Saturday, February 22, 2014


"Red Light in the City"  in progress, Lori LaBerge 2014

I completed hooking on the traffic light section and started with the grays that will surround it.  There are six different grays from light to dark.  The white wool I had needed to be washed so a dark holding line was placed in the lower light gray square to be replaced by the white later.  Dark purple lines were hooked along with the lighter purple to add focus and interest in that area.  

There will be a dyed green boucle wool hooked into the large square sections.  As the green is close to the gray colors, I want to add some other greens and randomly hook them into the squares along with the base green.

The base green is in the background of the two photos below and I will be deciding which scraps to add to the piece.

 These scraps are a bright yellow green which would bring out the yellow in the background textured wool.

This grouping is still in the yellow green family, but is duller which would give a more subtle color change.  I"ll try each of the groupings to see which works best with the traffic light as I don't want the viewer's eyes distracted from the central focus.

Think about the feeling you want to give your work and how color (light, bright, dull, dark, combinations, etc.) can help you reach that goal and have a great day.


I spent most of the week on studio construction.  There is quite a bit of finishing work which seems to be taking longer than other work we did.  We put caulking along all the moulding, stained wood, attached hinges for doors, readjusted the stove vent which the heating company put in the wrong place and moved cabinets to the right to be more centrally over the stove area.

We're using the storage area as our paint room right now.  I chose a medium gray color for the bathroom and storage room doors.  This goes really fast with the small door rollers available at paint stores.

Here is the bathroom door put in place.

I bought a runner for in front of the dye area to protect the wood veneer floor from water.  I also picked up a small water hog mat for under the sink.  Since I'm close to moving in, I put my wool awaiting the dye process in a blue bin under the sink and added a bright red trash can to match the red light over the sink. 

We emptied out our storage unit we've been renting and I found an old table the kids used to do their homework on.  Great memories!  I will sand the top, paint the bottom and use it for a dye table.  I also moved the bookcase into the dye area.

Two old file cabinets will hold a desktop board.  The files will follow the red theme and be spray painted.  The top board will be painted gray.  Since it is wider than the files and I don't want to cut it, I am going to buy some table legs, paint them the same gray as the desk top and put them under the overhanging section.

  Storage cubes were placed under the work table.  The table top was coated with polyurethane.

  We've done a lot of DIY construction in our lives and have learned that while most things go as planned, there are always problems.  This week's problem came when we called the electric department to hook up electricity.  We were told that we would have to dig the three foot deep trench that has to go from the pole to the building and call them when it was done.  We rented a trencher at the local machine rental center and got to work.  The area close to the building will have to be dug by hand this coming week.  Thus, we still have the long cord going from the house to the studio for electricity.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


"White Collar"  18 3/4" X 21 1/2" X 1 1/2", Lori LaBerge  2014

This was a really great piece to work on.  I enjoyed the collage and may add the technique to future works.  The tie had to be cut and pieced back together on the backside to be the right length for the work.  The original plan was for the tie to be higher up, but I really like it hanging a bit over the edge.  The piece has the business look I was going for.

"White Collar"  close-up, Lori LaBerge  2014

I tore out the stock market pages from a few newspapers to use for the collage, purposefully placing the NYSE lettering toward the middle of the piece.  The collage work is more polished than the rough work done on the "Blue Collar" piece completed earlier. The two pieces have different feelings and I wanted to communicate that.  All that is left is to place D-Rings for hanging and label the back.

Here is a photo of the works side by side:  I added washers and screws to the top collaged section of "Blue Collar" this week.

"White Collar" and "Blue Collar", Lori LaBerge  2014

I have worked on quite a few 16 X 16 and smaller pieces.  After working on the 30 X 30 hooking challenge, I have decided to push myself and, while still working on a few smaller pieces, focus on larger pieces this year.  A new work in the "Road Series" was started this week.

"Red Light in the City"  in progress,  27" X 36", Lori LaBerge  2014

Dyeing was needed for the project.

and here's the palette of colors ready to go.

Try switching up your work (work larger or smaller, work with colors you wouldn't normally use, work with materials you wouldn't normally use, etc.) and have a great day. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Hook a Rug Week has come to an end and I have to thank Laura Kenney for coming up with the idea. It was much like being at an intensive rug camp.  I am hoping she does this again next year.  She allowed each person to choose the size piece they wanted to work on, which allowed for each person to challenge his or her self.  This is the piece I created:

"At the Coast"  30 X 30,  Lori LaBerge 2014

Here is how the work developed:

Saturday and Sunday-The design was planned. The figure was measured out and the background was roughly drawn on linen, the work was color planned and wool was dyed.

Monday-- The challenge started.  The figure was hooked with an orange and green spot dye.  A section of the background was hooked.  This was when it hit me that I only had a week to finish a 30 X 30.  I needed to figure out how much I had done this first day to know how much had to be completed each of the other days.  I usually use a 6-cut for this size, but am glad I decided on an 8-cut for this challenge.

Tuesday--I worked on the opposite side of the figure.  This gets tricky if you want things to line up as the hooked figure starts to distort the straight line of the backing material.  I did not want each of the striped background sections perfectly straight, but did not want them off balance either.  When drawing out the design, it helps to draw a line on the back of the design also.  As the hooking is flatter on the back, it is then easier to find the straight line across the figure.  

Wednesday-- With a 30 X30 piece I figured I had to complete at least 5" X 30" each day to be finished by Saturday afternoon.  This is a lot of hooking.  I took 10 minute breaks for each hour of hooking to stretch, go for a quick walk, or do arm exercises with a resistance band.  This helped out as I had no problems with backaches or my hooking hand bothering me.

 Thursday--If you look at Wednesday's photo then this one you can see a huge difference in the darker blue color.  The actual blue is somewhere in between.  I brought in a line of green below the black that was the same wool used in the circle.  This was the middle of the week and I felt pretty good about being able to finish at this point.  There is something about looking forward to seeing the end result that keeps me going during these kind of projects.

Friday--I worked on the bottom beach section with a soft beige textured wool.  The hooking went faster with this wool due to its thickness.  I brought the brighter blues down for balance. 

Saturday--I ran out of dark blue wool and had to do some dyeing.  A brighter blue was placed near the top.  The piece was completed at 3:00 p.m.  I still need to cut off some loose threads, steam and maybe tweak here and there.

Think about the things you can do when you challenge yourself, learn from each challenge, celebrate when finished and have a great day.


I purchased some closet storage units to use as a base and two 24" doors to use as a table top.  After searching the local antique and salvage shops I just could not find anything I liked.  This will give me a 6 1/2 foot by  4 foot  table top to work on and plenty of storage underneath.  The shoe cubby is perfect for holding skeins of yarn and smaller items while the cabinet will hold finishing materials.

This is the other side of the table.  I already had one maple storage unit and purchased the 6-cubby unit.  If you've been reading regularly, you will notice the fabric I had on the right hand shelving is gone.  The plumbers had a kerosene heater that smelled terrible and I did not want the fabric to pick up the smell, so I packed it up and brought it in the house.

Here's Pete painting the larger garage area.  Part of this area will be used for larger projects (I've really been wanting to do a large punched rug and build a light table) and further display space during open studio tours.

A utility sink was placed in the garage area.

The workshop area was painted.  It is a mirror image of the studio area.

 An attic door and the moulding around it were installed.  This needed to be done in order for the insulation to be blown in.

Here is where we ran into another problem.  We had not planned on installing the overhead doors as, quite frankly,  the doors we like are over budget right now.  The final inspection can not occur until they are installed, which means heat and water may not be activated.  I suggested plywood for now and the inspector said that would be fine.  So, hopefully, heat and water will be running this coming week.  Oh, wait, we are supposed to have a huge snowstorm this week.  Life goes on! 

Saturday, February 1, 2014


This week the hooking section of the latest mixed-media work was completed.

"White Collar" in progress.

The next steps are to whip the edges, collage a piece of wood for the top, attach a tie to the center, attach a hanging device and label.  This will probably take a week or longer as I've signed up to be a part of Laura Kenney's rug challenge.  

While looking through my Facebook, I noticed that Laura was calling upon others to join her starting February 3 in what she has named  "Make a Rug Week".  You can keep up with what people are doing this week on Laura's Facebook artist page.

I put in extra time this week to finish up the hooking on "White Collar" and started thinking about a design for the challenge.

I have been wanting to add to previous work I have done with abstract figures, but wanted to work on a larger scale.  This was the time to begin.  I started drawing out the design:

The start of "At the Coast".    30" X 30" Lori LaBerge  2013

The background was roughly drawn in to depict an ocean view.  I will change this slightly as the hooking goes along to get what feels right for the piece.

Next was to do some color planning.  I will need to dye more blues, a light gray and some black.  I would like a brighter orange so will look to see what I have or if I have to dye.  Most of the other colors I was lucky enough to have in my stash.

This will be an intensive one-week project and I hope I haven't pushed myself too far with this as I have never finished a 30 X 30 piece in one week before. It will definitely have to be an 8-cut.  Hooking officially starts on Monday, so I'll let you know how it went next week.

Join a challenge or set up your own and have a great week.


We're getting there!  The plumbing was completed this week, but water will not be turned on until final inspection (which was supposed to be Friday, but was a no-show).  A drain pan has been ordered to place under the washer/dryer.

  The faucet for the dye sink was installed.

And what would a bathroom be without a sink.  We still need to caulk where the tile and sheet rock meet.