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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Hookers

Those of us who remember 1975, however vaguely, are familiar with the book and movie title "The Happy Hooker."  That's how my mother-in-law, Barb Woolman, jokingly refers to her Thursday afternoon rug-hooking group.  This is a picture of the happiest hooker I know with her granddaughter.

Today is May 27th and our family usually finds a happy way to celebrate my son's birthday.  Ben is no longer planet-side to be able to celebrate with us -- but we celebrate his birth anyway.  This year, because of job changes and just life in general, the day was almost left to a Hallmark greeting card version of "Yay, you were born." 

The message light on my phone was beeping yesterday and it was Barb inviting us to go with her to North Bay on Sunday to go to the OHCG (Ontario Hooking Craft Guild) 46th Annual Conference at Nippissing University.  I have the great fortune of having a mother-in-law who is also my friend.  I didn't say a word about how relieved I was not to be alone with the Hallmark greeting card version of this day.

The first scene we were greeted by was a four-panel mural of what life is like in Northern Ontario. 

The story I heard was that a community of hookers got together and asked everyone to contribute something to the panel about the seasons of what it is like in our part of the world.  One little girl reminded them that the scenes were missing a vital part -- and the mermaid was added to the second panel per her request.  To understand how much detail and work was done to create the mural, below is Carol showing us how to hook.

There are several supplies needed in order to create this kind of art.  Although I was assured that anyone can do it, I felt like Alice in Wonderland waiting for the next clue.  Even the handles of the hooks were unique.

These are palm hooks and Carol is holding a pencil hook.  I tried the palm hooks (left-handed) but it looks like I'm a pencil-pusher in the hooking world, too.  Maybe.

The colors... oh! the colors... wool seems to be the fabric of choice because it dyes well and in so many different shades.

This woman explained to us that the wool here is not tie-dyed, but it is put into a pot to boil on the stove with one dye and then other colors are ladled with a spoon onto the same cloth.  One of these strips cost $4.00 and it was also explained that part of the expense of the material is the effort it takes to get the colors. 

Our model, Sarah is showing the other kind of fabric that is dunked three and four times into dye so that the color bleeds down from one shade to another.

There are other kinds of fabrics used to hook.  These are skeins of saris. 

I found the brightest color of purple I've seen yet today...and the happiness I felt when I picked it up was palpably purple.  I promise you when the budget constraints ease up, I'm going to find that material again and use it.

I'm going to end this blog with a series of pictures of May 27th, 2012.  The words to describe what I found today were on a person's description of why they hook.  "How do you live a creative life?  Release the child within and lose the fear of being wrong."

Happy Birthday, Ben.  We love you.

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