Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hello fellow rug hookers!
Julie Stamper here, and it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Lots of changes have happened at Bee Line Art Tools, so here’s a quick recap of what the busy bees have been up to!
In August, I left Bee Line Art Tools for another job opportunity in our community, but I continue to hook in my free time. Shari Soltow, who has been in charge of customer service and helping me with everything for the past few years, took over as Customer Service Supervisor for Bee Line Art Tools and is now hooking! Yay!
Isn't she adorable!? Look at the rug she started!
Since Shari and I started together when Bee Line took over Townsend Industries’ rug hooking business, she’s been involved from the beginning, and knows the equipment inside and out. She has spoken to many of you on the phone and through e-mail, and she attended the XXX Hook-in in Minnesota a couple of years ago and met a number of people in the Minnesota rug hooking community. She is very familiar with the ins and outs of both the cutting equipment and the frames, and can help you with any questions you may have about your Bee Line Art Tools Equipment.
While I’m busy with my new position and my family, I still keep in touch with my friends at Bee Line, so you may occasionally see a blog post or something on facebook or twitter or pinterest from me on behalf of Bee Line, but Shari is your go-to gal on all things cutter.
I’m still working on my Grannie’s Flower Garden rug – at Sauder I basically pulled all the wool out and started over, so hopefully over holiday break I’ll get a chance to do some hooking and can post progress pictures with my new colors!
Hopefully you’ve all had a terrific year, and from the Bee Line family to yours, Happy Holidays!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Getting in the Green

I finally dove in to my green wool purchased from Janice Lee at The Rug Hooking Store, and I have to say that I've been pleasantly surprised.  When I walked into Janice's shop to talk about background wools, I thought I would be going with a darker background.  The original Grannies Flower Garden photo has a dark background:

So I had this in my head. After I started talking to Janice, she took me down a lighter path, with the idea that my flowers are dark enough that they would be lost in a background that dark.  Janice pulled a lot of wool off of the shelves, but eventually I settled on my variety of greens.

As always, it was fun cutting.

I favor the #7 cassette in the Bee Line Art Tools Cutter.  This much wool got a TON of lint in my cassette, on my cutter, on my tote table, and all over my desk.

I sometimes wonder if I should be wearing a surgical mask to cut wool, since I'm sure my sinuses are packed with lint by the time I'm done!  As always, I cleaned out my cassettes with some canned air.  I know there are some people who are very against this, because they feel that canned air gets moisture on the cassettes, but as long as it isn't the bottom of the can when actual liquid spits out, I think it's fine.  I'd rather get my cassettes very clean, because having them packed with wool will make them stop working faster than a little moisture!

I started hooking in the background, and I was a little dubious, but the more of the wool I hooked in, the more I loved it.

Janice suggested that with my lighter flowers, I do an outline in a smaller cut wool. I did the green flower outline in a #4 cut, and I think it worked out nicely.

Now? I'm eager to get the rug finished and see how it looks!  Maybe by Sauder Village....

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Green Acres...Of Wool

I've been at a bit of a stopping point with my Grannie's Flower Garden rug because I didn't know what to use as my background color.  I thought I could just happily hook along with the flowers and the background would come in a flash of inspiration.  It didn't turn out that way.

So there I sat. Looking and not hooking.

In a stroke of good fortune, my parents traveled north from Texas to stay at their cabin in Nebraska, which is conveniently located just a couple of miles away from Janice Lee at Black Horse Antiques and The Rug Hooking Store.  Janice not only has a terrific store and is a Bee Line Art Tools Distributor, but she is also a fantastic color planner! Score!

Janice's shop in Valley - darling place!

I popped in to see Janice last Saturday, and she immediately started pulling bundles of wool off of her shelves.

She tried some blues and some grays and some rose colored wool. Nothing was really "selling" me.

Until she started pulling greens off of the shelf.  It made sense to me that a garden would be on a green background.  However, it was a little tricky in that I had already hooked a number of the flowers, so if the background wool is too dark, the dark flowers disappear; too light, and the light flowers go away.  I ended up going with four different light-ish colors, and I cut them all up in my trusty Bee Line cutter with a #7.

I'm now ready to go through green acres of wool to get a background in my garden.

Thanks Janice!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spring Has Sprung

It's funny that after my post the other day, where I mentioned my lack of skills in color planning, I visited the Bee Line Facebook page and saw an article posted by another rug hooker about color planning.  I read the article, which was terrific, but didn't save it.  I just went to Facebook to look it up, but after scrolling through my timeline for about 10 minutes, I gave up. However, a shout-out to the universe to whomever posted that wonderful color planning article, because it made me stop and think about my Grannie's Flower Garden rug.

I actually dug through the wool I have and planned some color!  From the article I read, and from looking at the picture of a completed Grannie's Flower Garden, I'm doing some triangular formations of color.

I'm sort of winging it, but I noticed in Nola Heidbreder's hooked picture of this rug that there are definitive triangles of color... variations of blue/green, red/pink, red/orange...and they actually make the rug rather geometric.  My life seems to have so little order, it's nice to feel like maybe there is some order in my rugs!

I do notice the centers of all of these flowers are the same, which lends some consistency.  I'm rather inconsistent, so my centers don't match.  Here is what I have so far:

I have taped little bits of the wool I want to use for flowers, an idea I took from seeing other hookers do it.  It's a great way to remind myself what I planned to go together, since my memory isn't exactly the most reliable form of record!

I haven't selected a background color for the rug yet. I know it won't be light or creamy, and I like the brownish color Nola has on the photo of the hooked rug, particularly since I won't be hooking any brown flowers.  I like navy blue too, but that might blend too well with some of the colors I'm planning to use.

What methods do you use when color planning your rugs?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tickled Pink

After a long hooking drought, I'm happy to say that I've had the opportunity to be busy hooking again in the past week, so I've been able to make a little bit of progress on Grannie's Flower Garden.  So far, I have three lovely flowers on one side:

And two new ones have bloomed on the other side:

I'm loving picking the colors for the flowers and the centers, and it's a nice Springy rug, which we will need around these parts because on Friday we're getting a cold front and maybe scattered snow showers.  WHAT!!?!?!

I did something a little different in the centers of the two new flowers - I used pinking shears to cut the wool to see if it would give it a little more texture.

I couldn't really tell on the navy blue center, but on the orange center I could tell a difference, however subtle. It created a sort of "ruffled" effect in the center of the flower. It was interesting to hook with the wool this way, because pulling it through the linen had sort of a "thunk-thunk-thunk" feel, and it was a little more resistant, but I like the final look:

And after the entire flower was done:

It made me wonder how that would have looked in my Iowa Postcard rug on the trees - in Grant Wood's painting "Stone City", some of the trees are round and puffy, and some of them are jagged.  It would have been fun to hook the postcard rug the same way, with some of the trees being rounded and some having points sticking out of them.

I looked through some of my issues of Rug Hooking Magazine, ATHA, and The Wool Street Journal, and didn't see any articles about hooking with wool strips that have the edges textured.  Have you hooked with edged wool, or seen any rugs that have been?  Would you hook with wool that has a textured edge?  I'd love to hear some thoughts from other rug hookers.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Two Flowers Blooming

I FINALLY made some progress hooking this week!  Yay!  I've slowly but surely managed to get two flowers done in my Grannie's Flower Garden, purchased from Nola Heidbreder.  I hooked them at work and hardly anyone said, "Man, I wish I had YOUR job" when they walked by and saw me hooking.  My normal response to that is, "Yeah, I'm pretty lucky, aren't I?"

My last progress picture, which was taken MONTHS ago.  This poor rug just sat fodder in my cubicle, giving me sad faces and sighing. A LOT.

Yesterday I was determined to get moving on it and get this garden growing! It is springtime in Iowa, after all.  I grabbed my hook, and next thing you know, two flowers bloomed on my frame.

I'm still in love with this pomegranate wool I received from LeAnn Hodgson at Camp Wool - this is the last of that wool, which is beautiful!

Both of the flower centers are overdyed plaid wool, and I still love seeing how patterned wool looks when it's hooked.

Once again, I haven't color planned this and am flying by the seat of my pants. One of these days I'll actually sit down and plan out my rugs, because every beautiful rug I've ever laid eyes on has been color planned, hence the gorgeous results.  For now, I'm still enjoying my Rookie status and having some fun just throwing things together and seeing how it ends.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Little Showtime

Rug hooking isn't as prevalent in my area of the country, so the opportunity to attend rug hooking events are few and far between. When I had the opportunity to attend a local event last week, I jumped at the chance!

Beth Anne Smiley, owner and operator of one of our Bee Line Art Tools Distributors, Wheaten Woolens, had a rug hooking event in her store last Friday and needed a cassette, so got to leave the office and make a delivery.  When I arrived, not only were there rug hookers in Wheaten Woolens, but also Fran Riley, a reporter for our local Channel 6 station.  Fran was doing a story on rug hooking, and had Beth Anne show him the tricks of the trade.

Beth Anne Smiley, showing a pattern and explaining
what types of backing are used in rug hooking.

Some of Beth Anne's beautiful wool she sells from her shop.

The cameraman getting footage of rug hooking.

Beth Anne's personal assistant and public relations guru,
and the namesakes for the shop.

The outside of Wheaten Woolens - we just had a fresh
snowfall the night before. Isn't it pretty?

The segment aired on TV last night, and assuredly informed more people in our area about rug hooking, so thanks for spreading the good word, Beth Anne!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy New Year!

A very belated Happy New Year to everyone out there!

It's been a while since I posted on The Rookie Hooker, mainly because I haven't had much time for hooking!  We installed the rug hooking exhibit in the Quad Cities Airport in December, which was wonderful:

We filled many holiday orders for the Bee Line Townsend Cutting Machine and/or cassettes:

We shipped a number of our 14" Orbiting Floor Frames:

We announced our new prices for 2013, which brought a whole lot of orders in at the end of 2012, and we started implementing a name change.  Why are we changing our name, you might ask?  When we bought the rug hooking equipment line from Townsend Industries, we understood that rug hookers everywhere knew the product as "the Townsend Cutter".  Part of our long-term plan is to make the rug hooking part of the business fully integrated with the Bee Line Company, and to become a Bee Line product.

You'll start seeing us making the change to Bee Line Art Tools. It's the same product, different name, but it gives us the opportunity to perhaps start thinking about how we can serve other artists in the future.  Here is the new logo you'll see on our products and materials:

Now that the business stuff is getting caught up, it's time to hook! I have a date with my latest rug, "Grandma's Flower Garden", for the Oscars.  Hopefully that night will give me lots of hooking time, and I can kick start my new rug to keep the ball rolling.

Hope you are all finding time to work on your winter projects, and Happy New Year and Happy Hooking to you!