I haven't posted a finished picture of Transfiguration yet because I had sent it to be considered for the Celebration contest. Today I received notification that the rug did not make the cut. So now I am free to upload a photo here. I hope that my blogger friends who entered rugs in the contest got acceptance letters! I am keeping my fingers crossed for you!

2009. 30" by 31". 4-cut. Original. Designed, dyed and hooked by April DeConick.


upon tabor
midnight rests
ruah is calling you
her breath upon your skin
her wind, your hair
long have I awaited you my daughter

welling up
bursting crystalis
outpouring spirit
body to flame
take my hand
we are the same
before eve was I am

Here is the design that inspired me to create this rug and poem. It is from an alchemical book of emblems produced in Latin in 1617 by Michael Maier. It is emblem #1 in Atalanta Fugiens.

Ten-Minute Challenge weekly check-in: week 4

How is everyone doing with the challenge? I'm seeing lots of progress being reported in the Rug Hooking Daily forum. There are 63 challengers on the official list (see sidebar). This is an ongoing challenge so enrollment is open. Send me your name and email address and sign in to our group discussion on Rug Hooking Daily.

If you care to leave a report here or a link to a post you may have made on your blog about the challenge, please use the comments. Otherwise, join the Rug Hooking Daily forum which continual discussion occurs in our TEN-MINUTE CHALLENGE GROUP.

These are two rugs posted as completed this week during the CHALLENGE on our Rug Hooking Daily forum. Congratulations goes to Jo Leland (Autumn cat) and Pat Freasier ("Mighty Oaks Hearth Rug" by Sally Kalin of Pine Island Primitives). I finished "Transfiguration" although I don't have a photo yet. So here is one where I am working on her last April at the Stash Sisters Hook In.

I've got the color!

This week I have been in the dye pot. First I dyed the rest of the wool that I need to finish Transfiguration. I still had trouble with getting just the right shade of gray-blue to begin the top of the mountain. The batch I crock-potted on Monday was too white and bright when I hooked it in. So I added another 1/4 teaspoon of my liquid formula and I came out with the perfect color. I worked on rehooking the area last night (for the fifth and final time).

The rest of the week I worked on developing a series of new formulas. Here is a stack of my results. When I create a new dye, I dye a full 8-graduated swatch so that I know exactly how much dye per 6" by 16" piece of white wool will produce the color and value I want. Lesser amounts of the same dye will produce very different color value effects than greater amounts of the dye. I work in quart jars, stewing in the oven where I don't stir very often (if I want a more mottled look) or on the stove top where I stir constantly (if I need a smooth look). I track everything I do in a formula book, in snippets I attach to my recipes, and in one-inch swatches I keep on a ring.

This last year when creating my dyes for Transfiguration, I developed by accident a base formula that, when other colors are added to it, produce glowing colors, almost translucent. I am working on producing an entire collection of these dyes which I am calling the Red Jack Radiance dyes. Here are three examples that I created this week: citrine, fire topaz, and coral.

Scare-Jack hat and rug design

I have been continuing to work on Scare-Jack as I wait for the Dorr white wool to arrive so I can get dyeing and finishing Transfiguration. I have written the poem that will accompany Transfiguration and am considering creating some type of word rug to put the poem on, but more on that in another post at another time.

One of the reasons that I don't have a bunch of patterns loaded into my Pattern Mart (see my new menu bar above!) for sale is that I don't like to sell a pattern that I haven't hooked myself. The reason for this is that never, and I mean never, does the pattern I initially draw become the pattern that I execute in the rug. I am always needing to adjust the elements as I hook.

Why? Because drawing a successful rug pattern is just not the same as drawing a picture. A rug pattern usually has to be a VERY simplified picture. As far as hooking the element, unless I have a photo or some other visual, forget it. It just ends up looking flat or wrong.

Take Scare-Jack's hat. This is my initial drawing which I thought looked good and would be easily hooked. Right. I hooked it and hated it so much that I ripped it out before I could take a picture of it to show you. The prodded flower was too much, the color was all wrong. I tried to hook it with basket-like colors to achieve a straw hat which is what I wanted. But the rug didn't want that, at least how I had hooked it up to that point. It wanted a hat to match his pants and gloves which were hooked in blacks and other dark colors.

So I went to the computer and began searching for images of hats and I decided that I liked this famous hat in Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait. Could I hook something similar? This is the result which clinches Jack!

Today Alexander and I will try making the eyes...What will we come up with?

Loopgram: Proddy perspective

While my sister was visiting from Michigan, I didn't get too much done in terms of actual hooking. I did manage to prod one sunflower and hook one pant leg. Last night I hooked the another sunflower. Both flowers turned out well.

The top flower, I tried to get a perspective other than straight on. I did this by hooking the center as an oval and prodding smaller petals along the upperside than the lowerside of the flower. The center is hooked as a half, so that the hooking doesn't go in a full circle except for the center black which is a small round placed at the top edge of the big oval. For the petals, I used some yellow-green wool that I picked up from Stonehill while we were in the Hill Country.

I tried to create a raised fuzzy center for the bigger sunflower with green scraps I dug out of my bits-n-strips bag. The perspective is straight on, so the center is round and the petals are evenly sized and distributed.

I'm not too excited about Scare-Jack yet, just want to get him done. I am still waiting for my Dorr white wool to come in, when I can return to dyeing and hooking Transfiguration, a piece I started last August and want to finish up as quickly as I can so I can hang her above my fireplace mantel.

Starting the stand-up scarecrow while Transfiguration stalls

The good news is that I spent last evening drawing my stand-up scarecrow and transferring him to an old piece of white linen backing that I had on hand and need to use up.

The bad news is that the wool I dyed for the lower register background behind wind woman in Transfiguration is not hooking well. The color is fine, thankfully. It is the wool that is bad. I ran out of Dorr White and so I used another white I had picked up along the way, not giving it a second thought. After dyeing, the material turned out to be lighter weight and more rigid than its Dorr counterpart so when it is hooked, it doesn't soften and fill the holes properly. It looks too different from the Dorr wool to keep it in the rug. URG. So more reverse hooking and more redying. And to make matters worse, when I phoned Dorr this morning to inquire why white wool was not on their website, I discovered it is back ordered and the new shipment won't be in until next week. So Transfiguration is on hold for a couple more weeks.

In the meantime, I might as well work on the stand-up scarecrow. Wow, I might be early with my autumn decorations!

Alex has his own worries about this next project. He keeps asking me, "Where are his eyes?" I keep having to remind him, "They will be buttons."

Trouble with Transfiguration

I am disappointed. I thought that I finally had the right combination going on with the hills behind wind woman. To get some motion, I hooked behind her on a slight curve some light grays I had dyed. At first it looked correct. But after hooking all evening and laying the rug down to view, I went "ick." Even the slight movement of the curve and the slight variation of the grays is distracting.

So it is going to be back to the dye pot this afternoon after work. I need to dye a bit deeper gray with no mottling at all. Then I need to dye a deep dark purple. I am unsure if I need a second gray, or if the two colors behind her will be enough.

More reverse hooking for me this week. This has been by far the most challenging and frustrating rug I have ever hooked.

Will this rug ever be satisfied?

Transfiguration fits

Last night I started hooking the blue-grays in the hills behind the wind woman. Now she looks like she is emerging from water. This just won't do. I have already removed the silhouette trees because they were distracting. Then I tried to dye green with the same dye base as the rest of the rug. The introduction of the green was awful, although the green itself is beautiful and goes nicely with the other colors. But it was distracting too. So then I went with the blue-gray. And now I have a mermaid! So this afternoon, while making my rug labels, I am also dyeing up a batch of dark purple, and I am going to try that. Hopefully I will achieve the feeling of a mountain at midnight.