Saturday, January 29, 2011

Crazy Horse Quilt Runner: Week 4 (and Week 5...)

As happy as I am to be going on vacation, I'm kind of sad to know I will miss almost two weeks of work on Crazy Horse!  Week 4 had only four hooking days - and hooking time was a bit hard to come by with all the packing and errands and other things that have to happen before a trip.  But here's the progress photo for Week 4, and it will have to stand for Week 5 too!
 In the shortened Week 4, I made a dog, a rabbit, a heart, and some little round motifs (like pennies) - all of these things are over on the right side in the picture above. 

Below is a close-up of the new things.  That bunny is pretty wild!

These next two shots show what the uncut wool looks like in the rabbit and in the heart. 

It is so fascinating to see how the textures look when hooked in.  The red, green, gold one is just wonderful!
There will be no new Crazy Horse update until the end of Week 6 - which will be February 12th.
Until then, Happy Hooking and Happy Everything Else!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Crazy Horse Quilt Runner: Week 3

This rug is a blast!  Here is this week's overall progress photo...
Each individual motif is almost like little making a little individual rug.  I have really enjoyed planning each one and then making it come to life - not that everything has worked out on the first try!  This week I completed the goat, the chicken, that green/black/white heart, the orangey star and the outline of another star - and... ta-dah...some background!!! 
I have decided that working the background on this rug is going to be like one of those mind exercises designed to keep the brain sharp in one's "later years".

Here are some close-ups of the goat and chicken.  I'm afraid I am not In Love with the background color on the far left - behind that outlined star.  It actually looks a little greener in this photo than it does in reality.  It reads "gray" to me when hooked - much grayer than the large piece of uncut wool.  I'm just going to skip over those background areas for the time being... give it another shot later when more of the other colors are hooked in.  Maybe it will grow on me... or maybe it won't!
 The heart above took two tries.  The original pattern showed two tiny little birds in that top section above the wavy line.  I made an attempt on the birds - with some 4-cut strips I had in my stash.  They were terrible!!!  I'm just not cut out for narrow cut.  After all that, I really like how it ended up with the black and white.  That same wool will be used for another chicken.

It is time to put this next rug away until next Christmas, so I thought I'd show it to you.  I love the pattern I and love the way it turned out.  I added the swirly sky and the brown border to look like a wooden picture frame.  It was easy to hook - but challenging and time-consuming to finish the edge!  I have always thought that the four corners of a rug were the hardest to finish (when whipping the edge with wool yarn).  This rug has 16 outside corners!  Plus 12 inside corners.  Those inside corners were tricky because it was necessary to cut the excess linen down into that corner in order to turn it back.  Anita had some special material that we adhered to that area to reinforce it before making that cut (so the linen wouldn't unravel).  (I got this pattern from Anita White.) 
After a few unattractive attempts at attaching the twill tape on the back, here is the final solution.  It took Forever!!!  Maybe it is just because this is not my favorite part of rug hooking...

It's snowy here!  But absolutely beautiful too.  The snow made some very cool patterns out on the patio.  Thanks Mike for braving the cold weather to go out there and get these shots!  The first two are the top of a round table.  The bottom one is a birdbath.  Only Mother Nature could create something like this!!!

Crazy Horse will only get four days of hooking in week 4, but I'll still show progress next Saturday.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Crazy Horse Quilt Runner: Week 2

This was a much better week!  No more flu bugs!  It feels like I made very good progress on Crazy Horse.

 This week I did a big leaf, two heart motifs, two flower motifs, a star, a cat and a deer. 

Here's a little bit closer look.  Can you see the caterpillar on that leaf?

I like my cat, but he does have a rather diabolical look on his face! 

I had lots of fun with this deer.  I didn't want to use a strong texture on him since he is so close to the texture-ish cat, so I gave him spots.  I think it works!  And of course... purple antlers!

Crazy Horse is not my first Susan Quicksall rug.  I attended a camp with her in 2009 in Eureka Springs, but even before that I made this rug, her pattern called Old Penn Floral, in 2007.

I really like my Old Penn Floral - it's at the foot of our bed, where it is a daily reminder of this...

Ouch!  That's my right ankle - cobbled back together with some pretty mean looking hardware.  The lesson in all this is to be Very Careful when carrying a large rug down the stairs.  Old Penn Floral was about half way finished when one Saturday morning I gathered my frame and wool and hooks and rug and bounded down the stairs to go to a Saturday morning hooking session with my local group.  Fortunately, the mishap occurred near the bottom of the stairs!  A corner of the rug got loose and I stepped on it and that pulled the frame out of my hands and down we all went!  Needless to say, I got lots of hooking done in the next 6 weeks!

To end on a nicer note, here are two great photos my husband took this week (he's a Pro... I mean a real Pro!)  This snow bunny is a garden sculpture in our backyard garden.  

And he got this great shot of a gorgeous eagle out at Clinton Lake.  

Today was the start of Week 3 on the Crazy Horse Quilt Runner.  I'm working on a goat - check in next week to see how it's going!  This rug is great fun to work on. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Crazy Horse Quilt Runner: Week 1

Before you say to yourself  "Is that all she got done in one week?", just let me say that this first week of work on the rug has been a perfect example of one of the many ways My Plan To Complete This Rug In One Year will be sabotaged over the course of the next 12 months.....  

Two three letter words:  The Flu.  Three miserable days of it!

But here it is, placed in its future full-time home.  This is the official Week One progress!

I started with the horse and was so happy with the way that plaid worked up.  Honestly, I did not attempt to create that striped look!  That horse just wanted to be striped! I think one key to this pattern is to add lots of Unexpected Little Details, such as... striped horse!  (Wish I could say that was my idea.)  The next motif I worked on was the leaf to the right.  Instead of making all those little ovals the same rusty-orange, I made one of them green - a simple little thing, but part of the "crazy quilt" theme.  The little heart motif has a paisley center - it is kind of hard to see in the photo.   

I have never done this before, but I am keeping track of how much time I spend on this rug.  I quickly realized there is a significant amount of time involved in things other than actually pulling up loops!  Such as thinking about colors and what's going where and what it might end up being next to and what background colors will work/not work if I used this color here or there and finding another place on the rug to remember to use that color again, and on and on - all of which takes a lot of time - especially on this crazy pattern.  And then there is cutting the wool and keeping it organized (trying to anyway).   

Yesterday was the start of Week 2!  Hope I get back to My Plan!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bear Love

We started our new year off with a wonderful treat!  A visit from Craig - dear friend and bear-maker and Someone Who Can Do Just About Anything...and do it so well.

 He visited an antique mall in KC before heading to our house for dinner, and he found this wonderful toy wagon.  It needed a few modifications to fit in his suitcase for the trip home to Andover.  I'm sure by now it has found a home in one of his wonderful cabinets, nestled in with other equally wonderful antique toys and bears.

Last summer we had the good fortune to house-sit at Craig's home in Andover, MA, while he and his family vacationed.  When they returned, he gave me this Darling Bear, which I named Andover.  The starfish is for all the fabulous memories we have from visiting all those wonderful East Coast seaside villages.

Andover is by himself in the picture, but he has lots of "brothers and sisters" in my collection who are also Craig bears!  Just for fun, here they are.  I should add that when Craig photographs his bears, he makes them look absolutely ALIVE...  I'm afraid I can't even come close to that.  I think it has to do with making sure they are looking at the camera - which I didn't always get right, but I'm sure you can still tell how wonderful they are.  The bear in the first picture belonged to my Mother-in-Law Rene, who was also a big fan of Craig's bears.

That's my very first Craig bear below, on the right - Merlot.  Craig says he has "come a long way" as a bear-maker since then... but I love Merlot!  Without Merlot, we would have never met Craig!!!  See close-up of the bear on the left in the next photo.

The framed piece in the center below is a hooked rug I made (and framed).  It is a pattern by Victoria Engalls.  I added the striped wallpaper and wainscoting to the design - and black and white tile which you can barely see at the bottom. 

Gettin' a Bear Hug!

It sounds like 2011 is going to be quite a year for Craig and his family, but I sure hope we get to see them again soon.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Start of Something Big

A BIG RUG!  Yesterday (January 1, 2011) was the official start of hooking for my next BIG rug project.  The pattern is "Crazy Horse Quilt Runner" by Susan Quicksall - 30" x 91".  I have A Plan in Mind for how to complete this rug during 2011, but just in case My Plan turns out to be Impossible, I think I'll keep it to myself for awhile!  Here the rug is draped over my frame so you can get a sense of how BIG it is!

Here's a closer shot.  I plan to start hooking with the horse.

That cute little scissors holder is a gift from my friend, and rug hooker, Dulcy.

Speaking of gifts from friends who are also rug hookers, Big Sheep (snoozing in basket) is a gift from Anne, and that cute round hand-painted wooden snippet bowl is a Mimi-Thing.  Big Sheep oversees all rug hooking efforts.  The old Singer works... well it would work if I replaced a belt.  Maybe someday!  Mostly I just love to look at it...

Here is a photo from Susan Quicksall's website of a finished version of the smaller rug like mine.  You can clearly see the "crazy quilt" design approach.  This photo will be very helpful to me as I work on my version!  Susan provided a list of hooking suggestions - one of which is to complete the motifs first.  Notice how each motif is outlined in a light color.  Unlike most outlining, that light outline goes on the outside of the drawn pattern line.  I think it makes the motifs appear to float above the crazy background!

All this wool... and much, much more... will become my Crazy Horse Quilt Runner!

I spent the better part of my planned hooking time yesterday reading up on various finishing techniques, cutting wool, and pondering the pattern...  but I did make an official start on the rug... ta dah!

I don't know if large flocks of birds in the backyard on the first day of the new year is a bad omen or a good omen... but here's what we saw out of our kitchen window yesterday.  These photos were taken through the window screen so they are a little fuzzy.  It was amazing!  I couldn't even get them all in the photo.

 I think they are a Good Omen.  Let's go with that.
Happy New Year Everyone.  Peace on Earth.