Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A sneak peek and an FYI

Here is a peek of the rug that just came off my frame.  It is an adaptation of an old rug that I saw years ago at an antique market in the Adirondacks.  It has been a long journey to get it done.  It still needs to be steamed and bound.  Never one to be idle for very long, I have already started on my third adaptation rug, and I am so excited about the colors!  With all the snow we will get tonight, I should make lots of progress.
Just an FYI to all my customers out there:  Pattern prices will be increasing as of January 1, 2013.  It has been 5 years since I last had an increase, and over that period I absorbed the increased prices of the backings and shipping.  Unfortunately now I will have to make adjustments.  The good news is that you have one week left to take advantage of the prices before they go up!
Also, if you were not already aware, Cushing is raising the prices of their acid dye packets from $2.95 to $3.25 on January 1, 2013.  Spruce Ridge Studios carries the full line of Cushing dyes for all your wool dyeing needs!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What Just Came Off My Frame

This is my favorite time of year.  I enjoy all the hustle and bustle of preparing for the holidays.  I love our little family traditions - baking and decorating and fixing Christmas Eve dinner.  We get out my Christmas dishes and every meal we eat seems a little more grand and festive.  But the best part for me is that I actually have time to do some rug hooking for myself.
I have been concentrating lately on hooking some antique adaptations.  I have several on my drawing board so far and this is the first to be completed:
 It sort of reminds me of a Christmas design, probably because of the red and faded green.  It has been steam-pressed and I'm ready to finish with a crochet edge.  I have a lot of antique black strips left over and what a better way to use them up.
This little mat is 24" square and hooked up pretty quick.  The most time consuming part was hooking those 20 little round circles!
I've already got another adaptation on my frame which has proved to be much more of a challenge.....

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cyber Monday Sale

To thank my loyal customers for another wonderful year here at Spruce Ridge Studios, I am having a Cyber Monday sale.
Monday November 26, 2012  ~~ 12 noon to 5 pm 
Eastern Standard Time
Just 5 little hours to save BIG!  25 % off all patterns on 
the Spruce Ridge Studios website. 
Just give me a ring and use your Visa, Master Card, or Discover.
It's my biggest sale of the year!
Happy shopping!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Rugs From The Northwest Workshop

Last month I taught a rug hooking class in Bothell, Washington at the Northwest Rug Hooking Workshop, organized by Diane Eaton and Beth Kovich.  All I can say is WOWZA!  Diane and Beth put on a successful camp and a fantastic time was had by all!  Today I thought I'd share with  you some pictures of the rugs that were on display at the rug show, even though I had only taken pictures of just a fraction of what was brought.  I believe there were about 30 students but there were over 75 rugs on display!  Talk about eye candy...the room was literally a visual feast for the eyes. 

First let me show you this mind-blowing piece by Rita Vail:

 She was inspired by an article on quilling and used the concept to create a colorful flower garden.  Rita's technique and color choices are superb. This rug just sings with joy!
 Here is a close-up of her quillie flowers.

 Look at the clouds in the sky...incredible!
The next three rugs are hooked by Betsy Lanning:
 A Karen Kahle design...
 A Maggie Bonanomi design...
 And a Notforgotten Farm design!  You can find Lori's Flower Basket on my website.  I love the happy colors in this version...maybe because Betsy used some turquoise (my favorite color)!
I love the next three portrait rugs.  They are full of personality and are simply wonderful.
 These two are hooked by Carol Fegles.

This one is hooked by Pat Rees.

A fun heart rug by Sue Remington.
I do not know the names of the gals who hooked the next few rugs...
 Love the directional hooking on this one.

 Wonderful primitive colors.
 I love the way the background is hooked in this one.  A very antique-looking rug.
A cute chair pad and tree skirts.
Love, love, love the colors in this rug!!!

Another lovely primitive rug...

This is For The Birds, a Rebecca Erb pattern and you can find this one on my website too.
Here is a Pris Buttler design hooked by Lianne Anderson.  What I loved about this rug is that the cotton was hooked with either yarn or roving, giving a great dimension to the design.
The last two rugs are hooked by Karen Soltys:
This is Hen Party, designed by Bonnie Smith.  You can find this pattern on my website.  Karen eliminated the "corn" around the edge and added some spots.
Karen hooked this Maggie Bonanomi design.  I love how the wiggly lines change colors.

I will have more pictures of the Northwest Rug Workshop in my next post.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Welcomed Guests

I have finished hooking my Welcomed Guests rug!  This is a design that is adapted from Ann Willey's artwork and sold through Spruce Ridge Studios.  Every time I drew up this pattern, I knew that I wanted to hook it for myself.   I loved the whole process of choosing the colors and I really sped through my actual hooking.
If you remember from a previous post, I decided to let the rug tell me what colors to use.  That can be a bit risky at times because I feel like I am going to "hook myself into a corner" and not be able to figure out how to fix it.  In other words, I worried that without a pre-decided color plan, I might end up choosing colors that didn't work harmoniously in the end.  However, I think I was triumphant this time in making it work!
One thing I learned from this rug:  Even though I thought I was choosing  bright colors outside of my usual color palate, the dark background calmed everything down and made them work.  If I had chosen duller, darker colors, they would have been absorbed by the dark background and not had the same impact.
And believe it or not, the thing I struggled with the most was choosing the right textured wool to hook the hair on both people.
The greatest joy is when you are able to learn something new or different from your hooking! What did you learn from your last rug?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Just A Sweet Little Story

Once upon a time (in May of 2011), I was vending at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  A little blonde haired boy came into my booth with his grandma.  He was looking at all the rug samples that were hanging up on my display.  "Excuse me," he said, "could you tell me how much the cat rug costs?"  He pointed to a hooked sample of Lori Brechlin's design, Binx.  "Oh, honey", I said, "the rug is not for sale.  It's a sample so that people will see it and want to make it."  Before I could barely turn around, I heard him say "Grandma, will you make that rug for me?"  How sweet, I thought, and his grandma did indeed buy the pattern.
Now fast forward to just last week.  I received an e-mail and a picture from Cooper's grandma.  She had finished her hooking and Cooper is proudly holding his new rug.
Cooper's grandma says that he is her biggest fan and loves her rug hooking.  He often watches her hook and suggests where she should put each row of wool.
I always smile when I think about Cooper coming into my booth and asking about the cat rug.  Isn't it amazing how little things like that leave a big impression in your heart?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Small Treasures

I have recently found 4 out-of-print stitchery booklets authored by Lori Brechlin from Notforgotten Farms.  The booklets contain charming little folk art drawings that are great for punch needle, applique, embroidery or rug hooking.  I have included with each book a half yard of weavers cloth suitable for punch needle so you can trace out your own design and get started right away.

 Each book is $18.00 each (price includes the weavers cloth) and shipping is extra.  Please contact me if you are interested.  First come, first served...I don't think these will last long...they are very charming and much sought-after!!!
 The Harvest Tyme and Spring Tyme booklets have been sold...thank you!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

If You Hurry....

I know I am late posting this information but there is still time if you act fast!
 Holland Hook-In  Sponsored by Tomorrow's Heirlooms/Nancy Blair
Saturday November 10, 2012
Haworth Center at Hope College
225 College Ave.
Holland, MI  49423
$25.00 per person includes morning coffee, snack, and lunch
For more information/to register, call Nancy Blair at 616-895-6378 (call right away so she can reserve your lunch!)
Vendors include Spruce Ridge Studios, Heavens To Betsy, Tomorrow's Heirlooms, Visions Of Ewe.
This is the first annual event and I must say that I am beyond excited!  The city of Holland is a wonderful place to visit, shop and eat.  Lots of unique stores and restaurants.  Haworth Center is a beautiful venue and I will guarantee right now that the food will be excellent!  There are only a few spaces left to attend this hook-in so call Nancy now.  See you there!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Spooky Friends at Ghoultide Gathering!

I am so lucky that I live about 50 minutes away from the Ghoultide Gathering show.  It was a chilly gray day in Michigan but it didn't stop the crowds of shoppers from attending this fantastic Halloween show! 
Here is my dear friend, Lori Brechlin from Notforgotten Farm.  Her booth was prim perfect and not many items left for sale by the time I got there.
(we laughed at how un-photogenic we were!  But who cares when you only get to see each other once a year!)
 Here is the booth of friend Lori Ann Corelis.  That's Lori in the top hat. Her sweet creations always make me sigh with delight.  Can you see the item just to the right of the lady in the blue sweatshirt?  It was a dead bunny in a coffin!  It was actually pretty cool and not as macabre as you would think...and after all, it is Halloween, isn't it?!?! 
 On the way home, I picked up a couple of white and gray-green pumpkins for my front porch.  Fall has arrived in Michigan in all her splendor!

Monday, October 1, 2012

What's On My Frame?

As the days get shorter and darkness creeps earlier and earlier into the evenings, I have caught the bug to sit at my frame again!  I am working on an Ann Willey pattern, Welcomed Guests.
I have loved this pattern since it first came out.  I am doing something a little different with this pattern.  I am letting it speak to me and tell me what it wants to be.  I know, a little weird sounding, isn't it?  But originally, I thought of a light background.  The more I hooked, the more I realized that the rug really wanted a dark background. It might be that I am influenced by Ann's original work of art.  Still, a dark background just seemed like the right thing to do.  Another departure for me is the "brighter" leaves and veins.  They are not how I typically hook leaves, and yet I kept having the feeling that this is the way they wanted to be presented.
I am just about to start working on the face of the woman on the left.  I want to take my time with her and let her develop.  Once the face is hooked, she will have her own personality and things will start to get exciting!  I am not so sure if I like her hair yet, but she has given me permission to play around with it a little and we'll see what happens!  
So far, I am really having a lot of fun with my hooking!  I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wonderful Cape May

 I love September for many reasons.  One reason is because the weather starts cooling down.  But one other big reason is because once September rolls around, it's time to go to Cape May!
Look at this charming hotel!  It's the Chalfonte and it's where we stay for the week and also where the classes take place.
Many rug hookers choose to hook right out on the porch.  The weather was gorgeous this year and the porch and rocking chairs were a popular spot.
I am usually too busy teaching to take many photographs.  On Wednesday, Norma and Linda (camp directors) set up a wonderful rug show.  I must have been so enthralled with the gorgeous rugs that when I got home, I discovered I had hardly taken any photos of the rugs in the show.  Here are a few of the ones that I did take a picture:
 This incredible piece is hooked by Char Lough. She was in my class last year and when she said she wanted to hook moss, I really wasn't sure how I could help her or what the end result would look like.  We did talk a lot about sculpting wool strips and hooking with alternate materials like Ultrasuede and yarns.  I had nothing to do with how magnificent this turned out since it was all Char's ideas and hand work, but I am still mighty proud to see the end result of Char's vision.  PS:  the leaves were Char's afterthought and dropped on the piece after it was on display.  They really add to making the moss look realistic.  Bravo, Char!!!
 This rug was hooked by Kimberly Maggion and depicts her dogs.  I love this charming rug.
Jo Ann Hendrix hooked this lovely pictorial of the Chalfonte Hotel.  I love this rug because it so closely depicts the rug camp.  This rug also appears in the current issue of Celebrations (XXII).
We always do a rug "throw-down" on Thursday afternoon. This is another favorite activity that I look forward to.  It's fun to see all the lovely rugs in progress!  The sun was really bright so there are a few pesky shadows and some of the colors might not be exactly what you would see in person.
This is Tom (Lori Brechlin adaptation through Spruce Ridge Studios) and he is being hooked by Betty Ann.  She was actually hooking a custom (larger) size and got quite a bit of hooking completed.
 Brenda Henry is hooking this mermaid rug.  You might not be able to see how soft and lovely the colors were turning out.  Very watercolor and sea-like.  Brenda also wanted a white-haired mermaid and I like how she looks.
Janet Reid is hooking this very whimsical Vermont Folk Rugs pattern.  I love the grinning orange cat!  The smile was done with "beading" which is hooking with two colors at the same time.
Here is another Tom rug, being hooked by Joanne Delaney.  It is a gift to her son who lives in Texas.  She has modified the pattern because he is a "crazy-fun" person.  I love the cowboy hat and the bright colorful feathers.  After all, everything is bigger and brighter in Texas, right???
Here is Pear Tree, a Lori Brechlin adaptation, available through Spruce Ridge Studios.  Kimberly Maggion is working on this wonderful rug.  She's using one of my favorite colors: teal!  I love to mix orange with teal.  The pears were sinking somewhat into the background, but we opted to put a pop-out line around the pears and now they look great.
Nancy Norton is hooking this antique adaptation.  I love the way her flower pot is coming out.  She used soft pink and a purple/brown texture.  The overall feeling of the rug is soft and old.
Polly Reinhart is hooking a Keith Kemmer pattern, Pineapple Scrolls.  Her colors are very old and soft.  The pineapple is spectacular in person.  She added tabs to the end of the pattern and added quillie circles inside the tabs.
Rebecca Erb was hooking Cindi Gay's Annie's Flower Power foot stool.  Wow! I love the blue green/rose/brown color combo!  Rebecca sat out on the porch and got a lot of hooking done.
Here is dapper Mr. Pumpkin Thyme, being hooked by Susan Thomas.  Great colors, and I love his cute little face!  What an expression!
Here is a picture of the rug throw-down.  There were a couple of student rugs that I did not get pictures of (much to my dismay) but you can see them at the far right of this picture.  Phyllis was working on Blue Basket Antique, which is quite a large rug, but she had gotten a good start.  Pat was working on a floral design with a colorful bird.  We were using brighter colors for both flowers and bird and it was turning out to be a very happy rug.
Here is one last picture to tantalize you...sun rise over the ocean on the beach at Cape May!  I am not an early riser but I will make an exception to get down to the beach to see this!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Houdini Lives Here

There is never a dull moment around here.  Never.  Ever.  Between the goats, sheep, dogs, cat, and alpacas, there's always some sort of surprise going on. Most of the time, it's something that makes me laugh.  Imagine waking up in the morning and discovering that Quinn, the alpaca, was on the wrong side of the fence!
I can't even explain how it happened.  All the gates were closed and locked.  No breech in the fencing.  My only guess is that he jumped the fence.  What a scary thought.  That means he could probably jump the fence any time he wanted to and just leave.  However, I do believe I know his motive.
He LOVES the sheep.
 Quinn has decided that he is a sheep guardian.  Now, alpacas are not known for their guardian abilities but Quinn doesn't know that.  He really thinks that the sheep are his own responsibility and he is serious about that.  How else can he perform his guard duties except to get right in there with his flock.  The sheep look pretty comfortable with him too. I considered mixing them all together except that the gate on the alpaca pen is not sheep-proof.  We'd have sheep running all over the neighborhood.
So poor Quinn had to go back to his side of the fencing.  I saw him laying out there today, with the sheep directly across from him on the other side of the fence. 
 Looks like we'll have to ask Farmer Ken to work his magic and come up with a way to make the gate sheep-proof.  Otherwise, I have a feeling that Houdini will strike again!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Meet Hope!

 Here is my newest fur baby, Hope.  We adopted her from a wonderful lady who also happens to be a rug hooker.  She rescued Hope from a kill shelter and fostered her for 2 months.  My son drove down to North Carolina to pick her up for me.  She has been adapting nicely to our family and gets along perfectly with our lab, Jack and our cat, Reilly.  Hope is a one year old Great Pyrenees/Husky mix with THE most beautiful ice blue eyes you have ever seen. She is not very sure about all of our farm animals yet.
Two large dogs means double the dog hair on my floor...but it also means I get a double dose of love.  Jack and Hope give me kisses in the morning when I wake up!