Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Ancaster, OHCG School 2015 - Wide Cut with Wendie Scott Davis

Seems like I am going to a lot of hooking camps this year. That's because I am. Apps Ridge in September and McGown and OHCG in October. No more this year though. I have enough projects to keep me busy for a long time.
Starting the McGown process made me realize that I really had not done any wide cut rugs. I work mostly in fine cut (3 or 4) with the occasional foray into a 5 cut. So that is what was behind my enrolment in the Wide Cut Class at Ancaster, that, and that the teacher came highly recommended.
Mount Mary Retreat was as beautiful as usual. The classes and meals are held in the old
school area and those who are staying over have a short walk to the residences. I was lucky enough
to be staying with Pat who lives quite close in a lovely home in the country. 
I had done very little to prepare for the class. I knew that I wanted to make a cover for the ottoman as the leather is getting beat up by a combination of my feet and Rasta's claws. I looked at examples of Moroccan tiles on the internet and reviewed pictures of tiles that I had taken over the years and then drew my version on a piece of paper.
The full extent of my preparation. Oh and I grabbed some wool that looked like it
would go with the colour scheme of my house.
Thursday evening at the school was spent tracing this single tile 4 times to complete the top for the Ottoman. Wendie had bought with her tons of resources: books, many rugs and small mats and all sorts of incidentals including a light box. The later made transferring the pattern on to the linen very quick and easy.
Pattern transferred and ready to go.
While we hooked Wendie talked about the difference between Wide Cut rugs and Primitive Rugs (Wide Cut is a size of cut, Primitive is a style, the terms are not interchangeable - she gets quite passionate about this topic!) She also gave us lots of wide cut hooking tips and we explored computer sites and programs to help with design and colour planning.
The colour palette. I only had to buy the pale blue wool on the left, for background.
This much was completed by the end of Friday. Hooked in a number 6 cut.
This much by the end of Saturday Background blue is in a number 7 cut.
I didn't get much more done in the 2 hours that we had on Sunday as we were also learning
about finishing techniques and Wendie had many examples to show us.
The weekend ends with a show and tell in the gymnasium where we were able to see what all the other classes had been working on. Always a fun conclusion.

Wendy was a very organized teacher with handouts in class and more sent to us via email afterwards. She is a prolific hooker and so has an example for everything she talks about. She embraces the use of technology to further her hooking and happily shares her knowledge in that area. She loves to shop and was always willing to accompany a student into the store to find just the right piece of wool. Her most endearing quality though is her sense of humour and although it was an intensive 4 days of hooking and learning it was also light and fun.
I was surprised at how easy it was to hook in a wide cut. I had anticipated a bit of a struggle but had purchased wide cut linen and bought with me a thicker hook to use. I found that I had to be more careful about the placement of each loop as they are so noticeable but it really hooked up fast. I also found that i used different muscles and had a bit of a sore wrist by the time I left on Sunday. I have plenty of fine cut projects so will alternate with those to give my wrist a rest.
When I am not actually working on the piece it sits in situ getting
used to its future location.
Now for some quick updates:
I'm sure every cat owner is like me and wonders what the cat gets up to, when we are not around to supervise. I had spilled some flour while making cauliflower cheese the other night and woke to find incriminating paw prints on the stove and counter tops! Now I know. He does whatever he wants to.
Evidence! I tried to get a photo of him looking guilty but he really doesn't ever look
guilty. Nonchalant is his look of choice.
The hope is that Ruby will be a sailing dog and here she is out on the boat, getting
used to it from an early age.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Fall walk on the beach and Introducing Ruby.

Fall is fabulous at Long Point. The beach is almost empty of people and the weather is still comfortable (though often very windy). Herons and Canada Geese take over along with the occasional Bald Eagle. Walking the beach is lovely:
I have lots of blurry pictures of these little guys skittering away. Sanderlings
But I did manage to get a couple of good ones.
I guess even little wading birds get an itch over the eye.
Windy day, so this was the other wildlife.
Walking East on to the Provincial Park beach and then back over the dunes brings you to the day use parking lot. At this time of year it is full of campers, here for the duck hunting season.
Morning and evening I can hear the gunshots.
All those lighthouses in Maine and I have one just a short walk away although now
it is a cottage not an active light.
Si, Dan and Fi have a new puppy, Ruby, and last weekend we introduced her to the beach:
She kept sniffing at the sand, getting it on her nose, licking it off, coughing (not a fast learner but
then there was no food involved)

She and Fiona ran on the beach and she certainly loved the open space.
Not sure about the water, she had to be coaxed in.
"Oh no I don't really like that"
"I'm out of here"
"It's fun though"
She's a Lab. I have no doubt that once she gets the hang of it she will spend
most of her time here, in the water.
Rasta's nose was a bit out of joint with Ruby invading his space but quickly re-established ownership once she left.
His way of stopping me from using the tablet.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Norfolk County - Backus Trail

Back from 2 weeks in Maine and a week in West Virginia and it is now fall at Long Point. So many chores to be done but also some interesting sights to see:
The sun is now setting over the lake resulting in views of beautiful sunsets.

and, on this very windy Thanksgiving weekend, a beach full of kite boarders
getting some serious "air time".
During the summer I bought a set of walking poles as I had heard that they increased the workout value of walking (more exertion and upper body workout). Now that I have booked a trip to hike the Inca Trail, in January, I have to get serious about using them. I need to loose weight and get fit and get used to using trekking poles.
It was too windy to walk at the beach (the sand was even blowing back at the road) so I drove
to the Backus Woods Trail. There is a parking lot a few kilometres from Port Rowan and
an extensive trail system that I have always been curious about.
I chose to start the trail across the road from the parking lot. There is also one on the same
side of the road (another day).
What were once open fields have been planted with native species and left to go back
to their natural state. There were a few flowers still in evidence; black eyed susan, aster
and golden rod, but most had gone to seed.
The sumacs were showing bright reds and most of the trees, yellow.
This is part of the Sand Plains and the path is pure sand in places. It is also
part of the Carolinian forest.
Every now and then there are information boards identifying the trees, shrubs
and plants. They indicate whether it is native or not, what it is used for and what diseases
have impacted it.
I have a friend who never reads these plaques because she says she doesn't retain the information anyway. I only remember snibbets but I suspect the rest gets stored in a huge file in my brain labelled "I read it somewhere" that I used to pull info from periodically and really annoy George with.
I did learn that the Red Pine is native to Northern Ontario and was planted down here for lumber. It will gradually be removed from this ecosystem to make way for the native trees. The Black, Red and White Oaks are all native and the White Oak is impervious to water and therefor used in making wine casks.
The trail I took passed through open fields and then woodland with high, leafy canopy and not
much undergrowth. Small creeks and wet areas had wooden boardwalks. I only passed one other group
and the woods were very peaceful; bird song and the occasional squirrel or chipmunk.
It's difficult to stroll with the walking poles. I guess that because you are swinging your arms it encourages a faster pace. It certainly makes for more of a workout, I had to strip off my light jacket after about 10 minutes. There are a few small hills so the walking is better for me than around the cottage, as that is all flat. I will certainly walk there again, probably try some different routes (hopefully different info boards as I read all these). I walked about 5 km in about an hour, not a great pace but I was stopping to read and take pictures.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Southern McGown Training - Day 4, Fruit.

After a very overwhelming day yesterday I, finally, had the sense to go to bed early and was better able to deal with today, my last day.
In spite of my love for fine cut and shading, I have never hooked fruit and that was the class today. We again benefited from a 2 for 1 deal with Linda Powell (Village Rim Rug Hooking)  preparing the course material and the example and Katie Allman (Katieallman.com) teaching the class. It was an excellent combination.
Fruit P662. Designed by Jane McGown Flynn and
hooked by Linda Powell.
Linda had prepared resources, taught by Katie, that dealt with different ways to teach hooking fruit; pencil shading, directional hooking, designating light, medium and dark and the use of the swatch numbering system. We were able to play with all 4 ways and Katie spent more time with those who had not utilized a particular method.
We were using 3 swatches and a dip dye, I didn't purchase wool for the
leaves as I know I have some at home. But I did buy some light background that
I plan to play in the dye pot with.
In the morning we hooked on the apple while Katie talked about both the materials Linda had provided and her own tips, techniques and stories.
Linda's apple, up close and personal.
My apple. The light is coming from a different angle.
And my pear, from the afternoons hooking. Some decided to
work on the grapes before the pear.
It was a great class to end on, for a number of reasons; the quality and organization of Linda's materials, the combination of professionalism, humour and engagement that were Katie's style and the fact that I have always wanted to do this project, fruit.
Tonight we have a business meeting and tomorrow a program on Rug Hooking as a Business. Jennifer and I will then drive home 9 to 9.5 hours. I think I can safely say there will be no post tomorrow and I may sleep all the next day!
Addendum: I just got back from the business meeting and there was a large display of pastel drawings that were created by Pearl McGown when she colour planned the rugs she designed. Jane McGown Flynn described, as a child, spending time with Pearl at her rustic cabin and hearing her work on the pastels late into the evening. She worked out 3 colour plans for each design and created them in pastels. The group I saw here has recently been museum mounted and will be shown next year at Saunders Village. This process of museum mounting will be continued with the remaining drawings that Jane currently stores.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Southern McGown Training - Day 3, Colour Theory

So I have now been here 3 nights and had 2 quite intense days of hooking instruction. The evenings are spent talking about the classes and hooking in general, a few glasses of wine and, if I have the energy, a bit of hooking on the piece I bought with me. Then I sleep sporadically and start again. I'm pretty tired. Then the course today was an area I am very interested in but also find it can be confusing and frustrating, because there are so many elements to colour theory.
Liz Marino taught the course. She bought an energy and passion to the material and you could tell she loved the topic and its study. She asked that I not post her teaching piece, that was based on the colour wheel, but I will say that it contained a mass of colour theory information while also being an impressive hooked piece.
After a discussion of the colour wheel, the various colour theories and the different types
of colour plans we had the opportunity to play with crayons and our patterns.
I played with complimentary colours (on the left) and triads (on the right), with
a six value colour wheel (trying to keep it simple).
The pattern is Many Worlds.
Liz had made this grey scale for us to use to determine the comparative
value of different colours.
In the afternoon we experimented with pieces of colour saturated paper, observing how
adjoining or surrounding colours effect a colour. Discussion revolved around where the
colours were on the wheel, dull vs bright, cool vs warm, saturated vs not, light vs dark, oh
I'm getting a head ache just thinking about it again. By this point I was definitely overstimulated.
The center colour is the same.
The class ended with us purchasing some of Liz' beautifully colour saturated wool.
I don't think it is a coincidence that my wool formed into a question mark.
I am however really looking forward to hooking my colour wheel rug.
Tonight we can buy wool from the teachers who have already taught their classes (5 each day and 3 trainee classes, so lots of wool available)

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Southern McGown Training - Day 2, Scroll Sampler

The second day the trainee workshop was a Scroll Sampler. Yesterday the accredited teachers had a choice of different tile pattern courses. Today their choices were all courses on patterns related to the home. All patterns taught are of course from the Honey Bee Hive Catalogue, which includes the McGown patterns
Jayne Nevins was the teacher of the Scroll course but due to changes in the dates of the training, she was unable to make it. Karen Krepps taught the course instead so we got the benefit of two teachers

This is Karen's sample. Jayne also provided a number of examples but as she wasn't here to
ask permission, I am not posting pictures of them.

Close ups make it easier to see the formation of the motifs.
All our "goodies", like the handout folder, Jayne provided, and were
scroll themed.
Book resources also provided by Jayne.

Karen taught on the large, multi scroll motif in the morning with discussion of direction, different types of scrolls, identification of the order to hook the elements of the scroll and colour planning. It is hooked with a dip dye.
What I got done in the morning.
In the afternoon we could continue with the large scroll or move on to the smaller one to be hooked with a swatch. I hooked the swatch one but forgot to take a picture of it. The combination of Jayne and Karen resulted in a very organized and resource rich class with lots of information and time to hook.
After dinner a hilarious auction was held with money going towards the Southern training.