new favorite….

I have a new color combination ~ I can’t get enough….

valdani 6, p4, h206

valdani 6, p4, h206

cream, grey, and quiet coral.  I can’t take credit for this tripling, I was inspired by this antique rug:

antique hooked rug

antique hooked rug

Valdani h206, the pretty coral, has been in my stash for several years, but I never really noticed it.  It came in a collection I bought and has sat neglected ever since.  Not any more.  I see myself using this palette often in the future.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s practically perfect as the background for this piece, and I have visions of using it, and the rest of the colors, for an aged, weather-beaten Santa.

2 chickens

2 chickens

I’m calling the piece I’m working on, “2 Chickens”, because, well, it features two chickens.  I am so clever.  Perhaps you’d like to try one of your own?

2 chickens pattern

2 chickens pattern

Above is the pattern.  I didn’t draw it on paper, but hopefully you’ll be able to use this sketch.  As always, please, no mass production of pattern or finishes, and please do not sell the pattern.  Feel free to share it among your friends, though!

Perhaps you’d like to find the Valdani h206?  Here’s the link at Snowflake Memories (or you can find it at valdani.com), just click here.

I’m listening to the gentle patter of rain today.  It’s so soft and soothing and makes me laugh at the same time ~ the weather report says 0% chance of rain today.  Sometimes life is fabulous!

embrace someone you love ~ human or otherwise!

 

rebecca

 

antique inspired patterns and finishes….

I’ve been having a ball working on antique inspired pieces.  Maybe you’d like to try your hand at these, too?

You can visit my etsy shop to see more photos of these antique inspired mats by clicking here.

I’ve included simple, and not super good quality, patterns in this post.  They are for your personal use, and should not be mass-produced either as patterns or finished pieces.  As these are antique rugs, the designs are in the public domain… I love that!  Unfortunately, as with so many antique rugs, there’s no information about the hooker, so credit cannot be given to any one individual.  However, I like to let others know that the design is not mine by referring to my finishes as “antique inspired”.

"we win" original hooked rug

“we win” original hooked rug

My favorite is the above, “We Win”.  OH!  Just look at all those missing/faded stitches ~ gorgeous!  How, oh how! am I to reproduce those perfect imperfections?  It was a challenge, but so much fun!

"we win" pattern

“we win” pattern

Above, you’ll find the pattern for, “We Win” ~ my apologies for the wrinkles.

"we win" colors

“we win” colors

Above, are the colors I decided upon.

The finish…

my punched "we win"

my punched “we win”

If you’d like to see more pictures of “We Win” you can click here to visit my etsy shop.

Next is “Two Horses”…

"two horses" original antique hooked rug

“two horses” original antique hooked rug

…and, here’s the pattern….

"two horses" pattern

“two horses” pattern

…again, apologies for the wrinkles.  Evidently, I forgot to photograph the colors I used, but here’s the list:  p3, p4, 146, 5, h212, and o510.

Here’s the finish…

my punched "two horses"

my punched “two horses”

You can see more pics of “Two Horses” by clicking here.

The last piece I finished is “Two Chickens One Horse” (aren’t I creative with my titles?).

"two chickens one horse" original hooked rug

“two chickens one horse” original hooked rug

The pattern….

"two chickens one horse" pattern

“two chickens one horse” pattern

The colors….

"two chickens one horse" colors

“two chickens one horse” colors

Unfortunately, the floss without labels are mystery colors.

The finish….

my punched "two chickens one horse"

my punched “two chickens one horse”

You can, of course, see more photos of “Two Chickens One Horse” by clicking here.

 

There you have it!

enjoy the coming of spring!

 

rebecca

grey house colors…

notforgotten farm grey house

notforgotten farm grey house

hello, hello!

i had a question about the colors i used for Lori Brechlin’s Grey House.  i made this little pillow over the summer ~ i just love punching houses!

ok, here is the Valdani i used:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and, here’s what i used each for:

4 ~ window panes

146 ~ window frames and muntins (aka window pane dividers.  i just googled what window pane dividers are called and found “muntin” ~ what a cool word!  reminds me “mutton dressed as lamb”, for some inexplicable reason.)

P4 ~ house

H205 ~ roof and door

PT2 ~ vine

thank you for your question, Wendy!

wishing you all a day filled with mirth and merriment (and maybe a few muntins, too)!

 

rebecca

quiet inspiration…

What do you say when someone asks, “where does your inspiration come from?”?  Is it rich, exciting colors that get your blood flowing and make your fingers itch to hold a hook or needle?  Do you look outside your immediate surroundings for inspiration?  Maybe, you’re inspired by a little bit of everything?

When someone asks me about the origin of my inspiration, I always want to say, “Color”, but I feel like something of a fraud.  What one seems to notice most about what I do, is the absence of color.

Usually, I just pass through the rooms in my house.  What I typically notice is how much cat hair there is all over the place (and I just vacuumed! Ack!)  This week, I took a good look  at my own space, I saw beyond the flying fur, and I was surprised by how much color inspiration I found when I really saw my home, how much my work reflects the subtleties I see in my things.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy mom’s bread-making bowl sits on a window ledge in my kitchen.  Looking at mom’s bowl I see the soft buttermilk yellow I use so often when punching and hooking.  Beyond the bowl, just outside the window, I can see the quiet orange I like to use when making pumpkins or a snowman’s nose.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the deck, a fountain burbles throughout the winter.  Ice formations build up on the edges of the concrete bowl, but with the help of a little heater there is always water available for any little creature who’d like a sip.  Seeing beyond the actual function of the fountain, I notice more of the colors that move me ~ slate grey, the subtlest of pinks, and a touch of copper.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the mantle, white dominates, so many different shades and moods of white, it feels like the whole picture is a washout, until I look more closely and see what’s reflected in the mirror.  Reds, browns, and greys ~ just a teaspoonful, please ~ break up the cream and sugar view.  I realize that this expanse of white, with color sprinkled on with a light hand, has been inspiring me all along.  When I approach a punch needle project or start a hooked rug, my first thought is, “quiet, quiet, soothing, neutral, white, white, white”, and then, somehow, a bit of color creeps in, quietly, here and there.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t think I require a lot of color, but I’m wrong.  Like this scale, at first glance I see, basically, black and white, an object lacking color.  On closer inspection, wow! there is a lot of color here!  Rusty red, brown, a whole host of  greys, silver, even yellow…

So, next time someone asks me what inspires me, I’ll be able to say, without doubt or hesitation, “Color!”.

Look around… What inspires you?

May your day be filled with those kinds of things, the things that inspire you the most!

rebecca

little thief…

ellis has a flair for color

With Ellis’s invaluable assistance, I’ve been able to make my color selections for Lori Brechlin’s, “Little Thief”. I’ll be using Valdani perle cotton throughout in colors: 135 for the squirrel, PT 2 for the acorn body, P 6 for the orange accents, and 6 for the ecru background. I have yet to decide the color for the acorn cap, so I’ll be giving that some thought.

Punching the tail was a new experience for me. Lori’s directions call for a #9 setting on a Cameo punch needle to achieve a fluffy tail. This was the first time I had used such a long needle, and at first I felt a little awkward. After accidentally jabbing my leg a few times, I finally got the hang of it, and the results were worth the minor loss of blood!

love that fluffy tail!

The added dimension makes this piece unique, and the texture is wonderful! Just a little bit more punching to do……and the punching is done! In the end, I chose a pretty brown perle for the acorn cap.

I think I’ve decided on this quiet plaid for the backing.

Wishing you a simple, joyful day!

rebecca

coffee, cats and updates…

Some time ago, in fact I think it was back in May, I started an experiment with coffee. Would coffee-stain age hooked wool as well as it ages perle cotton and other flosses.  The short answer is, no.  However, I was surprisingly pleased with the results ~ what do you think?

hooking the mat with invaluable assistance from otis

First, I hooked a small mat using un-dyed and dyed neutral wools.  Otis was a really big help here, I’m not sure I would have made it through without him (that’s it for the “cats” part of this post).

Then,…

soaking the wool

I submerged the hooked mat in coffee and left it alone for several hours.  When I remembered that the mat was still soaking, I removed it from the coffee, wrung it out, laid it on a waxed-paper-covered cookie sheet and baked it for a while.  (I put the mat on the cookie sheet in a cold oven, turned it on to 250*, and shut the oven off as soon as it reached temperature.)  Because the wool didn’t dry completely in the oven, I hung the mat up over night.  Now dry, the mat went into the washing machine and the dryer with some other laundry.  It emerged wrinkled with the linen backing frayed, but in good, aged condition.

aged mat

I steamed it flat, and was excited to see that, not only had the colors softened a bit, but the wool itself appeared softer and older, and the loops themselves appeared to be happier with their neighboring loops.  I’m hoping to try this method on a larger rug, some day, though baking one in the oven would be out of the question!

As for updates, it’s the third Friday of the month (tomorrow) which is when Primitive Handmades Mercantile artisans add new items to their shops.  I have updated mine, already, so if you’d like to see what I’m offering or if you’d like to visit any of the fabulous stores on PHM, click here and then click on “Our Artists”.  My shop is The Simple Quiet.  I was hoping to have Magdalena’s Horses on the site this month, but no, so perhaps September. 🙂

until next time, enjoy some simple quiet today…

rebecca

Choosing color…

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I’ve decided to begin my quiet adventure into the equine with this antique rug design ~ the palette is so simple and neutral, which translates into peaceful punching. I will be following the original as closely as I can, based on the colors of floss that I have in my collection.

20120723-085452.jpg
The above photo shows my chosen perle cottons ~ oh, those lovely neutrals! These are all Valdani flosses, which is the type of floss I like to use. I think any brand of floss is great ~ there are so many ways to combine DMC, or any other brand of floss, to create lovely finishes. I use Valdani perle cottons for a number of reasons, but the most important is because it is the fiber easiest for
my wrist. I know for some punchers that DMC, and other 6 strand flosses are best for wrist fatigue, but for me, the Valdani perle cotton allowed me to continue punching when I thought I would have to give it up due to wrist and elbow pain.

I use two strands of #12 perle cotton in a medium Cameo needle, on the lowest (#1) setting. Some of you have asked how I get my pieces to look so dense. I’m a tight puncher, for sure, but more than that I think it’s due to the low setting on the needle.

Are you wondering how to get two strands of perle cotton out of one ball? Here’s how I do it…

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There is an end inside the ball, like in the pic above. Sometimes, it’s really, really easy to find this end. Sometimes, it’s really, really difficult!

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There’s an outer strand, too ~ so simple from here! I rarely have problems with my strands tangling. The exception is the perle tweed which has a tendency to twist a bit. I’ve tried using two and three balls of DMC perle cotton, (DMC perle doesn’t allow for two strands from one ball) but I am not talented enough nor patient enough to keep the balls from winding ’round and ’round one another. You are probably much more patient than I am, so you may find using DMC perle is easy for you. You can get some really pretty combinations if you use two or three different colors of DMC. DMC perle #12 is finer than Valdani #12, so when I’ve tried the DMC I’ve found that three strands of DMC is about as thick as two strands of Valdani.

While I’m deciding where to begin on my pattern, I’m visited by a little friend…

20120723-092406.jpg

I’m able to make a start on my piece, but I’ll be travelling in the car with my husband while working on part of it. I’d like to keep my needles together, but seperated…. what could I use? I look around and find a humble egg carton I’ve kept, “just in case” (one never knows when one may need an egg carton, after all).

20120723-093021.jpg

It works perfectly!

20120723-093058.jpg

I’ll also be able to fit a few extra flosses, a pair of scissors, and a threader or two.

Today, Randy and I are half way through our road trip and I’ve completed all the main elements of the design, except the tree.

20120723-093428.jpg

I’m hoping to get a good start on the background as we head homeward.

Until next time, friends, may your heart be light and your purse heavy!

rebecca