Friday, December 19, 2008

Elephants - David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

I got the best Christmas gift idea last year during a trip from the Atlantic City Airport to Cape May. Linda told me about the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. We stopped during our drive at Lucy, the Victorian era 3-story elephant on the Jersey shore. I was very excited because my granddaughter, Alaina, loves elephants. I wasn't disappointed. The gift shop had great elephant stuff.

That's when Linda told me about the baby elephant she adopted. It sounded perfect for Alaina. So last year for Christmas, Alaina got her elephant stuff and a printout of the current Sheldrick newsletter. She sat in a corner and poured over it. Soon she was on the computer picking out the baby she wanted to adopt. My daughter said this process took several days.

This year my daughter and her husband are taking the kids to Disneyland over the New Year's holiday. I planned on giving the children cash for the trip. I do not know if Alaina would prefer her elephant adoption this year. I decided to leave it up to her.

Here's a link to a show about the elephants on the CBS website. A new 60 minutes segment is planned for this Sunday. You can get more information at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust website. Fair warning -- you can get lost for hours on this beautiful site.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 444 No hooking going on today

Not much rug hooking planned for today. I am about 1/2 done marking the holidays and should be able to finish that this afternoon. Tonight is the last day of puppy school and Jackson will graduate.

I am working on learning a new shopping cart and getting that set up for my website. I think I give up on Ohio. Anyone who lives there will have to call me to place the order because calculating the correct % is impossible. Ohio has 88 counties, each with a different % and even some special areas within those counties with a different %. I don't stand a chance.

So far, all I can say is thank goodness for Carbonite. I messed up a slew of files and just went to my online backup (which happens automatically everytime I am online) and downloaded the files as they were last night. I can send you a link to Carbonite that can give you and me both some free time. Just send me an email and I will send you a link.
email: cindi@cindigayrughooking.com.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day 442 Center DONE. . . well, almost



I "finished" the center this morning. It is not not completely done because I need to check for holidays. This means that I will inspect the back of the rug and look for larger than normal spaces where I did not hook. They are easy to see on the back but impossible to see on the front.

Some of the early books I read suggested using toothpicks to mark the holes. I found that technique almost impossible. When I marked a bunch of them and then put the rug back on the frame, many of the toothpicks pushed out because they hit the grippers on my frame. Yarn is so much easier. You can roll the rug up, transport it and then get right back to filling in the holidays without any of the markers falling out. Below is the back of my rug with just two spaces marked. You can clearly see the spaces.



On the front, all you see is the yarn. I will find the holes by pushing up with my fingers at the spot marked by the yarn. A loop or two is all that is needed to fill most spaces. I usually do this when the rug is completely done, but I will not be able to reach the center once I hook all the borders.

Now why is all this important? It has to do with wear. As the rug is on the floor and walked on, the loops surrounding the holiday will fall over to fill in the space. Making the surface uniform will ensure even wear.

DID YOU KNOW? I don't usually shrink the pictures I post on this blog. If you want a closer view, you can click on the picture.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Day 441 Wool Sale Status

The wool sale on my website is going well. Thank you to everyone who has placed an order. One of the wools is sold out, but there is plenty. Go to my website for phone and email information. I plan to update the site immediately after each order, so you can see the status of each one right away.

The wool is normally $22.00 a yard, but until January 18 will be only $18.00. Shipping is a standard $6 for all orders less than $100. When you order $100 or more, I will ship it for free.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 440 Almost done with center


Yesterday I taught a class at the Black Swamp Quilt Shoppe. I took the room-sized rug with me and took the picture there. After working this morning, I have most of the area to the left of the center finished.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 437 What was I thinking?

After several more hours, I have adjusted all the pictures of wool for sale. I changed the numbering system to make it easier to talk about them. Thank you to those of you who have already called and struggled through with me.

I am off to get some hooking done.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wool Sale -- Off the bolt best pricing

I've been sitting at the computer since 7:30 this morning. I finally have all the pictures taken and posted on the web. Visit my website to see the samples. To place an order simply give me a call, send me a check with your list of wools or click on the donate button on the supplies page. Below is one of my favorites from the red page, R9.



Red | Yellow and Orange | Green and Blue | Neutrals

Someday I will have the full shopping cart on the website but because I am doing it myself, the progress is slow. Anyone out there know how to implement Ohio sales tax in Zen Cart? I think I need to move to a new state. Moving looks easier than figuring this out.

The sale pricing is for a limited time only. See the website for details.

Day 436 Organization

Yesterday we heard that my husband will be getting a month long layoff over the holidays. Stress always makes me antsy. The side effect is that my home gets deep cleaned and organized. Creativity goes straight out the window.

When I got the call I was hooking so the table next to me was the first to feel the frenzy. I was frustrated by having to dig to find just the right green I needed to hook the scroll. I emptied the basket, sorted things out and used my Strip Sorter Rings.



These sorters are available on my website. The sorters are near the bottom of the supplies page.



To raise cash, I have decided to have a texture sale. I have been working on getting the programing done for my online store but the state of Ohio has an incredibly confusing sales tax structure. It will take much more time.

I will post a simple page with all the textures (dozens of bolts) and you can order the old fashioned way, by phone or mail. My standard shipping will apply -- $6 Priority for all US orders unless over $100. Once you order $100, the shipping is free. It will take some time to get all the pictures, so keep watching. I will post a notice here and on my homepage.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 434 Background

One question that I hear often is about background. What direction do you hook? To answer this question fully I would have to write a full article. But to show you my favorite way to hook a background is easy. The first picture below shows the first step I take. I am using my Antique Background, available on my website.



I am hooking an area that is about 2" wide. I cannot hook the usual puzzle pieces that I teach in my classes because the area is too small. I do not hook to the end of each strip. I start and start whenever it feels right. I hook a little bit in one area and then go somewhere else to use up the rest of the strip. I find that hooking long strips will often give the background a streaky look. I like the background better when it looks more like bubbles.




Now I continue by hooking next to these initial rows, but I often break away to split up the space.



Here I have filled in all the spaces but I have not cut the tails yet. I usually cut only when the tail is surrounded. It helps me to keep track of my progress.



I grab each tail individually and pull slightly upward. I look on all sides for gaps. If the area is completely filled in, then using offset scissors, I cut the tail off. If I need more hooked in that area, I leave the tail to remind me that I am not done in this area.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Day 432 Progress stalled, but I am committed

Yesterday Jack went under the knife to become a responsible member of the pet community. Yes, he was neutered. I was nervous so I concentrated on upgrading my website and learning more about CSS layout. It is a lot like training a dog, three steps forward and two back.

While I made some real progress on the website, I did not hook. I will hook at least an hour today and continue on the 1/2 hour schedule. I am already ahead of schedule because most days last week my 1/2 hour turned into 50 minutes or more.

If you use an older browser, an older computer, or a MAC your feedback is very important to me. Please let me know if you have any problems with the website or if anything looks funny. You can tell which pages are the old ones because they still have clouds at the top. You can drop me an email at rugmail-blog@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 428 Homework done and ready

For those of you paying attention, the last post was actually Saturday's post, but I cannot figure out how to change the date. Did it once before, but can't find it now. Today is Day 428.

Jack's assignment for puppy school is to do the "down" command without a treat to follow. The movie clip shows his progress. With Thanksgiving last Thursday and missing the week before, he has had three weeks to get this, but I am still tickled.

I hooked for about an hour yesterday, so I am on track also.
video

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 425 Thanksgiving weekend, some progress


The dog on the rug is my son's dog, Mickey. They were visiting over the holiday. Bob and his girlfriend, Amanda, live in NYC. It was great to see them. Since I was showing off the rug it was a good time to take a picture.

It has been over a month since my last post. I thought I would be able to show you a finished center after just one full week. I was only able to squeeze out a few days so I made some progress, but not as much as I had hoped. I think my goal to have this rug finished by the ATHA national is in jeo...

OH CRAP... well, urine actually. As I was writing this, my puppy, Jackson, decided that my rug was a better place to relieve himself instead of the cold wet (and still raining) ground outside. My rug was in a pile in the livingroom. This was not his first accident but he has been doing so well with the potty training. The spot he hit was just bare backing so I could get it very wet and use neutralizer. He was caught in the act so my husband and Jack are now having a heart-to-heart talk and some quality time outside.

Where was I? Oh yes, the national. My goal was to have the rug done by the ATHA national next fall. I haven't designed the major border yet, so I don't know the final size, but the square inches left to hook are probably more than what I have done so far. I am discouraged because it is getting close to the end of the year and I need to find a new accountant. I will need several weeks to finish preparing for a class in March. While my out of town schedule for 2009 is light, I will still be gone for many weeks during the year. Listen to me,I am whining. I need to recommit to just 30 minutes a day. It will get me further than I am now. So here's my promise: It is Sunday night and I will post a picture of my progress next Sunday. I should have 3 and a half hours of progress after 7 days. I know several of you out there are watching.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 381 Measurements

No new picture yet. It is a big production to get the rug off the frame so I am waiting until I have the center area done. I have just the scroll, a rose and some background to do so you should get a new picture soon.

In the meantime, I found the measurements of the center area. It is 51" x 79". The additional borders are not included in this measurement.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day 372 Rug Hooking Progress and Jack



I've been home a little over a week and I am back at the rug hooking frame. I am concentrating on hooking the center of the rug. As soon as I have it completed, I will check for holidays. What this means is that I examine the back of the rug and look for large blank spaces. I will then mark these spaces with a piece of junk (acrylic) yarn because it is cheap and a plastic canvas needle because it is easy on the backing.

Marking them all first and then taking the rug to the frame is absolutely necessary on a rug this large, but I mark the holidays this way no matter what the size. It is an extra step but in the long rug it saves a lot of time and a lot of flipping the rug back and forth. I have a philosophy that I would rather do something pleasant for a long time than something unpleasant for a short time.



As you can see, Jack is settling into the studio. His favorite place to sleep is in the cave created by the rug. Earlier this week, I looked all over for him only to find him deep in the folds of the rug sound asleep. He went to the vet today for his second puppy visit, 15 pounds and counting. Doc thinks he will be smaller than expected because the rule of thumb he uses is to take their weight at 4 months and double it for his expected adult weight.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rug Hooking at Cape May

If we have talked about rug camps before, you have heard me say that my favorite rug camp is Rugs by the Sea in Cape May, NJ. I arrived with no idea what I was going to hook. I had a project I had started on my own earlier and blank rug warp.

I taught classes the first week, went to NYC to visit my son over the weekend and spent most of Monday napping. By yesterday, I was ready to start something. I was carrying the picture from the last post and showing anyone who would listen. I decided Jackson was a good subject especially with Sauder's theme next year being "Puppy Love."

Meet Jackson, my new puppy


We went to family reunion in West Virginia. We needed ice so we went to Wal-Mart. In the parking lot was a sign, "Free Puppies." Enough said.

Jackson is part boxer and part so something else. We are still trying to figure that out, but he has been very trainable so far. He meets the trainer Monday.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sauder Village


The rug retreat at Sauder Village in Archbold, OH was another great week. This is a picture of my classroom. I am supposed to be sitting in the corner of the room between Pam and Jan who are hard at work. I just had to get closer to the wool table to be sure I did not miss something so I took a picture while I was over there. My teacher was Anita White and I used the week to work with paisleys for the first time.


This is a small piece of the "show and tell" held one afternoon later in the week. Notice the oak tree on the left. This is not a real tree but a sculpture by an artist. It is the backdrop for our breakfast every morning.

If you are interested in Sauder for next year, get on the mailing list. In November you will receive a postcard that announces when the site will be up for registration. On that day there is a mad dash to print and fax it in. You can now register right on line also.

What did I hook? A new pattern that I designed called "Antique Rose Basket." This pattern is currently available from Spruce Ridge Studios in two sizes. I am hooking the larger one.



The colors are a bit softer than I normally use. The hit and miss is in all medium tones. I will hook more of this before I make a decision about how to hook the rest. I may revert to my "old ways." The border is a hodgepodge of ideas. On the left I hooked the spiral in just anything to hold it and hooked the border background at one of my hooking gatherings, just to have something to hook.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Back on the border of the room-sized rug

I am still in the middle of rug camp season. A trip to Sauder Village next week, a family reunion and Cape May in September will wind up the season. In the meantime, I had a tiny bit of downtime this week so I worked some more on the circle border. I reread my January 7 post where I first introduced the circle border. Why did I say that I ruled out an all black background? Hmmmm.....

Several students have expressed interest in hooking this type of design and have asked me to explain how I am hooking this border. So here goes....

Hooking the circles:
1. Set up the space to be filled by hooking a line of background down both sides. My lines are purposely NOT straight. I leave that explanation for another post.

2. Hook the first circle. I am not making them perfect circles on purpose, so no pattern, no template. I force the circle to touch one of background lines. I had already decided that there will be roughly two columns of circles.

3. Once the circle outline is hooked, I hook a partial second row with the same color. I want the circles to look lopsided.

4. Next I fill in with another color, with either a single row or another lopsided double row, depending on the size of the circle. Be sure to move the doubled up areas around.

5. Fill the remaining area with a third and final color. The size of my circles and the cut size determines how many colors I can use. I like the busyness of smaller circles and it keeps my color decisions easy.

6. Hook one row of the background color around the part of the circle that does not touch the row of background.

7. Hook the next circle so that it touches the row of background and one or more of the existing circles. Be sure to make it a different size. Fill it in as I did the first one.

8. Hook a row of background.

.... and repeat.

I find this method easier than drawing the circles in advance. When you draw them it is almost impossible to get them so that they are exactly one strip of background away from the next. I think this is what holds the design together - the consistent size of the surrounding background.

Pat's Project:
One of my studio students, Pat, brought her granddaughter and a friend to me for hooking instruction. They picked it up in no time flat. Both are Juniors in high school but looked like they had been hooking forever. They started out with a small square piece that I have most beginners start on. They had it done before their visit ended. They went home with a completely finished and bound piece -- and a new project to work on.

Pat's motivation for their lesson was insurance. She is beginning a large rug filled with these circles. With a large piece of backing and beginning in the center, she is hooking the circles. She even had the girls hook a few before they left. She figures that if she is not around to finish this rug, the girls are prepared to finish what they started.

Controlling the edge of a large rug:
When hooking a large rug, roll up the edges of the backing and baste them in place to keep them out of the way. On my large rug, I rolled the edge and basted it up, then rolled it some more and basted again. I figured this way, as the rug gets heavier and I need more space, I can let out the basting and the edge is still out of my way.

I loved "Mamma Mia!"

Ignore the critics and take your girlfriends to see Mamma Mia. I saw it first with a girlfriend and called my daughter on the way home and asked her to go with me. The second time around was just as good as the first time.

Many of the critics are critical because it is not as professionally sung as the Broadway version. Well, I think that is exactly what makes it so fun. Pierce Brosnan is so baaaaad, but luckily he is very good to look at and you forgive him easily. What is important is that you will leave the theater with a high that lasts. It reminds me of the fun found at a showing of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show." In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if you soon see scarves and dance moves in the theater.

It is a beautiful movie and I am anxiously awaiting its release on DVD so I can see it whenever I want. Sue Ellen, who saw it with me the first time, has also seen it again.

Note: The soundtrack keeps the fun going. Some tracks are even better than the ABBA original (which I also have). I love the soundtrack version of "Take a Chance on Me."

Leaving Monday for Sauder Village Rug Retreat. I'll post some pictures from there.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Day 281 I spent the 4th hooking!


As promised, here is another picture of the rug. I made a lot of progress this weekend. Most of the progress is in the upper right hand corner. When I lug it back upstairs, I will hook more of the border this time. Once I decide that the hit and miss with the circles are at the right size, I will begin drafting out the major border. This will be roughly based on the Queen Anne Rose stair riser.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hooking the circle border

Another post I found in my drafts file....

I am still in the middle of rug camp season. Three more classes and one family vacation (my parents' 50th wedding anniversary) and at the end of July I will be on my own for a while. In the meantime, I had a tiny bit of downtime this week so I worked some more on the circle border. I reread my January 7 post where I first introduced the circle border. Why did I say that I ruled out an all black background? Hmmmm.....

Several students have expressed interest in hooking this type of design and have asked me to explain how I am hooking this border. So here goes....

Hooking the circles:
1. Set up the space to be filled by hooking a line of background down both sides. My lines are purposely NOT straight. I leave that explanation for another post.

2. Hook the first circle. I am not making them perfect circles on purpose, so no pattern, no template. I force the circle to touch one of background lines. I had already decided that there will be roughly two columns of circles.

3. Once the circle outline is hooked, I hook a partial second row with the same color. I want the circles to look lopsided.

4. Next I fill in with another color, with either a single row or another lopsided double row, depending on the size of the circle. Be sure to move the doubled up areas around.

5. Fill the remaining area with a third and final color. The size of my circles and the cut size determines how many colors I can use. I like the busyness of smaller circles and it keeps my color decisions easy.

6. Hook one row of the background color around the part of the circle that does not touch the row of background.

7. Hook the next circle so that it touches the row of background and one or more of the existing circles. Be sure to make it a different size. Fill it in as I did the first one.

8. Hook a row of background.

.... and repeat.

I find this method easier than drawing the circles in advance. When you draw them it is almost impossible to get them so that they are exactly one strip of background away from the next. I think this is what holds the design together - the consistent size of the surrounding background.

Pat's Project:
One of my studio students, Pat, brought her granddaughter and a friend to me for hooking instruction. They picked it up in no time flat. Both are Juniors in high school but looked like they had been hooking forever. They started out with a small square piece that I have most beginners start on. They had it done before their visit ended. They went home with a completely finished and bound piece -- and a new project to work on.

Pat's motivation for their lesson was insurance. She is beginning a large rug filled with these circles. With a large piece of backing and beginning in the center, she is hooking the circles. She even had the girls hook a few before they left. She figures that if she is not around to finish this rug, the girls are prepared to finish what they started.

Controlling the edge of a large rug:
When hooking a large rug, roll up the edges of the backing and baste them in place to keep them out of the way. On my large rug, I rolled the edge and basted it up, then rolled it some more and basted again. I figured this way, as the rug gets heavier and I need more space, I can let out the basting and the edge is still out of my way.

Ready for Sauder Village!


I finalized the pattern I will hook at Sauder Village. Sorry for the words plastered across the pattern, but this pattern is for sale and will be on Spruce Ridge Studio's website soon. It is called "Antique Rose Basket." The colors will be similar to my room-sized rug. I'll continue to hook with these colors and shapes until I get them out of my system. One difference is that the scroll around the outside will be hooked with paisleys. I am taking Anita White's class so I am looking forward to supplementing my stash. I bought some paisley in Manistee from Cynthia Norwood. I have never hooked with them before, so I will let you know how it goes in August.

I hooked most of the weekend, so I will try to take another picture on Monday.

To dye or not to dye.

I found this in my drafts. It was never posted.

I received a question and thought I would answer it in a new post.

I am a newbie to rug hooking, and have a slightly silly question. Do you buy undyed wool? Or do you over dye?

New rug hookers are often frustrated when their rugs do not look the way they want them to. As with any art or craft, your work is only as good as the materials you use to make them. For the scoop on rug hooking, a subscription to Rug Hooking Magazine is a must. Their website has been rewritten lately if you haven't visited in a while.

Rug hookers as a rule prefer hand dyed wool. You cannot create the same look with factory dyed wool. That does not mean that you have to dye the wool yourself. You can buy it from someone else, usually a teacher. You can find the teachers at workshops (and you find the workshops in Rug Hooking Magazine) or if you are lucky, you can find one in your local area. Use the McGown National Guild website as a starting point. They list teachers by state.

Some rug hookers prefer to dye their own wool. Be sure to get into dyeing because you love the process of making color. It is very physical. You must lift heavy pots filled with water and you are on your feet, often for hours. Do not get into dyeing because you are shocked at the price for dyed wool. When you dye your own wool, you have to “buy” all your mistakes as well as the final color. It often takes me four or five pots to match a particular color if I have to develop my own recipe. That experience will cost you much more than the price of hand dyed wool and you lost hours of hooking time that you can never get back.

If you decide to get into dyeing, order my book, Dyeing by the Numbers, from my website. It is a dye book with some recipes but the focus is on technique. I was unable to find this information anywhere else for my students. I started jotting down notes and it turned into over 60 pages of instruction. Order the Recipes From the Dye Kitchen PRO Chem starting kit and a few tri-pour beakers. The starter kit is not in the catalog, but PRO Chem assures me that it is still available. Use #SLINC, price is $10.95 as of May 27, 2008. It is a low cost way to get started. But read my book before you purchase anything else. I explain why I prefer stainless steel to the enamel pots that others prefer. I give you the facts on both sides and you decide for yourself which will work. It will save you years of experimenting or struggling with the wrong equipment.

Thanks for the question. If you are wondering about something involving rug hooking be sure to ask. Leave a comment here, or ask privately by contacting me through www.cindigayrughooking.com.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Day 275 Progress on border and scroll




The Manistee camp was great fun. I love the area. The lakes (Portage and Michigan) are beautiful and I cannot get enough. Wets my appetite for September in New Jersey at Cape May. Walking the beach before and after rug camp is a bit of heaven.

It seems impossible, but my last important post for this rug was Day 99. That was when I first tried the circle border. I hooked a bit on the main part of the center since then, but my time has been tied up with my website, teaching and packing.

The more I hook the circles, the more they belong. I will hook another foot or two before I begin to lay out the next border which will be based on the Queen Anne Rose stair riser (the top one). These patterns are available at Spruce Ridge Studios.

I tried to fill the spots in between the circles with multicolors and then with just one neutral. I think I like just dark for the background, so that is what I will continue to hook. You can never be sure what will work until you hook a bit and live with it or a while. 176 days are not usually required.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Greetings from Manistee, MI

This week I am in Manistee Michigan at the 8th annual Manistee Rug School. The camp has moved to a new location at the new high school and we have all the room we need. My classroom is on a corner with a wide hallway just outside the door. I can spread out the room-sized rug there and really see it. I will take a picture tomorrow and post it here. I hooked a bit more of the circle border before I left and thanks to the long drive up here, I have some new inspirations that I need to draw up.

The other teachers at this camp this year are Pris Butler, Cynthia Norwood, Jon Ciemiewicz, and Wanda Kerr. I will also be teaching at this camp next year. See my website for more information.

Several weeks ago I was in Wisconsin teaching my pine tree method to the Cream City Guild. A special thank you to everyone involved. It was a long week, but I enjoyed every minute of it, including the tornado warning at the end.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Hot off the rug hooking frame


Got back to hooking, but mainly because I had a deadline to meet. This stair riser is a new pattern that is available through Spruce Ridge Studios. It is part of the stair risers with Queen Anne's lace. I will be teaching this pattern at the ATHA National in 2009. Hope to see you there. Watch your ATHA newsletter for more information. I will post information on my website when it comes out.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Back to rug hooking, a major revision on the web site is done.

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I wanted to get to a milestone on my website progress and it took longer than I thought it would. The structure behind my website is done. I will be revising and moving the "old" pages to the new format, one by one. In the meantime, all the old pages are still available.

For the next two weeks I will be preparing for Cedar Lakes rug camp. Hope to see you there. I will be doing some hooking, so look for a new picture around Mother's Day.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Alaina helps me dye again


Here is Ally helping my get ready to dye today. The bottom picture is of Ally several years ago when she helped me test my dye book colors. Notice the difference in her height. She is officially taller than me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thanks for voting

The contest ended Easter morning and Amanda did not win. The winner was chosen by a panel of judges. She did have the most votes, so thank you to everyone who took the time to vote.

Tomorrow is a big dyeing day. My granddaughter, Alaina, is staying with me for a few days and we will be dyeing up a storm. We started folding and organizing wool in the studio tonight. She wore me out. She actually likes to straighten and organize the wool. She even sorted each color family from light to dark. I will have to take new studio pictures before I mess it all up. I will try to remember to take pictures tomorrow so you can see us dyeing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Side note: please vote for your favorite Blog TV show

http://www.myspace.com/blog_tv
Visit the link above and vote for your favorite Blog TV show. Scroll all the way to the bottom for the voting area. If you do not have a favorite, consider voting for Amandarama. She is my son's girlfriend and lives with him in NYC. They have been together so long that I consider her my daughter-in-law. The grand prize is a trip around the world!

Hooked Purse Progress


I spent last week at Southern McGown Teachers' Workshop. Rubbing elbows with all those teachers really gets the creative juices flowing.

My sewing machine broke so I tried to sew the lining together by hand. I took the supplies with me to workshop and would have been able to use the purse if the lining was a better design. I have the purse together and love the shape.

The handles were attached by sewing them on with a leather tool that my husband had in his tool collection. A quick lesson later and the handles were professionally attached. Now if I can just get the lining right. I will try again and show you the final product when it is done.

The top edge is finished with a crocheted edge. Just prepare the edge in the same way you prepare for a whipped edge. Then crochet with a #7 or #8 cut strip. I sell pieces of natural wool that are 15 yards long and the equivalent of 1 yard. I dye and cut this into strips to crochet the edge so I have one complete piece and not a lot of ends.

Thank you to all of you who have sent me emails or made comments here. It helps to remind me to get a new post up and keeps me focused. Yesterday I decided to do what I preach. Five strips minimum a day will complete a rug. It felt good to get hooking on the big rug again.

Right now the dye pots are out and I am getting ready for the workshop season, but I still plan to squeeze in at least five strips a day.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Rug Hooked Purse

I haven't hooked much on the large rug. Instead I have been messing with the computer. Some good and some bad, such as reformatting and troubleshooting problems.

A few days ago I decided I wanted a new purse to take with me to Teachers' Workshop. I knew what shape I wanted, but I was struggling with the design. I wanted to include the new rose motif that I have been using in my current rug designs. I could not come up with a design I liked and the clock was ticking. I leave this Sunday so I decided to hook it with a simple geometric pattern instead.

I have been trying some breathing and meditation techniques. One morning it was like the window to my creativity was flung wide open. Why not include both? I had already hooked one side, but the second side was still blank rug warp.

I drew in the rose and changed the leaves as I hooked and then I filled in with the square background. I love the result.

I had planned to keep this blog strictly for the large rug, but I thought you might enjoy seeing my other projects. This design has spurred a new stair riser pattern for those of you who are hooking the stair riser series I am designing for Spruce Ridge Studios. Check with Kris Miller to see when it will be available.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

No new rug hooking to report

I have been away from the frame for too long, but I refuse to file another extension on my income taxes. I've done that for the last few years and this year I will be on time. The last few weeks have been filled with paperwork.

As an update to the rug hooking world.... My thoughts and prayers go out to Kim Nixon. As many of you know, her breast cancer has returned after 10 years. It was a real blow, but Kim is still in business. In fact, I ordered patterns before she had emergency surgery. They are less than 1 week late. Kim has help and someone is drawing the patterns under her watchful eye. You can place an order and be confident that you will receive it. Kim needs our support, order those patterns!

Go to www.undertherug.com.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A new floor!, well almost. . .


My husband was off for the holiday and had a three day weekend. We worked all three days and got about 1/2 way done. We are both feeling the aches and pains and looked forward to getting back to regular work today.

If you are one of my studio students, the floor probably will not be done for class on Friday, but the class goes on! We will probably have more room because all the furniture is stacked up on the finished side of the room.

The flooring is Bellawood Brazilian Mesquite. It is about the same color as cherry. When I learned that the cherry darkens over age, we decided against it. Not because we didn't like a darker color, but because you have to constantly move the furniture for about a year so that the aging happens evenly. Some of my furniture weighs a ton. It is not likely that we could move it around every couple of weeks. They even recommended not putting down an area rug for at least a year. I've been hooking my fingers off. When this rug is done, it is going on the floor. The mesquite color is stable, so we don't have to worry about playing musical furniture.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Website Name! cindigayrughooking.com


Thank you to everyone who emailed their opinions on the website name. A special thanks to Sunnie Andress of sunnieandressdesigns.com. The majority of you thought my name was an important part of the website name. Sunnie suggested www.cindigayrughooking.com. Perfect!

I purchased that name AND www.cindygayrughooking.com. I am now back to a name that reflects who I am, what the site is about and I don't have to spell it every time I give it out.

I am still on the computer a lot, but I am making some rug hooking progress. I have moved everything back to the studio upstairs because I now have 19 boxes of Bellawood Brazilian Mesquite sitting in the kitchen ready for installation in the living room.

I might have some progress shots this weekend if we can line up a nailer. . .

P.S. That is Gracie, my new kitten, keeping me company while I hook. The rug has gotten so big that the pile of it behind the frame and in front of my Ott light is just the right size for a comfortable cat bed.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I need to rename my website, please vote.

In November I had a billing mix up with my web host. As a result, I lost the rights to www.cindygay.com (Cindi with a y). My website is still OK because I use www.cindigay.com (with two i's). Before I realized what happened, a porno site picked up my name. Just a day or so later, I saw an article on the Internet about how this is happening quite often. I haven't had the courage to visit the site (there is an opening warning about the content) so I don't know if there is (ahem...) a legitimate reason for them to pick up the name.

For the last five years I have been telling everyone that my website is www.cindigay.com and if they entered www.cindygay.com they still got to my website, so the spelling was not important. Now it is. I reserved the following names. Which do you prefer? Do you have something else in mind? I'd love to hear your ideas. Please email them to me at rugmail-blog@yahoo.com.
  • www.cindigay.com
  • www.rughookingexplained.com
  • www.rughookinglessons.com
  • www.rughooklessons.com
  • www.rughooksupplies.com

Monday, January 7, 2008


Day 99. I am settled into the circle border with one exception. Do I want to hook multi-colored spots in between the circles, or do I want to keep that feature consistent? I have already ruled out hooking all the background black. I like the way the extra spots almost camouflage the circles. Hooking an all black background made the circles stand out too much.

As you can see I started on the right with multi-colored spots. I switched to a beige wool to hook the spots and am tinkering with the idea of using that as the background for the major border. That border is the one that started everything with the stair risers, Queen Anne Rose and Annie's Scrolls, available at Spruce Ridge Studios. On my page you will need to scroll down about half way to see the stair risers.

The biggest lesson here is that I hooked the new idea (all one color spots) that came to me to see what it looked like. AND I am not taking out my first attempt. I may even hook more mult-colored spots until I am sure of my decision. I will not change the discarded idea until I have no more room to hook. I often find that leaving the little oddities in the rug (usually because I just plain forget to go back) make the rug so much more interesting. I try to never rip out until I need that room to hook.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

How easily we forget!

My focus for the last two years has been to "get crooked." I thought I had made a breakthrough with Karen Kahle at Sauder Village in 2006. I was working on her Antique Rose Runner during the lunch break. All the other students were off eating and I was so excited about what and how I was hooking that I decided to work through lunch.

A woman came into the classroom to see what we were working on. I sat on the far side of the room. When she made her way to me, I stretched out the backing so she could get a better view. "Nice," she mumbled. I then explained how I was concentrating on making everything crooked. She brightened up and said, "Oh, it is supposed to be that way."

She probably felt sorry for me. This poor hooker can't hook a straight line!

I love this story because that week changed my hooking dramatically. I explained the feeling to my friends as "hooking naked." I had no cares about what row I was hooking in. I grabbed whatever color was on top. I turned my brain off and hooked away. I had that rug finished within two weeks of coming home. I usually return from camp with less than a square foot hooked.

I applied this mind set to the design of this rug. The four corners are slightly different. Nothing is perfect. But when I got to hooking the boundaries for the hit and miss, I hooked three rows in perfect alignment. I was unhappy about the look, see the post for Day 35! It took me this long to figure out what was wrong. This is one reason I always move out to the borders ASAP.

I decided to use the line I drew for the edge as a guideline only. I wavered three holes left and right at random. Then I hooked another strip on each side for the three rows I wanted. Much better. You can see the crooked rows in the post for Day 094. In Day 065 you can see how much of the straight stuff I ripped out.

I don't have this rug in my rug gallery on my website yet. I will let you know here when it is up and ready. www.cindigay.com

Border progress-Cat's paw


I have always loved the Cat's Paw rugs. I wanted to include this design in one of the minor borders, but I was afraid that it would look too modern. I decided to hook up a section. It looks great. Do you agree? I decided to make the background the darkest background value that I am using to outline the motifs in the center of the rug.

This test proves that what looks bad (or good) on paper as a black and white drawing can look very different once it is hooked. If I had not been so determined to find a way to make this design work, I would never have attempted it. On paper it looks very modern and completely out of sync with the center.

Day 94 Finally got to hook!



I finally got to hook New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. My husband, David, and I rented videos and stayed indoors. --It's cold out there! Especially after my days in the Florida keys.