Friday, August 29, 2014

Rug Hooking Heaven: Nova Scotia

Pete and I just returned from a wonderful week in Nova Scotia, where rug making is a national sport.  Hooked rugs are everywhere -- in gift shops and studios, museums and humble houses by the side of the road.

We made several stops, of course, starting with London-Wul Fiber Arts in Moncton, New Brunswick.  This is Heidi Wulfraat's shop -- she hosts a free online bulletin board called Rug Hooking Daily.  We traveled down a rural road to a lovely wooden building with bins and shelves full of colorful fiber and walls decorated with Heidi's work.  Students were learning to nuno felt in the back room, and a quilter was stocking up on the cheerful cottons Heidi carries.  I was fascinated by Heidi's stained glass-like pieces hooked with hand-dyed nylon.  I bought a few skeins to try my hand at it.  (I will leave the nylon to Heidi in the future; I found it difficult to hook, even with my harpoon-like Ritchie hook.)  I also found some incredibly soft pale green yarn with which I will make baby booties for my niece's and nephew's new babies.

Our next stop was Deanne Fitzpatrick's shop in Amherst, Nova Scotia.  This is a happy place, full of color.  There's a sandwich board out front that proclaims "We can teach you to hook in 5 minutes!"  I love that Deanne makes the craft accessible to everyone.  Inside the door is a salad bar of wool -- bowls full of small bits and pieces for sale so you don't have to buy a whole yard of anything.  Her famously textured rugs hang on the walls.

Pete picked out one of Deanne's signature house mats for us to take home.  I think it will hang in our kitchen over the French doors to the back yard.

I have lots more to share, and I will share it all!  But I need to buckle down and get some work done.  I messed up my back the first day home so I haven't worked yet this week!  The fall shows are coming soon!  First up is the Peconic Ruggers Rug Show, which will be held  September 13 & 14, 2014, during the Hallockville Fall Festival -- two great events for the price of one!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer

We've had a pretty remarkable summer so far, weather wise.  Pete and I have been swimming almost daily, in the warm water of Peconic Bay.  We are dining on the bounty of Pete's vegetable garden -- zucchini, green beans, beets, onions, Swiss Chard.  The only thing we buy is sweet corn, because we don't have the room to grow it.  Our tomatoes are just coming in, and I cannot wait to have a Caprese salad whenever I want and to make a Tomato Cobbler with our multi-colored cherry tomatoes.  

The whole summer has felt like vacation to me.  When I want to read, I sit down and read.  I've been leaving the dishes in the sink, waiting days to do the laundry.  And I have not been working much, which is sort of a problem, lol.  I should be designing new patterns and making finished goods for my fall shows.  When I read other people's blogs with my morning coffee, I see pumpkins and witches and black cats, snowmen and snowflakes and Christmas trees.  I haven't finished my Fourth of July designs yet.  

I'm teaching a class tomorrow at Farmhouse Quilts in Southold -- a good thing -- it jarred me out of  the staycation mode I've been in.  I designed a new 10 inch square mat called Southold Sunflower.  It's a simple mat, a single sunflower against a brilliant blue sky, so it lends itself to a beginner class.  I have been thinking about embellishing it with beads for added interest, but I will wait until after the class for that. 

So today, I am dyeing wool while watering the garden and packing up the car for tomorrow's class.  When its over, I'll try to get my head out of summer and into fall.  I'm a little wistful about that -- I have already noticed the shortening of days and Labor Day is three weeks away.