Thursday, March 3, 2011

First Things First, My First Lesson with Lori Rokusek

So much to report from the Rookie Hooker front, but first things first - I've had my first two hooking lesssons!  Yippee!

The fantabulous Lori Rokusek, who hails from Dubuque and is working toward her McGown certification, came to the Beeline Townsend shop and gave us all an education.  She was terrific.  For the first hour or so that she was here, nearly half of our entire company (which would be roughly 20ish people) sat in while Lori went over a brief history of rug hooking, showed us different backing materials and wools, and shared many of her finished projects with us.  Then, she showed us different hooks and had people step up and learn how to hook.  Of course, the men in the building turned it into a bit of a competition, as in who had the best technique, whose loops were most even, whose line was the straightest, etc.  I even caught some of them by my desk after the lesson hooking in secret when they thought no one was around.  Way to go Lori!

I really want my first project to be a rendition of our company logo, Bucky Bee:
I talked to Lori about how to get Bucky patterned out.  She gave me some Scottish Linen, and some tips on how to best represent Bucky.  Here is what I ended up with:

I'm just going to say it:  I'm kind of proud of my Bucky Bee.

However, dear sweet Lori had to break the news to red wool had to come out because it wasn't felted.  DRAT!  It was for the best, of course - the wool I used is from a large chain fabric shop, and while it is 100% wool, I can tell the quality is not nearly as good as the other wools I am using.  My cream colored wool is from Dorr Fabrics, and it is fantastic, hardly shreds at all, and the blue dyed wool by Ginny Glover or Stillwater, MN I'm using for the backing is from Cabin Fever, which is beautiful and holds up great.  The red, however, shreds quite a bit, even felted.  I did the red and the black in a #6 cut, and I did the cream and the blue in a #7 cut.  I'll post more about that next time, with an updated picture of my nearly finished Bucky Bee.

Lori came back the following week and had a second session with just me and Shari, the BLT department, and Rhonda and Stephanie, the BLT production crew responsible for making all of our equipment.  Here are some photos from the last day Lori was in:

Lori and one of her fantastic works of art.

Lori and Rhonda talking turkey.

Shari working on the back end of a sheep. 
Someone has to take the less glorious job.

Stephanie takes the front end of the sheep.

That's me, Julie, fruitlessly hooking unfelted wool on my bee.

My new hooking mentor, Lori.  She rocks.

This is Bill, Lori's husband - the chauffuer,
unsung hero, and handsome pack mule.

It was really exciting to finally start actually hooking something.  And now, you all know the end of the story....I'm hooked.  I hooked in the hotel room in Lenexa, Kansas with Katie Lane from Townsend, and I hooked during the entire Oscars, and if I have 10 minutes before I need to leave to pick up my kids from somewhere, I'll think, "Oh, I can just do a couple of worms quick...."  I'm finding out that the more I learn about this great art, the more I need to learn, but it's fun and it's fascinating. 

I'll file a report on the Rock Creek Hook In with Marilyn Schmidt in Lenexa, Kansas in the next few days.

Julie, the Rookie Hooker

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