Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Adding Other Rug Hooking Blogs

I have wanted to update my rug hooking blogroll for a while now -- so today -- procrastinating instead of working -- I did just that.  I've separated rug hooking blogs from other blogs I like to read, and I've tried to weed out blogs that haven't had posts within the last year.  If you are a blogging rug hooker and would like me to add your blog to the roll, send me a note.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Cold CT Sheep & Wool

Cold and rainy in Connecticut today.  Our booth was in an unheated barn.  We froze our toes and various other parts of our anatomy off.  15 minutes before closing, the sun came out.  Go figure.  It was a good day despite the cold.  But I see a nice hot chai latte in my near future!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Stormy Weather

The blue grey clouds moving across the sky this morning make the fluorescent yellow of the forsythia and the purple of the pansies even more luminous.  This is classic April weather -- the rare time of year that I welcome grey skies and rain.  It won't be long before the cherry trees that line our street blossom and turn to pink snow swirling around the neighborhood.
treats on my desk
We had a lovely Easter weekend.  Old friends joined us, and brought all sorts of treats, the most exceptional of which was a cassata, a traditional Sicilian spring cake covered in emerald green marzipan, then a glaze of confectioner's sugar, and piped flowers.  Our goddaughter Natalie brought it from an Italian bakery in Providence.  Pretty spectacular way to end our Easter meal of lamb, farro strata, and roasted asparagus.

We also hosted a young woman from Slovenia for a week.  She is a relative of one of Pete's relatives, here to learn English and see the sights before heading to university in September.  Pete took her into Manhattan for a day to see the Empire State Building and the Museum of Natural History, and on a tour of the Hamptons and the beautiful beaches of the South Fork.  Pizza is her favorite food, so we had a pizza party with the neighbors on Palm Sunday, and some friends hosted a festive lobster dinner for her one evening.  It was a long ten days of house guests -- lots of cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping and laundry -- and, while fun, I am glad to be back to my normal routine.

I'm packing up for the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival.  I will head up on Friday. All you rug hookers in the Metro area should stop in and see us.  Since the demise of the Newtown and Fairfield rug shows, it is difficult to find rug supplies in southern New England.  I have some new patterns drawn up and ready to go.  Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter is Coming and So Are Our Spring Shows

Easter is just days away now.  How did that happen, lol?  Am I the only one who thinks they have more time than there actually is?  I've been doing more spring cleaning -- washed some windows this past weekend (because I couldn't see out of them they were so dirty) and raked and pulled weeds and mulched a bit.  The warm weather has been wonderful.  I love sleeping with the windows open.  We are having fierce April showers today, with lots of wind, and the temperature is going to drop a bit, but spring is definitely here.

Spring brings with it a host of fiber festivals -- all those wooly sheep are ready to be sheared! Our first show this season is the 105th Connecticut Sheep, Wool, & Fiber Festival at the Tolland Agricultural Center in Vernon, Ct.  It will be held Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 9 am until 4 pm.  There will be workshops and seminars, sheep dog trials, a spinning bee, a fleece sale, vendors, food and lots more.  Barb and I will be in the Green Barn, so come and see us!  We'll be debuting some new patterns and creations for your pleasure!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dan Tracy Designs

Meeting creative people is one of the best things about vending at fiber festivals. I met woodworker Dan Tracy at last year's Long Island Fleece and Fiber Fair (coming up on May 17 & 18 this year).  Dan had a beautiful array of hand-turned wooden bowls, knitting needles, crochet hooks, and buttons.  I was particularly taken with his hand made tools -- I loved the feel of the wood in my hands.  How can wood feel so much like silk?  I suggested he try his hand at rug hooks, and gave him one of mine to take home.  (I am a collector of hooks, both old and new, so I have plenty to share.) It wasn't long before he sent me a rug hook of his own making -- he even wrought the actual hook from brass. The handle is made of spalted maple (spalting is the discoloration that occurs in wood from stress or fungus affecting a tree while it is alive).  Isn't it a beauty?  I love it.  The brass hook is nice and deep which makes grabbing wool strips easy, and the handle fits my hand just right.

It wasn't long before Dan made more hooks . . .  and started making proddy tools after he discovered that many rug hookers make prodded rugs too.  He uses a variety of woods:  buckthorn, curly maple, cherry, apple, spalted maple --  some natural, some dyed -- each one more beautiful than the last.  He makes pencil hooks as well as regular hooks, and he offers a variation in the length and width of the shafts and the handles, so you are sure to find one you love.  He signs each hook, too.   

These are not just hooks to last your lifetime, they are heirlooms!

A rug hooker mentioned snippet bowls to Dan recently, so of course, he made some snippet bowls.  He sent me pictures of them.  They were all lovely, but I confessed that I am a slob, and my snippets all land on the floor until I force myself to get out the vacuum and suck them up.  A few days later, my very own personalized snippet bowl arrived in the mail.  Dan is not just a great woodworker, he's a really nice and thoughtful guy.

I will be selling Dan's hooks and proddy tools at the shows Barb and I do this year, so if you want to test one out, come by our booth. (Go to the Shows and Events tab in the navigation bar above to see where we'll be this year.) Of course, you can contact Dan yourself at his website: Dan Tracy Designs, where you can see a video of Dan in action and read about his process.  He's also on etsy and Facebook. Dan will be here live and in person for the Long Island Fleece and Fiber Fair at Hallockville next month, so stop by and see him and his exquisitely made wood work.