Time to Celebrate!!!


RSVP requested by September 1
contact Debbie Arcaro, Lauri Troutman or Cheri Nixon directly or email: tinpedlar@maine.rr.com / 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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Tin Pedlar meetings are held on the second Sat. of the month – Sept. through June, 9:30 am – 2 pm. We welcome anyone interested in rug hooking to join us.DSC01139

Doors Open: 9am (this allows for set-up of tables for presentation and prepping coffee and treats. Coffee will be ready for 9:30. Remember to bring you own travel mug.)
Meeting begins: 9:30
(meeting includes business meeting and presentation. Check monthly program guide for specific details)
Bring your lunch! Stay and hook together until 2pm.

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Shading a Leaf with Casserole Dyed Wool by Cindy Duade


I’m a self-taught rug hooker, no time yet for classes, rug camps, etc. Learning new or fine tuning my skills happens from workshops offered at our monthly meetings. Wish I had known if I would be at the May meeting. Instead of actually participating today, I observed and took notes that I’ll share here. Cindy Duade graciously agreed to let me take photos to share along with my notes. IMG_1383 It was a wonderful workshop with clear information, helpful tips and a teacher willing to help and allow time for members to work each step. Members were definitely busy hooking away. We seemed to have a much larger group still hooking after the noon pot luck than usual. IMG_1410 (just one of 3 table areas)

The collage above shows what leaves I was able to get photos of as the meeting drew to a close. Will be interesting to see how they all finish up. (Maybe an October Show and Share side bar VPs ?)

Now for my notes and take aways ~

Let’s start with a close up of the 4 hooked sample leaves Cindy had for display. These showed different ways to approach the light and dark of the leaf as well as different backgrounds.

IMG_1406  IMG_1409  IMG_1407  IMG_1408

IMG_1405 Using a real leaf, Cindy designed a special leaf pattern for use at this workshop.  The pattern was copied onto foundation of choice. Red dot is great for that.IMG_1377 These who participated in the workshop got an informational folder with such items as the pattern and photos showing progression/steps IMG_1384 and casserole dyed wool. IMG_1389 It was fun to see what members chose for their pieces. Wool was cut #4 IMG_1394, then carefully placed in order. Tip: use folder with masking tape to maintain the cutting order.  IMG_1395 IMG_1397   Tape over ends or loop the tape so a sticky side is up to just lay cut strips on. IMG_1393 One side can be used to organize the cut off pieces. IMG_1399

Work with up to 6 colors on one piece of dyed wool (light to dark). Colors may seem too bright, but they settle in together once hooked. For background just about any wool works, whether textured, as is wool, spot dyed or solid.

NO Straight Lines! Remember a natural leaf has curves, not straight lines.

Veins are hooked in first. Leaf is not outlined.

Leaf points either all start light or dark. Once decide then you are ready to start.

Hook from leaf edge to veins. Cut off unused section of strip and set aside.IMG_1400  Once have these main points hooked in, time to start work on center. First draw in additional curve lines into design for guidance. Start at base (vein) with opposite color end than points (dark here since points light) and hook the strip out. IMG_1402 (Can see the dark blue in the center along vein. Hooked all the way to a minor point.)

IMG_1403 (Can see different positioning again off the center vein.) This also leads to minor points being hooked more with the colors found in the middle of the strip.

With hooking all these first strips remember to never use one you have cut off. Always work with a new strip.

After get some dark runs you start to fill in. To match up the shading/color you can do by pulling the tail out until reach the color you want and start hooking, or you can pull a loop until reach color, start to hook then cut at the starting loop. (I would do pull the tail as you can see with the green strip here.IMG_1428 (I would also be checking those cut off sections to match up colors, as I’m a use every piece type of rug hooker.)

Do Not end each strip on the leaf edge. It is not a look you want. On some turn and hook a bit back along side.

To finish Cindy recommends using ribbon. IMG_1387 Tip: to sample the look the ribbon will give once whipped, wrap some around a pencil and check against your background fabric.

You whip through the foundation and the attached finish backing material.  Lay pencil along edge of finished hooking to get a nice even, but small edge. Mark and trim.  Tip: for attaching backing fabric which often moves around as you whip: Use spray adhesive like that used by quilters. This is temporary adhesive. Also pin edge.IMG_1404

Finished edge. IMG_1388

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Tour the Bowdoin Exhibit

The Tin Pedlars just held a wonderful exhibit in a pretty unique location at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME. The exhibit had wonderful reviews from students, visitors and group members that were able to attend the reception and/or the exhibit on their own.

For those that were not able to attend I thought it might be fun to be able to take a video tour, so iPad in hand I toured the exhibit. (Now a word of warning I am no video specialist. I did my best to keep steady and get some closer shots for detail.)

The first video starts at what I figure is the natural beginning. Rugs were hung in grouping to best show themes and techniques. After the hallway I will enter the plexiglass room.

IMG 1366 from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

This second (short) video will start with a reshowing of a few rugs hoping for better clarity, then continuing through the plexiglass room.

IMG 1367 from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

This next video is of the upper hallway.

IMG 1368 from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

The last video is of what the committee referred to as the Jackye Hansen room. Here were exhibited pieces designed and hooked by Jackye and some of her students, especially around the traditional art of Waldoboro rug hooking.

IMG 1369 from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

I hope you enjoyed the tour and have received a bit of inspiration.

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