Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dye Books

I know that not all rug hookers dye their own wool, but I have always loved dipping into the dye pots.  Because I was dyeing so much, my wool business became a necessity!

I learned to dye wool while taking class with Dick LaBarge, a very well known rug hooker and teacher. Dick is retired now from teaching, but I'm told he still hooks with some of his former students.

Anyway, Dick was a master at dyeing. I always felt like I was entering a secret laboratory when he got the dye pots out. We had lots of fun experimenting with colors and techniques.

From that experience, I developed three dye booklets of my own. These booklets used different methods -- spot dyeing, transitional dyeing, graduated dyeing, abrashing, and overdye. My first dye book -- The Dye is Cast -- is only available as a .pdf, but my later dye books -- The Dye is Cast Again and Three Times a Charm are still available in printed format.

The next photo shows most of my dye formula booklets that I reference when dyeing. My favorites are the three Prisms booklets. I also use Vermont Folk Rugs book of formulas on a regular basis. The Prisms books use only ProChem dyes, while the Vermont Folk Rugs book uses Cushing dyes.

I also have compiled in a notebook all my favorite formulas. I have my own formulas, and other favorites from the books seen in the photo. In addition, I have a lined notebook where I write down formulas I want to try, mostly ones I have developed on my own. I try to keep up with organizing these formulas, but sometimes I get behind and then have to search out that scrap of paper where I wrote down a new formula. That is not fun!

What dye books do you use?


Anonymous said...

I am not familiar with the Prisms books and I can't seem to find them on the Internet. Who is the author?
I mostly use my own formulas. Periodically I dye a bunch of combinations and tape them in my dye book. I dye cotton as well, but nothing dyes as richly as wool! My rug hooking teacher was/is a wonderful dyer, but she originally used Cushing and I like Pro Chem. She did convert to their use, but she does the rug hooking "thing", having a ton of dyes and using 1/124 of this and that! I make stock solutions and use primaries and black. Doing all that teeny tiny measuring seems like such a waste of time to me! What do you use?
I usually can't get Blogger sites to use my Wordpress account. I am Deb at

Lori from Notforgotten Farm said...

Oh I see a few there in your collection that I have as well, but, I tend to go with my muse and throw stuff into the pot and wait to be surprised!

Woolly Mammoth Woolens said...

The authors of the Prisms books are Claire deRoos and Nancy MacLennan. I bought them years ago, and Ebay may be the only place you'll find them. I mostly use ProChem dyes and the colors are so rich. I do have lots of Cushing dyes, but I use them sparingly as they are pricey compared to ProChem. I use the spoons with the tiny measurements! Sometimes the formula calls for just a speck!
I have done some cotton dyeing, and I've also dyed both cotton and wool thread for embroidery.
I have your blog listed on my blog roll!