My First Lesson

I certainly don’t have much to show in the way of results after my first afternoon of ‘hooking’! lol.

597 first lesson

But through that little sample I learned how to coordinate loading a wool strip on the tip of the hook, which I hold under the burlap in my left hand, while pulling loops through the burlap with my right hand, loops supposedly as high as the strips are wide. Spacing depends on the thickness of the wool fabric and density of your backing.

597 lesson closeupo

I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until my hands are as familiar with holding thin wool strips and a rug hook as they are with yarn and crochet hook or knitting needles.

My teacher, Marcia, filled many of the gaps in hooking info that I’ve gathered from books and websites. We talked about how to choose an appropriate backing for projects, bind edges, dye wool fabrics, clean and repair hooked rugs, etc.

We also thoroughly discussed my major concern, how to turn used wool clothing into the narrow wool strips you need for hooking. The process takes several steps, but none of them are hard: wash warm and dry low to fluff and full (partly felt) the wool fabric, then disassemble each article of clothing and rip the pieces into strips about two inches wide. This assures that your strips are on-the-grain, which is very important. Next you run the torn strips of wool through a cutter, sometimes called a ‘stripper’.

372 41 wool cutterMine came with a #4 blade, which makes three 1/8″ wide strips. The new #8 blade will do a single 1/4″ strip. Wider strips are for a more rustic or primitive look, perfect for a beginner’s project, like my hot pad!

I tugged on strips that I’d purposely cut slightly off the grain, just to see what would happen – the fabric pulled apart with no effort at all! Imagine your hand-hooked rug turning into shreds over time. gasp! You can bet that I’ll be careful to always cut on the grain!!

Now it’s time to choose a design and colors for my first project. – Marcia suggested a hot pad.

Over several years I’ve gathered what I hope are rug-appropriate wool fabrics. My collection suddenly doubled overnight last year, when I was blessed with this large boxful of solid colored wools

482 3 bin of wool solids

and these two bags of prints. . .

482 2 wool plaids

free! with my purchase of “some yarn” through Craigslist. I think I have more than enough wool to hook a little hot pad, don’t you? lol!

Time to get busy preparing my wool fabric for hooking.

Marcia is waiting on me!

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#43 – Inspired by. . .

this sweater.

598 sweater photo

Fall’s beautiful colors, whether found on a tree-covered hillside or in chaotically scattered leaves on a sidewalk, usually are splashed one against another. But in the sweater above, as in my matching ripple below, they’re carefully spaced in narrow stripes.

598 close-up

This is so pretty, I think I’ll repeat the design in another season’s colors. . . I bet it would be gorgeous in reds and greens!

Regimented Sugar Maples

598 full view

Ooooh! And how about bright pinks and greens on white for spring?

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RIpple #42 – Inspired by. . .

a stack of towels.

I really like the combination of colors in this photo that I cut from an old L.L. Bean catalog. Five plush bath towels in Blue Periwinkle, White, Collegiate Blue, Soft Teal and Dark Cranberry,

596 ATL towels

My similar-looking mix includes Red Heart Super Saver ‘Country Blue’, ‘White’, ‘Dusty Teal’,  a couple of anonymous scrapballs of burgundy, and an anonymous dark blue/green from last October’s Historical Society tag sale. I recognized it by the handwritten weight tags stuck on each yarn cake – shown in the upper right-most bag of this photo of that day’s haul. (Each bag of yarn cost only 50¢!)

496 ziplocs of yarn

I decided on what ratio I wanted to help balance my five colors and then set the stripes in the same order as in the towel photo. – Why ‘fix’ something that’s not broken? lol

596 ATL close

Repeating a five-color sequence over and over doesn’t make for a very fancy striping pattern, but I still find this one striking! That’s probably because these are the colors that decorate much of our home, but I also really like a couple of things that aren’t so obvious. . . Did you happen to notice that there are two shades of burgundy stripes? And what about the subtle differences in the widths of all the single-row stripes? For some reason this phenomenon shows more in the burgundy stripes more than the white ones, but both colors alternate wider/narrower because I alternated between crocheting a row from the front and then from the back of the blanket. Odd, but kinda cool.

What a geek I am to notice such things! LOL

I call this week’s ripple

Atlantic Blue Stripe

as that’s the name on the L.L.Bean striped towel laying to the left of the five solid ones in the catalog photo.

Nice!

596 ATL full

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Service Announcement – CT Yarn Shop Closing

I’ve never been to this store, so I’m just passing on this announcement that was first posted over in Ravelry. If you live in Connecticut, Rhode Island or eastern Massachusetts this could make for a fun day out – enjoy a drive through the remaining fall colors and, hopefully, find some wonderful goodies!

Yarns With A Twist is closing Saturday, November 1, 2014.

They are having a huge Going-Out-of-Business Sale.

50% off all cotton yarn and cotton blends

35% off all other yarn, books, needles and accessories

Yarns With A Twist
111 Willimantic Road (Route 6)
Chaplin, CT 06235
860-455-9986
Hours: Tues, Wed, Fri and Sat 11AM to 5PM – – Thurs 9AM to 9PM

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#41 – More Little Grey Stripes

Remembering how much I liked the contrast of the narrow grey stripes in this June’s “Dawn on a Rainy Day”,

567 scrap #4 - full view

I thought I’d give them a second try.

As is often the case when I use several partial skeins, the widths of this ripple’s stripes were decided by how many ounces I had of each color.

595 BQT-close

Besides grey, I used the following colors (listed from light to dark):

I started with the palest pink you can imagine, — That’s right, in spite of what the photos seem to show, there’s actually No White in this blanket!* — TLC Essentials ‘Powder Pink’, Fore-‘n-Aft ‘Sandpiper’, Lion Brand Sayelle ‘Dusty Rose’, heathered burgundy chenille and dark solid burgundy.

It’s always fun to see how one of my ‘ripple recipes’, created with the help of my trusty old calculator and usually scribbled on scrap paper, will turn out!

Like A Bouquet of Roses

595 BQT-full* Only as I wrote this post did it occur to me that if I’d laid a skein of White yarn on this ripple my little camera would have been forced to show you how Pink the lightest stripes really are.

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#7 thru 10

This spring I found a ball of yellow and green cotton, (I think it’s Bernat Handicrafter ‘Key Lime Pie’.) at the new Sal’s.

0-CTN 7-10 yarn

Considering that particular thrift store’s current yarn pricing of $2.99 for even partial skeins, I felt very lucky to have found it untagged; the clerk on duty let me both it and the teal/purple acrylic ball for just 50¢ each! Yay!

With two and a half ounces of this pretty yarn, – half an ounce more than either of the yarns I picked for Washcloths #1-4, 3/4 oz. more than the yarn in #5+6I was able to make slightly larger cloths by casting on 40 stitches instead of the usual 37 and adding a few rows.

593 7+8 keylime

Next,  using the second ball of Sugar ‘n Cream ‘Landscape’,

0-CTN 7-10

I made two more regular-sized washcloths, one of ‘Landscape’ alone and one with a yellow/green stripe of leftover ‘Key Lime’.

593 9+10 lndscp

Woo-Hoo! This makes a total of ten washcloths ready to go to Haiti.

593 7-10 1-10

My cost so far – 50¢!! ROFL

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Ready for a Border

Wow, it’s been a couple of months since I last talked about my SweeTart Granny. The color range of my scraps had gotten so limited, it was taking me forever to choose colors for the next square, so I stopped after adding just one more round. But it’s o.k. that I called it quits early because Granny is already 38″ across – My kids’ ripples are usually 35″. – and will get a little wider with a border.

Now I’m considering which of these colors I’ll include in the border and in what order to put them.

594 choices

But Emily subtly reminds me that before I do anything about a border, I need to take care of the remaining yarn ends.

594 Emily

sigh. I should heed her wise advice.

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