3 12 2011

I come from a long line of hookers but I’ve always resisted picking up the trade. But in assisting my mom in running her rug hooking camps, Monterey Fiber Jam (previously Monterey Rug Camp Retreat), and now Little River Inn Rug Camp, it became apparent that my role there would be benefited by hooking a rug. Learning the process as an actual doer and not just a watcher. So I made one!

I chose to do a butterfly because the Fiber Jam in February will be different than a rug camp. The Fiber Jam won’t have teachers – folks will just hang out and do their thing for most of the day – but participants were invited to pitch mini classes or discussions to lead and one of the options is a butterfly challenge. So I designed this butterfly after the swallowtail butterflies that frequent our backyard.

I didn’t capture all of the steps but here is a brief summary of how this rug came into shape:

I researched butterflies on the internet and found a couple pictures I liked. I then sketched out a shape onto a piece of linen using a red crayon, drawing over my final lines with a black sharpie before picking out wool. Then I raided mom’s stash of wool (which I’ve always loved shoving my hands into, like a bowl of dried beans), cut some into strips, borrowed a hook, and got started.

For the background I was going to do a mock linen look, like one might pin an actual butterfly to, but mom suggested I go with a design my grandmother does all the time and do blocks of color.

At first I was just picking which colors to do randomly and then I decided I should map them out.

I was instructed by a few of the ladies hooking that one is supposed to put in a “beauty line”, framing the whole piece first so that the rectangle doesn’t get wonky (previous pictures show loose tails of wool at the edges). Luckily I’m all crazy about straight lines so the misstep was easily corrected.

Now all I have left to do is whip the edges with black yarn, label the back of the rug, and sew on a sleeve for a hanging rod. Phew!

I managed to pinch my ulnar nerve holding my makeshift frame so beware! Make sure proper equipment is used when hooking.



9 06 2011

I love buttons. I have a strange addiction to collecting them (just like jars) because I am drawn to them aesthetically and because they “might be useful someday”. Closet hoarder behavior…but that’s a topic for another day. Today I have a fun video for you, highlighted by the crew over at Craft, a place I’d love to work for (hire me, please!), even though the commute to Sebastopol would be a pain in the butt. Enjoy!

New project

9 05 2011

I’ve been working on a new quilting project and finally have it all mapped and measured! I’ll be in the craft room for the next few evenings…


5 04 2011

It’s the time of year that I do a lot of introspection. Where am I in life? What have I accomplished and what’s left to be done?

I always count my friends and family among my successes. And this year, I’m hard pressed to find anything wrong with life. Other than my inability to win the lottery. It’s been a wonderful departure from the anxiety and self doubt I usually heap on myself the month before my birthday.

In that space, I’ve been enjoying the beginning of spring. The flowers in my garden and the sunshine on my back while I am weeding. Riding my new bike to work. I’ve started 2 new crafty projects just for me (a crocheted shrug & a quilt for our bed), and I’ve been totally sucked into a book trilogy for the first time in what feels like years. Staying up late, bringing the books with me everywhere for that random spare minute. It’s been super fun.

The shrug I’ve been working on is this but in a dark plum:

Even if I can’t wear it out of the house I’m excited about snuggling up in it with a good book.

And the trilogy I am reading is the Fitzwilliam Darcy Trilogy, by Pamela Aiden. Loving it.

I had never read a Jane Austen novel before so I first read Pride & Prejudice. I liked it, although I don’t know if I would have, had I not seen (and been semi-obsessed with) the BBC series staring Colin Firth and the lovely Jennifer Ehle. We’ll see if I’m inspired to read more of her work…

A map quilt

29 03 2011

I’ve been a busy girl the last week(+), working on a secret present for one of my readers: a baby quilt made to look like a map of Gilroy, the home town of both awesome, soon-to-be parents Stephanie and Adam. This was a ridiculous undertaking but it turned out pretty decent:

The following is the story of creation with semi dark and blurry pictures because most of the work, and therefore pictures, happened after work when it was dark outside.

First! Come up with the idea and think self genius. Buy fabric:

Plan out quilt (this took me months, primarily spent staring at blank graph paper, mostly because I was super freaked out by how silly I was in coming up with this project) and cut out squares. Mine were 2.5 inches each for a quilt at 30×34 with 1/4 inch seam allowances:

Lay all the squares out:

Make little piles of each row so that you can sew a bunch at once:

Iron seams. No really: iron them.

Then, one at a time, pin each row to the one below at exactly the seam line, with the pin on the left hand side of the seam so that when you sew it you are less likely to have the sewing machine foot fold your seam back to the pre-ironed position:

Once you have the whole thing together:

Draw on your roads with a washable marker and stitch with embroidery thread (I might not recommend yellow for the highway…):

Then (and here’s where the pics got way to blurry to even post), cut out your backing to match your finished top, a lovely garlic pattern for this baby, pin it to the top with cotton batting in between, making a few ties at key places if you aren’t actually “quilting” the quilt, (which means this one is technically a comforter but I say whatever to that), and then make your binding and hand stitch it on, watching lots of bad tv like the Hugh Hefner documentary on Netflix:

Wash, to remove your pen lines and so that it’s ready for baby, and BAM! You made a quilt!

Oh – back at the hand stitching stage, I put stars where the grandparents live…

Looking forward to your little monster, Stephanie and Adam!!

This post powered by taco truck tacos, patience, Midol, and dark & stormies.

A finished project

14 02 2011

I’m at Hooker Camp with my mom this week manning (womanning) the supply store. It leaves me lots of time for crafting, provided I can work without power and I finally finished a beautiful blue scarf I’ve been working on:

Fiber Arts Camp in Feb 2012

14 01 2011

Come on…you know you want to come hang out with a bunch of crafter ladies with me for a week in Feb of 2012.  Bring anything! The main crew will be doing rug hooking.  I have no idea what kind of fiber craft I’ll be into in 2012 but I’m sure there will be something: crochet, knitting, quilting.

It’s at this gorgeous place:

Steps from the beach.

Learn all the details on my mom’s blog.