Two Posies table mat

Plenty of hooking this summer, with a date to show/sell at a county fair – Rustic Revival – where all the artisans and craftspeople were making things by hand in a time-honoured way. It was a two day affair, August 25 & 26. The sun shone, the people came and everywhere talent and ingenuity shone too, coupled with traditional methods. Hello Bluebird was sold along with smaller mats and coasters, patterns and kits. Funny, but our mats are another sort of offspring – I hate to see them go, but the happy smiles of the new owners go a long way to smoothing the way. This one was a gift for the buyer’s daughter. Hope she liked it! Its origins were an online challenge for new life in the spring. I was struck by the Judy Garland song, Hello Bluebird, so I based it on that.

Hello Bluebird... got no time for the blues!

Hello Bluebird… got no time for the blues!

Floral Explosion Aug 13

Floral Explosion. Original mat, 100% wool, bound by complementary cord. Table top or hanging; channel on back for a small dowel.


Various small mats, all original, 100% wool

Golden Coneflower

Golden Coneflower, mixed textures and fibres. Donated to the Hooked Rug Museum of North America in Queensland, NS for their marketplace.


Sheepish trivet

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A Gift to the Town of St Andrews by-the-Sea, NB

Sometimes a dream takes awhile to realize. Here are three photos of my rug designed for the small community theatre in St Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick (Canada). Since I was on the board that worked to refurbish the current little theatre and to build an eventual multi-purpose new theatre space in town, I wanted to add something tangible. I could have bought a spot on the donor plaques for $100, but in my relatively new hooker naiveté, I decided something was needed to spruce up a blank grey and black wall in the theatre itself. I’d taken to the craft and art of rughooking in 2002 like the proverbial duck to water, as my love affair with the myriad colours and textures of fabric and yarn began at a very young age. There were murals designed and painted in the lobby and washrooms, but the performance space seemed awfully bland.
So, in 2004, I began drawing my favourite features of the town, to be hooked by me and any of our group who wished to help. Wool was also donated from the group, some of which I dyed and some used as-is; most of the wool came from my stash.
I then blew up my final little sketch on a photocopier and drew it onto primitive linen, to a size of 4 ft by 5 ft (wide). As I said, I was a newbie, not realizing the exponential amount of time needed to hook something that large. My previous pieces had been a couple of small mats and a few in the 12-20″ x 20-27″ ranges. I soon transferred it to a borrowed standing frame, which stayed at the church hall where the group meets every Wednesday evening. There is more recycled wool in the rug than new, cut from #3 through #8 and on to hand-torn, plus wool yarn, which created a very textured surface and a miscellany of detail. Featured helpers were Hella Haun, for the rocks and windmill (indicative of Kingsbrae Garden, the 27-acre public garden where I worked; Hella’s son is the GM) and Jan Hunter, for the lighthouse. I particularly did not want to work to a deadline, as I had enough of those at work and elsewhere in my life. But, we made a fairly sudden move to Toronto, due to my husband’s new job, so I desperately wanted to finish it and not have to: a) pack it, to finish later and b) courier or carry it back. Most everyone in our group at least hooked a few loops; some hooked many, in the border, various trees, sky, etc. At our annual “Hurricane Hook-in”, Nov 3, 2012, our visitors were also invited to help us race the clock; I was very glad of their help.
ImageWorking around the frame, trying to beat the emergency deadline, are (L) Lynn Kozak, Maureen McIlwain, Nancy Carson, Hella Haun and Sandra Lewis, a few of the Quoddy Loopers rughooking group. In the background is Suzanne Bousquet, tirelessly cutting wool as quickly as 7 or 8 people could hook it. (I can’t place the mystery legs). Others were taking a break; I won’t list them, as I’m bound to leave someone out. I could not have finished the rug before leaving town without the help of the whole group.
It did get finished, very early in the morning of my departure for “Upper Canada”, with more help from the group working on the yarn whipping at the Ross Museum, where the Quoddy Loopers help in the museum’s yearly fundraiser. The annual open house of the elegant decorative arts museum is decorated to the yearly theme, room by room, by families and groups. Felicitously, it was “A Seaside Christmas” for 2012.  So, for the final two days of the open house, the finished St Andrews mat was on display, along with new and old rugs from the group. Members also take turn doing hooking demonstrations (though not usually sitting on the floor, whipping like mad) while the public files through and admires each decorated room. School children from the area are also brought through during the weekdays; some have shown a lively interest in the craft.
photo credit: Kerri Chrus, Ross Museum
Then, in September of 2012, I was finally able to get down to St Andrews to present the mat to the Town, as they own the ACT (Arena Complex Theatre). Unfortunately, there are persistent damp problems there, so the mat had to be hung in a different public space. The Town Hall was chosen, on a wall in the entry that does not get direct sunlight. I am sorry it is not in its intended spot, but perhaps down the road. Regardless, it was lovely to be back in St Andrews – Canada’s oldest seaside resort town – and with my sister Wendy Pepper (who helped me sew on the hanging sleeves on the back of the rug) and with friends again.
Quoddy Loopers members in attendance at the presentation, September 10, 2012, from left: Suzanne Bousquet, Jan Hunter, Mary Jones, Karen Eagles, Carol Baker and me. Sandra Lewis was behind the camera for the presentation and first group shot.
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Crooked House Rugs – a passion for fibre and all the colours of the rainbow… and then some

Crooked House Rugs grew out of a lifetime of expressing myself in various fibres. I learned to knit and sew at an early age and the fascination for fibres and their tactile pleasures grew. Clothes for dolls, using cutouts and wrapping (which I later knew as draping) with minimal stitching began the joy of designing. Then crochet and quilting came along, with the attendant gathering of more yarns and fabrics. Cotton, linen, wool, mohair, silk… I was mostly drawn to natural fibres, but, for a short while, I dabbled in synthetics and blends. I taught myself pattern making from a Japanese fashion design magazine, picked up who knows where. I began to collect sewing machines as I got more and more enamoured with construction of clothes, home furnishings and accessories.

There was a Crooked House

One of my earliest designs

In the late 60s I attended Ryerson in Toronto, taking their 3 year Fashion Design, construction and merchandising course. We learned much about design, more exacting patternmaking, tailoring, millinery, illustration, colour, fabrics & fibres, business practices, merchandising and doubtless other courses lost to the mists of time. Years came and went, I married and produced children, now have three wonderful grandchildren; I worked at various times, sometimes in the world of fashion, either for a company or on my own, sometimes other occupations that presented themselves. During this time, I found rug hooking (traditional, not latch hooking) in 2004, or it could have been 2005. I wasn’t keeping a record; I was simply immersing myself in wool and design in another media. It resonates deeply with me and brought me through some dark times. Rughooking is a soothing, meditative activity and I knew it was for me after the first loop.

Wide cut and hand-torn wools make a strong statement

Wide cut and hand-torn wools make a strong statement

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