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Monday, 27 June 2016

Two Rugs Done

And they're done. It was still nice out this evening, although the wind is starting to come up, so I took the photo on a large rock in the garden.

I tend to pride myself on the neat backs of my rugs, but must admit that the rug on the left has rather more threads travelling than I usually like; the pattern required it. The hems are mitered, sewn with a flexible stitch, a herringbone variation, in case they go out of square; flexible stitches allow the rugs to be re-stretched. And the fringes are hand-knotted, one 3-strand looped tassel in every second hole in the canvas. I use an old, very fine crochet hook for this.

Think I'll start a couple of cushions to go with the lighter rug; perhaps I'll attempt a Jacobean foot stool or bench while I am at it....

Monday, 20 June 2016

More Student Work

Yesterday evening, an email dropped into my inbox with photos of 4 of the finished projects from the June 6 class, as well as a separate email with a fifth.

I don't know all the makers, but suspect Jeanne, Helen, Barb, and an unknown maker for the four that came as a group. The fifth came from Mary Lou, who is also a member of our local miniatures group, FAME.

This photo was taken at the studio, as a couple of unpainted canvasses were used to create the background.

This is probably another photo taken at the studio; I really like the deep fringing on the teacloth.

Another studio photo.

Love the daisies painted along the edge of this one! Also, another finished braided rug.

This one is Mary Lou's; she had never worked with polymer clay before, and thinks she may to want to experiment further with it.

It is very rewarding for an instructor to be able to see the finished projects! Thanks to all the ladies who took the time to send their photos to me.

Friday, 17 June 2016

My Own Rugs - Nearly Done

While looking for something else, I found the envelope with the earlier Holbein rug in it, so hauled it out to finish that up. This rug is taken from a painting, and is very dark; I wasn't sure about it, but decided it is kind of interesting in its simplicity and dark colouring. Once upon a time, everything was sort of dark, as we were dependent upon natural wool colours or on plant dyes, which tended to fade over time. Deep, colourful dyestuffs were incredibly expensive, like the shells used for royal (Tyrian) purple, or Mexican cochineal beetles for vivid red.

The swirling designs are the original swastika design, often used in early East Indian art; the swirls go in the opposite direction from the bad one, and it represents the Wheel of Life.  I just have to edge the two long edges on this one, and fringe the shorter ones.

The Tudor era Holbein rug is nearly done; I am close to running out of the coppery thread so am trying to see how far I can get with it. If I run out, I will have to try to find a matching substitute or try a blended needle (two different coloured threads that "read" as one colour). The original thread is Anchor, which I can't get here; however, there is a DMC colour that appears to be a very close match.

I need just enough to finish the borders, and I have about a meter and a bit left over; split in three-strand threads, it may be enough. There is enough of all the other colours for me to try to make some matching cushions and perhaps a bench top, but I will use the matching shade for those. The little floral designs in the diamonds are different; I am not really used to these in rugs, mostly they seem to use geometric or paisley shapes, although my parents had a hall runner with a design of hunters. That one was very unusual to me!

For a year, when I was a young adult, I lived in a country that produces some of the world's best-known carpets; I was told early on that the best ones stay right there, and that only the not-so-great ones were exported, because people outside of that country didn't appreciate them sufficiently. My very favourite carpet there was a huge, palace-room carpet done primarily in cream and deep brown, with lots of cobalt blue and some tan for accents, in a peacock-feather pattern. I would walk to the showroom where that one was displayed, drooling, and knowing full well that it was entirely out of my budget. But I really did love that carpet!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Students' Rugs

I promised that as I got photos of the class I taught, that I would post them. These came to me today, but without identification; however, I suspect Helen and Barb of being the makers.

A round blue (or black) and white rug, made of knitting yarn. The yarn was braided and glued onto a muslin base, and when all was dry, the muslin was trimmed to the edge of the rug.

And an oval rug, made of teal, purple and gray wool yarn; this is a very subtle colour choice for a pioneer-era braided rug.

My students can be proud of their rugs, I think! One of these days I may get to see them in real life....

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

....And Back to UnFinished Objects

Now that I don't have to make up 5 kits to go into 16 project kits each, I can go back to some of the things I was doing before the class. Yesterday and today I went back to work on the little Holbein rug, and things are going pretty good. My new task glasses work well, although when I look up from my work everything is very blurry.

The right border and right row of hexagons are done, while the others are ready to get to work on. I have at least one more partially done rug to finish, another Holbein although it is in a darker colour variation, as well as any number of other things just calling to me....

I do like the coppery rust colour in the border, and can't wait to get this rug done. There are more embroidery designs waiting for me.

The most difficult thing with this design is the amount of detail; however, I find that working it as uninterrupted as possible makes it easier to keep track, i.e., for the chained border, I zigzag along, going down and then back up.That is followed by the contrast centres, which makes it easier to do the dark outline, and filling in the background is the last thing to be done. The pattern keeps falling off my lap, which is also in high demand by our family cat!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Class Report

Today was the day of the mini class for which I created the prototypes. There were 9 students, and they got pretty much everything done except for the braided rug.

We only lost 2 bench legs to splitting while cutting out the V-shape on the bottoms, and one of the braces was cut wrong; as I make mistakes myself, I always bring extra pieces for just such little emergencies, so no worries!

The students, some of whom also came to my class last year when we filled up a Michael's hutch, enjoyed themselves very much; one of the benches is being painted to match the hutch, to become part of a small set, hopefully to go into the corner vignette we will be making come November.

As people left at different times during the course of the afternoon, I have no photos to show you; however, they all promised to send me photos of their finished projects. I'll post them here on the blog.

As I was picking up my box to carry out to the car, I sliced the side of my finger on the cutter of the wax paper box; ouch! It bled like a faucet, dripping all over everything, but fortunately there was a roll of paper towel handy, and two adhesive bandages later, I was able to drive home.

Tomorrow I sort out all the tools and put them where they belong....

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Prototypes for June Class, Part 3

The final vignette will look like the above; a small, worn bench, on it a breadboard with a loaf of bread, sitting on top of a homespun towel, and a chipped enamel mug holding a small bouquet of daisies. The whole will sit on a braided mat, which I will be demonstrating to the participants, but which they will have to do at home, as I don't have enough of the tapestry yarn to share with them.

These little rugs can also be made with heavier knitting wool, like knitting worsted; they are very simple, a  series of braids of 3 strands of yarn in mix-and-match colours, which are then glued on to a cut-to-size piece of muslin backing, using tiny dots of fabric glue. For this rug, I used beige, tan and brown yarn, with orange for contrast; the colours are close to those pioneers would have to hand, natural sheep's wool plus one dyed colour.

I put an overhand knot into the three strands, then pin that to my pant leg. As the braid progresses, I move the braid of yarn up from the pin, so I am working comfortably at a distance that suits my reach. If you are very clever, you can introduce new strands by cutting the one(s) you are replacing, securing the ends, and then beginning with the new colour; keep at least 1" of both these ends on the underside of your rug.

 When your braids are ready, start with a 1" (2.5 cm) wide line in the middle of your fabric. Allow this to dry somewhat, then coil and glue the braids around and around this central stripe. These braided rugs look best when you limit your colours to 4 or 5, and mix them up as you go around. Once you have done 2 or 3 ovals around your central line, change the colour; unknot the yarn and carefully glue the end as flat as you can to the base, then just as carefully glue the start of your new braid on top of that. When the mat is dry, you can press it with an iron. (Be careful if you use synthetic yarns, you don't want them to melt...)