Wool lint tips for rug hooking

Wool lint tips for rug hooking

Dark wool ready for the dryer

I told you that I would be back with some wool lint tips- here they are. Short and sweet.

In this time of COVID we have all found ourselves needing to wear masks- some, more than others depending on what your day might be like.

Just wear a mask

I have started wearing masks when I cut wool for rug hooking. The dust can be quite something depending on the piece you are cutting. In the studio it has become apparent just how much dust is created! For some reason it wasn’t as noticeable in the house (maybe because it is always dusty there…). Gracie isn’t even brought into the studio when there is a kit to cut- even the dog doesn’t need this . She won’t wear a mask…but then again- I can’t fault her for that.

Mask ready to wear

It is sure easy to wear a mask- you probably all have one or more masks at home. No need to be breathing this wool lint or anything else extra into our lungs right now. There is a good assortment of homemade masks hanging by the door to grab as we leave the house. Just one more thing to remember when leaving, but a necessary one. It seems like we will be needing masks for awhile, according to Dr. Fauci.

Blue wool strips

Put your wool strips in the dryer

The second tip is this. If I have a large amount of wool strips- especially black- I just loosely knot them and throw in the dryer for 5 minutes or so- the dust (lint) ends up in the lint trap and not spreading all over the place. That was a trial that worked out beautifully. The strips come out the same as they went into the dryer minus the lint ! A mesh bag would most likely work the same. I’m going to try that this week. Really, that might be done each time with any amount of wool here. The important part is to gather the strips in some fashion so they don’t get tangled.

Wool cutter dust for rug hooking strips

Bolivar wool cutter

As you can see- the dust beneath, around and in the blades is quite a bit from cutting the above bundle of blues. My Bolivar cutter gets a workout and needs to be cleaned regularly so it will work it’s best.

Wool for so many things!

Wool…I do love it and am determined not to let the dust get to me. The history of this wonderful fabric alone makes it that much more special. It reminds me of my childhood – my mother used a lot of wool in her day.

Have you made any masks yourself? There isn’t a style that seems better than another for me yet. I’ve tried several and the quickest one seems to be the pleated one – how about for you? If you have a recommended pattern please share. Are you double masking now?

You can’t be too too careful these days! Stay well my friends.

Appreciating the beauty of the garden

Appreciating the beauty of the garden

Appreciating dahlias from the garden

Appreciating the beauty of the garden. Looking out the kitchen window at this time of year is glorious. The dahlias are in bloom and are strutting their stuff. My husband planted some new varieties this year and they are just starting to bloom- and are they ever beautiful! The house is filled with them.

Vegetables a plenty

Appreciating vegetables from the garden

The vegetables are doing well too- tomatoes, squash, herbs, greens, potatoes, onions, garlic, brocolli, peppers, beets, pumpkins , gourds and some popcorn ( which is a new addition). The deer have loved the green beans (boo) eating the bulk of them.The peas were plentiful but are now long gone. I forgot to mention the raspberries- red, yellow and black. We didn’t do a very good job keeping up with those- some are in the freezer, but we lost more than we care to admit.

Freezer peaches became jam, some peppers became pickled with the rest awaiting their fate. I’ve roasted tomatoes and have plans to make salsa with some more. The spiralizer has become a staple lately turning yellow squash and zucchini into “pasta”. Why didn’t I use this cool tool in the past! The beets have yet to be spiralized but definitely is in the back of my mind for a fun treat.

The wildlife dilemma

The sunflowers survived the deer this year- maybe because they have been busy devouring the hosta plants around the yard ( another boo).

The potatoes, winter squash and onions will keep through the fall and early winter. We will decorate with the pumpkins and gourds. The canned vegetables and preserves will last us too. This has been a good year for us and next year will be even better when my husband retires and is home to garden his heart out!

Did you garden this year? what did you put up? do you have any recipes that you found that you loved?

Any recipes to share?

Cookie and Kate is a great site to visit if you need some ideas for what to do with all of your bounty. I did buy some kohlrabi at the farmers market, you can’t grow EVERYTHING… and I want to try the recipe in their link soon. Smitten Kitchen is another great site to check out for yumminess. There are so many!

I’ll share a quick peach jam recipe that my daughter shared with me. Some basil leaves were added to the last batch. Maybe add more next time around since the flavor isn’t coming through like was hoped.

Peach jam

  • 4 pounds of peaches (about 8 cups)
  • 5 cups of sugar
  • 2 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • basil leaves
  • prepare the peaches by peeling, pitting and slicing
  • put all of the ingredients into the same heavy bottomed pot
  • bring to a slow boil until it reaches a temperature of 220 degrees
  • add pectin if you think it is “too thin” – not necessary if you love the consistency of what you are seeing
  • ladle into your sterilized jars, placing strips of basil leaves into the bottom of each jar
  • attach lids and covers
  • place in a hot water bath and process for 15 minutes
  • remove from canner and let cool – you should hear a pop as the covers seal – if one doesn’t seal- place in the refrigerator and enjoy right away.

I will be finishing up this rug this week- a nod to the harvest. Also some more Jack pumpkins on vintage spools – watch the ETSY shop for these soon.

So how do you appreciate the beauty of your garden? Tell your gardener how much you appreciate all of the work that goes along with it. Then pat yourself on the back for making sure that it isn’t wasted- maybe share some of the bounty. In any event- enjoy!

Rug hooking? what is that?

Rug hooking? what is that?

Camera on hooked rug

There is a site where you could get free images to use however you want to use them. It is call “Upsplash“- maybe you already know about it. They are beautiful! all of them, but in my search- no rug hooking, no hooked rugs, no vintage rugs, no wool fabric for rugs…what? The image above is one I took, certainly not a professional look. Don’t these people know who we are? what this craft is? that it was a heritage craft from New England?- that there is a wonderful history that goes along with it ? that there has been a resurgence in the making of hooked rugs ?…

Tough Business

It’s a tough business- getting people to understand what you do- why you do it- why it is important- why others should , at least, learn a bit about it. There are, I imagine, other crafts out there that face similar difficulties in being understood.

Mayan women

If you were to look at the Mayan women , for example, you would see a thriving industry of hooked rugs. Their rugs are vibrant and alive with color. Look up the book, Rug Money. It is a beautiful book of how this industry changed their lives. You can see examples of some of their work if you look at the Pinterest page of Guatemalan hooked rugs.

The New England rugs can be, at times, dull- the primitive look. That all stems from the clothing actually. New Englanders wore dark, practical clothing- nothing splashy or showy. There may have been an occasional red here and there, but usually darker colors. The rugs were made from clothes that could no longer be worn after all! Other cultures have more color in their fashion lending their rugs to be more colorful. Check out this book by Judith Burger-Gossart Sadie’s Winter Dream about the Maine Seacoast Mission hooked rugs. This speaks about their cottage industry – making rugs to support their family.

Wake up mainstream

But, that isn’t the point here. The point is- the “mainstream” doesn’t know who we are! We are a vibrant community of makers too- and should be photographed! be out there in the public eye. To see a gorgeous professional photo of my work, or of someone working on a rug would be wonderful.

rug hooks and hand dyed wool

So- if you are reading this, you probably already know what hooked rugs are. How they might be made and with what materials. The folks that claim to be rug hookers who are using yarn in hoops to hang on the wall- well? Those might be pretty to the eye and they might take a skill set that I don’t understand- but it doesn’t really seem like they can be called “hooked rugs”. They are better described as needle punched rugs. Please don’t be offended if you are one of those makers – your work is beautiful- truly it is, but it isn’t made the traditional way with a rug hook and wool fabric.

Spread the word

Could you help the real rug hookers out there- could you say- “oh I know what that is. It is a heritage craft using wool strips on a linen foundation cloth, pulling loops up through the linen, one loop at a time”. Sometimes rugs tell stories, sometimes they depict loved ones, favorite pets, or dare I say- geometric and modern. Yes, we do it all and are proud to be hookers.

My little home business, as it is, is chugging along quite nicely. I have repeat customers and new “followers” every day. You can find me with the dye pots on the stove when the air is cooler, or sitting with my frame at night hooking away perhaps listening to an Audible book , watching Public Television or keeping up with the news. Watching the last season of Poldark makes the time fly by!

Other hookers to investigate

If you want- have a look at a few people who are making a difference in the industry- Deanne Fitzpatrick of Hooking Rugs or Wanda Kerr of WandaWorks- granted, they are both in Canada- but along with New England, they too have a rich history of making rugs. Then there is Beth Miller of Parris House Wool Works right here in Maine. Susan Feller of Artwools, from West Virginia, who I will soon meet in person… There are so many creatives hooking away trying to explain what it is that we all do. We are working hard at it and loving what we do. Maybe you could have a look at what they are working on too.

Thanks for listening- help get the word out- we are here and are strong and aren’t going anywhere soon. Take some photos of us and our rugs- make us look like all of the other great photos out there- crafting, knitting , hooking, doing.

Watch soon for a post that will highlight some of the adventures of 207 Creatives. Beth Miller and I, along with Susan Feller of Artwools are going to be on the Schooner J&E Riggin in less than 8 days. Another 16 women will join us to hook, draw, create and enjoy great food and scenery off the coast of Maine. They are coming from Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia, CT, NY, PA, Louisiana, and Maine. Don’t you wish you were joining us?

view of the J&E Riggin's sail
Visiting the Mid Coast of Maine

Visiting the Mid Coast of Maine

Last weekend my husband and I went north and visited the “Mid Coast” of Maine.

Gracie the Labrador Pup
Gracie the Pup at Cellardoor Winery

We decided to bring Gracie the Pup along , who was a great traveler. It helped that the air temperatures were cool so keeping her in the car from time to time wasn’t a problem. I opened the roof and she was fine.

View from our cabin in Lincolnville

Lincolnville was our home base, so to speak. What a lovely little spot! The first night we had a seaside cabin with a deck overlooking the ocean. Wow, so special. The second night we were bumped to one cabin back- which we knew was going to occur, but that wasn’t a problem at all since we still had a perfect view of the sea. Our prior planning could have been better there but we waited until the last minute to make our decision. There is a new baby due to arrive soon and we didn’t want to be too far away in case we were “called into duty”.

Sarah and Lucy awaiting the arrival of the new baby
New baby brother coming soon!

Towns visited

Dice Head Light house
Dice Head LIghtHouse Castine, Maine
Maine maritime tugboat
Cute little tugboat from Maine Maritime

We visited Castine, (the home of Maine Maritime Academy), Bayside, ( a step back in time with small Victorian cottages), Camden and Rockland. What a lovely part of our great state of Maine. You could spend an entire year traveling around from town to town, island to island, cove to little cove and still not see it all.

The Lobster rolls

There were some lobster roll comparisons to be made. First stop was in Freeport at the Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster. We were dazzled by a double rainbow while we ate! But I’d have to say that Youngs Lobster Pound won. Then again- there is Five Islands Lobster Co that needs to be revisited- their lobster rolls are quite fantastic! Another road trip?

Double rainbow at Haraseeket Harbor
Double Rainbow
Lobster roll at Young's Lobster Pound
yummy lunch of a lobster roll

Fun unexpected side trips

Tower at Mt Battie
Mt Battie watch tower
Panoramic view from Mt Battie
Panoramic view from Mt Battie

A trip up Mt Battie in the Camden Hills State Park was gorgeous. The views from the tower were fabulous- even on a day that wasn’t crystal clear. Views of the surrounding harbors, islands , schooners, etc, is not to be missed.

Even a library book sale in the sweet Castine library! It’s hard to deny my husband the joy of looking at books- you just never know what treasures you might find! We did find a few, but limited ourselves this time! My favorite find was Rumpole of the Bailey DVD’s- a British show about a barrister in England- 5 DVD set for $1. What a steal!

Then, for fun- a side trip to Cellardoor Winery. That was a beautiful spot as well. We had a wine tasting and went away with a few bottles to remind us of our time there. We were able to walk Gracie on the grounds and enjoy the quiet area outside before continuing back to our home base.

Feeling blessed to live here

We feel so blessed to be able to live in this great state with the mountains (our own home) and the sea so close to us. Portland is wonderful of course and we are there weekly. There is something special about getting away from the southern coast though. Hopefully we will make another trek to visit even further up the coast in the near future. Perhaps in the fall when all of the veggies have been harvested? Maybe not…

Rug inspiration

My surroundings here in Maine are where my inspirations come from in my rug hooking designs. From the Maine woods, to the Maine seacoast and places in-between . There is always something that sparks an idea. Lucky me!

I’ve come away with loads of ideas for future rug designs. Keep watch in the ETSY shop and my website as they become a reality.

OOOOh it’s cold outside!

OOOOh it’s cold outside!

OOOOh, it’s cold outside! Wow, taking Gracie out, who has to find “her spot” before she does her business, is quite a challenge today. I think that , according to my weather ap, the air temperature feels like -28 degrees right now. BRRRRRRRR

So- I have been doing what I had promised for some time. It takes quite a while to get things listed in my ETSY shop. Don’t even talk to me about the website as a sales platform- not sure when that will happen. I have been getting some kits listed and have hopes to list more as the weeks go on.

So- if you are looking for something to do during this cold snap- hop on over to the ETSY shop and pick up a rug hooking kit to keep your hands busy. And wool- well that is just cozy anyway! I have beautiful Irish made rug hooks for sale and will be listing some frames made in the US too.

Here are a few that I have been working on.

Wool chair pad kit
Rug hooking kit
hooking kit
Wool rug hooking kit

Have fun inside- maybe do some reading, some organizing, some cooking or some crafting. Whatever it is- stay safe, stay warm.

Rug hooking kit
Sly Fox rug hooking kit
I feel “healthy, happy and terrific”

I feel “healthy, happy and terrific”

photo credit John Mark Smith

“I feel healthy, happy and terrific”. While at a celebration milestone birthday breakfast I asked the vibrant 90 year old about her secret. She thanked everyone for coming and made this announcement of her daily ritual. “Every morning before my feet hit the floor I say, I feel healthy, happy and terrific”. When asked how long she has been doing this she responded “as long as I can remember”. This woman always has a smile on her face- is always so very positive and dresses “to the nines” every day. She will be celebrating 62 years of marriage this year as well. Their love affair is storybook. They are often seen holding hands and beaming at one another.

There was another woman at the table. It was not a milestone birthday for her, she had hers 2 years ago! She is 92 , still lives in her own house , and she too is a “smart dresser”. She attends one of the book groups I attend, is quick witted and positive. A widow for almost half of her life, she still remains positive and says that she looks to the future with each day ahead of her. A teacher by profession, a mother a volunteer and friend to many.

photo credit John Felise

Then there was the 89 year old who drove a number of the women to the breakfast. I think of her as being quite “young”. She is vibrant, interesting AND interested in life in general. And yes, she too is super positive. Her home is welcoming and fresh and always open to both friends and family. It is an honor to share a part of her life.

Each of these women are fortunate to still live at home. They volunteer and are quite spiritual in their daily lives. Coincidence? I’m not sure- they come from different backgrounds, had different jobs in their working lives.

How lucky am I to be surrounded by such magnificent role models who greet each day with vigor and anticipation. “Once a day is gone, it’s gone. You can never get it back, so why not treat each day with a positive outlook. Be productive each day too.” I am still working on that…it has been a battle for as long as “I” can remember.

They are all from a different era than I so the dressing up each day is a bit different than how I grew up, and hold myself today. I am much more comfortable in jeans and a flannel shirt these days- whatever I can do to keep warm! They have a style that I just never seemed to have. But, it is nice to put on some nice things and feel a little good about yourself!

Oh, by the way- I didn’t mention the 93 year old man who still lives in his own home- has a quick wit and is often cracking jokes. When he was younger, perhaps 75, he volunteered at the school and my son learned to play chess with him. A sweet man indeed.

Words to live by, women to aspire to. Read some- well , maybe read a lot, dress up, feel proud and smile. Our world would be a much better place if we all listened to these women who have figured out just how to live each day of their lives with grace, curiosity and hopefulness.

Pin It on Pinterest