Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dye Day

Dyed a bunch of wool on Tuesday. Not as much as I would have liked to, but got quite a bit done nonetheless.

Getting out the essentials.

First up, was 1/2 yard of Blood Orange. I love this deep orangey-red color. It is an abrash formula, so I get lots of nice variation in shading.

Here's the finished product. Actually, a bit darker than photo shows.

This is pansy patch. Hard to tell it's purple! It's done over oatmeal, and comes out in purples and subtle greens. Part of this is going in my NY Beauty rug. I do wish it had come out in a stronger purple. May spot dye again with some of the purple I used from the formula.

Next up were batches of Williamsburg Blue and Desert Gem. The Williamsburg Blue comes from the old standby Prisms dye book. Prisms was one of the first dye books I used, and I learned a lot from their methods and formulas. Desert Gem is my own formula and starts with two cups of dye. In the pot, at this point, is the gold base. After the water cleared, I abrashed with a wine dye. Here is the result (see photo on right).

Got several other colors done and have two more spot dyes to work up on Friday. We are expecting 6-10 inches of snow tonight and into tomorrow, so dyeing will be a good way to pass the time. Certainly wish the weatherman was playing an April Fool's Day trick on us!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Looking inside the rug hooking files

My idea book also contains pages of swatches with formulas and dye books noted. I wish I had kept up with this practice. Each entry contains lots of information.

After a while, I just ripped off a small section of a dyed yard and tied the swatches altogether. I do have copious notes on my formulas in a special notebook. Of course that always needs updating. A Microsoft Word file on my computer is perhaps the best organized of all. I try to work on that every six months or so. Like any hobby, organization is key. With rug hooking, there are dyeing notes, wool (dyed and undyed) to put on shelves, leftover strips, and compiling wool for projects. Takes a lot of work even before you pick up the hook!

Another thing that I have in my idea notebook are copies of posts from the online hooking group called padula. I'm not sure they are even around any more, but there was always wonderful information being shared. Here is a "Dye Day" post by Richard LaBarge.

As I was looking through my idea book, I realized just how many things inspire us. I have photographs of nature (in particular, flowers), greeting cards, magazine articles and photos, newspaper clippings, sketches, tracings, etc. All of these remind me of the saying people use when talking about books: "So many books, so little time." Alas, "so many pattern ideas, so little time." Doesn't hurt to dream!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Notebook full of ideas!

Do you have a notebook filled with ideas for rug patterns and dye colors? I do, and I'm sure many of you do, too. My ideas are stuffed in old notebook from a long ago graphic arts seminar. I started out trying to organize with definite categories, and like most ideas, it worked for a while. Then I started shoving pictures and notes in it willy-nilly, telling myself I'd get back to it soon enough. The best laid plans!

Anyway, here is a peek into my stash of ideas. First up, the notebook!

Next, magazine clippings and greeting cards:

I love these clippings not only for their designs, but for color planning.

Next up, my sketches. Please excuse poor artistry! I have a sister who is an artist, and my father could also draw. Alas, I did not get that gene!

And lastly, more magazine clippings. These are some of my favorites.

More tomorrow.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Knotted dyeing

Did some dyeing today. Had some small pieces of undyed wool left over from the ends of bolts, projects, etc. I decided to take these pieces and do the same thing you do to them as you do when marbleizing wool. So, I knotted them up and threw them in a pot of boiling wool with synthrapol added. After they simmered for a bit, and I was sure the wool was wet, I added my Stargazer formula to the pot. Squashed the wool down well with a pair of tongs and let it simmer for 25 minutes. I added vinegar to the pot after 10 minutes or so.

The original colors of the wool were a gray checked, an oatmeal texture, celery green, goldenrod, and some small brown pieces. With the exception of the brown pieces, I like the way the wool came out. Here is a photo of the finished pieces. Sorry, they are not the best.

I think you get the idea of the kind of effects you can achieve. These can be very effective in penny rugs.

This knotted dye piece was done at another time. The yellow is much more vivid in the actual piece.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Stamps as Inspiration for rugs

I love stamps! The artwork on stamps from around the world has come a long way. In particular, I collect U.S. stamps, although I never seem to find the time to properly catalog them. As I've learned more about stamps and the artists behind them, I've found myself imaging some of this artwork being turned into rugs—with or without the postage showing. I went to the USPS Web site in order to choose some of the stamps I think would make terrific rugs. And just think ... all the color choices have already been made!!

Here are a few of my favorites from this past year's stamps. Keep in mind this is just a tiny sampling of stamps that could be turned into rugs.

What terrific Christmas images with interesting borders!

Patriotic images always turn into great rugs.

What a great design to "celebrate" a special occasion.

I like this type of artwork in particular for rugs as you can see how you can delineate each shape with shading.

One of my faves, although getting that neon glow would require some special coloring planning and dyeing.

Just a few colors would turn this design into a fabulous rug.

These two images again lend themselves to rugs as the shading is already shown.

Another image that would work well in a rug design, although those roman numerals might pose a challenge!!

And finally, a very simple, yet powerful patriotic symbol.

Check out stamps as in inspiration in rug design and color planning. Haven't even scratched the surface of all that is out there.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day is a big holiday in my household. Although I'm Italian, my husband is Irish and he celebrates to the hilt! Here is a picture of our grandson with his "leprechaun hat" on!

The outside of the house is decorated with flags and shamrock lights. You can see from this photo just how much snow we still have.

Our neighbors came up with a creative use for the snow.

My husband is kicking himself for not thinking of this! Anyway, have a great day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Time Flies

Amazing how fast the days seem to be going by. My grandson was born on Nov. 30 and is the light of my life these days. I watch him two days a week, and he sure keeps me hopping. Can't wait for the nice weather, so we can get out for a walk. Of course, we still have about two feet of snow in the yard!

Here is a recent photo:

Haven't gotten a lot of hooking done lately. I'm working on a pattern based on a New York beauty quilt. Hope to get it done for my daughter's wedding in September. Here is the progress I've made so far. Really need to get cracking!