a finish and a start…

The other day I shared a picture of Myra’s Wytch One? punch needle, in progress.  I thought it looked fabulous then, but now it looks even better!

myra’s Wytch One? ~ terrific!

Though my copy of Myra’s photo doesn’t do her finished piece justice, it does show the beautiful background Myra achieved, and her lovely hornbook.  Myra, I think it’s wonderful!


I am so fortunate to belong to a generous and talented group called, Primitive Handmades Mercantile ~ PHM.  Each month PHM provides a freebie design with its newsletter (click here to visit PHM and sign up for the newsletter).  This month, November, PHM is challenging its members and visitors with a Santa design created by Robin of Bird in the Hand Primitives.  Have you seen Robin’s designs?  They’re whimsical and primitive and so very creative!  Here’s a peek at this month’s design…

click here to visit PHM

Maybe you’d like to give this pattern a try along with me?  Any medium, any size, a pillow, a painting, a pincushion, anything goes ~ I’d love to see what you come up with!

After giving Santa some thought, I’ve decided to punch needle a Christmas stocking with Santa as the center motif.  I’ll be using my large rug hooking gripper frame so I can make the stocking longer than 12″.I added some snowflakes and a few other details around Santa to fill in the shape of the stocking.

nicely neutral

Surprise!  I’ll be keeping my palette neutral.  Above are some of the possibles from Valdani, which I love.  Perhaps Otis inspires my color sense…

otis: the perfectly neutral napper


…along with my list of priorities.  I’m not sure napping is as high on my list as it is on his, but that may be because I’m not nearly as good at it ~ he’s a true professional!


until next time!






a hooker’s helpers…


“I” am hooking a rug intended for our front entryway.  I say “I”, because hooking, though usually an individual event, is a team sport at our house ~ my team against the felines.  I’m sure you can guess who typically wins.

lilly hooks

Lilly likes to act as foreman, watching my color selection carefully, patting each wooly worm and occasionally using a claw to reverse hook.

No matter which way I tip my frame, Lilly holds on ~ she is a tenacious hooker!

otis hooks

If Lilly goes off to have a snack, Otis is right there, poised to take her place.  He doesn’t want me to have to do all the work by myself!

Otis is quite possessive ~ he is convinced that “our” hook is His hook.

ellis hooks

Ellis approaches hooking from a different angle, checking out the back and making sure the hook doesn’t get caught on anything, other than his claw.  He likes to keep the wooly worms moving, too.  It’s important to keep a tight hold on the wool, least Ellis decides to do a little unexpected (and unappreciated) reverse hooking.

When he’s not supervising our progress from underneath, Ellis sits on my lap making sure I don’t get too comfortable with my frame.

“i thought you’d never get out of my chair!”

The moment I stand up to stretch or find some wool or move a cat, someone takes over the captain’s seat and I’m left wondering if I can really bring myself to disturb such a peaceful scene.  The answer, as always, is no.  I leave Lilly in charge and go off to find something simpler to do, today.


may all your projects be simple, quiet and expeditious!






santa and reindeer, third day…

lilly’s wool puff ~ white dot on bottom step

Here’s Lilly on day three of Santa and his Reindeer.  Nothing makes Lilly happier than playing Fetch with her wool puffs (small spirals of wool).  Usually, I’m the one who does the fetching, but Lilly will, when she feels like it, catch her wool puff and bring it back to me, over and over….  and over.  She’s come to the conclusion that there’s only so much Fetch in the old girl (me) and so plays by herself when I’m working.  (Lilly is very discerning and will play only with undyed wool puffs of a half-inch diameter or less ~ it’s true!  If I make puffs for her that are too big or from dyed wool, she simply gives me The Look.)

Though Lilly spies her puff on the bottom step, she is hesitant as there are dangers lurking around every corner…

otis waiting to pounce on ellis waiting to pounce on lilly waiting to pounce on puff

While this drama unfolds, I tear myself away and focus on more practical matters.  Namely, choosing wool for Santa.

cheerful red wool

I think the red plaid wool will work well with Santa’s suit.  Now, to stitch said wool to Santa, reindeer and hat, and we’ll be ready to stuff.

basket o’ snips for santa

Depending on what I’m stuffing, I will either snip my snips into small snips or leave them as they were when first snipped.  Because I’d like Santa to be firmly stuffed and non-lumpy, I’ve snipped my snips into small-ish snips.

“whew, I’m stuffed!”

As it turns out, I used some crushed walnut shells for the narrow bits of Santa, his hat and the reindeer.  Some people are really good at stuffing dolls and pillows and other 3D things, but I’m a slow, painful stuffer, so stuffing a piece like this always takes me a loooong time!

After Santa’s all stuffed I mount him on a piece of chippy window sash, which I pretend is a fence post for jumping over.  For a little something extra I add an aged tag.

Ho Ho Ho!

Making tags is such fun!  (If you’d like to see my tag-making-method, you can click here.)

Santa is now ready to make his debut in my Primitive Handmades Mercantile shop.  If you’d like to visit him there, you can click here.


Now that Santa is finished, Lilly is ready to resume our interrupted game…

i’m ready!


Wishing you a lilly of a day!






santa and reindeer, second day…


While some of us continue to recover, others of us get back to work.

working on the reindeer

As I mentioned in my last post, I want Santa’s reindeer to have some personality without competing with Santa’s glory.  So, though I choose a quiet color for the reindeer ~ Valdani H205 ~ I punch it directionally, splitting the reindeer body into four sections and alternate punching North/South, East/West.  I am hopeful that the little deer will feel like he can shine a bit without being totally eclipsed by Santa’s splendor.

off with her head!

However, as I’m making inroads, along comes the King, who requires my lap.  I don’t dare argue with King Ellis, as he has the power to order my execution (so he believes).  Though my progress is curtailed, I am able to press on and finish the deer face.

still working!

Thus far, I like the way the directional punching is coming together.  Progress is slow, however, not only because Ellis has commandeered most of my work space, but, I’m also trying to watch the Detroit Tigers trying to defeat the Yankees!  (you can just see a corner of the game in the upper right of the photo.)

Ellis, feeling refreshed, stretches and goes off to take care of other important business ~ probably his next meal ~ and I’m able to settle down to work again….

little lilly

…but, along comes Lilly.  She spies an empty lap (mine) and, not being one to waste an opportunity, takes her turn keeping me company.  Fortunately, Lilly is not only little, but she likes to tuck up under my arm, so, though it’s rather awkward, I am able to finish Santa’s reindeer.

“velvet horns”

I’d like the antlers to look velvety and soft, and though they turn out more like corduroy than velvet, I think they’re rather interesting, and so keep the corduroy.  I used Valdani O196 and alternated between a #1 setting on my Cameo needle and a #3 setting.   I think the corrugated look is in this year!

Lilly is waking up….

what? nap? who me?

…and so, I think I have time to coffee stain my finished punching before I go to bed.  Others have other ideas, however.

ellis… again

Here we are, full circle.  If only I could sleep sitting up!

see you on the third day…



santa and reindeer, first day…

whoa, did you say, “santa”?

Yes, though it’s only October and not even Halloween, it’s time (for me, at any rate) to get into the Santa spirit!

is that you, santa?

One of the things I love about punching other designers patterns is that I don’t have to think too much.  Things are pretty straight forward.  I copy the pattern onto the weaver’s cloth and get punching.  Not so with my own designs.  Here you can see that my Santa and his reindeer have undergone some alterations.  I’m planning on a make do from this design, possibly on a rocker, if I can devise one, or possibly on a flat piece of wood.

When I punch Santa’s to sell or give away, I usually dress Santa in red.  My favorite Santa red is Valdani P1.  It ranges from deep, rich burgundy, all the way back to dusky peppermint pink.  So, when Santa is fully clothed, he looks striking in his regal raiment!

santa wears Valdani P1

His boots and belt are the ever-useful H212 and his beard and other white bits will be Valdani 5.  You may notice that Santa is looking a bit pointy on top.  What happened to his stocking cap?  I made an executive decision, here.  I will be making a separate hat, which will be sewn on over the pointed pate after Santa is stuffed.

p3 in a 5 thickness

I’d like Santa’s bag to look nubby and coarse, so I’m going to try this P3 in a heavier weight than I usually use.  Typically, all my Valdani perle cotton is 12 in thickness, but I happen to have a few 5s on hand.  I’ll try extending my needle, too, probably to a #3 setting rather than #1.  Now that I’m thinking about it, a fine wool yarn would be perfect here!  However, I don’t have a fine wool yarn, or any other yarn, for that matter.

bag and beard are done

After I finished Santa’s bag I started on his beard using Valdani 5, but I set my needle to a #7 setting.  Now, Santa has a nice, fluffy, warm beard.

Next time, I’ll turn my attention to the reindeer.  I’d like him to be interesting without taking away from Santa’s presence…  guess I’ll need to sleep on this epic and monumental decision.


I never, ever…

ellis and lilly

…have to sleep alone!


lilly, myra, and dede…


Lilly looks so proud of herself, doesn’t she?  As if she’d just done something quite wonderful.  I’m not sure what that wonderful-ness might have been, but I suspect it involved chewing holes in my little tag, which you can see in the upper left corner of the photo.


While I may not share Lilly’s enthusiasm for “being destructive in a small way”, I am awed by the talented punchers that I’ve encountered this week!  Just take a look at what Myra has been working on…

what a beauty, myra!

Myra took my humble Wytch One? doodle and turned it into this beauty.  Myra is such a kind and generous soul, and I think her beautiful punching reflects her personality!  She tells me that she has since made some changes, like fitting the little cap more snugly on Wytch’s head and removing the “bump” from Wytch’s chest, but I think that this original version is captivating.  I love how Myra made this Halloween-time design more Autumn-friendly by giving Wytch that fabulous rounded hat and giving her complexion a healthier glow than the green I usually use!  One of my favorite elements of Myra’s work is her background treatment ~ just look at all that movement!  Gorgeous!  Myra has plans for finishing her piece by affixing it to a black painted and distressed wood board.  I’m hoping she’ll share a photo of her Wytch when she’s all done ~ will you please, Myra?

Now, here’s Dede:

stunning, Dede!

Dede wrote to me one day, not long ago, asking about transferring patterns, punching and weavers cloth, etc., because she wanted to give Magdalena’s Horses a try.  If I understood her correctly, Dede had never punched before.  By the time I responded to her inquiries, Dede had already figured everything out for herself and had punched the above… I was speechless!  I’m not super quick at replying to emails, but I usually respond within 24 hours, and I don’t think it took me quite that long to get back to Dede.  Dede must be a woman of determination, energy and intelligence, not to mention talent!  This piece is so beautifully done ~ it gives me a thrill!  How I wish my first (dozen or so!) attempts at punching had been anywhere near so neat, even, and confident!  I’m looking forward to seeing Dede’s finished piece, and if she’s okay with having me share her completed project, I’ll be adding updates ~ soon, I’m sure!


Thank you to both Dede and Myra for sharing their quiet adventures with me, and for allowing me to pass them on to you!  I find them, and all of you, inspiring my own modest projects.  As for Lilly…


…she may not inspire me to expend much energy on creativity, but she does have a pretty good list of priorities!






wishing you a lilly of a day!



fancey that! day 5…

Fancey Blackett took her coffee bath on Day 4, and now, on Day 5, I think she needs a bit more stain.

walnut stain

I got out my walnut stain for this second layer of aging.  The jar on the right has a dark mixture of stain, while the jar on the left is a much lighter mix.

dark stain

I brush the dark stain all the way around the edge of the punching.  I want the floss on the outer edges to soak up a good quantity of color, and, since I’m planning to leave the weavers cloth exposed, I want it to get a good dose, too.

light stain

The lighter stain is dripped on the weavers cloth which, when it dries, will appear as nice water-stain-splotches.


While Fancey is drying, I pick out this lovely piece of history to use as the mount.  It’s a piece of wood taken from a very old, very well-loved tool box.  I think the soft edges and heavily textured surface will do nicely for Fancey!I cut the weavers cloth around Fancey, leaving about an inch or so exposed.  However…

Visit my Fancey on etsy by clicking here

…after gazing at Fancey and her weavers cloth edge for some time, I decide that the extra fabric detracts, for some reason.  So, I fold it back and affix Fancey to her new perch using a non-toxic acid-free adhesive.


Fancy Blackett ~ The Gathering Basket is a Pineberry Lane design.  You can find her and other wonderful patterns and things at Pineberry Lane’s website by clicking here.


Now, we can move on to more important business.  So, following Ellis’s lead….

quiet please








fancey blackett day 4…

otis, sans floss

Though Otis did not escape with any floss on Day 4, he did wrestle, happily, with Ellis.  You can see evidence of flying fur behind Otis’s whiskers on the right.


Meanwhile, Fancey has undergone a dramatic change.

before ~ love that orange… but



While I loved the orange flowers and the perle tweed blue that Otis chose for the background, I just couldn’t get out from under the uncomfortable feeling that Fancey was Flashy!  Oh heavens!  Goodness knows, I couldn’t let my quiet Fancey shout anything from any rooftops, so I brought her back to a whisper ~ a volume I am much more comfortable with.

quiet, please

I replaced the orange flowers with a combination of Valdani H 205 ~ a soft straw color ~ and O 154 ~ a rich gold color.  I left the patches in place and filled in the background with Valdani’s very simple 5, which is a light ecru.  I used H212 for the date, which is the same floss used for Fancey’s dress.  I added some of Otis’s PT 7, the teal gold combo, as the zig zag around the bottom edge.  However…


…even that little bit of “color” was too much for me!  Out came the PT 7 and in went the O 154.  Whew!  I am DONE punching, reverse-punching, and punching again, at least, for now.

Fancey takes a bath

Into a coffee bath she goes, weavers cloth edges first.  Because, I’m planning to leave the weavers cloth exposed when I finish Fancey, I want it to soak up much of the stain, and because I’ve “neutralized” Fancey to the point where all my flosses are very close in color too much stain on the punching will completely eliminate any contrast and Fancey will be invisible except for her dress!  So, I’ll be careful to watch the progress of the coffee (unless I forget).


Day 4 was a long day and my wrist and hand are quite tired.  However, my Fancey is now the Fancey I fancy Fancey would fancy! (I just couldn’t resist!  My apologies for the excessive alliteration!)

Here’s hoping we can keep Day 5 much simpler!


be well and happy!








fancey blackett day 3…

lilly and her toothbrush

We took a day or two away from Fancey and, some of us, had a good rest.

finishing the flowers

Today, I finished punching the flowers in my favorite orange.

I love the orange, but…  I don’t know, I’m feeling uncertain.  I think it’s the sharp contrast between the orange of the flowers and the stark white of the weavers cloth.

Sometimes, adding the background color helps me feel more settled and content.  The difficulty is, deciding which color…

lovely shades of straw, gold, and blue

I like the way blue sets off orange, so that’s a possibility, but I also like the quiet neutrality of the rich straw colors against the flowers and Fancey’s dress.  I need some assistance making this decision…

WANTED: Otis ~ AKA, The Floss Bandit

Otis makes a choice ~ very nice, I think.  However, he feels, though I strongly disagree, that all floss belongs to him, and he should have the prerogative to play with any and all floss skeins or balls before I get to use them.  I have explained to him, many times, that floss is much more difficult to use after a session with tooth and claw, but my admonitions fall on deaf ears.

crinkly tissue paper is almost as good as Valdani

I’m able to rescue my PT 7, a lovely perle tweed in shades of teal and gold, and I return to work.  Otis gives me, “the look”, and finds something else to do.

until day 4!