Pass Times for the New Year



I have lost the discipline of writing every day and my fingers and mind are rusty. But the space left by my constant tapping on the keyboard has been filled by rug hooking.

I have begun a free form interpretation of the bay outside our house in the autumn, on quite a large piece of framed burlap. I am excited about this project and I have already thought of another one I want to do after this one. But I also have a sore callous on one finger because when I start working I get ‘right intense’ and can’t stop.

That is a Maritime expression. It is generally used to describe weather or moods, such as, “She is right happy”, or, “It is right cold out there, boys”. 

Who knew I would be a ‘hooker’ so late in life? Sometimes Maude and I hook together, her on her little frame and me on my big frame. I call her ‘ the angry hooker’ because she gets frustrated by her hooking and yells and frowns and then tosses the little frame off with disgust.

I have a lot of plans for my rug hooking, some ideas include the Group of Seven, and the others may have expressions or poetry. Also, I would like to do a portrait. Rug hooking is a wonderful pass time. First of all, you could actually be making a rug to keep the cold from creeping up your legs. But mostly, I find it is creative without being fastidious. I find knitting quite a pain the ass. I can go for sometime without losing a stitch but once I do I really resent having to take out a line or get all the little hoops back in order. I do not have the patience for knitting. Crochet is more pleasant and satisfying for some reason. I find I can control it without it becoming an irritating task.

But rug hooking! It is like painting with texture. There are thick pieces of wool, or light and fluffy; you can use plaid or plain or paisley. Some little stripes of cloth look like a frothy wave and others are better for a dark patch of seaweed. And there is no pattern and there is not particular style and there is no one to say what it should look like because it is my own creation.

I never thought I would be a ‘crafter’!  Now when I see women selling their wares at a market I stop and discuss their style. I can’t imagine selling mine though, and at what cost? How much is my cramped hand worth? My visions? Hard to put a price on that sort of thing, but you never know. I might one day.


I am coming to full fruition as a homemaker. I can cook and bake very well without recipes. I can clean even faster. Although the trick to that, I have always thought, is to approach household chores as if you were Pippi Longstockings, Can you wash a floor with an old towel about to go in the wash, with your foot? Yes! 

I am finally becoming organized again. I was organized when I had one baby. Everything was in its place, i waxed the floors and wrote articles about computers in the afternoon when the baby slept. Then I had two children and we moved and then I worked outside the home and then we moved into an ancient house and then I had another baby, That is the story of how boxes accumulate. Now that all the babies have grown up I am sorting old boxes of photos and papers. Things are getting in order! It is incredibly satisfying on a very mundane level.  

I like the order and I am very happy about it, but I am now working on fulfilling creative dreams and rug hooking has slipped in unexpectedly. What I like most about it is sitting is a quiet room and working all by myself. I can do it around the television at night but my work is not as good. I am actually concentrating on it quite a bit when I am working, and while I am working my brain is quietly working on many other levels. And I let it go.

I am in good health and I have no worries but sometimes I feel sad for no particular reason. I am quite sure that this state of oceanic sadness is just part of being a woman. We are tied into the cycle of life; our bodies acting out life and death with every cycle.  My body is fluctuating now and I can feel the waves shift within me. The salt of my body is changing chemically. I wake in the middle of the night with the shifting, sweating, thinking. Where once I was woken by babies I am now woken by silence and thoughts. 

I don’t find menopause too troubling so far. I think that women must accept the conditions of their body to be happy. Don’t fight cramps, labour pain, breast feeding or premenstrual moods. Just accept them and move one. Fighting them just makes for stress, self pity and unnecessary medication.  

As I head into 2014, how many years are left in my back pocket? I am ready to explore some new resolutions. I want to learn how to play the ukulele this winter, so Maude and I will do that. And I had a revelation, if I like to write poetry and I love music, can I write a song?  It occurs to me that writing a song might be like rug hooking, a pleasurable pass time. 

I am always telling the children that they can do anything, be anyone; all is possible. The key to this realization is accepting that you can do things badly. You don’t have to be an expert at everything, or even anything. And when you look at the people out there doing stuff badly, you have got to realize that you can do it at least as badly as them, maybe even a little better!

So here is to half ass rug hooking and twanging on an old piano or ukulele!  Keep your hands busy and let your mind roam. Lots of love to all and everyone.






3 thoughts on “Pass Times for the New Year

  1. I’m a half-assed rug hooker myself… and the thought of selling it never occurred to me, though i do make part of my living with my handmades, the North American public does not think my back aches and cramped fingers which go numb after a while are worth a living wage. (See that scarf? $25 worth of raw material, and 25 hours worth of work? the price $50) And I joke sometimes about having to move to Guatemala or somewhere so i can get paid “fair trade” wages, haha However, that’s not WHY i put my work out there i guess. Its more about sharing the craft, the social aspects of it, and the history of it, than any $40 an hour wage I might fantasize about. A woman will spend $50 on a hair cut sooner… Its like when strangers come and watch me spin and say, “oh you must have so much patience” — and i say “No, but spinning gives me patience.” Its not about the finishing, its about the doing 🙂


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