Saturday, February 22, 2020

Studio Construction

My poor little studio has undergone many changes over the years.  I started out in a corner of our walk-out basement with just a few shelves of wool and a couple of baskets of patterns. As the years went on, we expanded that space so it was larger and walled off from the rest of the family room space and then finally, rug hooking took over most of it.  I've had classes and open houses and allowed shoppers to come shop by appointment.  But as I accumulated more and more merchandise and traveled to teach at workshops and camps, my studio truly turned into more of a work/storage space and less of a "shopping" space. 
Right now I can't even bring myself to post a picture of my studio because it has been overtaken with bolts of wool, rolls of foundation cloth, shelves and drawers of patterns, and merchandise stacked up to be packed for the next show.  I have longed for a place that can be my "store," so people can come and shop and put their hands on all this wonderful wool that I have to offer.  A place that I can keep merchandise displayed and it won't get moved or packed up because it is "pattern drawing day."

But good news is coming!  Ken and I have been dreaming of turning our little three-season room (breezeway) into a little rug hooking shop and now it will become a reality!

 So much was needed to be done!  New windows, new flooring, new electrical, adding insulation and siding and heating vents.  Raising the ceiling and painting.  Ken has decided to tackle most of it himself.  You probably know how much we travel so it has taken a while....but we think it should be operational this summer.  Fingers crossed!
I've taken some pictures of the progress so here they are:
 Just about a year ago, Ken started to remove the drop ceiling.  He also started replacing the windows.

Drop ceiling removed and new studs put in.  New electrical wiring, new insulation, and dry wall going up.

New dry wall was installed and the original knotty pine paneling was put back up.

Insulation and dry wall goes on the raised ceiling space.  The old siding on our house was kind of cool but not in good condition to leave it exposed.

Ceiling is drywalled and new lighting is functional.

New pine paneling is going up over the old siding.  Ken experimented with covering the brick but it didn't work out to his satisfaction so now our plan is to mortar wash the brick to make it looked old and reclaimed.
Ken did a little Christmas decorating in his construction zone...haha!

 We were inspired by a friend's wood paneled ceiling so Ken has installed shiplap on the ceiling.

Progress is made...he had to cut around all the ceiling beams and lights!

 He's almost finished!  You can see he uses a scaffold to reach the high spots...and you can see all our junky treasures piled up during the construction. Some of that stuff has got to go!
We will white-wash the pine paneling to give it a light, airy look.

So, you see, slowly but surely Ken is getting things done.  There is still painting to be done but we have to wait for the heat to be installed....coming in 2 weeks!  And then perhaps the flooring is next.  Whew!

Friday, February 7, 2020

Ghost Genie

Last October, I hosted and also taught a class at the Historic Franklin Rug Hooking Retreat in Franklin, Tennessee. My students were really quite wonderful....and very understanding, since I was splitting some of my time with the administrative end of running a rug camp.  My husband and my sister took a lot of the burden off of me, however, and I am forever grateful for that!
One of my students wanted to hook Ghost Genie, which is a design that is adapted by the whimsical folk art of Johanna Parker.  Johanna was born on Halloween and I have to say that she is the "Queen" of Halloween, too!  Her original design uses the traditional Halloween colors of orange and black.

But my student requested no orange in her color planning.  
"What could I do?" I thought to myself. 
Not even an orange pumpkin?
So I thought "Aha! Purple!"

I dyed up some textured woolens in several different values of purple.  I also had an as-is texture that was lighter purple so I thought that it would work for the background.  I couldn't think of anything else but a green pumpkin and I especially love those dusky bluish-green pumpkins like the picture below.  Apparently this one is called a Jarrahdale pumpkin, an heirloom variety from New Zealand.

Lucky for me, Marion loved my color suggestions and she was off to the races!  She hooked A LOT during our rug camp and had an impressive amount hooked by the time we did the "throw-down" on the last day of camp.

It was turning out just the way I had envisioned it but honestly, Marion's lovely hooking style made this rug shine and it was one of the favorites at the rug camp.

Just recently, Marion emailed me a picture of her finished rug.  
The green pumpkin is superb and I love how she used the same green for the dots in the scrolls.  It marches the color around the rug and adds that special spark to make it interesting.
"I absolutely love it" she wrote.  
Wow, I love it too!!!

Just a P.S. about the ice storm I mentioned in my last post....we never got the tons of ice like the weatherman predicted but we did get TONS of rain.  We thought it had affected the pump on our well but upon inspection from the well company, we had a leak or break in the main pipe supply to our house.  The pipe was cemented into our foundation and the water was leaking somewhere in the cement.  Ugh.  So we had to have a major re-route of the pipe line which involved drilling into the foundation and floor.  I did not start my Give Ye Thanks rug after all but it is still waiting for me.  I have a different rug on my frame in the meantime...but that is a story for another post.
Have a great week-end!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Getting Ready For The Ice Storm

We don't get a lot of ice storms in our neck of the woods so when the weatherman says it's going to be a bad one tomorrow, I sit up and take notice.  Of course they make it sound like it's going to come down in Biblical proportions and sometimes they are wrong.  But I'm going to be prepared anyway, just in case they are right.
I'm going to fill water buckets and charge batteries and get out candles.  I bought a rechargeable light for my frame last year so that's getting charged too.  If the lights go out, I'm bundling up and rug hooking!
I have had Notforgotten Farm's Give Ye Thanks pattern on my bucket list for several years so now is the time to hook it!  I can't tell you how excited I am to finally start color planning it for ME!  The linen is stretched over my light table and my sharpies are ready to draw out all the lovely details.  I couldn't help but pull a few textures that were calling to me.

The top four woolens are for the cabin...just dreaming here...a red striped roof, the cabin of rustic brown plaid (sorry-not for sale. This is all I have!) with light taupe chinking.  I have color planned Give Ye Thanks many times and it is really essential that the cabin chinking remains much lighter than the "logs."
Isn't the bottom dotted plaid fabulous???  It might be used for either part of the hills or the oak leaves in the trees.  When I first laid eyes on this texture, I immediately thought it would look good in Give Ye Thanks so I can't wait to figure out where it should go.

I know I'll have a light/taupe background but I haven't planned much more than that.  Once I get the cabin started, I think my brain will be flooded with ideas.

One of the reasons I think this pattern is so great is because I have seen it hooked in many variations and color plans and they all look wonderful.  I know I have shared some of these images before here on my blog but it's fun and inspiring to look at them again.

 Kathy Simmons
 Lori Rippey
 Sue Clark
Kathy Keithley
 Cora Maldonado
Picture taken at the Cream City Hook-in.  Maker unknown.

There is another fabulous version with a barn that just warms my heart but I can't find it in the mess of pictures on my computer.

Stay warm and safe, my friends, and hook something you love!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Welcome 2020!

Hello dear blog friends!  

I have to admit that 2019 wasn't my favorite year and I was happy to see it end.  There wasn't anything catastrophic but lots of little sadnesses and disappointments and just plain bad juju that kept turning up in my life.  People that I thought I had trusted let me down, people I had thought were friends turned out to be less than that.  Social Media was not a kind place, in my opinion.  I sort of pulled back from there to save my sanity.  I admire all the people and businesses who make it work for them....because sometimes it just fueled my sadness and I felt better when I was away from there. 
I lost 3 of my beloved goats this year.  It brings tears to my eyes just to type this.  They were all around 13 years old and lived a happy and pampered life here.  It seems strange to go out to the goat pen and not have them there, looking for treats or asking for a head scratch.  
I had to say goodbye to my beloved dog, Jack.  He was the love of my life too.  We rescued him when he was 6 years old and we ended up getting 9 more years of dog love, much more than I had ever anticipated.  As he got sicker and and more debilitated, I prayed that he would just die in his sleep.  But it seemed that he was hanging on with no joy left and I had to make the decision to send him over the rainbow bridge.  I know I did the right thing but it tore me up.

So, you see, the year was difficult for me.  If I have not answered a message, an email, a phone call, I hope you understand.  There were a lot of thank-you notes and Christmas cards that never got written but it doesn't mean I didn't appreciate you or I wasn't thinking about you or I wasn't thankful for your kindness.  

  I traveled a lot in 2019.   It was not ALL such a bad thing!  I met some really wonderful new friends, reconnected with old ones.  I got to see parts of the USA that I had never seen before, ate some really great regional dishes, shared stories with other rug hookers.  I am truly blessed...but being away for so long can make you long for your bed and normal routine at home. I hardly had time to hook. Sometimes I only had time to swap out a pair of jeans or socks in my suitcase and then throw the suitcase back in my car again.  Which DOES makes me laugh because on my drive to Cape May, I realized that I did not remember to replace the underwear that was taken out of my suitcase and I had to stop at Costco to buy some more. 

On December 31st, I was ruminating about all these sad things and I had gotten myself worked into a funk.  Then I got an unexpected phone call from a friend.  She was bubbly and happy and full of cheer.  I finally had to admit to her that I was feeling a little blue.  After talking to her for 1/2 hour, my whole attitude had changed.  She made me remember the good things that had happened in 2019...but she was even more optimistic about 2020.  It's a nice round number, she said.  I couldn't agree with her more.  

Thanks to my happy friend, I'm going to celebrate the good things in 2019 because that wonderful goodness is being carried over to 2020:  
  • I added a new Finn ewe to my flock.  She has a sweet disposition and a personality bigger than the sky.  We named her Kulta, which means "darling" in Finnish.  There is no better name for her!

  • I hosted my first ever rug camp, Historic Franklin Rug Hooking Retreat, in Franklin, Tennessee and everybody had fun and went home happy!

  • And the best news of all is that I became a first-time grandma to a beautiful and sweet little girl!  So many people told me that there is nothing better than being a grandma but I don't think I could fully understand it until I became one.  Quite unexpected but I think the best surprises come in small packages!

I am already happier in 2020.  I have decided that reevaluation is always necessary.  Many people choose a key word for the New Year instead of resolutions so I am going to try that.  I always resolve to walk more and I'm still going to work on that in 2020.  But my word for my journey into the New Year is 
I am going to BALANCE my days and weeks so I make more personal time for myself (something that was lacking in 2019).  More time for my granddaughter.  More time for living in the moment and enjoying what is around me.  The birds singing.  The sheep baaing.  The color of snow.  The smell of my barn.  The feel of the sun on my face. BALANCE.  So I have more time to write and spend less time lurking on Social Media.  BALANCE.  To make me a happier person in 2020.
My friend was so right.  2020 is a beautifully round number.   
And it is balanced.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Groundhog vs. Copyright

Ladies and Gentlemen....let's get ready to RUMBLE!

In the near corner:  the furry, the sleep deprived, the ever-popular February Sweetheart....GROUNDHOG

In the far corner: the tenacious, the cranky, the often-misunderstood.....COPYRIGHT

So I suppose all of you are thinking that the polar vortex has finally gotten to me and I have lost my mind.  What does a ground hog and copyright have to do with each other?  Well, my friends, they both seem to poke their heads up out of their little lairs at around the same time every year.   And I got your attention, right? 

I have been trying to wean myself away from Facebook for a time but I have noticed a recent buzz about copyright again so I am going to address two things that were mentioned.  You are dismissed if your eyes are glazing over.  No, wait, you'd better stay.

Public Domain
Any works (artwork, designs, etc) that are prior to 1923 are in the Public Domain.  This means there is no longer any copyright and it is free to use by anyone.  Yes, Public Domain can be your friend.  For rug hookers that means that any of the old, old rug designs can be drawn by anyone ... even YOU if you have the desire to do so.  It has been pointed out that the same pattern has been offered for sale by several different pattern designers.  Yes, we can all do that and we are not in violation of copyright.  Sometimes designers avoid certain antique designs if it is being reproduced by another.  But it is certainly not an insult to anyone nor is it wrong if two designers are reproducing the same pattern.  I, for one, do not know every single antique adaptation out there and if I see one I really like, I will most likely draw it, hook it, and sell it.  I will, however, take a little more care about writing on the pattern that it is an "adaptation from an antique" so there will not be folks who think I am trying to pass it off as a Kris Miller original.  Never would be my intention anyway.  Let me tell you one more thing before I move on:  if you are going to draw your own antique designs from Public Domain, please do not copy the antique design from the pattern designer.  Sometimes they add extra flowers or animals or a fancy border to the adaptation.  You would be copying these extras as well.  Please use a picture of the original antique rug or take your own picture.  Then you'll have a clean conscience.
Saundra Porter sent me a link for Public Domain and it is interesting to see that as the years go by, the dates for Public Domain will get adjusted.  For instance, in  2020 it will be 1924.

Selling finished hooked rugs from a commercial pattern
I may not be popular for pointing this out but it is part of copyright law.  A pattern designer cannot prohibit you from selling your finished product.  You must purchase the canvas from the designer and then after that, you may do what you want with it, except of course make more than one pattern from it.  A while ago, I received an email from a copyright attorney and this was part of his explanation:

Copying the pattern to resale is a no-no but the design copyright does not extend to the physical product made, or in what manner or material, in which an item is made from the instructions. And it never has. Contrary to what designers wish to claim.

You still have to buy the pattern but no one can prohibit you from selling the finished work.  I don't see anyone mass producing hooked rugs using commercial patterns because it would ring up quite the sales receipt!  But if you have a rug or two that is just not your favorite anymore, rest assured that you are allowed to sell it to a new home.

OK, one last disclaimer...I am not a legal expert so visit or contact a legal professional for the best advice.  There ARE gray areas in copyright but I think we can still stick to the basics and do the right thing.

I've got to do last minute preparations for a show so I'll see you later!

Please be kind to each other today.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Off The Ocean Rug School-Jacksonville

Well, friends, I am going to try to get back to blogging...not making any promises as to how often I will post because of my travel and teaching schedule...but I have realized what a happy little place the blogosphere is and I think I'd like to dwell there a while.

I taught at the Off The Ocean Rug School in Jacksonville in mid-January.  I had a wonderful class!  I adored them and the rugs they were working on.  Thanks to everyone who made the week very successful and enjoyable! 

The rug "throw-down" was in a hallway of the hotel so there are some unavoidable shadows. Sorry about that.

 Kay was working Big Bird, a pattern by American Country Rugs.  Her tulips were the color of yellow ware and I LOVE that red background!  Now I want to hook a red background!

 Emily hooked and finished the Caswell Couple (above) and then started on a fraktur design.  Her angel is perfection.
 Starr was working on my pattern Have Ye Any Wool. This one always has a place in my heart because my own wooly critters were models for the sheep (Emma) and goat (Zack).
 Nancye was working on this pattern from Red Barn Rugs.  We tweaked a few things and this is going to be spectacular.  So many things to love about this rug but the cabin/chimney and pine tree are outstanding.
 Leah was working on this pattern from Sally Kallin.  Oh my, I LOVE all the neutrals in this one.  It was basically just "play time" when Leah was hooking...just shifting the neutrals around and not getting too serious about values.

Kudos to Ken for working on Trout.  Ken is a fairly new hooker and this is a huge pattern.  He has a good start!  So proud of what he did during rug school.

 Silvie is a fairly new rug hooker too.  She finished the Honey Bee Chair Pad and then started working on Binx.  I think if she had another half day, she would have finished Binx as well.  I don't think I've ever had any student who finished TWO projects during rug camp.  Bravo, Silvie!
She sat next to Emily at the end of a table so I called them the "over-achievers corner."  Ha ha, fondly, of course.  I am in awe of what they got done.
Karen was hooking Antique Hearts. It's hard to teach the corners because it is just a series of close values hooked in to make it look like the fabrics have faded.  You don't want them to look like stripes, just that the fabrics from long ago wore out and mellowed.  I think Karen nailed it.

There were two other students who had to leave before the throw down.  I wish I could have gotten photos of their projects too, but let me assure you, they were wonderful.
Enjoy your day and stay creative!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Sauder Village

I know I am late to be posting these pictures but I wanted to share some of the fabulous rugs I saw at Sauder Village a few weeks ago.  
I was a Celebrations Finalist and wanted to attend the preview night on Tuesday.  I was summoned to serve in a jury pool for the entire month of August so I sent my rug ahead, just in case I couldn't make it.  But my prayers were answered when I got the notice that I was dismissed for the week!  Yay!
Here is my Celebrations Rug, Posy Pony, which was entered in the Primitive category.  The designer is Sally Kallin and my teacher was Janice Johnson.  So many different layers to this rug!  It took some thinking to get it all worked out in my head.
My dear friend, Sheri Ahner, was a Celebrations winner in the Originals category.  When she showed it to me, I gasped "Oh my goodness, you hooked that?"  Of course, my foot was immediately in my mouth because I didn't mean that she didn't have the talent!  This was a really big rug and I think I was blown away by the size of it and all the painterly details.  We had a good laugh over my gaffe.  I guess best friends can do that without any misunderstanding.

I think what fascinated me the most was the braided rug exhibit.  It was excellent and inspiring!  I will post a few pictures today and maybe more with my next post.  It seems that most of my pictures were of the braided rugs.
I can't say enough about how this braided rug impressed me!  The size and the perfection of the swirling design.  Just WOW!
Here is another braided rug from the same maker.  I have to apologize because I did not get the name of the person who did this.  I think I was just too blown away to take a picture of the label that was next to it. I would love to give credit where credit is due, so if you know who's work this is, please leave me a comment.
Another incredible braided rug by Delsie Hoyt.  I think it was my favorite, although it is really hard to choose.
Fabulous braiding and gorgeous use of paisley.  By Joyce Krueger.
You really had to get up close to this one for the "wow" factor...but another fabulous work of braided art!  By Jennifer Kiarsis.
Two little braided cats, all snuggled up together.
And no little bedroom rug would be complete without a pair of frou-frou slippers!