Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dyeing Over Tan Challenge

I hope everybody will try this at home.
It's my wish people don't take FORMULAS so literally.
I know most people want guaranteed results.
Don't want to risk that pricey wool with ugly mistakes.

But what if we know that no wool is useless and as long as you don't process it incorrectly by cooking it in soap until it is weaker than a kitten, things are always redeemable.

It takes three things to dye:

And of course we need an acid.


It is best to dye at least 85% wool. I'm hoping we can all dye over tan. I dyed over Dorr #17

Got a plaid or texture close in colour to this ? OK
A little lighter , a little darker- is okay too.

You might have a bolt of it, a yd of it, a quarter yd, a skirt, shirt , pant leg of it.

You decide how much you want to use for this experiment.
Wet the wool with a few drops of shampoo or jet dry, synthropol or wetter than wet to make the wool more receptive to getting wet. Well wet wool = well dyed wool.

How you apply heat and dye reflect the various methods and results in dyeing.
We will make a regular over dye, just dyeing over already coloured wool in a dye bath.
BUT you could spot, stripe, swatch, marbelize, wander or any other dye method you want with this wool.

You will need some vessel to dye in, once you use it to dye in you can't cook dinner in it anymore. You can use an old crockpot, a kitchen kettle from walmart ( only 23.00), aluminum foil cake pans placed on a cookie sheet , an electric wok , an old pot , a new pot...whatever you wish.

Fill vessel 3/4 full with water , heat the water.

Use whatever dyes you have. Including rit and kool aid ( not lightfast but better than not dyeing at all)
Here is a chart to help you decide how much to use whatever you are dyeing:

A Value Guideline
Over 1/4 yd of wool ( YOU DYE THE AMOUNT OF WOOL YOU WANT IN THIS CLASS THIS IS JUST A GUIDELINE to give you a place to start)

very , very light - dry toothpick dipped in dye
very light- wet toothpick dipped in dye
light -1/128th tsp

medium light - 1/64 tsp
medium -1/32 tsp
medium dark - 1/16th tsp

light dark - 1/8th tsp
medium dark 1/4 tsp
very very very dark 1/2 tsp.

Now because our colour is already a medium value and we want to have a definite colour change we will need to use at least 1/16 th tsp. or 2/32. over 1/4 yd.

What colour to use .....
well keep in mind that tan is yellowish in nature so anything you put over it will be "yellow influenced".
For instance
Blue over tan = teal
Red over tan = reddish orange
Violet over tan = dull violet
Magenta over tan = red

Capeesh ?

You might have noticed I usually refer to 32nds when measuring dye even though I can round them down to simpler measures, we rarely have a 1/16th measure or even 1/8th tsp can be hard to find.

If you have no measuring spoon, wet a wooden chop stick, yah you heard me.
Stick into the jar of dye right to the bottom or 3 inches deep. This will get you about 1/32 tsp. dye.

So make a little note to self about what dyes you want to use and the amounts you will measure. Then follow those instructions.
Use any dye or combinations of dyes you want.

Measure your dye into a jar. Pour 1/4 cup of boiling water over it. Stir to dissolve. Add cool water to make the jar easier to handle. Pour the contents of the jar into heated water.

Place you wool in, stir around a bit, submerge it.

Add vinegar ( 1/8th cup) or citric acid crystals( 1/32 tsp.) a the 5 minute point.
Remove wool when water is clear ( dip a white plastic spoon into the dye bath to see if dye is gone ).
Rinse wool very well.
Pat yourself on the back.

Try doing another colour.

You are now a self fed hooker.
Good job !

Purse Progress

Here is the purse, Sticks and stones as it lays right now !

Here is a little report I wrote up about it.
When I was challenged to make a purse I quickly set my mind toward some fun theme around which to build my bag. I thought about how I love rocks and like to collect them, then I thought about the question frequently asked about a woman's hand bag when hoisted by a man ! I immediately liked the idea of carry around a bag of rocks ! Of course these could be no ordinary stones but rather gems. I did toy with the idea of making an invisible bag , showing all I usually carry inside the bag on the outside, but I gave that up quickly for a more simple treatment. I used a piece of a product I call most humbly, The World's Most Beautiful Wool which provided the gems, the back was Starry Night from my Daughter's of Darkness article. I had a houndstooth check in the same general colours spot dyed and used it in sticks for the saddle.

Surprisingly it took over 1 and 1/4 yds of wool to make this. I used hand torn strips. All that remains s the construction of it, I plan to line it with fairly plain wool so I can see the contents when I need to. I will stabilize both the lining and purse itself with iron interfacing I have that is woven cloth to keep stretching due to the weight of the actual contents to a minimum. I hope this will keep the loops from catching and pulling out too during wear. The handle will be of the houndstooth and piping made in to deconstructed ( seam showing ) double handle. My purse is a lower more open envelope style bag due to the shape of the first piece of linen I grabbed. It is my plan to use this bag as advertising for hooking in my town, a walking billboard for the amazing things that can be created by anybody ! To bring my hooking out of my house and into the public space, and attract people who want to create.

Where did I go ? Good Photos

You might be wondering where in the world I got to. I'm wondering that too because I've barely left the house and certainly not the Town !
The day of my last post we took a walk to a cliff look out. Man had a camera. Man believes he is under a family curse and is destined to take poor photos. After this experience I'm bound to agree. I'm by no means a good photographer it is interesting to se what makes mine work a bit better.

I'm going to show you 2 pictures he took of me, and 2 I took of him.

It is hard to tell we are at the same place at the same time.
There are four things that make a difference and perhaps more I'm not aware of. These are good to know for rug designing too.
Position of the horizon line.
Capturing available light
Making something more important than all the other things.
Rule of thirds.
What else do you notice ?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Stove and Etsy

I have two pieces of great news.
On Thursday my new stove arrived or as they are now called my range.
Thanks to Erin and Peter we got it into the house safely without any unfortunate mishaps and as my favorite saying goes I will indeed be cooking with gas by this time next week.
She is a beaut from Ikea of all places, made for them by Whirlpool. How I chanced onto it can only be called divine as I had exhausted my self several months in a row, try 8 or 9, trying to find what I wanted in the reasonable price range ( PUN ALERT )
No one on this planet knows more about ranges than I at this point. What I wanted didn't seem in the realm of the impossible.
36" 5 or 6 burner , convection if I could get it. NO ELECTRONICS. Now that last request was the kicker, I could get nothing without a plethora of geegaws that would make your head spin.I did find one model agreeable, it was in the $9,000 price area.
Lord thundering ..... It cost more than my house ! I was trying to rack my brain for ideas about looking for ranges, where else could I possibly try to look ?
Then I though about places that sell kitchens and thought I would scope out models they had on display, I thought of Ikea and was shocked to see they are now selling appliances. And there was the clone to my agreeable model... well, well.
Thanks to help from Michele who went to see on at her local Ikea for me and crtitique it saving me a trip to Toronto from here, (they did not even have them on display yet I learned) I've got my splendid heart's desire STOVE for all my cooking and dyeing needs.

On another thrilling and related note I've changed my shopping pages on the website to an Etsy store
This way I can keep fresh and interesting stock on there and you will have more opportunity for my one of a kind style of operating. We will all be happy I think !
I 'm able to show case things you might not be aware I even make, so have fun looking around. There will be new items added frequently.

Tomorrow I declare a Play Day

Here are a collection of quotes I've gathered on the importance of play -

Perspectives on Play

In rare moments of deep play, we can lay aside our sense of self, shed time's continuum, ignore pain, and sit quietly in the absolute present, watching the world's ordinary miracles. No mind or heart hobbles. No analyzing or explaining. No questing for logic. No promises. No goals. No relationships. No worry. One is completely open to whatever drama may unfold.
— Diane Ackerman in Deep Play

To play is to listen to the imperative inner force that wants to take form and be acted out without reason. It is the joyful, spontaneous expression of one's self. The inner force materializes the feeling and perception without planning or effort. That is what play is.
— Michelle Cassou and Stewart Cubley in Life, Paint and Passion

It is a happy talent
to know how to play.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson quoted in Joy by Beverly Elaine Eanes

There is a mystic in every one of us, yearning to play again in the universe.
— Matthew Fox in Wrestling with the Prophets

The comic spirit masquerades in all things we say and do. We are each a clown and do not need to put on a white face.
— James Hillman

Laughter is a holy thing. It is as sacred as music and silence and solemnity, maybe more sacred. Laughter is like a prayer, like a bridge over which creatures tiptoe to meet each other. Laughter is like mercy; it heals. When you can laugh at yourself, you are free.
— Ted Loder

Play exists for its own sake. Play is for the moment; it is not hurried, even when the pace is fast and timing seems important. When we play, we also celebrate holy uselessness. Like the calf frolicking in the meadow, we need no pretense or excuses. Work is productive; play, in its disinterestedness and self-forgetting, can be fruitful.
— Margaret Guenther in Toward Holy Ground

When we play, we sense no limitations. In fact, when we are playing, we are usually unaware of ourselves. Self-observation goes out the window. We forget all those past lessons of life, forget our potential foolishness, forget ourselves. We immerse ourselves in the act of play. And we become free.
— Lenore Terr in Beyond Love and Work

Imaginative play is a key that opens the doors of intuition.
— Frances E. Vaughan in Awakening Intuition

It is interesting that Hindus, when they speak of the creation of the universe, do not call it the work of God, they call it the play of God, the Vishnu-lila, lila meaning "play." And they look upon the whole manifestation of all the universes as a play, as a sport, as a kind of dance — lila perhaps being somewhat related to our word lilt.
— Alan Watts in Zen and the Beat Way

Be patient also with life itself. those who love life are tolerant of its ups and downs, its reversals and leaps forward. Those who love life enjoy playing it by ear, engaging life without a printed score, simply flowing with its melody. By keeping our agendas flexible and minimizing our demands, life can be a melodic song. Whenever circumstances interrupt the normal rhythm of life, those who cultivate patience and inner freedom are able to improvise with a life situation like jazz musicians, making up music as they go along. The emphasis in playing it by ear is on playfulness. Those who use that gift of the Holy Spirit make their way gracefully through life.
— Edward Hays in The Great Escape Manual

A genuine sense of humor is having a light touch: not beating reality into the ground but appreciating reality with a light touch. The basis of Shambhala vision is rediscovering that perfect and real sense of humor, that light touch of appreciation.
— Chopgyam Trungpa in The Essential Chogyam Trungpa edited by Carolyn Rose Gimian

Try to laugh 25 times a day - minimum !

Nature Sites and Teacher Talk

I like nature quite a bit as you might have noticed and this is an amazing colour wheel

Several years ago in the old Welcome Mat Anne -Marie asked what people wanted from teachers in rug class as she began her teaching career.
Here is a letter I wrote to her and I'm surprised learn I still feel the same today.

Things I look for in rug class:
an interesting conceptual theme when signing up
an investigation of the teacher, what is their work like, my main thrust is ... do the student's work clone theirs ? If so this is not a good class for me.

An exceptional introductory letter- one that outlines class direction, asks me what I expect from class, provides several avenues for communication, tells me what the teacher expects and hopes for in class, maybe daily discussions, show and tell items on the topic, asks for a brief history of my hooking experience and self, when I work best ( am I a morning person, do I have health considerations ?)

During class I want:
• a daily class outline and a routine
• well researched and written material to reinforce and expand on what I'm taught
• to be taught something.... anything
• to have time to talk among ourselves sharing stories
• to see the teacher twice a day individually for 5 minutes
• to have a comprehensive direction for all parts of my rug when I go home
• to not have tension in the class
• to have the teacher work to the highest level rather than the lowest and to expect students are clever , clever widgets ( as they really are - amazingly so )
• to be respected as an adult student
• to have laughs and encouragement
• to have freedom to grow beyond teacher expectations
• PERMISSION to be all I can be

Things I don't need in class:
• to have the teacher hide their lack of knowledge - not being able to say , I don't know, let's find out.
• to be taught nothing
• to be regaled with stories of teacher's exploits only- no teaching really just having an experience of being in the person's presence so you can say , I had that teacher. The cult of the personality. Being treated like rock star groupies.
• to have restrictions on possibilities
• being told, you can't do that
• to remain unchallenged
• to be taught something in the same way everyone teaches it
• be ignored for whatever excuse ( there is no excuse for this )
• to hear complaints about other students

As a teacher here is what I wish for from students:
• talk to me about your desires for your project a lot, the more I know what you really want the better able I am to deliver it. I'm am the Fed Ex of info, put your order in.
• try not to talk when I'm talking too often
• open yourself up to other ways of doing things
• opening yourself up to the wealth that is your fellow hooker at the table
• let's give it a try attitude

Ways I can improve as a teacher:
• give people more time to noodle and talk
• create comprehensive visual aids that demonstrate what I want to show ( no more looking all over for them) create slideshows on computer to facilitate this on topics I revisit like colour.
• make more rugs to show what I mean
• create more fun ways to show examples of ideas, ie- if I'm doing a class about faces have the class see what kind of face they can draw with three lines to demonstrate how our brains fill in detail they know should be there thus illustrating you don't need to show it all in your rug.

Do you ever think about how you would like things in your dream hooking class ?

The Purse or should I call it THE PRISON

Yes my friends the purse is at a dreadful stand still, can you believe I'm letting a tiny thing like dyeing a piece of wool stop me from moving ahead ?
Now truthfully there is more to this story than I 'm telling you.
I'm not that fond of how it is turning out. In a fit of punny business I thought I would surmount my wool shortage with a new idea... add sticks to the stoneless area. Then I could call it sticks and stones. I have not tried this yet , but I do believe I will commence to build the remainder two or three stones I can squeeze out of my wool.
Then I shall decide what is next. As with everything there is a fear here I bet .... of not making something interesting.

It is my belief that creativity is just a series of choices we make. How free we are in our minds to consider possibilities and especially to make them welcome is how creative we will be.

So I think this is one of the times I best be hooking instead of just thinking about it. The universe will always reward movement.

I'll post a picture when the stones are accomplished tomorrow. Maybe prison bars would be a good addition to this bag.

Nature's Valentine

Today on a nature walk with my darling I saw a little Valentine present for us.
Always be on the look out for small miracles, they build together to make a momentous life.

I'm mostly a giant chicken shit of the body, the brain on the other hand is an adventurer of the highest order !
In a rare act of physical bravery today I walked far out onto the ice of a lake, never did that before !!

Here are some other inspiring sites I saw on that walk also.

What have you noticed this winter to inspire ?

Friday, February 6, 2009

F-it Day Success

Thea and I spent the whole day running around but I cleverly took along my moon rug and I got the wool sewn on the back in the car. I feel so glad to have this rug done. It has taken a whole load of Finish it Fridays to get it to this point too. I just have to press it and it is ready to ..... well, I wonder what to do with it?
This is the first time that has crossed my mind !
How many of us have rugs we roll up and store ?

Make sure you get some good hooking time in this week-end, it's looking like I can and I'd love for you to join me !
On Sunday I'm holding a Mother-Daughter hook-in, it should be great fun,I've got grade one to grade 3 girls coming as well as my own who are slightly older. I'll take some pictures !

Did you find any strong patterns ?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Strong Patterns Found

It was a bitterly cold walk going north along the shore of Colpoy's Bay, a there were terrorist dogs right behind my dear friend Patti and I ...... I could not stop to take a picture , threat of death by exposure or attack, or perhaps both !
I have to stop this story right now and say Thank GOD for Patti, with out her I would be a complete shut in !

As soon as we turned around we saw the dogs had disappeared and the biting wind was at our backs, and the sun shone down it's blessing, here are the photos we took of strong patterns, most instigated by Patti who turned out to be a pattern finder extraordinaire.

The Art of Critiquing

This isn't going to be published so I thought I would pop it on here as you've already read the previous installment.

The Art of Critique

In the previous issue of the newsletter I sent in a list of criteria to think about as we look at rugs, draw and buy patterns. I also sent in a photo of a rug I designed, with a snowman, remember ?
I want to revisit that rug, go find your last issue.. I’ll wait. Ok...

Take a good look at the rug. Read over the list of design elements and principles. Fasten your seat belts. I’m going to do something very few people are willing to do, I’m going to remove my rose coloured glasses, get rid of the personal feelings I have about this rug and my part in it and I am going to take a hard look at it and critique it. Before I start this I want to assure you anything I say about this rug is not to be interpreted as me bashing me. It is me trying to become better at what I do. If I can’t separate my thoughts from my hooking I will continue to hook the same thing in the same way over and over. For me life is too short for that. I want to learn each time I make something, for this to happen I need to change the way I look at things. When I take that action the things I look at change too. Here we go .

I have horizontal lines repeated in hat and ground.
I have curved lines in snowman and in ground
I have a wide range of values, light to black.
I used interesting colour, even unexpected, to portray each thing, with repeats varying in value.
The shapes are repeated, off center and varied.
I used pattern with coal, and snow dappling.
There is a sense of calm through using no element of movement.
Almost everything was on the cool side of the colour wheel.
There is great size and colour contrast, as well as dominance with the big snowman, tiny bird.
There is gradation and repetition in the size of the snowballs.

How much thought did I put into making this happen ?
Barely any because like you I already intrinsically know when something looks good. This will vary from person to person. For instance I’m never as happy looking at angles as I am looking at curves. This is only about my personal taste. I can and will react favourably to a great design no matter the subject because my eye loves beauty ( it is a built in human talent ). I sharpened this inherent aesthetic skill by vigourously critiquing my design results with the ideas presented here.

Could my rug be better ?
Of course.... I could have implied depth of field by placing things in the background, like trees or other snowmen. I might have provided a light source and shaded the snowman, had shadows. More colour could have been used. I could have implied movement or action, more of a story with a fallen piece of coal,or the bird might be landing or flying or the hat crumpled with a snowball smudge on it or berries on the arm branches, foot prints in the snow... but I’m learning..... yes, I’m learning.
Often we rely on others to help hone our skills. We are frequently told how beautiful our creations are. People will often tell me that’s not what they are looking for, they want to hear what could be done for better results.
It is a difficult task to find someone who you trust enough to lay bare your creations. It is also difficult to speak up and be the messenger, who knows what damage could be done to friendships or psyches ? It is important to recognise there the world of difference between criticism and critiquing. Criticism is about the person delivering it, about control. Critiquing is for you, it is a gift from the other person, it can be a surprising one even slightly painful but it is never debilitating as criticism frequently is. One is for growth, the other holding back. You can feel the difference. It’s good to find someone who is equally vulnerable, who is exposing their work as you expose yours, in the same way, with the same objective. Until then try to be as impartial with yourself as possible about what you are creating. Once we can accomplish this everything in our creative mind is possible.
Please use these ideas in any way you wish to further your rug hooking.

A Rug Report

You will be glad to know I sewed the piping on my Moon rug last night, I'm near fitting to bust to have this almost done.
Also my purse is going well but have now run out of fabric and will invent what I will do next. This is the exciting part. No wool is safe as I explore the shelves for likely candidates. Remember you can read and write about the act as much as you wish, but there is no substitute for doing it!

Wiarton Lines

After the morning glow as the sun rose I was taken by the strong presence of fine straight lines as I studied the photo.
This would make a good patch work rug.
If only there was time to do everything I think of.

Go out today and try to find a strong composition of lines to photograph.
I will do the same.

Patterns from Nature

Look what I saw at the beach last month.

Sand blows over snow catching in mini crests.

A little something we cooked up

On Friday inspired by a sample on a page of Nita Leland's book " The New Creative Artist" Christine and I dyed this as well as many other things.