“Eliza” Hooked Rug Pattern & a Finish!

This hooked rug pattern, called “Eliza”, was designed by Joan Moshimer, one of the doyens of the rug hooking world. It’s folk art/Fraktur quality is what still attracts me to the design. I bought it in the late 1980’s at her studio/store in Kennebunkport, Maine and it’s been tucked away in my rug hooking bin. I periodically get it out and look at it. I love the design but am not sure quite how I want to hook it. The flowers and hearts are so sweet and will almost hook themselves, but it’s the birds. There’s a little too much detail for my taste and I keep wondering, do I hook them realistically with plaids and earth tomes or should they be fanciful as the birds are in a Fraktur piece?

Joan Moshimer's Eliza rug

I am about to get help with that! Foxy Ladies Rug Hooking Guild is having a national teacher, Donna Hrkman, come for three days to work with us. We will all have different projects going and she will work with each of us several times a day, I would think. There will be some general teaching as well on topics we’ll all be interested in knowing more about. I am really looking forward to finally working on this project, as well as eavesdropping on what the other ladies are doing. ;-D Back in January, when I was trying to get messy things done, I dyed up a color family I want to use. They are primaries with a bit of black to tone them down. My first big question will be what color background I might use. There are two background areas, one in the middle and one on the border, so I am thinking light in the middle and dark all around. Another burning question is how many kinds of wool can one hook in a rug and not make it too busy. You know me – more is better! Lots more on this topic coming soon.

Cooking wool

Any rug hooker will tell you that one issue we all deal with is how to store all the wool for a project. This is my latest idea – here you see a divided container that is meant for Christmas ornaments. I think this will be great, but we’ll see how it works once I start cutting the strips and hooking madly… (Now I’m wondering if I should have two of them.)

Hooking strips organized

And here’s a finish! I debated how I wanted to use the piece I made in Susan Quicksall’s workshop. I do not need anything more to hang on the walls, so I wanted to make it into a pillow. I am one of many hookers who finds finishing wool mats as pillows very difficult, so I bit the bullet and took it to an uphoslery store. They of course charged me more than I really wanted to pay, but the man agreed that it was no easy thing to do. Here is the completed pillow, looking wonderful in the livingroom! Yippee for me!

Susan Quicksall pillow

Studio Straightening

My big house project for the last several weeks has been straightening the studio. We have a large basement. Part of it is a basement, where we store things and Peter has his ham radio station set up. It has cement floors. The other part is carpeted and in a normal family, it would be a family room. The carpeted area has what they call “English windows” in Chicagoland. They are quite large and the only reason why I have a work area in the basement! My goal is to squeeze my studio in one part of the room and make the rest look like a happy family lives here – or could! ;-D I have endlessly folded fabric. Some things have been packed in boxes and other things are “artfully” arranged. This set of shelves will be open.

Tidy open shelves

And this set of shelves with doors is a display area as well. I am so pleased. Doesn’t this look great?

Tidy behind doors

While I was folding and arranging and tossing fabric, I cut pieces for the half square triangle leader/ender project. It really will be a sampler of my fabric stash. I am not one of those quilters who wastes time by counting squares, but I have cut a lot of fabric triangles.

Cutting fabric triangles

We’ve been having a visitor in the backyard recently. Jasmine alerts us of his presence – whenever he is there she races from window to window looking concerned with tail fuzzed.


And here’s another nightly visitor! Jasmine really gets agitated when he is sitting on the ledge of the slider door. He eats all the bird seed that the birds and squirrels miss. She paws at the window and chitters.

The possum

January’s Cool Tools: Containers!

Rated: E (for everyone)

This last weekend, I declared that it was “Get A Grip Weekend”! I have been so disorganized recently because of my show – I couldn’t seem to get my head around tidying up.  Though I am never as organized as I would like, I do love a good container and I thought I would share some of my favorites with you.

I have always collected beads. During college, I used the pretty colored rectangular plastic containers (which are still around) for my tiny treasures. Then I moved to the stacking, screw type ones, which definitely have limitations. The stack I bought a few years ago can be “fussy” and the top will screw only on one of the rings. When creating with beads, this is not a good feature – I can’t count how many times have I had themopen and Jasmine decides to help and we have beads everywhere….Then I found these containers at The Container Store. The are called Lock-ups and come in several sizes. They each have a top and lock on to each other. You buy each container separately, so they are more expensive, but they are well worth it.

I do a lot of hand sewing and have acquired many acrylic templates, as well as the ones I make myself. This all translates to many small bits, requiring organization. Another cool item I buy at The Container Store, is this little handled guy. It’s called a portable project case. Can you see – there’s a clip on the lid for papers and there’s enough depth for small projects. In the case below, I have all the templates for hexagons and their parts, as well as a few sewn bits.

Peter and I were shopping at Staples the other day and I found a new holder for pens, pencils, scissors and other office junk. The one I have had for many, many years is in two parts. If I have a fat pen in there and pull it out, the top section comes out with it and spills supplies all over my desk. It’s very annoying! This design is one piece and has all sorts of fun pockets. It is appropriately called a desk organizer.

I have been trying to trim down the magazines I have and organize the ones I keep. I also like to “decorate” my office things so they look pretty. I found these cardboard magazine holders in Ikea (and boy do they have great storage things too!!!). They come flat, are plain white, and you assemble them, so they are really cheap. I used some pretty scrapbooking paper, so it’s a bit stiff, and decoupaged strips on the ends of the boxes. I was making one the other night and thought I should use these in the kitchen for cooking magazines. I save all the Christmas and Thanksgiving issues to look at each year and thought I might group them in their own holders.

If I had to choose one place to help me contain my stuff, it would be The Container Store. I discovered them when we lived in Colorado. It was a 45 minute drive, so I didn’t get there often, but I so enjoyed perusing their items. Now I live about 5 minutes away and I have to pace myself. A close second would be Ikea!

My favorite magazine dealing with this topic, is Cloth Paper Scissors Studio magazine, which comes out 4 times a year. It is full of fun studios and ideas from simple to extravagant. I much prefer their layout (crisp, clean, focused) to the other magazine that also deals with studios and organization.

Time is passing and I really should get back to tidying the studio….. hope these ideas help you with your precious tidbits!!!

This Week’s Projects

Here are some projects that are on my to do list this week….

These 6″ hooked squares are going to be “mug rugs”; that is mats to put a coffee mug on. My rug hooking group, Foxy Ladies, is demonstrating in the Fall at a craft event and the organizers want us to sell little things. The ladies call these items “smalls”, and many people are making mug rugs. This is not something that I would normally make; I like to make rugs; but I have lots of stray strips of wool and it’s a good way to play with color and design.

I also “had” to start this little hooked piece! (Really.) I will be teaching Primitive Rug Hooking at Pieceful Gathering quilt store again this Fall, and I thought it was time for a new design. This one has the look of an appliqued quilt, which I hope will be appealing. I did a number of designs and let Katie, one of the owners, choose. I will hook all of the designs and then at the second class we plan to invite past students to come and hook and perhaps buy a new design to make. I love the Fallish orange of the leaves and am debating what color the flower should be. The pink wool you can see is too harsh. I’m thinking a blue.

I am continuing to hand quilt the beginning sampler. I spent last Friday afternoon at the Highland Park Historical Society demonstrating hand quilting and competed a whole square. They are hosting a show of crazy quilter Addie Mangian Davis and I volunteered to do some related demonstrations and classes.

Here is the clam shell rug and I have gotten a good bit completed. I worked on it at lot in the evenings last week, and then at the Foxy Ladies’ guild meeting on Saturday. I am very happy with the warmer greens that I dyed. People keep asking what color the outside rows will be, but I want to complete all the green areas and then decide. Peter loves this rug, so it will be his and we’ll choose colors together. It won’t be anytime soon….. it takes a long time to hook this fine wool.

We had a ferocious rain storm Monday morning, hooray! The ground around here hardens into cement when it doesn’t rain, so I have lots of weeding and edging to do while the ground is still workable. If it doesn’t rain, we have to water in order to get the weeds out…. So I have made myself do this less than fun chore for at least an hour each day…. Lots of pretty purples and pinks are out.

What are you working on this week?

March’s Cool Tool- a paper punch???

Rated: E (everyone)

Another odd entry into a Fiber Artist’s cool tool list you’re thinking? What can I say, I do like to be inclusive.

I discovered this month’s tool in an odd way. Many years ago, I was reading someone’s website about making jewelry from these plastic discs. In those days people didn’t use links much so I had to do some serious Googling to find them. I found out that the discs were actually used as the “rings” to hold together a notebook system. It was called Rollabind, but nowadays it is called Circa and it is sold exclusively by the very wonderful Levenger company.

At first I bought the small puncher and some rings (it’s the little boxy shape in the picture). It’s a bit tricky to use as you have to carefully move it down a large piece of paper to get even punches. Then, after a business trip, Peter came home talking about this cool notebook system his big boss was using…. I quizzed him a bit and found out it was Circa! So for his next birthday, I treated us both by buying the very nice large puncher.

Since the system is essentially just a hole puncher, and the pages pull in and out of the discs so easily, you can do so many things with it. I am using it to make notebooks of my Daily Dose of Fiber postings. You can punch business cards and keep them organized and categorized. The famous Home Style Diva punched holes in her Christmas cards one year to save them. And of course you can make any size book, booklet or card that you like. Peter’s notes are in a very nice leather binder and I like the brightly colored artsy ones. Levenger sells a variety of covers, but it’s easy enough to make your own with the wealth of paper that’s available nowadays.

Back to those rings; the jewelry people I came across all those years ago, glued a tiny image on the center of each disc and then they would punch holes in them for bracelets and earrings. The discs do come in a nice assortment of sizes and some colors. The wider the disc, the fatter your notebook can be.

If you like notebooks, this is a great system for creating your own!

On a house keeping note, I want to point out the new logo on my sidebar. I am very pleased to be a part of Quilting Bloggers! It’s a great resource for finding quilters, stores, guilds – everything you’d want on the Internet. Check it out!

New Month, New Theme & Dilemmas

I am a woman who likes choices! Never back me into a corner by saying “this one or else”! Happily, WordPress has lots of choices and I have been eyeing this theme for a while. I’m becoming more and more familiar with the blogging business and I wanted something new. Hope you like it. (I am very fond of dots…)

So here it is March 1st and I am feeling like February flew by. My calendar looks even busier this month.

The January to do’s seem like ages ago! I had a class here on Saturday and Peter asked if I had taken the ladies down to the studio and I said “Heavens, no!”. It looks dreadful; perhaps as bad as it did in January when it was on the top of the to do list. One problem is that I have taught several classes lately and the supplies are sitting all over the room. I am guilty of bringing my bags down to the studio and “parking” them. So this week I certainly need to put everything away and definitely vacuum the cat fuzz.

Also, I think I am in the midst of too many projects and I can’t seem to concentrate on one.

  • I need to dye some wool for a quilt store and I am worried about getting the color and value that was requested.
  • I am going to visit my brother in a few weeks and he wants to learn how to hook a rug, so I have been trying to design a pillow that he will enjoy working on. That also involves  doing some color planning and – oh- then I will have to dye the wool.
  • I had a bit of interaction with a local Girl Scout troop about helping with their sewing badge. Seemed like a fun project so I sent them a mock up but then it escalated into many phone calls, many e-mails and Too Much Fuss!
  • The quilt stores are working on summer class schedules so I am coming up with ideas and wondering how much I want to schedule.
  • And don’t forget all the quilting, hooking, cross stitching projects underway!

I know; this is all not like a 9 to 5 job and believe me, I remember those days. But when you work alone it is very easy to go through a day and not get much checked off the to do list. I find myself darting from project to project – – – when I am hand quilting I think “Oh- I need to make a doctor’s appointment” and I go make it – – – I start to piece a quilt and think “Oh good grief, what are we having for dinner?”. And so it goes.

I’m not alone in my what to do next dilemma! I found Gizmo sitting in the kitchen sink the other day, staring off into space. When I asked him what he was thinking, he said that he was trying to decide whether to pull the towel down into the sink and nap, or lie on his bed in the sun and watch the birds….now those are some decisions!

Perhaps this is the week to remember Peter’s advice: do each project for an hour and see what gets done. While I am quilting I will not stop to check my e-mail. While I am piecing I will not jump up to write a class description. And perhaps I will not spend so much time perusing WordPress themes and looking at other blogs….

(;-D)… just a thought!