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News from Green Mountain Hooked Rugs

10 ways to stay on top of your crafting projects this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s face it, finding time to craft is something that haunts us all no matter the season. But it can be especially difficult in those summer months. 

Here are 10 things you can do to make time to craft.

10. Pick one time every week.  Things are easier to accomplish when they are habits. My mom spends 1-2 hours every morning hooking. She has done this for as long as I can remember.  Of the family members she is the only one that consistently finishes projects. There is a lesson here. 

 9. Find a buddy. Projects are more fun to do when you do them together!  I can go for months without hooking and suddenly when my mom or sister visit I find I like doing it better.

8. Get inspired. Take a class. Find a blog. Read a magazine. Inspiration helps to motivate. Every year I leave Rug school filled with ideas and motivation. 

7. Start small. I find I don’t have big chunks of time in my day. But I do have 15 mins here and there. You don’t have to set aside hours at a time, just do a little here and there. 

6. Start smaller. Once a week isn’t working try once a month. The more you do it the more you will find you want to do it. 

5. Set goals. Make it manageable. Nothing brings greater satisfaction than accomplishing a goal. 

4. Book it. If timing isn’t working book it to force you. A hook in, Rug School, Guild meetings - these are great ways to ensure you set aside the time. 

3. Figure out what the barrier is and kick it down. What is truly holding you back? You can use any answer but time. Really think about why you aren’t crafting.  

2. Find ”you” time. Remember that taking time for yourself makes you the best you. Kids, work, school, pets. They are all things that require our attention, but setting aside time for ourselves makes the nagging, barking, phone calls much easier to manage. 

1. Combine your loves. Like wine drinking and crafting. My mom and I were recently talking about how multi-tasking has become a necessity. It no longer feels good to accomplish 1 thing at a time. Now we must do 2 or 3 at a time. Like driving and talking on the phone, watching TV and surfing the internet, or writing a blog post while you throw the ball for your dogs (ahem). 

Find what works for you and make time! If it is important to you, you find the time! No excuses, play like a champion!

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A Rug Hookers Love Affair

Last Spring I fell in love… again, but this time was extra special. I knew I was falling hard for this one as I stepped onto the porch on that warm, sunny day in May. Oh, the delight when I saw the colors overflowing from the totes, and the delicious smell of the linen furled out over the entire length of the deck! The blank canvas ready for my hands.

How enamored we rug hookers can be with a new project! Actually any rug on which I’m currently working is generally my favorite, but this rug in particular holds a special place in my heart.

For the past 4 years I’ve had the privilege of restoring a large collection of nineteenth century rugs that have become a major source of inspiration for me, and have renewed my love for designing and hooking. The genesis of this particular design was a late1800’s rug that was just too far gone to repair. I took the general diamond shape and added two different types of leaves. After some measuring and consulting about the design, I drew a small sample so that I could play with the color palette. I wanted softer, more muted colors to add to the antique look. A variety of Reds on a gray background, blues on tan background, some diamonds outlined, some plain. I also enjoyed mixing lighter values and different textures between the diamonds. The gold-colored crosses completed the pattern and were the grid lines.

With my small sample done, I was satisfied with the size of the blocks, the color scheme and the general layout of the rug so I moved on to tackle the big, blank piece of linen. Using a pencil, I drew a grid of lines so that I would get my diamond shapes straight. Being a true hooker, I couldn’t wait to actually start pulling loops so I made templates that I could lay on the grid, trace, and then hook one at a time. I didn’t draw the entire design first. I knew the rug would get heavier the more I hooked so I started in the center of the rug and worked toward each corner.

I can’t say exactly how many hours or days this project took to complete as I was away for several weeks in June and July, and the fall months were pretty busy too, with classes and other work-related events. But I can say that when I’m home, most days I hook one to two hours every morning.

I finished my big project after Christmas and just had to take a photo to commemorate the event.

This is the final place for my special love. An antique house with antique furniture and a (new) antique hooked rug.

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The Funnies


Over the last 6 months, I have had the pleasure of getting to know one of our newest team members, Marti Rotchford.  Marti has been coming to Rug School for many years and decided to cross over to the dark side to help us when we are on the road. Marti enjoys drawing and is a pretty great cartoonist it turns out.  So here is the first of many cartoons that we will be featuring on our Blog over the coming months.  Enjoy!
 

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Is There a Better Way to Spend a Cold Day? Dyeing with Maryanne Lincoln's Student Suzi Prather!

  

My hooking buddy, Suzi Prather, and I live less than 15 miles apart, so we get together regularly to hook, talk hooking, dip into dye pots, and imagine and plan future projects. During a recent cold snap here in Orlando, I showed up at Suzi’s house with the happy thought of my latest hooking project bundled under my arm. I'm working on Green Mountain Design’s Vermont Cow. I am working on this piece as an example for my 2018 Green Mountain Rug School class on Whimsical Animals!

Suzi met me at the door announcing, “Isn't this the perfect day to get into the dye pots?" And so we did! Suzi taught me her beautiful formulas and great dyeing methods, and showed me how to get specific colors. I had so much fun learning her techniques and hearing stories of her dyeing experiences; Maryanne Lincoln was Suzi’s dyeing mentor in the early days of Suzi’s dyeing. With Marianne’s encouragement and welcoming heart, Suzi often went to help Maryanne dye for the large orders for her classes or just to experiment and play together in the pots. Suzi is so fortunate to have had a master dyer for a mentor and for such a great friend!

After a wonderful day of steam, chatter, and skill building (on my part) check out what we did! They're so beautiful that I don't want to unbundle them or use them! It just makes me happy to look at these lovely pieces. Aren't these just gorgeous?

Suzi Prather will be teaching “Strategies for Dyeing at Home,” June 16-19, 2018 at Green Mountain Rug School.  

Pam Kirk will be teaching “Whimsical Animals,” June 20-23, 2018 at Green Mountain Rug School.

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Composing Rugs from Photographs - A Guest Blog By Pat Levin!

I am excited about my upcoming class at Green Mountain Rug School in June, 2018. The class is essentially about developing designs for ourselves from our photos, using the camera as an important tool, and exploring our own creativity. One of my favorite quotes which is on my studio wall is one by Henry Ward Beecher.   

                "Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures."

One of the lessons I have learned from traveling around the world with photography workshops is that we all have an individual perspective on the world we see around us and our creative spirit and individuality comes out not only in what we choose to capture in a photo but how we see it and photograph it. For example, I love pictures of tree bark and roots, but others may choose to photograph the entire tree or just the leaves. In any case, we have our photos as a basis of original designs which capture what we select and lets us play with unlimited possibilities in our art. Whether you like wide cut, fine cut, primitive, abstract, realism, impressionism, vivid colors, subdued tones, architecture, nature, geometric, etc. photography will be your best friend for ideas and your camera will be a very important tool for you to use.

 I will introduce participants to basic photography guidelines and ways to "think outside the box" with some fun field work taking some photos (ok, more like a scavanger hunt!) We will share photos and ideas. We will look at different ways to convert photos to a style of your choice and then to the canvas via software and/or drawing. Other topics include copyright laws and design basics. Our only limits will be time and our own imagination! Come play and learn! Beware however that photography can be addictive....like wool painting!

Pat Levin

 

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Learn to dye in 5 mins or less...

Yup! That's right. This article is going to teach you to dye like a pro in 5 mins! More likely an amateur, but hey, at least you are doing it... and I am going to kill the first 2 minutes of my time with the silly story below.  Therefore, I am really teaching you to dye in 3 minutes. Begin time now.

I have a short attention span and am therefore quickly on to the... hey, look a squirrel. I also learn best by doing. These two things make it incredibly difficult to teach me anything.  I often say to people "tell me everything you know in 5 mins or less".  Many look at me like I have 5 heads - but the fact is, they can typically tell me 80% of what they know in that 5 mins and listening to them drone-on for an additional 2 hours just to get that extra 20% isn't worth it to me.

I was ready to learn to dye and said to my mom (who has been dying for 40+ years), "tell me everything you know in 5 mins".  First, she looked at me like I have 5 heads (she does that a lot), then she said the following:

  • You need - a pot you dont cook in, some tongs, a glass measuring cup (I used a small glass pitcher because I didnt have a measuring cup), 
  • Boil water in a pot big enough to fit your wool with some extra space to be able to stir it around
  • Add a drop of synthrapol to the water
  • Put your wool in the pot and fully saturate it - maybe for 5-10 mins
  • Pull anywhere from a half a cup to a cup of boiling water out of the pot and put anywhere from a 1/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of dye into that water
  • A 1/4 teaspoon of dye in 1 cup of water would give you a medium color for 1/4 a yard of wool.  If you want a darker color increase the amount of dye.  For a lighter color, do the opposite.
  • Pour your dye water into the pot. Throw about 1/8 of a cup of citric acid in the pot. If you stir more it will be a more even color. Stir less, it will be more mottled. 
  • Once your wool has taken up most of the color (the water is mostly clear). Simmer it in the pot for 40 mins to an hour.  
  • Pull it out of the pot and wash it. For instructions on how to wash it read our previous blog post titled "Why it's important to wash your wool before it goes into a rug... and tips on washing."

Viola!  Your Done!  Here is what came out of my pot the first time I dyed.  I used 4 colors and 1/4 yard pieces of white wool.

Obviously, there is much more to dyeing than this. How do you get the color you want? Dip dyes, spot dyes, swatches.  There are also best practices in dyeing and things you shouldn't do.  How to keep you and your equipment safe, etc.  But use the above notes to get started and play.  See if you even like the process.  

Not sure how to build your at home dye kitchen?  I wrote a blog on that too!  Read "Set up your dye kitchen in 5 mins or less..."

If you decide you do like dyeing and want to learn more, take Suzi's dye class at Green Mountain Rug School this June! Suzi is a protege of the famous dyer, Maryanne Lincoln. For more information and to register visit: Strategies for Dyeing at Home 

 

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Would you ask Gandhi what item from your to-do list you accomplished after an hour of meditation?

It's been a bad week.  Even us big retailers have bad weeks where the business seems hopeless, we feel like we aren't making progress, we get a bad email or we are fighting internally (this happens a lot in a family business)... and in a really crappy week all of these things happen at once.  Oh yeah, and I am getting married in a month. (insert swear word here).

When life's stresses pile up and I become unbearable to myself and those around me, my glorious sister (who has a way with words) tells me to "go sit by myself in my poopy diaper by myself".  And so the first half of this week, that is what I did.  None of my family members would play with me, no one wanted to talk to me and there I sat.  So I decided to pick up my rug hooking.

A question we are often asked in the rug hooking world is what do I make with this? It's not large enough to be an area rug and not small enough to be a coaster.  But after this week I realized, that maybe you do not need to make anything with it... maybe it is the process of creating that is, in fact, the gift. In this utilitarian day and age we are constantly needing to create a purpose for everything and needing to know what we have accomplished. But why, the Yogi asks? After an hour of meditation, would you want to know what you accomplished during that hour?  Would you be wondering which item from your daily to-do list you checked off? No, because that is not the purpose.

"One conscious loop - pulled up and then the next - is a meditation. -Lindsay Krauss  

Rug hooking has long been known for its meditative powers. The act of pulling each loop could be compared to breathing in meditation. As you pull each loop you let go of your worries and fears and focus on clearing your mind.  Do not underestimate the healing powers of rug hooking.  Maybe the process of clearing your mind and relaxing IS what you are creating. You are working on yourself, your health and letting go.

We could all spend more time on our health and well-being. I, of all people, am the biggest culprit of putting aside myself for seemingly higher priorities.  But I find that if I do that for too long, somehow it rears its ugly head and forces me to take a break. I like the quote above.  It reminds me that we make time for the things that are important to us. And rug hooking is not just about creating art, but also about working on ourselves and making time to reflect inward.

And so, during weeks like this, I turn to meditation in the form of rug hooking.  One loop and the next.  One loop and the next. 

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Live Blog- Exhibits are back

Live Blog- Exhibits are back

                                           
With the change of venue to Montpelier, and the Capitol Plaza Hotel two years ago we have been missing the student exhibit until this year. At registration finished work was hung in the dining room. The variety of styles and sizes described our student population.
      
                     
Two other collections were on view for the entire week. The first, artist-in-residence Nancy Blood's personal pieces and students' work, was discussed during each gallery walk. Pat Levin's collection of personal travel vignettes added whimsy, color and personal style.
    Pat Levin exhibit 2017

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Live Blog - A Wealth of Knowledge

Live Blog - A Wealth of Knowledge

The weather couldn't be nicer and the Green Mountains of Vermont are shining in their full glory. We are, once again, honored to host a meeting of the minds (and rugs) with an exemplary array of teachers for session #2 from near (Vermont) and far (Canada). 

We begin every session with a teachers' dinner wherein we all get the chance to gather the evening before classes begin to share a meal and, often, a bit about the stories and inspirations that have brought us together. Without any planning or guidance, we often find that a theme emerges from this communal time that is woven (or hooked, if you will) throughout the course of conversation for the evening. This year was no different.

Amongst the many wonderful anecdotes and expressions of joy and gratitude for the honor of teaching one's passions, was the common thread noting the importance of allowing for and, indeed, embracing change and the various techniques, perspectives, and personalities that have kept this art form alive through eras, regions, and, of course, families like ours.

So, in the spirit of inclusiveness, creativity and exceptional innovation, we are pleased to welcome the following teachers to this session of Green Mountain Rug School 2017:

"Impressionism & Post-Impressionism in Rug Hooking" with Janet Conner
"Florals, Fruits & Waldoboro" with Jackeye Hansen  
"Using Perspective for Impact" with Jen Lavoie
"Finding the Design Process" with Rachelle LeBlanc
"Hooking the Textures of Surfaces" with Liz Marino
"Modern Colors in Wide-Cut Hooking" with Jule Marie Smith
"A Beginner's Guide to Advanced Dye Techniques" with Mariah Krauss

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Live Blog Artist-in-Residence Nancy Blood

Live Blog Artist-in-Residence Nancy Blood

                                                    

Connecting the generations of Green Mountain Hooked Rugs School are the instructors. Nancy Blood was hired by Anne Ashworth thirty years ago on a three year contract. Her skills have been used every year since.

A new addition to the school in Montpelier is Artist-in-Residence ably filled with Nancy's bubbling personality, knowledge and networking. Just this morning I chatted with a student who felt her conversation with Nancy channeled an instructor from thirty years ago. 

Nancy is being incorporated into the teacher's lesson plans along with official hours in the store for consultations. In the Abstract Expressionists class we shared ways to incorporate spot dyed wool into our designs, wrote down dye recipes, and laughed.

The exhibits are back and Nancy has a collection of work including students' pieces.

Nancy Blood's collection of work on display

In conversation, Nancy has said: "Stephanie is easy to work with, a different approach to directing from her mother. Now with the next generation their intelligence and modern quick programming is considerate of all generations attending."

Her husband Seth attended the first year in Montpelier and the reception was a warm welcome, from the staff at the hotel to directors at Green Mountain. Now Jean Laurence is a great traveling companion. 

Love and Laughter are the guidelines Nancy uses to instruct, a common thread here in Montpelier.

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