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Are you listening?

Are you listening?

Good Morning,
I have not been reading quite as much as usual. Have you? Last night I decided to start a mystery novel and that has helped. It is a carry me away kind of book. I chose an Anne Cleeves novel with the Vera, the inspector. I find all that grimness a weird bit of comfort. It makes me think back to a book club that I was a member of in my thirties. At that time I had never read a mystery novel.
In fact I was a bit snobby about them. I liked, what I felt at the time, were more "literary" books. I think then I cared more what people thought of my reading taste. In that club, one member picked a mystery and I duly read it. I dubbed her choice as "less than" but felt it was right everyone got a turn to choose a book. Oh what a little snot I was.
I don't remember what the book was, or even really liking it but it opened my mind to a whole new genre. It lead me to Ian Rankin and Henning Mankell; to falling a little in love with difficult characters like Rebus and Wallander. It lead me to see that being narrow minded about my reading choices really did not serve me well.
A few years later Jennifer Manuel of Fish Eye Sisters told me about this writer she loved. Her name was Louise Penny. I got one from the library but I just didn't get Inspector Gamache. I told Jenn and she said she loved him. Well I thought Jenn was lovely. I trusted her reading mind. So a few years later I tried again, and now I love Louise Penny, respect Gamache and buy every new book in hardcover.
Finding something new is like that. It's like tasting asparagus for the first time when you were a kid, or spinach, or broccoli. At first you might not like it all. You might think you never ever ever will but something in you changes. You mature. You meet a nice person who loves asparagus. You change. You open up a bit.
Possibilities. What don't I know that I like? Oh goodness I love that question. It makes me so curious. Like is there a new flavour about to descend on us. My husband is of Lebanese descent so we have being eating zaatar for years. It is a mixture of thyme and sumac mixed with olive oil and spread on dough and baked. It is comfort food. Lately I see it everywhere. A few weeks ago I saw a zaatar salad dressing in the grocery store. I thought , imagine if I was just discovering this now, how great would that be?
Open. What do I miss when I don't stay open? All kinds of things probably. And it isn't all that easy sometimes. I feel like I have watched, seen, read, and eaten a lot. New ideas are not always easy to come by.
I am taking an online course and one thing the instructor says is so what if you heard it all before, listen, you might find something new here. And I do. I find new things sometimes in the old. I find there are new things tagged onto the things I have heard before. I also find that rethinking an old idea brings me to new places. And just finding that out is worth the whole course. My friend Carol Oram says, if you get one new idea in a whole book, that's a really good deal for $20 or $30 bucks. I love Carol cause she says stuff like that. Smart stuff.
Listening. Oh that's the key. Listening to wisdom around you. Listening to the good stuff. Normally I read aloud my newsletter to my husband before I send it out but I think I'll skip this one. He might guffaw. No he is not a "guffaw" type but he would have plenty to say about me and listening.
Listening. That is what I need to do more of. He'd like this part. But I am not going there with him. I will just try to quietly practice not walking out of the room when he is in mid sentence. Not asking "What?" when I have really heard what he said. Do you do that? My mind wanders. It thinks about blue wool when I am cooking supper. It thinks about macaroni when I am dying blue wool. It thinks about the shape of broccoli leaves when I am writing a newsletter. Like how cute and curly they are.
But back to listening. I want to listen more and I want to listen better. Now is a really good time for listening. There is a quietude that surrounds us. A quietude that is within many of us right now.
As I hook this week I plan to listen.
Listen to sounds of the birds in the morning.
Listen to my husbands laugh.
Listen to my heart.
Now it is more important than listen and to
Create beauty everyday.
Thank you...
Next Facebook Live Thursday, April 9th at 2pm Atlantic Time!
I'm gonna be there! Hope to see you there too!
PS. We are still shipping everyday. Each day one of us works in the studio alone to prepare your orders. I am answering the phones from home so they can fill the orders.
We are open for shipping
Recreating Winter Wonderlands

Recreating Winter Wonderlands

Seeing hooked rugs of winter scenes definitely isn't as common as seeing mats depicting bright and colourful autumn and summer designs. I suppose not many people look at a soft ivory and think "hmm, I'd really enjoy hooking an entire rug of this". It takes a different kind of bird to truly love and frequently find inspiration in those long winter months; even though it is the time when hookers are their busiest. To me however, there'd be nothing more cozy than sitting curled up in a blanket with a cup of coffee and hooking the ethereal winter landscape that's outside of your window onto the rug sitting in front of you.  Do you ever go to a friends house and notice how many paintings or photos they have hung up take place in the winter? It's because they're beautiful to look at. A charming photo of children making snow angels in crisp white snow with their cheeks all rosy, or a horse drawn sleigh making its way through evergreens, these are the type of images that you could be recreating! When winter comes, go outside and crunch around in freshly fallen snow, notice how quiet it makes everything, watch it tinkle down and blanket everything it touches. 

Winter themed rugs are probably not hooked as often because of their colour schemes and because you don't see many patterns floating around of them. Pale mottled greys, ivories, frosty blues, pale mauves and purples, dark blue greens; these are all beautiful when you see them melded together to create a snowy masterpiece. And the textures, the sparkle and the different things you could incorporate into a winter rug, the possibilities are endless. 

Next time the snow falls and you're feeling blue about the oncoming of winter, stop and look around, try to see the snow as a delicate decoration to your already inspiring world. 

Roadblocks to Your Creativity

Roadblocks to Your Creativity

The following are some habits that may be keeping you from accessing your full creativity without you even being aware of it! Keep an eye out for these routines that could be hindering your hooking:

-Keeping the same books on your shelves for years, try switching up your books about every year or so, or when you're done scouring them, donate them.

-Watching TV and Netflix a lot, screens keep you from experiencing the world around you. 

-Pinterest: it has a way of pulling you into it's DIY vortex of doom but beware, things don't always look the same on a screen as they do printed out in a book or once you actually create them. An in-person visual is always your best option.

-Relying on your old tricks every time you take on a new project, without tweaking them a little bit or modifying them to suit the new things. Take advice from your friends and fellow hookers every now and then, you may discover your new favourite technique.

-Not using new fabrics and materials in your work. Using the same old stash repeatedly can eventually give your rugs a dreary appearance and make them unintentionally all look the same. Explore new materials you don't usually play with, and frequently buy new pieces of stuff that catches your eye, it doesn't need to be excessive, just don't use the same cut up sweater for the next 3 years.

-Asking the same people for their opinions over and over again. You get the opinions for others to get an outlook that isn't yours, by asking the same people for theirs all the time, you're defeating the purpose. 

-Sticking to your favourite artists for inspiration in your rugs. Artists are always evolving and there's always new people on the scene, look for new motivation and creativity in other people from time to time. 

-Not keeping a notebook is a big no-no. Your brain is like an endless abyss up there, not jotting down your thoughts, ideas and doodles means there's less of a chance you'll ever retrieve them again once they slip from the front of your mind. Even keeping a list on your Notes app in your smartphone can work. 


Tips for Hooking Big Rugs

Tips for Hooking Big Rugs

-Make sure you start out with enough wool to complete your large rug.

-You don't have to use every colour throughout the entire rug, using a similar shade in different areas works well and will keep the design light.

-Have the rug set up on a frame in a visible place so that you get into the habit of hooking a little bit every day. This is a good habit to get into. 

-If you're getting bored make a design or colour change instead of putting the whole thing away. 

-Try not to get held up by not knowing what colour to use in an area, you can remove a small area of colour at any point without affecting the rest of your rug. 

-Borders are a good way to tie together a large rug.

-Big rugs are hard to complete sometimes so stay focused on just getting it done and not necessarily making it perfect in every way. 

-Be patient, you won't know how it's going to look until it's done and you can step back from it and see it for what it is. 

-You can create a big rug out of small patterns that you've repeated over the whole rug. 

Creating Simple Abstracts

Creating Simple Abstracts

If you're interested in creating an abstract rug, but are unsure of where to start or what colours you want to use, you can always create a single colour abstract. 

First you want to gather a large variety of wool and materials in different shades of one colour. You can use as much or little texture in your rug but you do want to have a bit of contrast to incorporate into your rug. Using more texture and less wool will make the wool stand out, and vice versa. As you add colour and texture, keep your vision of the finished rug in mind, it will guide you in creating a very unstructured rug. Balance and composition are still somewhat important but there's no need to get hunk up on them when creating an abstract, it has to please you first and follow the rules secondly. 

When hooking a colour or texture, make sure you hook enough of it to make an impact. Constantly changing your colour will end up making your rug look like a hit and miss, you want to give each element its moment to shine. 

You want to hook your rug loosely so that it looks like your colours and blending together seamlessly and not just laying next to each other like blobs of similar colours. If it's a large piece put in some contrast colours that are a little different yet still work with the overall colour scheme, these will become a nice focal point that the eye will be drawn to. 

There are no rights and wrongs when creating an abstract rug and experimentation is key. Some of your techniques will surprise you at how well they work and others maybe not so much, be creative, brave and follow your instincts and vision of the finished product. 


The Makings of Moody Skies

The Makings of Moody Skies

-A stormy sky is unsettled and has a lot of drama, as well as movement and flow. 

-A stormy sky is typically created from greys, blues and creams. 

-You can use deep shades of grey, grey-blues and grey-greens to accentuate the heaviness of an impending storm. 

-Clouds should be lightest of greys, creams or pale yellows to emphasize that the sky is darker than usual. colour. In the rug above it is just grey areas outlined and a cream background. Very simple idea, but it works so well.

Experiment with your skies. You can create interesting moody skies by experimenting just with colour.