April 3, 2013 · 4:17 am
Hi! We just recently wrapped up our Finally Friday Paint & Stitch Get-togethers! Jake and I have been hosting these gatherings all winter long and now will take a summer break and come back in October. Every month, on the 2nd & 4th Friday evenings, people from the community who share common painting & stitching interests gathered at the Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center, downtown 5th Ave, Anchorage, Alaska. It’s a beautiful Art Gallery and so cozy in the back where we meet. Thank you Jana for letting us get together there! So Jake’s (Kurt) the painter and I”m the stitcher.
Our First Gathering
It’s been a lot of hard work but soooo much fun and rewarding! Almost every gathering we’ve had different people come and join us along with a small core group that formed. We also have a potluck and that has been really nice because we start at 6pm and many come straight from work and we all share our goodies together while unwinding from the hectic week. We all share our talents too and I’ve learned so much and made friends.
I saw painters who started as beginners become experienced and awesome painters! I saw crocheters who began to knit! I saw friendships develop and blossom! I’ve known some of the people for a long time but got to know them better. The buzz was always “what are we going to bring to eat and work on this week?” I saw the excitement each time we all came together, excited to share and learn. I have a hard time around people (I fake it pretty good) but everyone made each other comfortable and was accepting of each other. Even though we were all different ages, we were like one big family! It was so wonderful to experience that! I love each one of them.
We even shared things that we made, like I bought a beautiful pair of earrings from Cathe! And Nicole brought handmade felted soap! Jan and Joni bought some of Jake’s paintings and Angie showed her cute crocheted baby onesie & hat sets along with her Angry Bird hats she sold at Christmas. We all watched Sarah work on her darling crocheted mushroom until she completed it. Funny, I never did really complete anything because I always got side tracked looking at everyone else’s projects:)
The last Friday the stitchers convinced me to show them how to locker hook and before I knew it I had a FULL class! I honestly wasn’t prepared for a class….thought it was just going to be a demo! But everyone, having stitching experience whether it was knitting, crochet, tatting, felting, weaving, embroidery, jewelry, sewing, and etc. all caught on fast. It was a great class and I am so proud of them:)
I know we are going to miss our Friday gatherings but it always seems that when spring & summer come we all are out doing other things. In Alaska we take advantage of the good weather! But we will all come together again in October and share more projects, fun, food, laughter, and friendships. Hope everyone has a great summer and Jake and I can’t wait to see you in October!
Filed under Alaskan Life, Crochet, Locker Hooking, Uncategorized
Tagged as Alaska, Arctic Rose Gallery, art, art center, crafts, crochet, fabric, fiber art, friendship, gallery, gatherings, instruction, knitting, locker hooking, paint, shop, store, yarn
August 22, 2012 · 3:10 am
Hi! Oh my gosh!! I’ve been having Soooo MUCH FUN making crocheted beaded dream catchers and learning all about the history! I love crocheting and I love dream catchers! I thought I’d see if they sell at my Etsy Shop, Alaska HomeCrafters Emporium, or maybe a tourist at Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center might find them as fascinating as I do. When I moved up to Alaska someone gave me a dream catcher to keep the good dreams coming and the bad dreams trapped in the web. I still have it! I think everyone should have one 🙂
Dream catchers are arts and crafts of the Native American people. Traditionally dream catchers were made from willow branches bent into rings or oval shapes and sinew for the web. Feathers decorate infants and children’s dream catchers, but all dream catchers are embellished with totem animals, beads, and small stones. (I love to embellish!) The ring is believed to represent wisdom, strength, and unity.
One legend tells of an elderly spiritual leader who had a vision of Iktomi, the great trickster and searcher of wisdom. He appeared in the form of a spider and spoke to him. As he spoke, the spider picked up the elder’s willow ring and began to spin a web. He spoke about the cycle of life and and many lessons. The ring represents the cycle of life, for as we come into life as infants and grow into adults, as elderly adults we must be taken care of as infants, thus completing the cycle of life.
When the spider finished, he had spun a web inside the ring and told him that when the dream catcher is hung above ones bed, good dreams will float through the web’s holes and down the strings of beads and feathers, placing good dreams into your head while one sleeps. Bad dreams are caught in the web and tangle up in the web & beads and stones and with the first rays of daylight, they evaporate and disappear. Pretty awesome don’t you think!
Wishing you good dreams and peaceful sleep.
Filed under Alaskan Life, Uncategorized
Tagged as American Indians, art, beads, crafts, crochet, dream catchers, dreams, embellishments, feathers, legend, totem animals
June 26, 2012 · 12:56 am
Hi! The Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center has officially moved from L St. and reopened its doors on 423 5th Ave, Anchorage, and I was there! It was absolutely fabulous! We had a great turnout for the event and everyone was amazed at the transformation of the store. The first Friday of each month, galleries and cafes downtown feature different artists and art shows and a lot of them are within walking distance. We had old friends, other artists, and tourists stop by, which was really fun! For our first friday’s “First Friday” we featured all the artists in our store! It was awesome! I brought in my quilt rack and hung two large crocheted rag rugs.
Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center opened its doors
The front of the store is our Gallery (I’m on the right behind desk) …………
The Gallery at Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center
………And the “Sled Dog Cafe”, is in the back of the store where we have tables & chairs, couch, and comfy chairs by a fireplace. We sell coffee and cookies which goes to support our classes and events. Our cafe motto is “Stop. Sit. Eat a cookie”! The Sled Dog Cafe is where we hang our “First Friday’s” featured art and lay out food and drink. The art will stay there for the month until the next “First Friday”.
Sled Dog Cafe at Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center
Our store also features the Jon Van Zyle Museum, which is in the back of the store next to the Sled Dog Cafe (door on the left in above photo). Jon Van Zyle is a well known and respected artist who paints beautiful Alaskan art and the Iditorod and has ran & completed TWO Iditorod races. He also is the official artist for the Iditorod Poster, which comes out every year. They are awesome! He has illustrated many, many Alaskan books. He and his wife, Jona, live in Anchorage, Alaska, with their dogs (and cats).
Jon Van Zyle, at “Jon Van Zyle Museum” in Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center
It was a fabulous and successful evening and we are already getting ready for next month’s “First Friday” which will also be our “official” GRAND OPENING of Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center, featuring Jon Van Zyle! He will be there, so write this on your calenders…….July 6, 2012.
Filed under Alaskan Life, Uncategorized
Tagged as Alaska, art, art gallery, arts, crochet, crocheted rag rugs, fiber art, gift store, Iditarod, illustration, Jon Van Zyle, locker hooking, paint, tourist, travel
April 21, 2012 · 6:15 pm
Hi! Years ago rag rugs were made from old clothing, stockings, etc. and rugs were used on beds to keep families warm and then went down to the floors and on walls to insulate their homes. I’ve crocheted rag rugs for a long time but I’ve always used new store-bought 100% cotton fabric. I even have several rag rug crochet patterns that I sell. But the prices for cotton fabric has gone sky-high here in Anchorage and I simply can’t afford to make rag rugs anymore. So I got to thinking that I should give recycled sheets another try and succeed this time! So I’m RECYCLING FOR EARTH DAY (tomorrow) and beyond!
I absolutely love going to thrift stores and looking for treasures! I’ve never told anyone this, but my Senior Prom dress was from a lovely second-hand store and it was gorgeous, definitely something I’d never be able to afford if I bought it new! So I’ve been having a blast looking for recycled bed sheets and I’ve found some nice colors and designs. There’s not a huge selection to choose from but it’s a start. I got a BIG SHOCK though at the cost! I had no idea they cost sooooo much! The lowest was $7.95 for a twin and then jumped to $12.95!! These are used, and some with holes! But then I remembered that some thrift stores have different colored tags–50 % off weeks. Last week it was yellow and this week is orange. And the Salvation Army sheets cost less but usually only have one or two, maybe.
Recycled Sheets for my Rag Rugs
I started my new recycled rag rug in my usual spiral fashion with crochet hook size Q and it was terrible! The color joining was horribly uneven! I couldn’t figure out what I was doing so wrong? And I was so close to being done!
Spiral Rag Rug and Uneven Color Changes
I ripped it out and tried and tried again and again. Nothing worked! So I ripped it back to the second red circle and joined each round. But it still didn’t work, so I ripped it back to the center red circle and it still sucked! So…….I guess the lesson is, rip it ALL out and START OVER! I knew that!!
Rag Rug with joined rounds and even colors
And this is how my recycled rag rug FINALLY turned out! I can live with this one, OK 🙂
1. When working with such contrasting colors it’s better to join each round to minimize color changes. With similar colors you can use the easier spiral method just fine.
2. When it doubt, RIP IT OUT!
3. Trust your gut and do it right the FIRST time! I knew that!
4. Happy EARTH DAY 2012 and hooray for RECYCLING!
Filed under Crochet, Uncategorized
Tagged as clothing, crochet, crocheted rag rugs, fabric, hook size, joining rounds, rag rugs, recycle, rugs, senior prom, sheets, shopping, spiral, style
July 20, 2011 · 5:47 pm
Bring a piece of “Alaska” indoors!
As you know I’ve been crocheting glass covers this summer and I got to thinking about picnics and my daughter’s outdoor wedding coming up. How do you keep the paper napkins from blowing away? So……….I’ve been having fun crocheting rocks that I’ve found on the beaches in Alaska! I soak them, scrub them, and then crochet the rock using 100% cotton thread and sign them. They are natural Alaskan rocks! A long time ago I crocheted two rocks for bookends to use in my store (for my Laurel Burch journals) and they are just as pretty now as then. But this time I’m getting more creative and adding beads, buttons, ribbon, crocheted flowers, and more and having an absolute blast doing it!
One of my collections of Alaskan Crocheted Rocks
Jake and I go to the Alaskan beaches and hand-pick each beautiful naturally flat and smooth rock, which we lug home. We have a favorite beach but you have to go down and back up a very, very steep cliff to get back to the car. Of course it is so much easier to do in the fall when it’s cooler outside. Put them in the back of the car and they help with traction in the Alaskan winters! My husband is such a good sport! At first he thought I was crazy, but now he actually thinks it’s really cool and he even uses them at work!
I make my Alaskan Crocheted Rocks to use as napkin and paper weights, book ends, door stops, decorative and conversational pieces like in bowls and windowsills. Great for picnics and barbeques! Or decorate your garden!
And they make perfect unique little gifts! This is the crocheted rock I gave to my dear friend, Rene.
June 3, 2011 · 5:55 pm
Hi! I’m back to crocheting glass covers! I’ve been making these for a long time and thought I would share them with you. Because I live in Alaska, when summer comes everyone gets out of their homes and stays outside until the snow comes again. Well, we have a picnic bench under some trees and the leaves, dirt, bugs, not to mention the pesky mosquitos fall into our glasses! So I came up with these colorful glass covers to protect water or wine, or whatever you may have in your glass. They work well for coffee mugs too! I also make larger sizes to cover food bowls. If you don’t want to use them on top of your glass, just slide them under your glass and you have classy glass doilies. And when they aren’t on your table, they look really pretty under potted plants, etc.
We have been saving all sorts of glass jars and that is what we use for our ‘everyday ware’. They look really cool on your table! In fact, we have so many now that our cupboards are literally over flowing! The glass covers also look quite elegant on wine glasses too! For red wines I use dark color thread and for white wine, it doesn’t matter.
I love to choose different colors and add the beads on the ends. The beads look pretty and are functional by weighting the cover down. I’ve used charms and buttons too. I’ve tried using plastic beads because they can go in the wash (inside a delicates bag), but they don’t hold enough weight, at least for outside. I’ve even gotten fancier and made lacy glass covers (like doilies) but I have to keep the stitches tight so little bugs don’t sneak in.
Do you prefer a set of the same color or a mix of different colors glass covers? Each one is unique even if they are the same color because they are handmade! You can find the “Crochet Pattern” for it on my website.
Crochet Glass Covers
Wine Glass Covers
Have a GREAT summer everyone and protect your glasses!
August 23, 2010 · 11:57 pm
Hi! Did you know Alaskans celebrate Christmas in July? JoAnn Fabrics always has a big fabric sale on their Christmas fabric in July and a furniture store gives great prices at their “Christmas in July” sale. I get flyers through the mail and I see advertisements on the TV. I never have really understood why? But the craft stores now have Halloween and Christmas items on their shelves (already!). When I was in retail business I remember I’d have to start thinking about what I’m going to buy for the store for next Christmas, like right after THAT Christmas (or earlier). Company reps would come up that winter or early spring to take Christmas orders and if you didn’t have orders in by summer, you were sunk. I’m glad to be out of that life!
So……….I’m celebrating Christmas in August because I recently posted some of my “Big Holiday Stockings” on my Etsy shop. It felt weird taking photos outside and no snow yet, but it was so much FUN! I put a few tree branches in the tops of the stockings and hung them from a tree (a great suggestion from a friend & locker hooker). I will be making more big stockings and I’ll get some photos in the snow. We get snow in October and sometimes in September.
It all started when I drew one of my daughter’s names for a Christmas gift. She had recently moved into a new apartment and I wanted to make her something special. So I crocheted her own stocking with lots of colors and pretty yarns. I even crocheted beads into the toe. I had so much fun making it and used up some of my yarn remnants! Jake was thrilled saying, “don’t stop now, what a great way to get rid of ALL your yarn!!” OK, I do have way too much yarn, way too much!
Here are some of my Big Holiday Stockings! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas! Thanks!
Fun with fun fur
Had fun with some novelty yarn
August 11, 2010 · 5:32 pm
Hi! I love to locker hook or crochet in the evenings, relaxing and watching the news. I am a night owl. Jake is an early bird. Sometimes I’ll stay up after he goes to bed and hook into the night. It is so quiet and peaceful! We live up and on the side of a mountain. We are in Anchorage and there are many who live up here, but we have lots of trees and privacy. It feels like we live in the wilderness when we drive down our dirt road to home. Nights are when I get a lot of things done. This is when my creativity juices flow. I know I am not alone as many artists and crafters enjoy the nights solitude.
About two weeks ago, I was crocheting and watching a scary movie (I don’t very often at night!). Jake and the animals were downstairs sleeping when I thought I saw a large black figure go past our front door window panel. I absolutely froze! We don’t get visitors here, especially at night. And because we live in a dome home, we don’t have curtains. It went up the stairs to the deck. I shot up off the couch but my legs got caught in the yarn! I could see he was coming back and by the time I reached the front door I came eye to eye with this huge black bear. Scared me to death! I gasped and he went back to the deck while I flew downstairs yelling for Jake. Well, by the time he came upstairs the bear was gone. I was really freaked out! We have black bears here in the summer but NEVER that close! Well apparently our neighbors left their garbage out the night before and they don’t have a bear protected garbage can. Jake said there was garbage spread all over the street in the morning. Also bird seed attracts bears (we found that out the first year we lived here!). Several days later we hear that a bear nearby tried to enter a home and was shot. Wow, it could have been me!
Last week I went back to crocheting on my couch and enjoying the solitude of the night, feeling safe again. The dog started barking (she doesn’t very often) and I turned to look and we both looked right into the face of a black bear! AGAIN! The bear went up and down the stairs to the deck. When I got down to the front door window, I was looking right at this huge bear’s face, eye to eye! We were both standing. Then he suddenly leaned over towards us and took his huge paw with long claws and took a swipe at the dog, scratching his claws against the glass, then slowly walked away! This time I came running downstairs yelling “where’s the shot-gun”!! I love Alaska, but this is ridiculous! I knew if that bear came back again he would definitely bust the door down and come in. I haven’t slept well since! Jake didn’t think he could.
A few nights ago Jake and I were watching the news and they reported that for the last two weeks they have had trouble with bears trying to get into people’s homes on the hillside. Last Thus. three black bears broke down someones door and came into their home and they had to shoot the bears. But one got away! Jake and I looked at each other. I was thinking “I knew it could happen!” and he was thinking “Maybe I should have believed her!”. At least I hope he was thinking that. So……one is still roaming around!
Everyday living in Alaska is an adventure!
Some of my crochet rag rugs
August 1, 2010 · 5:34 am
I want to welcome you to my new blog!
My name is Donna Jacobson, an author, teacher, crocheter, and avid crafter from Anchorage, Alaska. In 1999, I started my business called Alaska Locker Hooking Etc., when I wrote and self-published the first locker hooking book written on fabric entitled, “Locker Hooking With Fabric Strips”.
I know you’re thinking, “WHAT in the world is locker hooking??”
Well, it’s an old rug hooking technique that started around the early 1900’s in Great Britain. Using fabric strips (or thick yarn or roving), latch hook canvas, a locker hook (which is a 6.5″ long crochet hook and the other end has a large needle ‘eye’), and strong yarn (which is threaded through the ‘eye”), you can make beautiful and sturdy rugs, wall hangings, clothing, belts, blankets, pet beds, lots of kitchen items, frames, purses, baskets, and tons of home decor and accessories. Things that you can actually use and wear! It’s really easy, quick, inexpensive, portable, and just plain fun!
A steel locker hook used in "locker hooking"
It’s really great for those who love fabric and yarn and a great way to use up those scraps!
No….it’s not latch hooking. It’s just different!
I have soooo much to share with you!