Hooking my way through the year…

28 01 2014

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I’ve recently started rug-hooking. It’s the thing these days, post crewel embroidery…
I sit in my living room, decorated by the crewel panels my mother did, copying her activity, only I pull little loops through the linen with a tiny hook instead of passing a needle through.
It’s part of my fibre education – sewing, embroidery, needle felting, wet felting, knitting, now hooking. In some future time, I’ll combine all I’ve learned and make large lumpy installations to give to unsuspecting friends…mwah hah hah
In the meantime, I’m taking baby steps. Learning each skill in turn, sort of. Sampling the feeling of the different techniques, getting fingers poked and soaped and covered with bits of wool. Now I’ve entered a contest through Encompassing Designs, a corner of rug hooking paradise in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia.. Every month, the shop owner and designer sends out a pattern. We hook it as we like, send in a photo. As you can see, the resulting rug will be huge. The thought terrifies me.
But the square for this month? Not so big. I can do it.
So, month by month, I’ll bite off a little chunk of the rug and work it through.
Now, if only I could take this approach to the rest of my life. Instead of looking at the whole picture and either leaping or panicking, maybe I could take it one square at a time?
Nah. Where’s the fun in that?

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Felting rocks and writing faith

6 12 2012

A little break from countries today. The sun is shining bright against a bank of threatening grey clouds and that always puts me in a thoughtful mood.

Plus I’ve been making things for Christmas. Felted things. There’s something about changing the form of matter that appeals to me. Pottery, where you take mud and create structures; glass blowing, where silica melts and you can twist it into shapes; felting, where you take fluffy stuff and turn it into little creatures or scenes or objects; writing, where you take letters and stick them together until they make some sort of sense.

This morning I was felting rocks again. It’s a very “grounding” experience, as the trendy say.

You start with this:

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Add hot water and lots of soap, and scrunch and swirl it around and around in your hands, squeezing and rearranging until the wool knits together and suddenly it feels right. Yellow wool never cooperates, which may account for the lack of it on yarn shop shelves. It has to be used sparingly, much like adverbs in writing. A little bit is enough, too much and you get odd lumpish stuff.

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Writing can be like this – you write a bit and it feels messy and squishy and then you revise and revise and revise until it becomes totally meshed, with any luck.

Of course, as with writing, not everyone is going to appreciate a felted rock. I like them because they take a hard heavy thing and put a cushy thing around them, and the whole thing is organic and just feels good. Selling them might be more difficult, though.

And I guess that’s like writing, too.

I suppose all we can do is write and feel and get that “felt” experience, as my friend Nancy would say.

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