Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Did you know there are more than 100 different varieties of sheep?  The National Sheep Association classifies sheep into either meat, milking or wool variety.  Merino, Dorset, Shropshire, Suffolk and Jacob are some of the more familiar varieties.  Don't you just love those names?  The Leicester sheep with his curly hair, the Suffolk with his black face and legs, Merino which produces the softest of wools and the Lincoln with those dreadlocks.

This is my first hooked rug.  It was the first rug hooking kit I had ever purchased:  it was small and primitive and had sheep.

This sheep photo has been in my rug hooking inspiration box of ideas for years.  The photo reminds me of the photographs/portraits farmers would take of their prize winning livestock.  I have often wondered how those animals were able to hold up their oversized bodies on pencil thin legs.

When I am lucky enough to find raw wool, I purchase it for filling/stuffing for pillows and pincushions.

Here are some of the things I have learned about hooking rugs:
  • let the holes breathe--every hole does not have to be filled (don't pack the hooking) aka a tight hooker
  • every loop does not have to be even
  • make sure the linen is tight on the frame
  • all tails in one area is the weakest part of the rug
  • pick one and stick with it:  hook on the line, hook inside the line, hook outside the line
  • do not hook in straight lines
  • to keep movement in the background hook in the shape of puzzle pieces

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Beat the Heat 2017

Beat the Heat 2017 is officially in the record books!  It was awesome.  Liseanne and Ron outdid themselves.

I was to busy visiting and catching up with my rug hooking buddies and neglected to take photos of some beautiful rugs.  Carol is hooking an American Eagle which is breathtaking, there were Thanksgiving turkeys being hooked, and sampler houses.  Janis had a beautiful mermaid which I neglected to photograph and Jane was hooking a Celtic rope in autumn colors.  Instead of taking photos, I was drooling over beautiful rugs.

This is a design from Prairie Road, wonderful inspiration for Christmas.

I know lots of young boys who would love to have this dinosaur in their collection.  Isn't he just the bomb?

My penny rug is my traveling project.  It is very transportable (doesn't take up a lot of room in my hooking basket) and doesn't require a lot of thought, so I can visit and sew blanket stitches.  But instead of sewing blanket stitches, I shopped.  Lots of lots of wool came home with me.

This is one of my 2016 Christmas presents.  I had some usable wool in my stash and knew Beat the Heat was coming and would be a great opportunity to do some serious wool shopping for my Callie Mae rug.

Since Callie Mae is a Calico she will be hooked in the black, gold and orange wool.  The greens are for stems and leaves and the reds are for the flowers.  Whew!  Thank goodness my hooking buddies were there to help with wool selection--I was trying to stay away from Christmas greens and reds.  The gray is for the background.  Lisanne is a wonderful teacher and answered many questions and shared hooking tips.  

July has been hot and rainy and the grass and weeds have been growing like crazy.  It has taken considerable effort to stay caught up (some days I think the weeds are winning).  There has also been tomato juice to can, corn to shuck and beans to break--hopefully there will soon be time to pull loops for the Callie Mae rug.  

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How I spent my summer vacation (Fourth of July)

Introducing Baby Tinnie

Earlier this spring AppleJack and I saw a tin man made by one of the Master Gardeners.  I was smitten!  A closer look at the design and construction revealed tin cans joined together.  I thought I could make one.  We began collecting tin cans.

Tin cans, pull tabs, washers, screws, coat hanger wire

Tinnie will be living in Next Year (the garden) among the herbs, pepper plants and flowers.  July has been a very rainy month and the grass and weeds are growing like crazy.  AppleJack has collected more tin cans--Tinnie may have a friend.

Friday, June 30, 2017

He knows me so well . . .

Project Bag from the Carolina Stitcher
French General Fabric

AppleJack knows me very well!  July is a month full of many birthdays for our family.  This project bag from the Carolina Stitcher (Faye) is an early birthday gift.

A sweet Eiffel Tower charm for the French General Fabric.  

Beatrix Potter arrived!

M. Quertier, Beatrix Potter and her companion are residing in the project bag.  

Inside of Project Roll.
The sheep fabric is Primitive Gatherings and the sheep ornament is from Shepherd's Bush

Project Roll from Carolina Stitcher

The project roll has already been put into service.  Can't wait to share Faye's project bag and roll with my stitching sisters at the next stitch-in.

Thank you Faye!  They are beautiful!

Saw this ladder at an antique store.  Oh, AppleJack this would make a great display for my Jo Morton quilts,  (Hint, hint, wink, wink)

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Week-end Get Away

Gone with the Wind is one of my favorite movies.  One of my favorite lines from the movie is when Scarlett is feeling quite overwhelmed and says:  "I can't think about that right now.  If I do, I'll go crazy.  I'll think about that tomorrow."  There was a time in my life when Scarlett's procrastination annoyed me.  I am older and wiser and realize there are times in life when a girl feels overwhelmed and needs a week-end get away.

AppleJack and I took a trip east to revisit some of our favorite places and discover some new ones.  One of our stops was to the University Gardens.  The gardens are located on the Agricultural Campus of The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Some 4,000 annuals, perennials, herbs, tropical plants, trees, shrubs, vegetables and ornamental grasses grow in the gardens.  The plants are under constant study and evaluation.  New plant species are introduced and the gardens are a great way for home gardeners to learn about new varieties and let the experts do the trial and error.

The hydrangeas were in full bloom.  There was an evening wedding scheduled and the hydrangeas were especially beautiful.  I will be adding more of these beauties to my garden.

A red variety of coneflower!  It was beautiful.  Another must have to add to my garden.  The bees, butterflies and hummingbirds love this plant.  

A single red annual--zinna.  Grandmother Bessie called this annual Old Maid.  

A garden bench, a place to sit, relax and breathe in all the beauty of the gardens.

We took a trip down memory lane for lunch and ate a Hoagie sandwich from Sam and Andy's.  The sandwiches are steamed which softens the bread, heats the meats, and melts the cheese.  They are delicious!  Why doesn't anyone in Nashville steam the sandwiches?  Grrrr

Ham 'n Goody's is another favorite Knoxville eatery.  Founded in 1978 using old family recipes they are renown for their world famous lemon cookies and home made cakes.  These cookies are better than good, they are melt in your mouth delicious.  It was worth the trip just for a dozen of these cookies!

The last time I was with the Homespun stitch girls, one of them was talking about a new quilt shop in Greenback called MountainCraft Quilts.  Feeling adventurous and with the assistance of MapQuest we set out to find the shop.  WOW!  A gem of a quilt shop located on Hwy 411 just outside of Maryville.  The shop is owned and operated by a mother/daughter team and is everything this quilter dreams about in a quilt shop:  bolts and bolts of beautiful fabrics, wools, tools, fibers, models, classes.  Perhaps, if Scarlett had access to a quilt shop like MountainCraft, it would have helped with her feeling of being overwhelmed.  It sure helped with mine.

I highly recommend road trips.  Stay tuned there are more road trips in our immediate plans--Berea, Sauder Village, Paducah, Little Rock.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Mastering the HST

Jo's Little Favorites II
Half Square Triangle Challenge
17 x 20 1/2
Fabric from Stash

In 1961 Julia Child released her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  If there is one thing I have learned about quilting it is the role and importance of the HST.  I believe early in her quilting career, Jo Morton must have recognized and learned the importance of the HST.  She has mastered the skill of making HST and she isn't afraid to use.

  One of the quilts in Little Favorites II is called the Half-Square Triangle Challenge.  Jo choose to use two colors in this quilt:  pink and brown.  Since pink is not one of my favorite colors, my stash is limited with this color.  I choose the next best thing--pinky reds.  Red while a bold color sometimes have a pink color or orange color.

Here are some of the things I learned while I am on my journey to Mastering the Art of the HST:
  • Triangle papers are a girls best friend.  It is amazing how accurate and fast HST can be sewn together using triangle papers
  • No matter how accurate I sew and press, HST always need to be measured and trimmed.  Yes, cutting off those dog ears does make a difference
  • Itty Bitty Rulers are also a girls best friend.  
Gardening work (pulling weeds) has cut into my sewing time, but has not stopped me from digging into my fabric stash and pulling fabric for my next HST challenge.

Meadow by Blackbird Designs
(Backing fabric)