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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Free Templates and Patterns Online

The Briarpress site is great for its many free downloads. If you know of any other sites that offer free designs, not necessarily intended for rughooking either, comment on this post (see below)!

As I get started back into rug hooking in January after a 3-year hiatus, I plan to hook the "A" for my daughter Anna.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sherbrooke Rug in Progress

Here are the first three leaves in the rug we are creating to be auctioned at the Sherbrooke Centres spring gala. The green one is by Patti, and the brown ones are by Ann and Donna. Follow the progress of this rug on the blog.

Photos from the Christmas Party

Member Rugs: Donna's Christmas Piece

Hooker News from Rita

First, Thank you to...
1. Patti and Ron, for welcoming us into your home for our Christmas get-together and fundraiser; we had a very enjoyable afternoon. Thank you to the donors and buyers- your generosity raised $240 for the Rancheritas.
2. Everyone who helped with the demonstration at Sundog. Thanks also to Dorothy for organizing the display and volunteer list. There was a lot of interest in our craft.
3. Ann and Donna, for your work on the Sherbrooke rug. There are now 4 leaves finished. We have until the beginning of May to complete this project. It will be auctioned in the Sherbrooke Gala on May 15.
4. Alice and Gloria, for coordinating the gallery display, especially at such a busy time. We'll all be proud to show the city our work in our first gallery exhibition.
5. Patti, for coordinating our demonstration and display at the Heritage Festival of Saskatoon, taking place at the WDM on Sunday, Feb.7. This is happening at the same time as the gallery display, so we will need rugs for both events.
6. Liv, for your work on the blog. Liv will teach us about adding articles and photos at a future meeting.

Mark your calendar: Sask Stitches Conference, Muenster, May 28-30. Lynne Howard will be teaching a class on Hooking With Polar Fleece.

I think we had a great year! We created some wonderful rugs, shared ideas, inspired each other and enjoyed spending time together. Life is good.

Merry Christmas to you and those you love.


*photo credit: docman at Flickr (Creative Commons licensed)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Way to Go! Christmas Party Raises Money for Rancheritas

A good time was had by all at last weekend's Christmas party and hook-in, where our group raised $284 CAD for the Rancheritas in Mexico!

Thank you to everyone who participated, and for the food, auction items, sale items, and good company. If you have photos from the party, send them along to Liv for posting on the blog.

From the Rancheritas website: The Rug Hook Project was created in 1993 by a group of expatriates living in San Miguel de Allende Mexico. Their vision was to enhance the lives of rural women in two ways: create scholarships for girls so they could continue their education, Mujeres en cambio, and finding a moneymaking occupation for women, the Rug Hook Project.
photo information:
Roosters by Isabel Cazares 25 Las Gallinas. Photo from the website.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Guest at Last Guild Meeting

Lisa, a recent guest to our guild, brought a rug that her great-grandmother hooked in the 1940s for her grand-child, Lisa's mom.

Lisa's great-grandmother, a resident of Nova Scotia, was an avid hooker. The Scotty Dog rug had been damaged on the edges by years of wear. In this photo, member BettyAnn in repairing a damaged spot.

Lisa was seeking suggestions on how to preserve this piece of her family history. The rug was hooked on burlap from a light-weight fabric which might have been rayon or cotton.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ahhhh, I'm in Love with This Rug

And another Nathalie Lete. Wow. Here's the link. "Papillons."

Is Nathalie Lete the Artist Anthropologie Commissioned?

Re: the last post (See below), I wonder if well-known French artist Nathalie Lete is the one who made the rug.... She does a lot of hand-hooked rugs in addition to paintings, drawings, and ceramics. See a news story on Lete here. Here's the collaborations she's done with Anthropologie.

images from Anthropologie website, and from Nathalie Lete's website.

Massive rug-hooked artwork in Seattle

My daughter and her husband went on a trip to Seattle last weekend and saw this hooked portrait rug hanging in the clothing and decor store Anthropologie . They said it was 3 metres by 5 metres!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hooker News from Rita

1. SunDog: Please contact Dorothy about volunteering to demo on the weekend of Dec. 4,5,6. She will provide you with a ticket for admission. Please bring rugs for the display to the Nov. 24 hooking night.

2. Cutter: BettyAnn has donated a Fraser cutter to the group. Thank you very much.

3. Christmas Hook-in and charity fundraiser: Thanks, Patti, for offering your home. Instead of a gift exchange, please bring a few dollars and any items (they don't need to be hooking-related) that you would like to donate. The money raised from the sale of these donations will be used for charity. Our chosen charity this year is the Rancheritas. Learn about the Rancheritas at

4.Annual General Meeting: The AGM will be held on our next hooking night, Nov. 24 @ 7:00 p.m. Please come out to discuss how you'd like to see the club improve.

5. Order from Rittermere-Hurst-Field: We agreed to order the new edition of the catalogue for the group. If you would like to order anything from RHF, email me before Monday, Nov. 16th. If we share the postage, it will save everyone money. You can view the products at

6. Donation for Sherbrooke Centre: Donna and Ann kindly offered to design a rug that we can all work on and donate to Sherbrooke's fundraising auction.

7. Centre Gallery Display: The display begins on Jan. 4, so it is absolutely urgent to prepare for this before the holidays. There is a $100 fine if the display is not put up and taken down at a prescribed time. Alice and Gloria are co-ordinating this event.
-Each person is asked to submit 2 or 3 pieces. All types of hooked items are needed. Please note that some may not be used if space becomes full.
-Deadline for rugs is Saturday, Nov. 28 (Christmas Hook-In). You may also bring them to the Nov.24 hooking night.
-In order to hang the rugs, they will need to have a pocket (casing) sewn to the back. Please use light weight cloth (such as muslin or broadcloth) and make a 2" pocket at the top on the back of your piece. Please leave 2" on each end without pocket. Make sure to sew the pocket to the backing threads, not the loops.
-Include this information along with your rug: name of rug, hooked by------, designed by.........,size, price or 'not for sale'. You may also add a short statement about your rug.
-If you should sell a rug, the gallery fee is 25%.

8. See the last blog posting (below) to see Donna's Halloween rug. If you sign up to follow this blog, you will be notified each time a new item is listed.

9. Watch this short video about the Rancheritas.

Take care,

*photo credit: docman at Flickr (Creative Commons licensed)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Member Rugs: Halloween Rug by Donna

Here's Donna's Halloween rug! The design, by Christine Little, is called "Moonstruck Wanda." What an interesting sky, and don't you love the wonky houses? --Rita

Friday, October 30, 2009

October Guests

Our Tuesday night hooking group was excited to welcome a fellow hooker, Charlotte Wood, from Port Williams, Nova Scotia and her daughter, Karen.

Charlotte came to Saskatoon to attend the fall convocation where Karen received her doctorate.

Charlotte expressed interest in coming out west with a group of maritime friends to attend Prairie Harvest Rug School. We would very much love to show you some prairie hospitality, Charlotte. We would be delighted to get to know you better.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Grain Elevator Rug Project

A couple of updates on the cross-Canada grain elevator rug project:

1) Rug Hooking Magazine will publish a story or profile of the project in the spring 2011 issue.

2) The Sask. Legislative Assembly gallery is interested in displaying these rugs, too; we need a name for our display, so email your suggestions to Rita. She is also looking into Western Development museums in many cities.

3) Please consider creating a grain elevator rug this year. There are currently over 30 participants from across Canada. Photos of the projects will be taken at the 2010 Prairie Harvest Rug Hooking school, for proposed submission to Rug Hooking Magazine.

4) If anyone from Alberta, BC, or Manitoba would be interested in checking into possible sites for a showing, please Rita know.

5) Suggestions of any kind for this project and its exhibit(s) are welcome! Contact Rita.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hooker News

Our efforts to promote rug hooking have been very successful. Here are four new events that will take our work out to the public:

1. Our rugs have been accepted for display at the Centre East Galleries in Saskatoon. The display will run from March 29- May 9, 2010. With the variety and quality of our work, I'm sure it will be a wonderful display. Thanks, Patti, for your work on this.

2. Our new member, Jan, in Regina, has had discussions with the Saskatchewan Legislative Gallery. They are very interested in our elevator project and it is very possible that the gallery will display the rugs. People from all over the world visit this gallery. We need a title for the display. Any suggestions?

3. We are invited to have a hook-in and display our rugs at the Prairie Fibre Art Showcase, Saturday, July 11, at the Prairie Fibre Mill in Biggar. The Showcase runs from noon to 5:00 p.m.. Jo is the contact for this event. Please email Rita if you want to carpool.

4. Our member, Liv, is the very talented person who posts our articles and photos on the blog. If you have something to share, just email it to Liv and she will post it. Thank you so much, Liv. I have heard many positive comments about the blog.

Take care and enjoy the summer.

*photo credit: docman at Flickr (Creative Commons licensed)

Prim N Proper Stitches Semi-Annual Sale

Now on from June 26th to 28th.

Dorr & British wool 25% off
Needfuls 20% off
Everything else 50%

Sorry, no sale on hand drawn patterns, but do ask about the paper patterns listed.

Orders are processed in a first-come-first-ship basis.

Kim Kowula
Simply Unique

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Visit to Princess Farms

We enjoyed a very pleasant hook-in at the home of Jo and Mark. And what, might you ask, did we do there?
  • marveled at Jo's wonderful yarns, cashmere and alpaca, soft and luxurious
  • had a tasty potluck lunch
  • learned about dyeing roving via Jo's demo
  • picked rhubarb to take home
  • wandered among the animals and felt their soft wool
  • witnessed the arrival of their new animals- a male, 3 females and a baby alpaca
  • learned interesting information about the animals and the fibre business
  • tried out Wii Fit
  • chatted
And, oh yes, some of us hooked a few loops

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Breakfast at Harmony House

During the retreat, our hostess, Lidia, prepared this awesome egg dish for breakfast. It was light and delicious. She also served locally made sausages, baked french toast with a homemade hot apple cinnamon topping, fresh fruit salad, juice and coffee. Yum! This breakfast is worthy of special occasions or guests, yet so easy to prepare.

Harmony House Egg Dish
The basic portions are 5-6 large eggs for 2 cups of cream. This may be doubled.

Beat very well. Add sauteed vegetables such as mushrooms and peppers and your choice of cheese.

Bake in an open casserole pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour, depending if you are doubling the recipe. It is done when it is nicely browned and firm in the middle.

Cooked bacon, ham or sausage may also be added if you choose.

(To make the french toast, prepare as usual using french bread, stack 2 layers deep in a casserole, and bake in the oven with the egg dish.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Member Rugs: Sharon's Hooked Ornaments

During the spring and summer, when less time is spent indoors, Sharon decided to hook small items rather than start a new rug.

Sharon recently bought two hugely discounted iron trees at Urban Barn, and she's planning several seasonal displays with these trees.

Sharon's first creations are Christmas decorations. She thought she would braid wool for a hanging loop or leave the braided wool long enough to tie a bow. She also thought she might try Easter eggs and fall leaves.

What an interesting project, Sharon!


Photos from the Retreat

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Retreat Recipes by Patti

Wild Rice Salad
1 cup of wild rice. Soak for 2 hours, then cook and cool.

When cold, add:
juice from 2 lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
chopped mint and parsley
dried cranberries
nuts (toasted pine nuts are best)
salt and pepper
fresh vegetables, chopped finely- cucumber, carrot, celery, red pepper

Mix and add more lemon juice if desired.

Asian Roast Chicken
Patti used this marinate for chicken, but it is equally good for pork.
1/2 cup of hoison sauce
1/4 cup soya sauce
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
4 clove garlic, crushed
Place whole chicken with sauce in a zip-lock bag, marinate 2 hours or longer. Roast.

Lemon-Rosemary Roast Chicken

Marinate chicken in lemon juice, olive oil and fresh rosemary.

-Photo credits: Lemon by reidab on Flickr. Fresh Rosemary by _peteej_'s on Flickr. Creative Commons licensed.

The Retreat: First Annual?

Harmony House at Manitou Beach rolled out the welcome mat for the 10 members who attended the retreat. We had ‘The Annex’ all to ourselves- several bedrooms and bathrooms, a deck, a kitchen and a large area to set up our frames for hooking.

Breakfast was served in the main building, a lovely setting with antiques galore. The food was scrumptious and healthy. Patti planned and shopped for the other meals and was chief cook- and what a fine job she did! The Friday supper menu included Rosemary/Lemon or Asian Roast Chicken, freshly picked asparagus, Peanut Spice Noodles, Wild Rice Salad, Chocolate Mousse and strawberries and cream. Saturday supper featured Glazed Ham, Smashed Potatoes, an Indian vegetarian dish, green beans and a raspberry dessert. Lunches consisted of cold meats, salads, cheeses and vegetable and fresh fruit trays.

Manitou Beach has many interesting features. Some of us visited the mineral pool, antique and craft shops, Danceland and Camp Easter Seal.

A highlight of the retreat was learning Wanda’s Wandering dye method. BettyAnn has been very successful in using this method for the sky and mountains in her moonlit, winter pictorial, so she agreed to teach us. The resulting wool was beautifully colored.

Throughout the weekend we shared stories and laughter and enjoyed the company of friends with similar interests. Some hooked a lot, while others hooked a little- but everyone had a good time.


Photo credits: Artwork, Harmony House, by Michael R. Gaudet. Photo of landscape Jorgio El Zein. Hooking in action photo by Rita.

Hooker News

We now have 30 members.

Discussion from the meeting of June 9:
1. We decided at an earlier meeting that we would not be demonstrating at the Exhibition. If you would however, wish to volunteer for security or to be a judge for hooked entries, please call Dorothy. The Ex is on from Aug. 4-9.

2. We will tentatively book the Annex of Harmony House for a retreat next year during the first weekend in June. Those who attended this year will be asked for suggestions about what they liked and what could be improved.

3.Mark your calendar.....Hook in on June 20 at Jo's farm.We will be able to see her spring lambs and her wonderful yarn. Jo has invited the weavers and spinners, so it will be a very interesting afternoon. Plan to arrive for a potluck lunch at noon. I will email the directions to her farm. If you need a ride or have room for passengers, please send me a note. It might be a good idea to
bring a lawn chair.

4.A beginners' dye class will be arranged.

5. Susan offered to help seek out exhibit space for our elevator display. We have close to 30 signed up for the project from 6 provinces. The most recent to express interest is a lady from Waterloo University. Look for a photo of Jan's elevator rug on the blog. She was working on it at the retreat.

6. Two new rug hooking publications will be released soon. The least expensive way to buy them is by ordering from a company like rather than from Rug Hooking Magazine. (For example, Hooked Rug Landscapes is $31.90 from RHM and $21.39 from There is free shipping for orders over $39. We can pre-order and they will ship as soon as the books are released. Send me an email if you would like to order one or both of these books.
  • Pictorial Hooked Rugs by Green Jane Halliwell (Paperback - Oct. 2009) Buy new: CDN$ 20.76 Available for Pre-order. Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping. Jane's first book on pictorials was excellent, with information on how to dye and hook everything from rocks to skies, roads to rivers. She assured me that this new book was even better.
  • Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs XIX by Rug Hooking Magazine (Paperback - Aug 2009) Buy new: CDN$ 20.76 Available for Pre-order. Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping. This is the collection of this year's award winning rugs, with our group well represented by Cindi's rug.
Take care,

*photo credit: docman at Flickr (Creative Commons licensed)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Natural Dyeing

Before 1850, colour on every cloth was created with natural dye. I was looking at the British Designer, William Morris, for a rug I am going to do, and I found that he became an expert in natural dyeing.

Finding a store at Granville Island in Vancouver, my daughter, Liv, kindly obtained some natural dyes. Then she told me it was a mother's day gift. How lucky was I? I have an Indigo kit, natural dye kit, alum, marigold, pomegranate, henna, and brazilwood. The natural dye kit has osage, madder, logwood, natural cochineal, cutch, and tannin. They were obtained at MAIWA Supply, 1 604 669 3939 and at Recipes can be found on the Maiwa website.

The soft, muted shades of old hooked rugs are part of their charm, and many produce warm earthy tones. While synthetic dyes over the last 100 years have taken over natural dyes, now there is a renewed interest in the environmental sustainability of natural dyes.

Direct natural sunlight for drying naturally dyed material is recommended, and only natural fibers can be dyed using natural dyes. Mordants, those metallic salts that make the colour penetrate the wool fibers, can also be purchased through MAIWA.

I will bring the dyes to the Watrous weekend to show those who may be interested. No pictures yet, but when I do some dyeing, I'll post them.


Book Review

Miriam Miller pioneered the revival of "proggy" and "hooky"* rugs in Australia. She has just released a wonderful book on her work and that of the Narrawilly Proggy Ruggers who meet at her home: Proggy and Hooky Rugs (National Library of Australia, 2008. ISBN 9780646488721).

Featured in contemporary art galleries in Australia, Miriam’s body of work breathes life, joy, and colour galore. There are sections on design, dyeing, finishing, flowers, and even plastic bath mats. Patterns are included. The section I most enjoyed dealt with children’s hooking. It is an uncomplicated book, with fairly easy-to-do projects. I recommend it for beginners.

Both Rita and I have copies of the book, if you would like to borrow one. I will bring mine to the Watrous festivities.

* “Proggy” is proddy; “Hooky” is hooking.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Colour Planning

One of the most challenging parts of hooking is colour planning your rug. A colour wheel is a helpful tool, and the one at is amazing.

This web site instantly allows you to see a whole range of colour schemes by first choosing a scheme (click on mono, complement, triad, etc.) and then clicking on the colour on the wheel that you would like to include as your primary colour.

So, for example, if you want to see a complementary colour scheme that contains red/orange two clicks will produce the scheme. What an interesting way to study colour!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What About Loop Height?

A question of the day on Wanda Kerr's site was, "Do you think loop height is something to be concerned about?" Most of us were taught in our beginner classes that the loops should be as high as the cut is wide and we strive to make the loops even in height. Here are three interesting responses to the question. What is your opinion?

1) With beautiful hooked rugs being mass-produced (by hand) and offered at retail, I choose for my hooking to be easily identified as an individual work of labor and love. Slight variations in loop height, irregular sizes and shapes, color mix as well as incorporating names and dates do this for me. Many of the antique items we own - rugs or other treasures, show all sorts of "amateurish" or questionable execution but have stood the test of time and are probably as appreciated today by their lucky owners as they were by their proud or practical originators. While they may have strived for perfection within their skill level, their lack thereof is what would have attracted me to their pieces.

2) I love Barbara's answer about the variations, and individualism in contemporary, and older rugs. While I admire even polished rugs, but don't do them(a lot of it is can't), not with the varied, recycled materials I have to work with because they are not all the same weight, thickness, or texture. They pull up and hook differently even if they are all the same cut. I use thick to thin fabrics from coats, jackets, skirts, pants, sweaters, blankets, and almost no new fabrics along with commercial and hand spun yarns, sheep fleece, and other non wool materials and yarns. I like using the different materials as to me it's what I can afford, and i get interesting effects, textures, and looks to my work. I'm not a perfectionist who has to color in within the lines, and have perfect, even loops, or I feel I've failed as as a hooker. A lot of the old primitive rugs, and hookers I admire like Deanne Fritzpatrick do not do even polished rugs and do encourage variety in hooking and materials. Maybe if I used all the same weight or type of fabrics, like all new Dorr, etc. my loops and their appearance would be more even, but it'll be awhile until I can find out. When I have focused on trying to have perfect, even, polished loops I have ended up frazzled and hating what I'm working on out of sheer frustration, and almost gave up completely on hooking. I'd much rather enjoy what I am doing and not worry about even height, straight rows, or perfect consistent loops.

3) I strive to make my loops even because I personally like the way it looks. I'm not a grand master at it, but pressing usually takes care of the little variances. I find it especially important to watch my loop height if I am mixing different widths of wool. That said, I would vary loop height in projects that are not meant for the floor depending on the effect I want to create. This is especially true if I am using materials other than cut wool strips.

Rug Hooking Isn't Just for Underfoot!

Our members create cushions, footstools, wall hangings, coasters, trivets and purses. Here is a tea cozy, hooked by Sharon, from a design that was included in the Spring, 2008 issue of Needle Pulling Thread magazine. Sharon has created a colourful English garden around the cottage. Smaller hooked pieces like this are an excellent way to use up left-over bits of wool. A hooked tea cozy is an attractive way to keep your tea piping hot or it makes a welcome gift.