Sunflower Curtain Tiebacks

A couple of weeks ago, I made a sunflower. Hooked center, proddy petals, but couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do with it. Of course, instead of figuring that out, I made a few more. After checking out Pinterest, of course, my first three now look like this, and I love them!!

Sunflower Spools

Sunflower Spools

So I made a few more with the thought of creating a swag or banner. But, since the flowers are kind of heavy, they just droop, face-down when hung up. Finally, after brainstorming with my neighbor, we came up with curtain tiebacks! Since they have been met with some popularity, I’ve put together some instructions (with pictures) on how to make them. If I’ve left anything out, or you have any questions, please feel free to drop me an email.

Sunflower Curtain Tiebacks

Supplies:

Backing - linen or monks cloth

Center - 15 #8 strips, 17” in length

Petals - 20 - 1/2” strips, 6” in length

Backing material - 5 to 6 inch circle for each sunflower.

Ribbon Tie - Ribbon of your choice. I used 1” wide and 42” long satin ribbon. The length is completely up to you.

Step 1

Step 1

Draw the middle of your sunflower onto your backing. This can be whatever type of backing you use, linen, monks cloth, or rug warp. These centers are 3” around. The strips next to each row will be the hooked center and are cut into #8s/1/4” wide. The two pieces of wool are the petals.

IMG_20190729_125001421.jpg

Step 2

Here are the petals. I measured them at 6” long and 1/2” wide. This size is easily torn after snipping the edges. These petals ended up being pretty floppy, so if you want your petals to stand up, make them 4 or 5” in length. Once you have your strips, take two or three at a time, and trim the edges to an oval shape. I used an oval shape, but feel free to make yours any shape you’d like.

IMG_0139.jpg

Step 3

Hook your centers, then start adding your petals. Hooking your petals is considered proddy hooking, but I simply used a crochet hook to attach the petals. Picking a starting point, put your hook into a space right next to your center. Holding your petal underneath the backing with your other hand, use your hook to grab one side of the petal and pull it all the way through to the front. Move your hook two or three spaces away from the first half of the petal, insert your hook, and grab the other half of the petal and pull through. Depending on your backing, it may be a bit of a struggle to pull this wide of a strip through, so just take your time to avoid shredding your petal. You will follow the circle around while doing this.

Continue this process around the outside edge of your sunflower center until it is surrounded by petals.

IMG_0142.jpg
IMG_0143.jpg

Step 4

Step back to admire your work…..and check for any spaces or backing showing through.

IMG_20190729_162258069.jpg
IMG_20190730_095947090.jpg

Once your completely satisfied with your sunflowers, cut them apart, making sure you leave at least three inches on each flower backing so you can comfortably serge or zigzag around the edges.

IMG_20190730_101953727.jpg

Step 5

After you’ve secured the edges, hand sew a wide running stitch around the edge (under the serged edge), and gather it toward the center. Tie the running stitch off, and secure the middle so it lays flat. At this point, I steam the center, front and back. This allows your center loops to pop and lets the gathered back lay even flatter.

Step 6

Next, take your backing material, and hand sew it to the back. now, I’m not a seamstress, so you may have an easier/neater way to do this. If so, do it! :o) This is just the way I did it. As I go around, I just tuck the edges under as I sew it.

Back of finished sunflower tieback.jpg

Step 7

Take your ribbon and pin it to the back of your sunflower. Make sure your ends are even. Hand sew the ribbon onto the back by just using a straight stitch along each side. By doing it this way, you lessen the “droop” of the flower.

IMG_20190730_125537368.jpg

When finished, tie it to your curtain, and if needed, a small hook on the wall hidden by your curtains.

A few things to keep in mind…..the length of your ribbon is completely up to you. I like having some of the ribbon kind of “flowy” on the back of the curtain…..if you want your petals to be droopy, then six inches is perfect. If you prefer them to stand up, shorten your petals when cutting them to five or even four inches. Just remember that you will trim a bit off when rounding off the edges……petal edges - they can be rounded, pointed, or even squared off, completely up to you.

Have fun with these, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments, or drop me an email.

Busy January and a DIY Light Table

Well, I’m going to throw in the towel on updating my goals every week. Nope, not quitting on the goals, just on the updating. I got to thinking, and my blog should be primarily about rug hooking. I’ll throw a bit of real life in here and there, but I’m going to stick to what I love, and stop trying to be something else.

So, a DIY light table. I had such light table envy when I first started creating my own patterns and selling them! In the very beginning, I would draw patterns directly onto the backing, and as soon as somebody wanted a pattern, it was stress-city! No matter how hard you try, if you are free-handing a pattern each time, it will be different each time! So, back to light table envy…..I started shopping around and realized that for the size I needed, it was quite expensive! Then one day, I was looking around at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Stratford, CT and saw several glass-topped computer tables. You know the ones, glass top, slide out keyboard platform and typically metal legs. They were all $25.00 and under, quite the bargain for what I had in mind!

Very similar to this!

Very similar to this!

So I took a picture, sent it to my very handy hubby, then called him. I explained what I was thinking, told him how inexpensive the table was, and said I was putting it in my car now! :o) Heavy sigh on the other end of the phone, then an “ok”.

Once I got it home, I put it in the garage and hubby started working on it. All that was needed was a board a few inches smaller than the keyboard drawer, two fluorescent lights, and a piece of plastic about the size of the glass top. Mount the lights onto the board and just set the board on the keyboard drawer. Make sure the cords hang out the back. Attach the piece of plastic to the underside of the glass top so that when you turn on the lights, it disperses the light instead of getting two bright spots from the lights below. I’ve added a slide show below that shows the different components.

The only item bought was the table itself, and it was $15.00. The rest hubby had in the garage, so it was pretty cheap to build, but if you had to buy the lights, piece of plastic, and board, it still will be cheaper than a brand new light table, and works just as well. Honestly, best addition to my studio!

Class Scheduling

I’ve been busy trying to find a space in our town where I can hold rug hooking and punch needle classes, and it’s pretty tough! I did have one beginner rug hooking class at my home last year, and even with just four people, it was a tight fit. I need a bigger space! I’m back on the phone today, and hopefully will have my schedule posted and a new newsletter emailed out by the beginning of next week! Thank you for being patient!

Let's get this party started!

Good Monday morning! Back from walkies and ready to dive into 2019!

So, my plan was to update my goals each Sunday…..missed that deadline. But no worries, here’s a quick update!

2019 GOALS

  1. Try a new rug hooking technique once a month

    Last week I pulled out some of my vintage rug punching tools and gave them a go. Definitely a learning curve on most of them! The Columbia MInerva punch needle was the easiest to work with. I’ll post a sample of the stitches with the name of the tool on the picture. These tools are pretty easy to find and fairly inexpensive. I think it’s a great way to get started punching on a budget.

  2. Make one recipe from The Great British Bake Off once a week.

    Ok, so my first recipe was homemade English Muffins. Definitely a learning curve here as well! On a technical challenge, I think I would’ve been in the bottom five, and the bottom of those five…lol If you’d like to give it a go, here’s a link to the recipe. https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/english_muffins_56640

Supplies gathered

Supplies gathered

Dough made and proofing

Dough made and proofing

Muffins on the griddle. Yes, weird shapes.

Muffins on the griddle. Yes, weird shapes.

Finished product. A little doughy on the inside, but all in all, not a horrible outcome.

Finished product. A little doughy on the inside, but all in all, not a horrible outcome.

3. Schedule monthly classes as well as open hooking days.

I’m researching a venue here in town and should have my class schedule updated by next week.

4. Beekeeping

Bees ordered, pick up some time in April!

5. Have a monthly clean out

Nothing cleaned out yet.

6. Garden

Seed catalogs out and ready to be read.

7. Top Secret Goal for Raven’s Gate Primitives

Working on it!

Textile Sale Treasures!

This past weekend, the Monroe Historical Society had their annual Textile Sale, and of course, I was there before 10am, ready to shop! Now I usually don’t find much related to rug hooking as far as hooks, cutters, books, etc, but I do find some wonderful wool yardage. The wool is usually $2.00 a yard, so a definite bargain. I started looking around, and right by the book table, I spotted my friend Dawn from Coon Hollow Farm, and we started chatting. While chatting, I was scanning the books, and lo and behold, there were several rug hooking books! Well, if it had “rug hooking” in the title, I grabbed it. Didn’t look through it, just grabbed it.

Such interesting books!

Such interesting books!

Two Pearl McGown Books….with treasure inside!

Two Pearl McGown Books….with treasure inside!

This one has Pearl McGown’s signature and pictures of the previous owner’s rugs and where they are.

This one has Pearl McGown’s signature and pictures of the previous owner’s rugs and where they are.

More examples of the previous owner’s work

More examples of the previous owner’s work

This woman was a prolific hooker!

This woman was a prolific hooker!

After that, I wandered over to a lidded plastic box, opened it, and there were a ton of different types of rug hooking/punching tools. There was even a Pearl Mcgown hook!! Yep, grabbed that and others…lol.

Pearl McGown Hook

Pearl McGown Hook

I am planning on using some of these tools and making videos! Stay Tuned!

I am planning on using some of these tools and making videos! Stay Tuned!

Gorgeous wool and a sturdy yarn winder.

Gorgeous wool and a sturdy yarn winder.

Of course, arms full, I headed into the textile barn and found two bundles of beautiful wool that will be going into the dye pots some time this week.

Just the history in the two Pearl McGown books are amazing. A rug hooker recording her projects, and how they are used in her house, is wonderful to read. I might just do a little research to see if I can find this rug artist. I feel like I have a part of her history in my studio.



Busy Weekends

Fall is finally on her way, and that brings the start of fair/show season!  I spent my last two Saturdays vending at two different shows, and they were a blast!  I met some pretty cool people that are really interested in learning how to hook rugs, dye wool, how to create with punch needle, and even make their own goose feather trees!  So today I'm making a schedule and creating my first newsletter.  It's a bit daunting, but I'm pretty excited about this next level of my business.

A view in my booth

A view in my booth

A child's beach chair with a star mat

A child's beach chair with a star mat

Some kits, hooked rugs, and a few punch needle pieces

Some kits, hooked rugs, and a few punch needle pieces

More hooked pieces and my dyed wool

More hooked pieces and my dyed wool

While talking to people, I like to show that you can create whatever kind of rug you'd like.  When I teach a rug hooking class, I bring books, magazines, and show pictures from other rug hooking artists.  This way, any style can be incorporated into a rug for the floor, a table runner for a holiday, a set of mug rugs for your tea or coffee, or what have you!  A hooked piece can be incorporated into any decor, it just involves finding the right pattern and colors. 

Hand of Hamsa - made by myself for a Bat Mitzvah gift.

Hand of Hamsa - made by myself for a Bat Mitzvah gift.

A beautiful rug by Rachelle LeBlanc.  A great example of hooking figures as well as using a picture.  https://rachelleleblanc.wordpress.com/

A beautiful rug by Rachelle LeBlanc.  A great example of hooking figures as well as using a picture.  https://rachelleleblanc.wordpress.com/

A primitive little crow checking out the sunflowers.  Hooked by me.

A primitive little crow checking out the sunflowers.  Hooked by me.

This was hooked from a child's drawing. I'm afraid I can't find the artist's name (hooker or child...lol)  But it shows that you can hook anything!

This was hooked from a child's drawing. I'm afraid I can't find the artist's name (hooker or child...lol)  But it shows that you can hook anything!

I am now off to create my very first newsletter!  If you'd like to receive this newsletter, you can sign up on my contact page.  I would love to hear from you!

 

Rain, rain, go away!

So, lots of rain, lots of high humidity, but we're still walking every morning!  When I left my job to start my rug hooking business full-time, one of my goals was to make sure our giant puppy Jackson, went on walks every morning.  There's no way I can handle the energy level of a 60 lb puppy stuck inside all day, so we walk for about an hour every morning at a beautiful park near our house.  He didn't dig the walks at the beginning, but now I think he loves them. 

Jackson Walkies

 

Along with all the rain, I've noticed a big increase in fungi, toadstools, mushrooms, etc all over.  Some are really beautiful.  Also, the whole forest is just so lush and green.  I'm taking pictures now so I can remember this when the snow flies!

IMG_20180806_080210228.jpg
IMG_20180812_092611357.jpg
IMG_20180812_091108407.jpg
IMG_20180812_091352240.jpg
IMG_20180812_091330818.jpg

I've been working on a fairly big rug lately, and am almost finished.  Then it's back to working on smalls and my feather trees.  My most recent tree is about two feet tall and as soon as I get it in it's stand and decorated, there's be pictures!

IMG_20180812_131620521.jpg

A LIttle Catch-Up






Yesterday I saw down and watched the documentary,  Mister Rogers and Me.  It was, in a word, wonderful.  I honestly don't remember watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood as a child, probably because we lived in Germany (Rhein Main AFB), and didn't get much American television.  This was 1970-1975, so no internet folks!  But watching this film really showed that Fred Rogers was exactly who we all thought he was.  Kind, gentle, in the moment, and if he was interacting with you, or an audience, you were the most important person to him.  There's so many lessons we need to still learn from him, or if you watched Mister Roger's Neighborhood, remember them.  I think some Fred Rogers reading needs to happen this weekend.

I spent last week in Arkansas with my parents, and it was a wonderful vacation.  Catching up with all the goings-on, swimming, and visiting.  It was too long between visits, but that won't happen again.  

Once I got back, I dove straight into creating.  I've found that I need a project with me at all times to stay sane! lol  

But first, I took a kind of inventory.....here's the results.




I may need to start paring down a bit.    Today it's computer work, then back upstairs to work on my tallest goosefeather tree yet.  I did a quick vid of creating a branch, and will do a separate post on goosefeather trees and their history. 




  Lastly, needlepunch.








So, it's been a month.....

Looking for his girlfriend Ruby.  Ruby is a Vizsla that is out for walk/runs every morning.


....since leaving my office job, and life is wonderful!  Yes, the paycheck is much smaller, but so are my expenses, and my stress level is at an all time low.  I knew it would be different, but I am so enjoying being home!  I've been selling wool online, designing and hooking new rugs, doing a bit of punchneedle, and taking daily walks with this handsome boy.


Pretty little flowers alongside the trail. 
 
A little throwback Thursday....here's Jackson the day we brought him home.

Coming home at four months

This morning hanging on the couch after our walk.  He's about eight months old.
We were told by the rescue he is a Lab/Jack Russell.  The vet informed us that he is a Great Dane and probably lab!  But no matter, we love him even when he's eating like a horse and trying to chew everything in sight!  Training will begin in August!

I have a couple of new designs, one completely finished and ready to be fixed to a vintage picnic basket.
A close up of the flower


A top view

Front view


A little pumpkin.  She's a little wonky, but another steam should fix that right up
A needle punch piece mounted on a vintage lunch box

A close up

And currently on my frame.  I hooked all day yesterday and it was just so much fun!  I'm going to work on the background today after a trip to the post office to mail out some wool.

My version of  a yin yang

The sun.  The rays are hooked using sari silk

A little luna moth.  I'm definitely doing more butterflies, moths, and dragonflies. The color planning on this one was fun!
Have a great day!!