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News from Green Mountain Hooked Rugs

Live Blog from Sauder Village - What the heck is Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week?

Today is the first day of Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week.  Monday is largely reserved for rug drop off (for the exhibit) and vendor set up.  For attendees not much else goes on, so it makes for a perfect travel day! 

I won’t bore you with stories from our 10 hour drive which included singing, planning for Rug School (lots of improvements headed your way – we get very creative when we are bored) and various unhealthy snacks.  Instead, I thought it would be helpful to explain what Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week is.

 The Venue – Sauder Village has old fashioned exhibits where you can see how things were made in the past.  It’s a family owned and operated business (a model we fully support) and Sauder furniture is also made there; somewhat of a predecessor to Ikea.  They have a hotel and restaurant onsite as well.  Other than that, you are pretty much surrounded by cornfields in the middle of Archbold, Ohio.  The venue lends itself well to being fully immersed in Rug Hooking.

The Exhibit – this is main attraction.  If you want to see one of the biggest and best rug hooking exhibits in the county, this is the place for you.  It houses the Rug Hooking Magazine Celebrations winners each year.  In addition, they typically have a few specialty exhibits.  Last year, Judy Carter’s personal compilation and Susan Feller’s year study were some of those featured.  Lastly, those of us who do not have a rug in celebrations or a specialty exhibit can participate by submitting rugs in 5 various categories. 

Workshops – They run classes.  Some are long (4 days) some are short (only an afternoon) and they have everything in between.  You can expect to see some unique classes centered around other fiber arts or different ways to use wool. 

Vendors – They hand pick 11 or so vendors.  Typically, about half are repeat vendors (The Wool Studio, Dorr Mill Store and Ali Strebel Designs will all be familiar faces) and every year they invite a few new ones.  Either way, there is no lack of wool for you to purchase.  One thing to note about the vendors is that there are often a few that are not specific to rug hooking  – if you aren’t interested in buying rug hooking supplies, you should still check out the vendor area as there are always different goodies to purchase.

We are so excited to have finally arrived and can’t wait to tell you about everything listed above.  Stay tuned for tomorrows blog!

 

OK, because it's raining today, the photos don't do it justice but wanted to share anyways.

Our hotel room (Mariah's bed is the messy one).

The view from our breakfast table outside - it's raining

The breakfast hall - Yum!

The main lobby with a beautiful fire place

The view outside from our room - see, cornfields!  I wonder if Jen Lavoies "Corn II" was inspired by Sauder?!?

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Part Two - Are you there wool? It's me, Lindsay...

Did you ever find that perfect piece of wool for your project and then you let it slip through your fingers?  

I started a new project, called Cat on a Fence by Green Mountain Designs.  I was psychically ready, I was mentally prepared and I assumed that as I selected wool for this project, it would go immediately into my rug.  I started picking colors, for the cat, the background, etc. but what would I select for the fence?  Suddenly, I heard my mom's voice in my head.  While other moms are telling their children not to play in the street, not to swear, not to take candy from strangers, my mom was telling me "never to use a flat white wool in your hooked rugs".  While searching through my stash, I found it!  The perfect piece!  It was 95% white, but had hints of grey and brown spot-dyed in.  It was perfect for the fence, mostly white with enough color that I knew mom wouldn't be mad.

And as quickly as it appeared, it was gone.  I picked out these colors for my new project before Rug School.  I then packed everything up in a blue bag and brought it with me.  I can only assume that during the madness which is rug school, my perfect piece of wool was some how mixed in with the others and it was sold.  So here is a message to that piece of wool:  

I hope you enjoy your new home, I know whoever ended up with you will be good to you.  Be all that you can be!  Whether you end up as clouds, a white picket fence or a dirty old snowman, I know you will make the most of it... because that is the type of wool you were.  Know that you will be missed here.  I found another piece of wool, but it is not near the piece of wool you were.  I am sorry for not cherishing you enough while you were here and letting you get mixed in with the riff raff but I know you will go on to do great things.  - Lindsay

I had to pick myself up and move on.  I found a crappy piece of light grey wool (under any other circumstance it would be a beautiful piece of wool), which I mixed in with the white.  I think it turned out ok.  I also have had to hook a lot of the rug in a 4 cut, which as you know from my last blog, is not fun for me.  While talking with Gene Shepherd at Rug School, he said that my next rug, I need to go the other direction and hook in a 10, I think he is right...

My progress so far, below.  You can see, I still save all my tails for the end. :)

The one and only, Susan Feller helped me pick out the colors for the sunflowers.  She told me to highlight in between the leaves with a slightly darker color so they would stand out more.  I took that approach on the two middle flowers but wanted some variation on the two outside ones.  So for those, I did the opposite.  I put the lighter color between the leaves - highlights and lowlights if you will.  It gave an interesting effect.

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Italia con Mia Madre!

I think that title says "Italy with My Mom!" but Duolingo (the app I've been using to learn Italian) says that I'm only 11% fluent so who knows! We haven’t had much trouble with the language, however because we quickly learned the most necessary phrases:

Please - “Per favore”
Thank you - “Grazie”
Two Cappuccinos - “Due Cappuccino”
Pasta with tomatoes - “Pasta al pomodoro”
Caprese Salad - “Insalata caprese”
Cake - Torta
Tiramisu - “Tiramisu*” 
*The difficulty with this last one is not in the translation, but in my attempt to control the size of my eyeballs and the extent to which they pop out when I ask for this.

You can tell from this list of translations where our priorities lie, but we have also managed to fit in (and after all this pasta still fit into) a few amazing sites as well! 

We started our trip in Rome and stayed for three days. Our hotel was in the northeastern part of Rome near Termini Station and on day one we walked down to the southeast side of Rome. On the way we saw the Victor Emmanuel Monument and a few other things that we buzzed right past to get here:


The Basilica San Giovanni in Laterano! 

The inside was beautiful and we walked around in awed silence marveling at the gigantic statues, the ceilings, the floor tiles, the paintings and the mosaics. We were just getting ready to leave when they really knocked our socks off… from the back of the church echoed this eerily beautiful organ music. It started low and slow and then picked up the volume while my mom and I just stood there not even trying to pick our jaws up off the floor. We just shuffled forward slowly until we reached the rope that stopped us from getting any closer.

Out in front of the Basilica is this really beautiful piece of architecture and artwork. Below is the very first picture I took in Italy!

After exploring the southeast a bit more we headed west to the ancient city and walked all through the Palatine, which we expected to be incredibly beautiful and moving as well having just come from hearing the organ music. As we climbed the final stairs and looked over the railing, however, we saw this: 

See that? Right in the middle of a beautiful and ancient place are three foot high letters spelling out, "L O S E R". Douglas Adams himself couldn't have written it any better. Who knew Rome could be so juvenile? So I immediately whispered under my breath to my mom, “I know you are, but what am I?” and she laughed. Rome is surprising, artistic, and has a juvenile sense of humor. I think I was meant to live here. My favorite parts of the Palatine were the arches that remain in place. One can only imagine what the whole place looked like when it was still intact.

 
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I forced Mom to pose for some pictures and she did the same to me and we headed out bound for the Colosseum. 
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We saw the Arch of Constantine and the Colosseum, but were so wiped out by then that we just wandered around outside and then headed back to the hotel. Turns out we walked about nine miles that day! So we rewarded ourselves with gelato, then a big dinner of pasta al pomodoro, pizza margherita, cappuccinos, and tiramisu!

Our second day was spent mastering the underground and bus system to get ourselves to Saint Peter’s and the Vatican Museums. It was very hot that day and no one tells you this, but the Vatican Museums are like a river with a strong (and stinky) current of people. Once you wade in you can’t stop and you can’t turn. You just go with the flow and try not to step on anyone. We really enjoyed seeing the tapestries and the Raphael rooms (although I was shuffled right past one of my favorite paintings without even seeing it - The School of Athens) but what really stuck was the Sistine Chapel. I figured with all the hype it would feel a little underwhelming, but it wasn’t! The first things I noticed were the tapestries on the wall… wait… those aren’t tapestries… they’re paintings of tapestries! Talk about great use of light and shadow! It actually took me a full minute to figure out that they were painted and not fabric. Again, no one talks about the walls, only the ceiling, which, by the way, lives up to all of the hype. All said and done we walked just shy of nine miles that day so we rewarded ourselves with a pizza lunch, a shower at the hotel, and then headed off for the Trevi Fountain! 

As we approached the area with the Trevi Fountain we noticed that all of the streets were roped off and heavily guarded by police who were all holding giant automatic weapons, which is not something you ever see in America and we therefore panicked slightly. Terrorists??? NO! Fendi! A famous designer had taken over the entire area surrounding the Trevi Fountain to put on a fashion show with a certain Kardashian affiliated sister among the models. So we didn’t get to see the fountain or even get close to it, but we DID get to see a PETA representative dressed in full nun gear with a giant paper mache head protesting the event (there was fur involved.)

After Rome we went to Siena for a night where we stayed in an apartment with an incredible view of the Duomo:

That evening we walked to the Piazza del Campo, bought bread, cheese, tomatoes, wine, and limoncello and went home to relax! We spent the whole evening sipping, eating, chatting, and staring out the window while an incredible party went on just down the street. Karaoke, crowds, YMCA, dancing, screaming, drinking, you name it. It was straight out of a movie. The next day we visited the Duomo in the morning and then headed out for Tuscany! 

Not bad, eh?

Here there was a pool, an incredibly charming little town (Castellina in Chianti) and enough wine to keep us happy and rejuvenate us for our day trip to San Gimignano. It even inspired me to take out my charcoal pencil and paper and create this little view from the deck:

San Gimignano is a tiny, very old town FULL of artists! I bought two paintings for a friend, a new woven bag, and Mom bought a silk eco dyed scarf! We came, we saw, they conquered our wallets :) and we got some great pictures of incredible architecture.

Our apartment in Florence is literally in a tower on the Ponte Vecchio. Couldn’t ask for a better place or a better view.

Tomorrow we tackle the Ufizzi, more pasta, more pizza, possibly more gnocchi, definitely more cappuccinos, and maybe some more chapels! We plan on just getting lost in the city and enjoying everything around us.

I’ll be posting a ton more pictures to Facebook and we’ll blog again in a bit so you can join us as we explore the art and food world in Italy!

 

Ciao!

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Part One - My Long, Lost Love!

We're talking projects people!   

Nothing makes a fiber artist want to share her work more than compliments!  Since I got so many compliments at Green Mountain Rug School this year, I have decided to share it below.  I took some cool photos of it through out production.  Enjoy!

 

Photo 1 - Just Getting Started
This pattern is one of our Green Mountain Designs called Seth.  I started this project back in October of 2015.

 

Photo 2 - OK - this is fun!
I had picked out all the wool I needed and was off an running!  I loved the way my green leaves were looking. (yes, that is a glass of wine in the bottom corner).

 

Photo 3 - OK - this is HARD!
I had to hook the nuts and orange leaves in a size 4 cut... I was not pleased about that.  In addition, my orange leaf looked like a blob.  Mom suggested I change the vein to something closer to the orange and make sure I pack my loops together.

 

 

Photo 4 - Progress
Most of my green leaves were in.  Hooking objects in the foreground and background is really hard and I was way out of my comfort zone.  I had to find a way to make them look distinctive.  I did that mostly with the color of my wool, but also tried to shade a few parts.  That worked in most places except the leaf right in the middle, what a mess!  Oh well, my first rule of rug hooking... I am not allowed to pull anything out (hence blobby leaf stays). 

 

Photo 5 - My Long, Lost Love
I started to hook the background in... a Heaven's to Betsy wool called Cotton Eyed Joe.  This is literally the best wool I have ever hooked with and I am not just saying that because we sell it (though we do).  The loops pulled through the backing like butter and it added a lot of movement to my rug without overpowering it.  I loved it so much, I skipped the boarder and hooked it all the way to the edge!

 

Photo 6 - Production comes to a halt
I am finding my project difficult to finish thanks to our one year old Golden Retriever, Freddie.  Not helpful.

 

Photo 7 - C'est Fini!
My completed project below!  Again, look at how nice the background came out.  You may see Cotton Eyed Joe in future art work of mine... also notice how the crummy shaded leaf in the middle and blobby leaf stayed put - I do not pull out!  I am still very happy with how it turned out.  Its a learning process!

 

This blog post got too long, so I decided to split it into two.  Read about my new project in part two of this blog titled "Are you there wool?  It's me, Lindsay".  I will post part two on Friday morning, July 15th.  A preview of the pattern is below...

 

Green Mountain Design - Cat on a Fence

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LIVE BLOG: The Shop at Green Mountain Rug School

LIVE BLOG: The Shop at Green Mountain Rug School

If you're at Green Mountain Rug School, you already know that the Shop has just about everything a rug hooker could need (and want), from bolt wool, to hand-dyed swatches, to frames, hooks, backing, dyes and even patterns galore. It's Hookers' Heaven, if you will! 

For those of you not at Green Mountain Rug School this year, please visit our online store at www.GreenMountainHookedRugs.com to view our ample selection of materials and supplies. If you don't see what you need, please let us know and we'll do our best to assist you!

 

A Visitor to the Shop at Green Mountain Rug School

 

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LIVE BLOG: Second Session In Full Swing!

Greetings from the second session of Green Mountain Rug School! Students and teachers are busy on their projects, old and new. In addition to seasoned teachers Gene Shepherd, Michele Micarelli, Cheryl Bollenbach and Iris Simpson, we are so pleased to introduce first-time Green Mountain Rug School teachers Ellen Banker and Mariah Krauss!

A 16-Value Hand-Dyed Swatch by Mariah Krauss for a Student

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LIVE BLOG: An Auspicious Time for a New Logo!

LIVE BLOG: An Auspicious Time for a New Logo!

As the generations of women (and men) before us have helped to make Green Mountain Hooked Rugs what it has become, the current 5th generation team of sisters recently launched a new logo which incorporates the work of our forebears while moving with the present day necessities of online-friendly imagery. The three mountains have always been a central element of our design and, along with multiple shades of green, represent our creative home in Vermont and the physical location of the Shop and Green Mountain Rug School.

An exciting addition to our logo is the small sun (as we've been calling it) in the upper righthand corner but, as today, June 20th, ushers in the summer solstice and a full moon for the first time in 70 years, it occurs to us that our logo could very well represent both sun and moon. An auspicious sign for sure!

Our View:


 

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LIVE BLOG: To Dye For...

Things are heating up at Green Mountain Rug School as the temperature tops 90 degrees and the dye pots boil away! While spectacular works of wool art line-dry and the sun continues to shine on, we can feel the summer solstice coming just around the corner.

See the wondrous colors of Gene Shepherd's class below!

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LIVE BLOG: The Sun is Shining and the Weather is Sweet...

LIVE BLOG: The Sun is Shining and the Weather is Sweet...

What a glorious way to kick-off two sessions of Green Mountain Rug School. Today, we were bathed in glorious sunshine and the smiles of our rug hooking friends who made (very) long and (very) short trips to join us. After a lovely lunch at the Capitol Plaza, everyone got right to work in their classes and some of us (shh!) even popped out for a nice cold chocolate gelato made right here in Montpelier! If you weren't able to join us this year, we'll be sure to save some for you to try at Green Mountain Rug School 2017!

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Why it's important to wash your wool before it goes into a rug... and tips on washing.

To wash or not to wash, that is the question.  The answer is - always wash!  As a rule, we here at Green Mountain really never put anything into our rugs that hasn't been washed.  Here's why:

The biggest risk to not washing your wool is bleeding.  Most wool won't bleed but I ask you, do you want to take that chance?  Water gets spilled on the floor, the dog piddles or there is so much moisture in the air, your colors bleed... it could happen.  A simple way to prevent this from happening is to wash your wool.  In addition, washing the wool felts it which makes it stronger in the long run. 

Never washed wool?  Here are some tips.  The old style top load washers are better, they agitate the wool more than the new front load washers (though you can still use a front loader).  Set your washer to the rinse cycle, it will fill the washer with water and spin to drain.  If you put it through a full wash cycle it will agitate it too much.  I like to add a touch of fabric softener too (no laundry detergent)- it gives it a nice smell which makes me smile but provides no additional benefit.

Then it goes in the dryer.  I usually do a timed dry of 20-25 minutes on a medium heat.  You want the wool to be dry but it shouldn't over dry.  If you over dry it, it will continue to shrink and fluff.  

Last tip - wool shrinks when you wash and dry.  Keep that in mind when buying for your project.  For every yard you buy, you will usually lose 1-3 inches (meaning if it starts out as 36" it will be 33"-35" after you wash it).

Keep in mind - these are just guidelines.  All washers and dryers are different.  It is difficult to "ruin" the wool though when following these guidelines, but if you are worried, cut off a small piece and do a test run!

The question you are probably asking yourself - how do you know if wool has or has not been already washed when you buy it.  The easy answer is ask, but in general:

- Wool from the Bolt - unless specified otherwise, has not been washed

- Hand-Dyed Wool - by definition has been washed, its part of the dye process.  Hand-dyed fabrics for example include our 5 value swatches, any of our dyed wool, our packets and our remnants (once off the bolt, we throw everything in the wash).

Any other tips you have found from washing/drying wool?  Leave your ideas in the comments below.    

Hope this helps!

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