Friday, November 15, 2013

Spent Some Time With a Hooker With a Heart of Gold

Yeah, I've been wantin' to say that all week.

This week, I went to a meeting of the Little Lakes Rug Hooking Group at a charming shop called Liberty Cottage, in Canandaigua, NY. Liberty Cottage is the place to go if you're interested in classes or supplies for primitive needlework projects like rug hooking, embroidery, punch needle, and wool applique. They offer classes, and the classes are very inexpensive. I love also that they understand the need to get away from time to time - check this out:

THE LAST MINUTE HIDE OUT -   Dec 19th                       5-8 pm             No Charge

All the shopping, decorating, wrapping, baking and errands are finished and all you want is a little bit of time to yourself.  Most of us have put aside our handwork projects during all the build up to the holidays and we need that little bit of time to regain our self balance.  Now that you have completed the gifts for others, “Come HIDE with me”.  Bring your current project, plan a new one for yourself or just relax and do nothing but enjoy good conversation, holiday treats and punch (by now even my baking is done) and share the spirit of the season with new and old friends.

I'm thinking I'd like to take the Penny Rug Class when it comes up again. Penny rugs were made from scraps of felt (from clothes), generally cut into circles (using coins as the template). Over time, they've become quite elaborate. This blog article from Little House gives a lovely description of these rugs.

I am slapping my head in frustration for having thrown out my lifetime collection of panty hose. I saved my panty hose for years and years, thinking that somehow there would be a craft that could make use of them, but never found one and finally threw them out. Liberty Cottage is of course offering a class called Grenfell Hooking - this unusual type of rug hooking uses dyed nylon stockings instead of the more common wool fabrics, yarn or roving. 

So anyway, my friend Cindy (my former high school art teacher) is big into rug hooking. And the rug hooking ladies have quite a sense of humor, which explains my blog article title. Cindy is planning on teaching classes on rug hooking, so she brought me a kit to get me started, and showed me the nuances. The kit included an embroidery hoop, the fabric that you hook to, a hooking tool, and strips of wool, ready to be hooked.

After years of teaching art, one thing Cindy understands is that you don't start a new student off with the Great American Rug Project. You start small, so our goal was to do a coaster for a coffee mug.

My first start was uggggg-ly - yes, I made a flower. But after I got home, I pulled that out and started from scratch, and came up with these:

I call this "Tweedy Brown Sheep on a Stormy Day"

Hearts and Flowers

I've finished my sheep. I made my projects larger than they were supposed to be, so I need to get some more wool to finish off my hearts and flowers project.

All in all, I like rug hooking. I'm convinced that if I continue to do handiwork, meaning work like drop spinning and rug hooking and such that keeps my hands moving, I'll ward off the familial tendency toward arthritis. I have a pinky finger that freezes up when I'm not spinning.

If you're interested in taking a class with Cindy, drop me a line. She's an excellent teacher. She tells you what you need to know and then lets you run wild.