Monday, September 27, 2010

Heading toward Halloween

Fall appeared sometime between Saturday's 80 degree, intensely sunny afternoon and this morning, gray with a cold misty wind.  I love autumn weather and color, but miss the long hours of sunshine the summer provides.  I'm always a little wistful when I wake up to find summer gone . . . 
I have lots to look forward to this fall, though.  My rug hooking guild, the Peconic Ruggers, met on Tuesday evening.  We are going over last minute plans for our biennial rug show which will take place on Halloween weekend this year.  What fun!  Our co-president, Jennifer, who is full of energy and ideas, issued a challenge to us -- a graveyard challenge!  We are to hook tombstone rugs which will then be presented as a graveyard.  How clever is that?  I have been working on a design for a larger rug that is tombstone shaped, which will not be ready for the rug show given the number of shows Barb and I are vending at this fall, but I did make a small mat that I started last Saturday at Hallockville.  I discovered that it is a challenge to make an interesting tombstone, both because of the lack of color and the difficulty of getting great detail with strips of wool.  But here's my first try: 
I used a grayed and heathered lavender wool for the background, but it reads as a flat light gray.  It's not too interesting, so I am trying to think of a way to make a hooked gravestone sing.  Any ideas?  I designed a small stone to be needle punched, which is going to feature orange wool thread.  We'll see how that works.

The other great news about our rug show:  The Wool Street Journal is coming to visit!  Even though we are a tiny guild, Bonnie and her daughter, who runs Gwoolikers, are going to join us for the weekend -- all the way from Colorado!  They will have two tables to sell their wares and I am sure they will bring along their cameras to take pictures for the magazine.  So if you are in the tri-state area, you should join us for Halloween weekend here on the North Fork.  We have lots of great stuff to do -- wineries everywhere you look, art galleries and museums, great restaurants, beaches and walking trails, pumpkin picking and corn mazes, shopping -- all in addition to the rug show. 

There's more!!!!  We will also be hosting a Searsport Rug Hooking Trunk Show that weekend.  So there will be wool and patterns and supplies galore!  Here are the other vendors: 

Barbara Blossey-Chuvalas:  Baskets
Bumble Bee Primitives: Hooking and Needle Punch Supplies & Finished Goods
3 Bags Full: Reclaimed Wool
The Paisley Studio: Rug Hooking Patterns and Antique Hooks
thimblefolk: Hand-dyed Wool and Folk Art

Hope to see you in October!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pipes and Drums

It is Maritime Festival weekend here in Greenport.  Yesterday was as hot as July here, but Pete and I walked downtown to watch the parade.  It featured several pipe and drum bands, the first of which was the NYPD Emerald Society.  I believe there was a band that came all the way from South Africa as well.  I don't know what it is about bagpipes, but they always make me smile.  Perhaps it is my Irish blood hearkening back to the homeland.  Or maybe it is the rug hooker in me, lusting after all that yardage in those knife-pleated kilts . . . 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Harvest Time at Hallockville

I shared a booth with Barbara the Basket Maker this weekend at the Hallockville Fall Festival.  It wasn't the place to sell expensive hand-hooked rugs and hand-made baskets, but Barbara and I had a good time none the less.  The weather was glorious both days.  We were able to visit with lots of friends and lots of dogs.  It was a canine connoisseur's dream!  We saw three weimaraners, miniature schnauzers, Portuguese water dogs, tons of bichons, maltese, and yorkies, a really regal German shepherd, Darla, a petit chocolate colored Doberman pinscher who couldn;t be loved or petted enough, lots of Jack Russells, golden retrievers, a keeshond who was losing its hair, and a 2 month old Pomeranian Yorkie mix named Foxy, who looked like a little fox.  Our favorite pettable guest, however, was Fraggle, a 4 month old gray French Angora rabbit, who just snuggled up to whoever was holding him and was as soft as soft can be.  Made me want another bunny . . .
It was a lot of work and not much money, but I always have a good time at Hallockville, and I always have a good time with Barbara, so the weekend was worth the effort.  Now I am gearing up for the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, my favorite show of the year, on October 16 and 17.

Here are a few more shots of out booth on Saturday.  We moved the wagon and Barbara's hanging ghoulie on Saturday to open things up a bit.  My sister Barb sent some of her Halloween goodies, as did Barbara's friend Patty from Michigan, who does lovely counted cross stitch.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Great News!

I heard a rumor yesterday and decided to follow it up.  The Townsend Cutter is going back into production.  Here is the email I received this morning:

Bee Line Company is in the process of purchasing the rights to produce the Townsend Cutter product line.  We are currently estimating shipment dates to begin at the beginning of November.  All inquiries that I receive will be added to our contact list to be updated on an actual date when we are able to determine that date.  Bee Line is very excited to begin producing and selling this product that has such a great reputation for quality.  Please feel free to share this news with anyone
else that you feel may wish to be added to the contact list.  They can just drop an email to  Thank you for your interest in the Townsend Cutter.

Kerry Dobereiner

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Angora Yarn

Long ago and far away, Clara and I bought a beautiful French Angora bunny.  He was a tiny little thing, mostly tawny fur and a twitchy little nose.  I rationalized bringing him home from the country fair by claiming I was going to learn to spin and  turn his fur into luxurious, soft yarn to knit and hook with.  Not.  Ash lived a long life before heading to the Great Rabbit Hutch in the Sky and I never learned to spin and didn't save an ounce of his fur.

 So I was thrilled to find Bay Haven Angoras at the fair at Longwood on Saturday.  I was so thrilled I forgot to take photographs of pure white four month old Cotton and her two gray brothers.  But I bought two skeins of the most gorgeous, softer-than-cashmere yarn.  I'm not sure what I will make with it -- hook an Angora bunny? Or keep it on my desk to fondle on a daily basis?  It is just lovely stuff and I am happy to have it.

Lisa, who owns Bay Haven Angoras, spun the yarn herself.  She doesn't have a website, but she does have an email address, so if you're interested in buying a bunny or some yarn, you can contact her here:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lovely Day at Longwood

The Peconic Ruggers participated in the Brookhaven Country Fair at the Longwood Estate this past weekend.  I joined co-presidents Jennifer and Judy (and Jennifer's daughter Lizzie) on Saturday to demonstrate and soak up the fall sunshine.

Jennifer and Judy did a great job with the booth.  I love the way they strung string and hung the mats up with wooden clothes pins, like laundry out on a line.  We had a great selection of rugs -- even one in progress for people to try their hooking skills out on.  Jennifer has designed and printed an assortment of informational brochures for us to pass out.  I finished hooking up our raffle rug for this year -- my Garden Cat pattern, which I donated to the guild.  (If you would like to buy a ticket, contact me.  Chances are $1 each or 6 for $5.)

The fair is a fun one.  There's lots to eat -- fresh roasted corn, gyros, crepes, hot dogs, kettle corn, and zeppoles.  (Thanks to Lizzie for making a zeppole run for us . . . boy, were they good -- piping hot and sugary.  Yum, yum, yum.)

There's a Revolutionary and Civil War re-enactment, Irish Step Dancing,  lots of music, a quilt show, pony rides and lots more.  The Peconic Ruggers actually met in the main house on the estate for a couple of years.  It's a lovely house and I had a lovely day.
Now it is back to work.  I'll be sharing a booth with my friend Barbara Blossey Chuvalas the basket maker at the Hallockville Fall Festival next weekend, so this will be a busy week.  Stop by and visit us.  The Ruggers will be there, too.  For more information on Hallockville and the Fall Festival, click HERE.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Eek! It's a Moth!

Since a couple of people commented on the freezer trick I mentioned in the last post,  I feel I should say some more about moths.  These little creatures can decimate your wool stash in the blink of an eye, so you must be ever-vigilant and not count on one trick to keep your wool safe -- unless you're using DDT in your studio (which I sincerely hope you are not doing)!

Most rug hookers know to wash thrift store wool immediately.  If you can't get to it the day you buy it, leave it the trunk of your car or in a pile on the porch.  Wash it and dry it in the dryer thoroughly.  The soap and the heat will help rid the wool of pests if they are there.

I keep my wool stash in wire grid boxes that I bought at Target on sale for $12.99 a box.  In my first studio, I had my carpenter build wooden boxes all the way up the wall.  They looked great, but they didn't allow air to circulate like the wire boxes do.  Also, the wire boxes can be reconfigured very easily.  I scatter lavender sachets through out the boxes.  I've heard that dryer sheets will also keep bugs away.  Moth traps are available, but if you catch a moth in one, you already have a problem and better start washing all your wool!

If you have purchased an old rug, take a vacuum to it.  If it is fragile, use a piece of screening between the rug and the vacuum so your don't eat up loose wool or backing. Get as much dust and dirt and larvae as you can.  I clean all my old rugs --and I have collected a lot of them over the past 20 years -- with Woolite Heavy Traffic rug cleaner.  It is a spray-on foam that I work into the surface of the rug with soft brush (I use a cheap plastic back brush from the five and dime).  I let it dry, then I vacuum on low suction.  It really works. 

The next step:  air your rugs out.  I put all my rugs outside in the sun periodically.  It helps them to smell fresh, and moths don't like sunlight.    I use my old rugs in places that don't get a lot of traffic, or I hang them on the wall.  I NEVER store my rugs in my cedar chest.  I learned this the hard way.  Cedar chests are very hospitable places for moths.  The smell of the cedar does not necessarily keep them away.  Also, the acid in the cedar can destroy wool.  I keep the unused portion of my rug collection laid out flat under all the beds in the house and rotate them once in a while.

I do freeze rugs if I see moth damage on them.  I leave them in the freezer for a few weeks then go ahead and clean them with the Woolite.

I do clean my rugs in fresh snow when possible.  The snow really makes them look fresh, but it won't get rid of moths if you have them.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Find of the Week

Pete and I had dinner with some antique pickers last week.  They were holding an estate sale on Saturday and said the house was chock full of stuff.  I believe the owner was an antique dealer at one time.  I think the entire town of Southold and then some were there -- we had a difficult time parking and had to walk a long way.  We are actually downsizing our lives these days, as opposed to acquiring new stuff, but we  had to go and look.  The first thing I saw when we finally got into the house was this sweet little Cheticamp table mat with the label still attached.  It was hooked by Mrs. Willie H. Deveaux and I'd say it was hooked in the 1950s.  Pete waited in line to pay while I continued to look through the house.  I told him not to spend more than $20 on it, figuring it is worth about $40 in an antique shop.  They only charged him $1!  I was mighty pleased about that.  I'm going to hang it with my collection after it spends some time in the freezer (to kill off any possible moth larva).