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Today, I finished my 3-D hooked house! I am so happy with how it came out.


This project was started over the winter in a class I take with Julie Smith. Because of the birth of my grandson in March, I was unable to work on it until the spring. The house measures 11.5" x 4" x 6". It was hooked mostly with a four-cut, but there are also some 5- and 6-cuts. A few bits of yarn here and there also. The cat in the upstairs window was glued on. I used a sock weight wool yarn to sew it together.

Here are the completed pieces before construction began.



I started by sewing the side panels to each side. It proved to be fairly easy. Here is the first side panel sewn to the main house.


Once the house was sewn together, I whipped yarn around the bottom of the whole house to finish.

Here are the three other sides:




To photograph the standing house, I placed it over the light I use to hook by.
Great project. I would certainly try more 3-D patterns.
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In a recent class at Julie Smith's, Julie talked about her experience taking a class with Molly Cosgrove who is well-known for hooking on wire mesh. I've tried to find photos of her work, but didn't have much luck. Julie showed us the project she started and challenged us to try our hand at hooking on wire.

Here is a sample of the wire:


We started with a rectangular-shaped piece of mesh, and with a few cuts, shaped it into a box. Once that was done, we took crimpers and folded the ragged and sharp edges over to make the top edges of the box smoother. Next, using a tapestry needle, we wove in the top edging of the box about a 1/2 inch down the sides. 

Once the top edging was complete, you commenced hooking in the thick yarn chosen for the project. Here was where I had a problem. I had my good hook with me, and after pulling a few loops did not like that my hook was catching on the wire and not easily pulling the yarn through the mesh.

Now for the dilemma: I was supposed to be "hooking" this piece. Eventually, I found that using a tapestry needle and weaving loops in and out of the mesh proved to much easier. So, this basket/box was not really hooked!

Anyway, I did enjoy the process and would like to try using the mesh to sculpt a shape. Here are some photos of the finished box. The flowers are pieces of sari silk.






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Check out this wonderful link about rare fabrics and textiles in a shop in Vermont. Wish I knew it was there when I was last in Brattleboro.

Delectable Mountain Cloth


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WOW! It's been a while! I've been so busy these past few months. Here's an update on what I've been up to.

New Grandson!
Most of the last few months have been spent enjoying and getting to know my new little grandson, Thomas. Born late in March, he lives a fair distance from us, so I've made quite a few trips to visit. In fact, during our last trip over, we bought a vacation home to be nearer to him and watch him grow up!

Rug Hooking
I haven't done a lot of hooking lately, but I did manage to finish a small project I started in February. This heart pillow was hooked entirely of yarn and used a cording to separate the sections and bind the edge. I attached a wool backing to it, stuffed it and voila. The fun part was needle felting the top motif which give the whole piece a regal feeling.


Dyeing
Haven't gotten a whole lot of wool dyed, but did manage to dye nine yards recently. Here is that pile of wool – a nice variety of lights and darks. Most of this wool has been listed on Ebay. Either check out my listings there (link on right side) or contact me directly if you see a color you like.



Reading!
Did get a lot of reading done. Here's some of the highlights:

All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. A great book -- depressing and hopeful at the same time. A novel of World War II. Told from the perspectives of a blind French girl who becomes involved with the resistance in France and a German soldier who doesn't really believe in Garmany's cause. Well-developed characters who you really care about. Even the more minor characters are interesting and play such an important role in the story. The lightness of youth and the darkness of the time are incredibly contrasted in this story.

The Reading Promise
Alice Ozma
A delightful book about a single father and his daughter whose love of reading turns into an over 3000-day challenge to read aloud each day. Loved this!

Tenth of December
George Saunders
A collection of short stories. Although I didn't get the gist of all of these stories and almost gave up on the book, I did enjoy some of them. It was very readable, and perhaps I need to read more short story collections to learn to appreciate this type of book. In particular, I enjoyed the first and last story the most.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Betty Smith
Quietly fabulous! The simple lives of the characters in this novel made this story a monumental read. The poor and quiet lives of the people in this novel have a lot to teach us.
"From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be
lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends
and there was one for every mood."

Wild America
Roger Tory Peterson and Jame Fischer
Written in 1953, this book is a tour through the United States by leading bird experts with the intent of seeing as many species of birds as possible. A glimpse into life in 1953 with no digital camera or phones. Easy reading. Interesting to see how life has changed in sixty-plus years.
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Sitting here at my desk, watching the snow fall. Luckily, I'm surrounded by fun projects. I am finishing up the border on my Seaside Village Rug (designed by Karla Gerard). I love the way this rug turned out. It's funny that you sometimes plan for a rug to look a certain way, and it winds up taking on a life of its own.

Here's a photo:



You can see several techniques used in this rug: quillies, a roof with a solid fabric (the olive green house) that has been sewn on and stuffed, French knots in the purple flowers, a roof woven with yarn (the rust-colored house), and an attempt at Waldeboro hooking near the bottom of the rug. I think using different hooking techniques is what made this rug so fun!
What are you hooking?
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I'm nearly finished with my latest rug, Seaside Village by Karla Gerard. I was inspired by Gail DuFresne's book to add some quillies. Here's a photo.


You can see in the upper left hand corner a spot where another quillie will go. I do love the effect. The possibilities are endless!!

Also, lots of new wool in my Etsy shop:

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I have finished the interior of my Woodland scene rug. Just the border remains and some tweaking I want to do to some of the elements in the main body of the rug. I like using dyed roving to accent in small spaces. For instance, I'll probably needle felt in some black/gray lines on the birch trees, add some sparkle to the eyes, etc.

Here are two photos. I'll upload a photo of the completed rug once the border is finished and the rug is bound.

I need to have this rug completed by the middle of January, so I feel that I'm ahead of schedule. I'd really like to finish this week, so I can concentrate on the holidays.



I think I'm going to change the orange plant above the deer. Not really fond of it. Also, the spots need to come off the deer. He looks like part watermelon!!

Hope your hooking is going well, and the holidays aren't overwhelming you. If you need wool check out my Etsy shop and my Ebay sales. Links to the right!
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Published by "Rug Hooking Magazine," Gail Dufresne's book Rug Hooking with Fancy Fibers was worth every penny I paid for it. I can't say enough good things about it.

I flipped through the book when it first arrived and knew immediately that I wanted to sit down and actually read it. It soon became apparent that I should take notes, mark pages, talk with friends about it, and do a review for my blog.

If you are a rug hooker wishing to expand your horizons, then this is the book for you. It focuses on the use of three-dimensional techniques for hooking including weaving, knitting, embroidery, beading, embossing, felting, knotting, quilting, sculpting, prodding, crochet, quilling, and more. The other interesting discussion in this book is the use of materials other than wool to complement your rugs.

Through the use of photos of the most incredible rugs, you will get ideas for using the above techniques in your work. There are lots of close-up photos that detail these techniques.

In addition to all this, you will also get a concise history of some of the aspects of hooking. I particularly liked the discussion on Waldeboro sculpting. It's something I've tried in the past, and now want to do more of it.

However, the most fun I saw was in the use of quilling or standing wool shapes. UNBELIEVABLE!!! I have never used this technique but want to try it immediately! I want to do all of these techniques!

Finally, the photographs! There are photos of rugs created by some of the best rug hookers in the world such as Cindy Irwin, Jen O'Malley, Liz Merino, Tracy Jamar, Kris McDermott, and many others. And let's not forget the stunning work of the author, Gail Dufresne.

"Rug Hooking Magazine" always puts out great books on rug hooking, and this is no exception! Go buy it now!!! (Click on the photo above to take you to the amazon.com link for this book.)
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This past Wednesday, I left my rug hooking group, came home and decided to try "ice dyeing" with wool. Several members of our group had tried ice dyeing with cotton fabric for use in quilting and had incredibly beautiful results. The cotton does not need to be heat set as wool does, so I was unsure how this type dyeing would work with wool.

Here, in pictures and words, is my procedure:



Using a square stainless steel pan, I placed the wool as shown.

I then added synthropol and water to wet the wool.


After the wool was sufficiently wet, I drained the water, and
scrunched the wool to form nice peaks and valleys.


Next came the addition of the ice. I realized later that I needed more ice, but at this point, I went with what I had. Something I soon learned was that the ice could not be moved. It stuck to the wool!!


After placing the ice, I sprinkled dry dye over the ice. This is when I realized I should have had more ice. Some of the dye went directly onto the wool, when optimally, it should have been only on the ice. Live and learn!



The two photos above show the movement of the dye as the ice began to melt.


This is what the wool looked like when I placed it on the stove, covered it with foil, and simmered for ten minutes. After ten minutes, I added some vinegar but did not really stir. Cooked the wool for another 30 minutes after that.

The pictures that follow show what the wool looked like after being washed and dried.




Here's my thoughts on this process. I definitely needed more ice. I liked using dry dye, but it can lead to large spots of color on the wool that may not be as pleasing as you'd like. I'm not sure what hooking with this wool will look like, but I think you could get some stunning results using this wool for appliqué.

If you give this method a try, let me know how you make out!

As always check out my sales on Etsy and Ebay. Links are to the right.
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As I've mentioned before, I take class every other week with Jule Marie Smith. She has us push our limits in the rug hooking and fiber art area whenever she can. This month's challenge was to hook a face and create a doll. I was skeptical at first having never made a doll, but I decided to give it a go. I figured if it didn't work out, so be it.

The fun part about this project is that we all will be bringing our doll creations to Julie's at the end of the month for a tea party!! We're even having tea sandwiches!

I got busy with my doll a few weeks back and finished her up yesterday. I downloaded a simple body from the Web, but was really flying blind for the construction. The sewing together of the body parts went smoothly, but then I had to attach her overlarge head to her tiny body. Surprisingly, it went well.

Here is Faye. She doesn't sit up by herself, but she's quite posable if she leans against something.



Her hair is braided using a multicolor yarn, and the body is made of a cotton fabric. I think she's quite something!

I'd love to hear what you think!!

ALSO...
My Etsy shop is loaded with wool. Take a peek!
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