Saturday, December 22, 2007

Looking after yourself in this busy season

Will the world fall apart if you don't do everything on your list by Christmas Day ?
Having a happy person around is the best gift you can give, not to mention how contagious true contentment and joy is to those who observe it.
Do things because you want to, not because you have to.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Answering Lawanna's comments

Lawanna asked :

Hi, Wanda

I have bought wools from you that glow. How do get the glow effect from the dye pot?

Also, what do you mean by not taking the "joy" out when you have a lot of clouds or snow?



I love things that glow !
In the dye pot there are ways to accomplish this by using the same thoughtfulness as when we want to create glow when we hook.

Use the knowledge you have of using light against dark, bright against dull, cool against warm , complementary.... you know what I mean.

If I want to make a glowing blue, I would use some turquoise in it.

Glowing red I would try having some orange spots, or fuschia ones.....
Does that make sense to you ?

Taking the joy out ... that means using a white that isn't the correct one for the palette. A wrong white can really ruin the effect we usually want from that white.

You want the clouds or snow to reflect the surroundings, Try googling images of cloud or snow and you'll soon see what I mean. Paintings especially point out the importance of "the right white " or what will appear white or act white for any given palette. Paintings are more apt to be using expressive colour or more imaginative or enhanced colour than we might be able to see. Take look at the picture of the birch tree, my it was like looking at a rainbow !!!!

Taking the joy out, or settling for any old white will leave your white areas flat looking.
Does this help?

One thing that will really point out the importance of the correct acting whites (or any colour for that matter ) is a site called

Look for a snow picture or a sky with clouds.
Click on segplay FREE > choose a pattern.
Thanks for asking dear Lawanna.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Light Backgrounds- How to make them sing

Where I started hooking light background were the bomb , most every one used them most all the time. As an avowed daughter of darkness I wasn't too interested in them but did notice they did not often "match " the motifs in the rug. Dyed with various tan, brown, gray type colours they seldom had the reactive, supportive influence on the leading ladies we might desire.

I've had very good success dyeing light backgrounds with vivacity the following ways:

Making a very light spot dye of the colours contained in the motifs.
You might first examine if the colour should swing to the warm or cool. For instance, if my rug is composed of blue and purple pansies I might chose to use a hint of warm purple, the warm green, caramel and gold you find in the pansy center to create my spot to alleviate all the cool flowers and to further intensify the coolness by laying them on the warm background.
The pastel value spot is a great way to enhance what you already see in the rug and it's quick and easy.

Another way I like to go is to dye up pastels of 9 or so of my dyes from different sections of the colour wheel, making them all the same level of value and intensity.
I use these all together by ripping all the pastel pieces in half , cutting these up, throwing them in a bag and hooking them as they come out on half the rug. When it's done cut up the other half of the pastels and carry on completeing my rug. This is terrific ! You can throw a tied off hank of yarn into each dye bath if you want yarn to match the edge too.

Make sure you light background is not something that takes all the "joy" out of your main picture.
This would include any areas of light colour in a rug, white house, clouds,snow, you get the drift ! ( that was punny )
Happy and expansive hooking.
If you have any questions at all I'd love to answer them, just send them into the blog....

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Question about glow in my Rug October

The Divine Lawanna Holmes of Minneapolis MN said
I love the way the colors glow ( in your rug October). How did you do

I am Big on the Glow !!!!
I make it happen a group of different ways.

Visual Excitement:

I use opposite colours together!

Using like value and temperature colours to create one ( I usually throw in a close but other temperature colour in there like burgundy with a mostly blue, green, purple situation.

If I'm making something red as I go toward the edges of the motif I'll switch to orange, then yellow if I want to really make a BIG glow.
You can do this with cool colours too, just always work toward the bright.

So If I'm making something blue, I could layer blue violet on the blue, then violet, the red violet.... OR I could go blue to blue green to green to yellow green. One of my hookers is doing just that in a sky, she is indicating a glowing dawn with a subtle yellow green on the horizon. Go Dayle !!!

Sometimes I build gradation into the wool by having a piece dyed that travels through 3 colours and creates 2 more where they overlap and combine in the pan. I just hook that wool as is and it glows because I usually dye it from a lighter colour to a darker one or a brighter one to a duller one.

This brings me to
Settings and Jewels. I use a dull background with a brighter motif and that creates glow but the dull you chose needs to relate well to the bright and they must enhance each other.

Light against Dark
Here is the last way I create glow.
I make sure I have places where there are good degrees of value separation between my motif and background.

If you have a comment or question please ask !

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Great Backgrounds

There comes a time in every hooker's life where we want more stimulation from our backgrounds.
I'm of the school that more is better.
Especially in backgrounds.

If you can have minor variance in colour from a source of leftover stuff or from one off the bolt colour of wool wouldn't that be great ?

There are two ways to go about this for dark and medium backgrounds.

Method One

Grab a bunch of various coloured wool from around the whole colour wheel.
Over dye them in a big pot with lots of various colours close to where you are aiming for ..... for blue try adding 3 blues, turquoise, violet, blue greens and a wild card like red violet.... you get the picture. I use dry dye added into the pot at different points. NO STIRRING at first. Add acid about 15 minutes into the process. Wait 5 minutes and stir, leave until water clears.

The footstool background pictured is hooked with one of these giant stew pots ! Michele Micarelli showed me this trick.

Method Two

Divide your yd goods into 1/4 or 1/2 yd pieces if it is a big rug.
Decide what influence you want to employ, a cool collection of wool, warm or a combination of both.
If I had eggplant wool I wanted to enrich to be cooler, I would add a cool colour, blue, green , purple to each 1/4 to 1/2 yd. piece.

If I was warming up eggplant I would over dye each piece with one warm colour, orange, yellow, red, brown, red violet.

I usually take the combo route so will seek to do some colours from each side of the colour wheel.
ie: blue for one 1/4, brown for another, violet for the next, orange for one and red for another and so on.
Each dye subtly influences the original colour and used together it's glorious.

Once these are cut up and used randomly they create a glowing effect much better than an a flat or mottled piece of one coloured wool.

I tell you about making terrific , easy and individual light backgrounds soon.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rug October

Hi All,
This journal rug challenge from the Welcome Mat felt like it might never get done. But sure enough, one loop after another I finished last night. Now on to getting Rug November and Rug December on the go tonight. I'm doing a picture of pixelated pears for November with my dear friend Lawanna, she's hooking it too, and a portrait of my daughter Thea that glows. Into the light we go !

Monday, December 3, 2007

Colour and Rug hooking

Once you learn how to bring up a loop the only thing we need to know is how to use colour effectively.
We might be good at putting colours together, but are we good at making sure our rugs have value contrast ?

Not usually.

We don't have areas of really dark to really light in our rugs.

We have one or the other or lots of medium values.

This does not make for a glorious rug.

To see rugs from a distance and let them still have discernible motifs and drama we need think rethink how we use colour as rug hookers.

To recognize the values ( light to dark ) as you colour plan look through a camera set to black and white at your wool selection.
You might be surprised how many of the very different colours you chose are the same value. And how they will blend and bleed together as your rug is viewed from any distance, say over 8 feet.

Here is a picture of wool, and the same wool in black and white.... hmmmm
What do you think ?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Silver Lining's Variation - Viking Good Luck

Here is a variation of Silver Lining.

I’ve dyed over 1/4 yd of natural wool with Majic Carpet dyes in a dye bath with citric acid added to it at the 5 minute point. Having the exact dyes are not important, just go for the colour family. What is important is to experiment ....experimenting is key to being a great dyer.

Combine the two listed dyes in boiling water and pour into a dye bath then add wool.

1/32 tsp. Blue + 1/128th Black

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Recipe: Silver Lining

I’ve dyed over 1/4 yd of natural wool with Majic Carpet dyes in a dye bath with citric acid added to it at the 5 minute point. Having the exact dyes are not important, just go for the colour family. What is important is to experiment ....experimenting is key to being a great dyer.

Combine the two listed dyes in boiling water and pour into a dye bath then add wool.

1/128th tsp. Blue + 1/128th Black

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rug October

Well , Here is the weekly installment of the Rug October .....A little progress is better than none !
I'm greatly consoled by the fact that even an elephant must be eaten one bite at a time.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Galaxy's Partner Solar Flare

THE SPOTS- it took 1 hr 30 mins.. @ 350 ˚ F to process this.
Gather up 1/2 yd of wet wool in peaks and valleys, add 1/8th tsp. citric acid to each dye solution, pour in stripes or spots in a checkerboard pattern. Don’t mess around too much with the wool after you pour the dye on so you can get the stars in the dark sky effect.
All Majic carpet but try other dyes if you don't have these.

1/2 tsp. Orange
1/2 tsp. Red
1/2 tsp. Red Violet
1/2 tsp. Yellow
1 tsp. Moss Green
1 tsp. Black

Loops- How wide ?

I'm a big believer in using wide strips. I think it lets the beautiful wool we use be shown to the best advantage. Seeing more of the wool in the loop lets it do more work for us too. It can help add a dimension to what we hook that almost happens accidentally but is so beautiful. The more we "add" in our rugs the richer they will be to behold.

To decide what cut to use I usually look at the spaces to be filled. What's the narrowest area ? Are there a lot of narrow spaces or are there mostly bigger spaces ?

If I have mostly larger spaces I might decide to use a finer cut on those narrow spaces.

Or if I have a lot of narrow areas I see what cut strip fills them up fully and use that.

I encourage everyone to use the cut that works best for them but keep in mind there might be another way.

Here is Magnolia.
Using #6 cut and an assembled swatch.

Monday, November 12, 2007

How high the Loops ?

This is a question often asked and really I think it depends on how you want your rug to feel underfoot, how much money you have to spend on wool, (the higher the loops the bigger the wool bill) the effect you wish to achieve. Nothing else really matters, we all sort of have a a personal level we pull loops to somewhat like knitters have tension.
If we look at a hooking and keep seeing the loops, something went awry, we aren't noticing what was depicted.

The loops are the least of it.

Colour and it's effective use is what counts in my mind and to my eye.

What do you think ?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Be flexible about your dyeing. Be accepting of what you create rather than feeling disappointment if it doesn’t turn out, try to see where you might apply it in a rug or how you might correct it to make it useful. Try dividing it into two and trying different approaches for correction. Everything you create is a wonderful thing. Including mistakes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


What is a wip you might ask ? Well, we all have them- those are works in progress.
Right now I have a few but I'm on a quest to make a rug a month this year and this is providing a good opportunity to get them done.

If you gather up too many wips it will make you a hooking wimp. You feel heavy as lead under the weight of all those good intentions and undone tasks.
Or you're stuck because you want to finish a rug before starting another but you don't like the rug you're working on ....... well that will make you a wimp too, it is a fine line to tread.

I like to have a few wips, one not so hard and one a little more difficult. No matter my mood I can hook !
Then I have Ghosts of Hooking Past wips.... they are okay, good for travelling, I feel no compunction to finish them. No stress.
They are from another time and place in my life, nice to visit sometimes.

Here is a picture of my Rug October... my latest unfortunate Wip. (wanted it to be done by now !)
It is a journal rug in a Geometric Style, a challenge from the Welcome Mat.
I hope by setting a goal to post it each week here on the blog it will help me finish it up.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


I hope you enjoy this spring green !

2/32 tsp. lemon drop 106
1/32 tsp. key lime 724

I dyed over 1/16th of a yard in a three inch dye bath. Add dye to bath, add wool to bath, simmer 10 minutes then add 1/32 tsp citric acid or 1 TBSP vinegar, simmer until water clears. Rinse well.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Busy days; created a Galaxy !

Finding time to hook can be difficult when I'm dyeing each day.
Here is Galaxy with Majic Carpet Dyes. It's a spot dye.
It took 1 hr 30 mins.. @ 350 ˚ F to process these.
Gather up 1/2 yd wet wool in peaks and valleys, add 1/8th tsp. citric acid to each dye solution, pour in stripes or spots in a checkerboard pattern. Don’t mess around too much with the wool after you pour the dye on so you can get the stars in the dark sky effect.

1/2 tsp. Blue Violet
1/2 tsp. Turquoise
1/2 tsp. Bottle Green
1/2 tsp. Brilliant Green
1/2 tsp. Red Violet
1/2 tsp. Black

Friday, October 26, 2007

Great Colour for a Fall day !

ROCKET’S RED GLARE over 1/2 yd wet wool
1 tsp. Orange
1 tsp. Reddish Brown
In a dye bath with 2/32 citric acid added , done when water clears.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What all good hookers need

If I could give rug hookers only one piece of advice what do you think it would be ?

Make time for yourself ?

Keep connected to other hookers ?

Try new things ?

Imagination ?

Even though all these are very important the ultimate thing is know yourself and what you like.
Because if you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything !

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pickled Ginger Variation- Copper Penny

These recipes use Majic Carpet Dyes

1/16th tsp. Orange + 1/16th tsp. Reddish Brown

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pickled Ginger

Here is today's recipe.

Dyed Over 1/4 yd. natural in a dye bath with citric acid.

1/128th tsp. Orange + 1/128th tsp. Reddish Brown

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I forgot an important thing

Yesterday my daughter reminded me of something I know works but I had forgotten. This was a timely reminder.

She said " Mom you have to think from the end."

To me this means instead instead of imagining how to get somewhere, I need to imagine already myself there ( at my goal ) and work my way back to where I am.

An old mare can always find its way home !! LOL

Here's a picture of true rug love !

Friday, October 12, 2007


This is a beautiful dark teal.

1 tsp. Bottle Green
1/2 tsp. Blue
1/2 tsp. Black

Dyed over 1/2 yd. natural wool using Majic Carpet dyes in a deep dye bath with dyes added all at once in once dye solution. 1 tsp of citric acid was added in 1/2 tsp. increments at the 1/2 hour and 45 minute points. It takes a long time to dye dark colours.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Todays New Dye Formula

Here is a beautiful soft colour called Wales.
Over 1/4 yd natural wool flannel

Light 1/128th tsp. Brilliant Green + 1/128th tsp. Orange

In a dye bath with acid added at the 15 minute point.