My new website and all it entails has put a bit of lead back in the old pencil. Now I’m not sure if a woman can use that metaphor but I’ve been a lot sharper these days so what the heck. I’ll admit I was floundering after 12 years of doing the same thing and I needed a recharging of the batteries. Now, I’ve got ideas coming out the wazoo and there aren’t enough hours in the day to bring everything to fruition. I’m working my butt off for a change, although it doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller!
The new website and the opportunity to write these blogs has reawakened my passion for, and given me a new lease on the business. I love to write. I’m currently working on a novel about a serial killing granny and I’m also putting the polish on a few articles I hope to have published by Rug Hooking Magazine, so I’ve been a busy little beaver. I’ve also been working nights and Sundays trying to cross a few things off my list to clear the way for the fun stuff like my new work desk, still waiting for its paint job. Work comes before play and I’ve got to get the orders out so I can address my precious.
So I worked on Sunday and Mary dropped by for a bit of a chit-chat and to hook. She’s doing a fabulous job on the Christmas stocking for her daughter-in-law but it’s a guarded secret until Krista opens it Christms morning. I can barely contain myself from putting it up on Facebook for all the world to see! Mary is one talented artist and hooker. She should be teaching rug hooking instead of dispensing drugs! I guess it might be prudent now to mention that Mary's a pharmacist.
So we are chatting about the good ole days and talk got around to when I started the business and how wonderfully bullheaded and stubborn I can be. It’s a flaw that runs through me that’s been there since I popped out of the womb. And with good reason. My mother was in full blown labour during one of the biggest snowstorms of 1958 and dad managed to plough through the snow drifts with his 1949 tank of a Ford and arrived at the hospital to discover the doctor was a no show. Due to some antiquated protocol, the nurses tied my mother’s legs together, her wrists to the bed rails and left her screaming to the heavens for mercy while they waited for any doctor to rescue the grave situation. Both of our lives were in jeopardy. My mother was hanging by a thread of consciousness and I was becoming bluer than suede shoes. Just in the nick of time a doctor crashed through the delivery doors with snowshoes tucked under his arm. He’d walked against the driving wind and snow to save me. Still wearing his parka, I shot into his waiting arms like a well-greased torpedo. As the tale goes, my mother weakly called the doctor “her prince” and would discover that his name was Dr. Andrew Prince! I guess if I was a boy I’d be Andy, but being close to Christmas, Christine I would be and the rest is history. But I digress.
So, I think my stubborn streak was formed while I was stuck in the birth canal. It seemed like the world was rejecting me with a figurative slap on the old keister, and then literally, taking several whacks before I started to breathe and then cry. But once I did, my screams ricocheted off those grey walls and I scolded those nurses with a bit of Chrissy sass. How dare they tell me when or if I would be born! So I’m stubborn, I’ll admit it, but geez can you blame me? If I don’t want to do something, good luck with that. As far back as kindergarten, if the teacher said “draw a tree”, I had to be in the mood to draw a tree or I would draw a dog or absolutely nothing. After being told I had no right to be born on my own natural terms, I’d be taken over the rest of the decision making thank-you, and doing what I wanted, when I wanted! That’s me in a nutshell, stubborn. Oh, and before I continue with this story I would just like to reiterate how special I am and ask; hands people, how many of you can say you were delivered by a prince????
So Mary and I were laughing about my first attempts at transferring a design to a backing. I’d conveniently forgotten about all that angst but Mary kindly reminded me how much of a pain I was over the ordeal. For some reason I just didn’t get it. The one side of the pattern I gave her was almost straight on the grain, but the other side was out over an inch and I couldn’t understand how, once she straightened that side, that now looked as crooked as a ram’s horn, how the rug was going to be square when it was hooked. I tested Mary’s patience to the very last nerve but she remained as sweet as always. I'll admit, back then, I used to be like a grain of sand under the eyelid…irritating. I don’t know why I didn’t get it but sometimes when you protest too much, your mouth is in gear so that your ears don’t function properly. Then you get defensive cause now you’re feeling a bit stupid and it all goes in the toilet. I can just imagine what Mary must have been thinking…”What have I gotten myself into?”
But oh my, those poor rug hookers working on my compass rose designs! These designs are almost totally composed of straight lines and none of them were on the straight of the grain! Now that’s what you call friends! I gave patterns to my hooking group to make into rugs. My goal was to have them all hooked and displayed when I had my shop grand opening. So I designed all the patterns on paper, and then used red dot to transfer the image to the backing. I slapped it down, pinned it, and traced all the lines with the marker and that was that. The backings weren’t straight, nor did I try to adjust them into a square so you can just imagine how the marker lines crossed the grain! Oh my!
Now, no one told me I was doing anything wrong and bless the hearts of those friends who struggled hooking those compasses. I hooked Navigator’s Delight so I know it wasn't easy. It was filled with borders and straight lines and diamond shapes. What a mess! Not one line was straight on the grain, but you know what? I was ignorant and ignorance is bliss, if you don’t know you’re looking at hard times, then life’s not so bad. When you don’t know a task is difficult, if no one has planted the “it can’t be done” seed in your head, you just do the work to the best of your ability, and that’s what I did. Every hooked line is perfectly straight; I just kept making corrections and then hooking up against rows I needed to push one way or the other. Today I would cuss a blue streak if I was working on a pattern that was stamped and crooked on the grain.
So it was Mary who enlightened me, Mary my friend and mentor. She showed me the corrections she’d made before she starting hooking the design, Red Sky At Night, and let me tell you, all those nasty red marker lines freaked me out cause I’m anal and don’t like messy patterns. I marveled that she could even make out the design through the mess to hook it. Thank goodness Mary stuck with me until I had the light bulb moment or I could have been out of business in less than a year! Imagine that, those simple beginnings almost thirteen years ago, greener than a tree frog with so much to learn. What a journey I’ve been on and the ride ain’t over!