Annual Auction Saturday 3/19


Auction donations will consist of contributions from our members and guests. All proceeds generated from purchases will go to the Maine Tin Pedlar Chapter treasury for future programs. We are looking for anything nice, clean, useful, handy, pretty, cute, decorative, appropriate for re-giving, nice… (endless possibilities).  Would you buy this yourself? For your best friend? Donations do not have to be fiber related, but if they are — fabulous!  Some are contributing books, patterns, wool, yarn, frames, cutters, fabric, notions, decorative heirlooms, antiques — the sky’s the limit as long as it’s nice in your eyes… Bring your unfinished products that you don’t intend to finish (someone else might love the challenge) or that pattern you picked up at a hook in that you are never going to really hook!  Please…no junk. Any questions? Speak up!

The set-up team will be setting up and members making donations should give them to Lauri when they arrive.  During set up, why not have coffee and a snack in the kitchen or the small room? 

Members can start previewing at 9:45 (NO early peeks, please stay away from the tables during the set up so Lauri’s team can organize everything). The auction will begin about 10:15 AM.  

This year there will be some minor changes to keep things organized and running smoothly:  

YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PAY FOR YOUR PURCHASES UNTIL THE AUCTION IS OVER – NO EARLY CHECK OUTS.  When people check out early, the people taking the money cannot participate in the auction and bid.  We strongly suggest that you pay by check – you can have the check completely made out before check out and just fill in the amount when the auction is over.  If your paddle ends in an odd number (1,3,5, etc) you will check out with Cheri Nixon – if your paddle ends in an even number (2,4,6, etc) you will check out with Joyce Goff.  No one will be able to leave the auction without paying…you know you’re going to an auction to shop, you need to bring a blank check or cash with you to cover your purchase.  Paying by check will save time as we won’t be juggling cash to make change!

Please feel free to forward this email to your hooking friends!

See you on Saturday!

Joyce Goff
 Secretary, Maine Tin Pedlar
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Westford Hook in is full

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note to let you know that the March Westford hook-in is officially full. They were able to take 160 and ask that no additional applications be sent. Should they receive more applications they will be returned.

Since we first posted information about Westford in November I hope that all of the Tin Pedlars who wanted to attend were able to get their applications in. A reminder that since the Westford hook-in will be held on the second Saturday we will have our March Auction meeting on the third Saturday, March 19.

See you on Saturday!

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February Updates

I believe I have finally figured out how to conquer the challenges of posting on our WordPress site and will try to keep better communications with the membership. Thanks to Joyce Goff as I am cutting and pasting from her group post.
Originally this was scheduled as a “brown bag your lunch and bring your hooking” event – which it still is!  BUT…Donna Hezlep is going to also do a presentation on wide cuts (9 and larger) that are a great way to use any wool that you wouldn’t otherwise use in your rugs – thin, thick, raggy, etc.  She has a few animal patterns (sheep, cat, pig, etc.) that become really cute squishy pillows.  Everyone is free to observe the techniques.  At the January meeting we were able to order a pattern or a kit but if you weren’t there, you can contact Donna directly to see what you need to bring if you’d like to try this out.  (Donna’s phone is 207-318-2243 and her email is  It really looks like a fun thing to do and I know we all have wool that we just don’t know what to do with.
If you are coming just to hook and bringing lunch – you can set up in the big room (we’ll do our class in the smaller side room) and remember that we pay for the hall until 2 so there’s no need to eat and run.
Due to a conflict with  the Westford Hook-in on March 12th – we will NOT be having our meeting or auction that day.  We have moved the March meeting/auction to March 19th!  Start cleaning your closets for our annual auction!! Members are requested to bring items that are in good shape for the auction.
There will be an event called “ARTRAGEOUS” held at the Kittery Recreation Center from 3:00-8:00. We are looking for some artists, rug hookers and others to provide demonstrations in the new gym during those hours. You can hang out with a couple friends while working on your own rug, and also show others how to pull loops. Tin Pedlars will provide at least one frame, wool strips and pattern. In addition to that opportunity proposals are currently being taken from teachers of all arts who are interested in providing workshops in separate classrooms. Please contact Lauri Troutman.
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Time to Celebrate!!!


RSVP requested by September 1
contact Debbie Arcaro, Lauri Troutman or Cheri Nixon directly or email: / comment here or on our Facebook page

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2015-2016 Meeting Schedule

We kick off this busy year with a Celebration!!! Hoping all our members are able to join us for this fun day.

September 12, 2015: 35th Anniversary Celebration

We would like to cordially invite members and rug hooking friends to join us for a celebration of the Founding of the Maine Tin Pedlars 35 years ago. A catered lunch will be served. (Remeber to RSVP)

Speaker: Linda Cortright, Editor of Wild Fibers Magazine

Sidebar: Scapbooks of our history, photos of past exhibits

October 10, 2015: Member Share

A member discussion of early hooking projects. Bring one or a few of your earliest hooking projects to share.

November 14, 2015: “Wooly Mason Jar” Dying

Lucy Richard will present “The Wooly Mason Jar” dye workshop

December 12, 2015: Hook-in and Bingo

Join a membership Hook-in where we will have a Christmas pot luck lunch, play a little wool bingo and just have fun being together.

Sidebar: Hooked Christmas projects

January 9, 2016: Antique Rug Slideshow

Lauri Troutman will be presenting a slideshow of Joseph’s antique rugs. Some of our membership were lucky enough to be able to see many of these rugs first hand when an invitation was extended for us to visit Joseph’s home (2014). It is an incredible collection. Lauri was able to take photos of this incredible collectionat a later visit.

Sidebar: hooked projects of winter scenes

February 6, 2016: Hook-in

Details will be announced later

March 12, 2016: AUCTION!!!

Our annual fundraiser for programs. That means clean out your closets of wool, patterns, books, etc. Always a fun time.

April 9, 2016: Stitches for Rug Hookers

Grace Collette will present a program on Stitches for Rug Hookers. Her presentation will be from 10 – 11 am with a hands on workshop to follow (11:30 am – 3:30 pm). Work will be done on a 9×12 linen sampler using five different stitches.

May 14, 2016: “Humor in Hooked Rugs”

Rose Raymond will lecture and exhibit on “Humor in Hooked Rugs”.

June 11, 2016: Combining Rug Hooking and Rug Braiding

Kris McDermet will speak about her love of combining rug hooking and rug braiding. She will discuss color, texture, embellishments, wet felting and using silk for both hooking and braiding. She will bring many examples of rugs. The group will be able to try their hand at braiding.

Summer Luncheon!!!

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A Maine Postcard Challenge

May’s meeting saw the completion of this year’s challenge to the group: A Postcard from Maine. (For the few members who could not be present yet participated in the challenge please bring in your challenge mat at the June or Sept. meeting.)

At the inital introduction of the challenge there was a lot of buzz around our state bird: black-capped chickadee. DSC06595  (Jackie Hansen)

We wondered how many we’d see once all the mats were completed? If not the chickadee what would members design and hook? With the sharing of the completed mats the variety was wonderful. Hearing the stories for the choice of design added another component. (Look for a later sharing of these.)

Here are the mats that were shared during the May meeting. (Owners are labeled clockwise starting at upper left.) * Copywrite protected – Please do not copy any of these designs without requesting permission first.*


1) “Maine Symbol” Priscilla McGarry; 2) “Whoopie!” Pat Ring; 3) “Down East Breakfast” Jeanne Voorhees; 4) “Baked Beans” Natalie Sanborn


1) Terry Parent; 2) Harriet Johnson; 3) “Tatah” Bob Galloupe; “Sea Dogs” Norine Bucknell


1) Connie Castles; 2) Joyces Knowles


1) “Puffin” Martha chaput; 2) “Loon” Linda Bradley; 3) Edna Olmstead; 4) Sheila Kilgore


1) “Maine State Bird – Chickadee” Janet Cameron; 2) Trudy Winne


1) Daisy Higgins; 2)”Buoys” Deborah Arcaro; 3) Joyce Goff; 4) “Fish Market” Patricia Connors


1) Ann Galloupe; 2) Kathleen Newell; 3) Trudy Brown


1) Ann MacIntyre; 2) “Chowdah” Chris Antonak; 3) “Weather-beaten” (by Winslow Homer) Bailey Ruckert


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Fur and Feathers with Jon Ciemiewicz

Jon’s presentation in Feb. 2014 was to walk us thru the process of creating great shading and dimension in our fur or feather rugs. As a side bar members were encouraged to bring in any rugs they had hooked with fur or feathers. (Some of those rugs are pictured within this posting.)

IMG_0724Jon started rug hooking because he was looking for a hobby. His wife suggested a visit to an area shop. When Jon visited and was told one could learn to hook in five minutes, he bought a kit and started. Jon is what many of us would call “self-taught”. After about 4 years he took his first class. At the class it was suggested that he begin teaching. His first weekend class had 19 students. They were spread throughout the facility which provided its own adventure. Jon has continued to present workshop since then.

Jon started dyeing wool when kits he was purchasing didn’t have the colors he wanted to complete the design. 

  • Mottled wool is great for hooking fur/feathers as it gives more life than a solid/plain natural wool. 
  • Let the wool work for you when hooking fur – dip dye, heavily spotted.

Jon has no formal art background, but he saw a huge amount of the world through flying with the Air Force. He started to draw his own patterns, so he could have the design to hook that he wanted. Since he started hooking Jon finds he is noticing more details of the surrounding natural environment and animals.  He notices the variety of colors present, which shows in his pieces. Knowing the habits of animals for eating etc. helps when you are hooking as you are more awareness of special features.

Following are details that are important to become aware of and bring into your hooking to make it more realistic.

  • IMG_0723Start by being aware of the light source direction as that provides your shadows. Shadows go from darker color to lighter to provide depth.


  • When hIMG_0730ooking fur think about direction fur going on the animal you are hooking.  Hook in that direction. Our eyes pick up ditches in the hooking. Hook in the direction that you would pet that animal body part.
  • Colors provide depth seen in the image. Example: A black panther needs purples/blues/grays for shadows. Whites need grays also pinks, purples.
  • The natural length of fur affects the length of your hooking line.
  • Fur/hair does not grow in straight lines. Hook fur with curves and not exactly side by side, vary the direction for a realistic appearance.


  • Watch out when hooking feathers, so they do not end up having a too symmetrical appearance. Feathers do not grow that way. To hook for a natural appearance you need asymmetry in width and length. Vary the shape of the tips. Feather tips are different shapes depending on where they are located on the body. Hook the feather tips first and then fill in. Check for quill lines, if you can see them, then you need to hook the quill lines in.
  • When feathers are dark use light for tips to help create the natural appearance/illusion of feathers covering the body in the finished piece.
  • Many common backyard birds have areas of solid color that need to be hooked with a solid color.


  • With faces as a main image in the design there will be a focus on eyes.
  • IMG_0733In cats eyes when the light shines on them the pupil constricts to a vertical streak/line.
  • With sheep it is a horizontal streak. With dogs and humans the pupil is circular.
  • The wrinkles around an eye actually support the eye.
  • When there is fur, the eyes will have a dark streak coming from the inside corner of the eye.
  • IMG_0725Not all eyes will be whole. It will depend on the head position and direction the creature is looking. It will also matter on where the eyes are naturally set on the head – front or side – prey will be on the side (squirrel).
  • Eyes are flatter top and rounder on the bottom on mammals.
  • Reptile and bird eyes are very round, as there is no eyelid that drops on top.
  • When hooking an animal getting the eyes, then nose/mouth right really makes the image. Since this is true its best to hook these features first. Hook around them some before make a final decision on reverse hooking or leaving as is.IMG_0727

General Hooking Tips:

  • Moths do not eat clean wool. They eat for the food and oils that are impregnated into wool. Freeze recycling wool for 2 days to freeze moth eggs, then bring in and wash.
  • Pattern lines are the outside edge of a feature, so hook inside not on the line.
  • How long a cut worm of wool is needed to hook a run?
    • #4 needs 4x length of the run 
    • #5/6 needs 6x
    • #8 needs 8x
    • Loops for 6 and 8 have higher finished loop so more fabric needed.

IMG_0731  IMG_0728

IMG_0729  IMG_0726

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Finishing and Framing Workshop with Beverly Mulcahy

IMG_1339Beverly joined us in April 2014 to demonstrate different finishing techniques that she has used over the years to finish hooked pieces.

Following will be a compilation of the tips I picked up during the presentation.

WhenIMG_1341 using a binding start by pre-sewing the binding at what will be the finished edged of your hooked piece. This allows you to hook right up to the binding.

Baste down the edges of your binding to hold out of way.IMG_1343

When done hooking flip over binding and hand sew down.IMG_1349

You can leave the binding plain or whip.

Beverly likes Cascade yarn for whipping as there is no pilling. Use single thickness. No cording required, but pay attention to the thickness of your finished edge.

She suggests that you mix yarn colors to work with a plaid background

Stretcher bar framing: 

IMG_1345Start by taking your finished rug to the store with you to get the correct sized frame pieces.

Cover the bars with wool. Wool piece lays across frame and wraps around the frame bars. Can sew or staple in place.

Then sew rug in place across the top of the frame and slightly around each top corner.  This maintains position and shape of rug as it hangs. Does not curl if sown only at the top like this.

Now cover back of frame with another piece of fabric cut to size. You can use a staple gun to attach this fabric.IMG_1347

Now you can place hanging hardware where desired. Screws go right through the wool.



Back the foundation with fabric if not completely hooking the pillow top/front. 

IMG_1350For a pillow with a wool border get it in place before you start hooking the pillow top.

Cut wool border strips to size being sure to extend beyond as shown in photos below. Sew longest sides in place first.

  IMG_1352 Fold back then sew top piece on. IMG_1353 Sew bottom on.


Fold all back and baste, as you would for a binding edge.

To finish you would sew your backing fabric to the finished pillow top right sides together. Leave an opening to turn through.


This technique works great for making mats.

IMG_1358Finishing round pieces has different issues. 

Whipping too tight causes the piece to buckle.

Using bias cut wool that is slightly felted is a nice finish choice, especially for round or oval pieces. Lightly felted wool cut on the bias will not unravel, so does not need to be finished.

To whip finish a round piece fold back, whip with single thickness (thread), then finish with the strip of wool. IMG_1359

If finishing without binding you want to baste the turned foundation in place. Turn 1/8 to 1/4  and hand sew. Then whip the edge.



Sometimes the expenses of having a piece professional framed is just worth it.







IMG_1356This unfinished Tote bag. The foundation has a sown edge and will be sown together to form the purse/tote. There is no binding.


Great finish for purses are the purchased metal purse kits.

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A Maine Postcard Challenge Mat Story

Usually the posts here are about presenters and information shared or very simple sharing of information on upcoming events. Today, I’m going to write a personal experience story in the hopes it might encourage some others to follow through with their Maine Postcard challenge mat.

I’ll start off by stating that I was excited when I learned about the idea for this year’s challenge at our August board meeting. I had just completed a long fun filled preschool unit on Maine and had a ton of materials on hand to pull design ideas from. Having only bought 2 rug hooking pattens in all over the 15 years I’ve been hooking, I wasn’t thrown by the design side of the challenge. In fact I looked forward to encouraging members who hadn’t tried designing a pattern to do it with this challenge. For me the challenge would be to hook with something less than a #6 cut. I mentioned to another Tin Pedlar about doing 4 designs and making a Maine pillow after having sketching up multiple ideas and not being able to decide on one. Feeling comfortable and confident.

So, it’s 8 am New Year’s Day and I’ve resolved to get more rug hooking done in 2015 and what better place to start than with this challenge mat due in March. Should be quick and easy. Right?

  • I had my design set. DSC05999
  • I had a wonderful supply of colorful thin cuts that found their way to me and if I needed more colors I could rotary cut them.
  • I had a full day without a need to do anything else.


The hooking with very small cuts took a little getting used to, but figured it out enough. Not working with a design that needed too much detail the buoys worked up in good time. Then the trouble happened. As you can see from the design I figured the buoys to be hanging on a cedar shaker sided shed – grays and blacks to depict each shake. This would give a simple texture to the background. Good idea, but not one I could get to work. I tried my grays and black. Pulled the black and tried dark gray tweed. Pulled that and tried dark brown. Pulled it all and rethought the background. (Now these tries were not just a line or two, but at least half the background. On such a small mat, need to hook an area big enough to see what is happening and that means most of it.) 🙂

Tried a few sample lines of browns. Nope!

Maybe straight hooked solid background with a tweed. Nope! but closer.

Maybe diagonal lines like laying on a lobster trap. Nope!

Ok, I have now done more reverse hooking than hooking on a what 4″ x 6″ mat with a simple design. Time to laugh at myself, set the hooking aside and step away. Maybe good time for dinner as it’s about 6:30 pm. (Told you I’d done a lot of reverse hooking.) 🙂

About 9 pm I checked out my Pinterest boards for a bit of inspiration searching the Challenge board and a general search for lobster buoys. What I realized is that it had always been about the colors and patterns found in lobster buoys when I’ve seen them hanging, whether in photos, painting or in walks along the waterfronts in Maine coastal towns. What they are hanging on is backdrop. Why had I chosen this buoy design from all I had sketched? I love colors and patterns and the buoys allowed me to do that. So solution – fill the mat with more buoys.

A quick grab of the mat and sketch in some buoys. DSC05996  If you look close enough you can see the red shaker markings. A few black diagonal lines. But finally some extra buoys set under the already hooked ones to work as most of the background. I’d figure out how to complete the background once the buoys were all hooked.

Ok, I’m feeling better and not figuring I’ll have to start totally from scratch or hand over a mat I’m not proud to put my name with. But no more hooking tonight. I should be able to finish this off in a few hours tomorrow. Packed it all away.

Now it’s Friday morning and time to pull some more fun colors to get some buoys hooked. This took no time at all and no reverse hooking!

Once the buoys were all completed there was very little (what I was now thinking of as colorless) background. The way the buoys were hanging I decided to split the piece and have it appear they were hanging on a shed corner with sky. This worked up quick, especially where I went with a larger cut. Probably a #5, so still below my usual width of #8.


My lessons and hopefully encouragement for others is:

  • feels good to step up to a challenge, because it about learning new things (Yes, I’ll hook with small cuts again, and maybe more detail next time.)
  • sometimes just have to change directions – STOP and step away!
  • thank goodness you can reverse hook 🙂
  • good to refocus on why you wanted to do this design – to clear the direction going (or not going)
  • when you get it right it just flows!
  • Creating is fun for me and being able to laugh at myself is a part of that.

DSC06002 Can now say I’m proud of my mat, but still not sure if I want to do the 3 others needed for a pillow. 🙂  Think I’d rather work on a new rug design.

So looking forward to seeing what others have done past the designs have seen and hearing their stories.

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Annual Auction

Start by picking up a colorful bidding paddle – IMG_1105

Then spend some time checking out what has been donated……

IMG_1106 IMG_1110

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