Sunday, March 28, 2010

Woolgathering Challenge

This is a single value multi-coloured circle.

Here is the info people got yesterday:

Our Strips WandaWorks WG 2010

There is no doubt we have them, the question is what can we do with them?

My friend Marilyn Bottjer has so many she has hooked over 8 good sized rugs out of them to date,though she swears to me they are mating and raising young in her closet.

You can over dye them. You can use them for a hit and miss rug. You can replicate anything you want using them! FLOWERS BIRDS PEOPLE SCENES CREWEL ORIENTALS...


You have to learn to handle them... to sort them.

You can sort them according to colour families.... that can be useful for using up the odd strip here and there. If you want to really go for the gusto while using up your strips you might want to consider sorting them according to value.

Every colour has a value... values just don’t happen in swatches. The value of a colour is part of what makes it what it is, it is a graduated scale running from white to black.

Here is an easy way to sort the values of strips.

Take a handful of strips and place them before you, give them a close look. Can you see any darker ones? Pull them out and make a new pile. Are the lighter ones shining out at you? Make a new pile of those. The medium ones will be left.

It is possible to subdivide each value group, light, medium and dark,into a further two or three piles using this same theory of pulling out the lights and darks. For more excitement and accuracy in your work you might want to do this when you are working with more strips.

You might encounter a problem with brights,where should they go? They are darker than you think.... lay them on one of the piles to see if they disappear or get stronger, you want them to fit in or kinda disappear.

Think of sorting your laundry. Have your loads all the “same”, darks with darks, mediums with mediums and lights with lights.

You will see you probably have many colours together in your piles.

The most magical thing about hooking these colours together as though they were one is the splendid iridescence you can get, really it is the only way to get this effect, you cannot get a true “oil slick“ event in your work by dyeing wool that is iridescent.

The other amazing thing is the speed at which you can use up all manner of business. It won’t take long to whittle away your piles of strips when you can hook anything with them.

Sorting them will also help you dye them. Say you have three piles of various colours and you need them all to be dark blue. Make your formula, throw in the lightest ones first, wait a few minutes, then add the medium, and a few minutes later add the dark, they will end up all being close to each other’s value.

Here are two patterns, play with value, here today or by the next gathering, you can do your own pattern too, just remember you want a contrast of value! Lights separated by either darks or mediums or vice versa! Have fun! Wanda

Hookers need values

man's practising is creating greatly improved photos regardless the subject

WHEW ! I look tired and I am. But I'm happy.
Woolgathering was yesterday and it was a very busy but fun filled day. There were tons of rugs and tons of treats and great products to look at and buy. People came from all over and it was wonderful to have them there.
I gave a program on using up your left over strips by sorting them according to value. I talked about using them just as they are, and I talked about re-dyeing them.
You can make very exciting events happen either way.

I'm afraid I lost my audience part way through this unfortunate program. When I tell people actual colour doesn't really matter, the value of the colour is what's key, frankly, they don't believe me. And I think this is where it happened, the losing I mean.

Also when I show them a dyed value scale in black and white and a crazily random coloured one and I tell them they are the same value wise and will act the same when hooked... well they want to call the men with the little van and the pretty white coats for me.

You believe me right? I think I'll make a slide show to further shore up my case for next time.

By considering what you are creating using the idea of values as your base to "colour plan", Thinking about what you want to hold weight or become more emphatic in your artwork and making these areas bold in value either light or dark you will save yourself a boat load of effort and even heart ache.

Ever had a place in a rug where there was trouble and you replaced it time and time again with a different colour but the same thing happened? You are getting different colours but they are all the same value so you still have the same problem.

Ever had a rug where you outlined something because it didn't show up? You are doing this latter day of course when the rug is almost done... what a strange afterthought tradition this is.
You could have anticipated and corrected this by considering the values you were using from the outset saving the outlining that looks like a Cinderella among her spoiled step sisters, and before you think I'm being harsh, I've done it myself before I knew the secret of values.

On top of being aware of values we want to use in what areas, we also need to be aware we are comfortable as individuals at certain points on the value scale real estate. Though our rug might long for value #8 trees ( quite dark ) in a value #2 snowy landscape (quite light), our idea of light starts at value #4 and we might only go as dark as #7. These are our comfort zones. So having to create a tree that is very dark might give us the heebie jeebies. Or using snow that is so light... well that won't feel good either.

All of us sacrifice our work on our own altar of personal colour preferences.
We create deadened works when they could be alive with glow and depth.
I gave the Woolgatherer's a challenge.
I gave them a couple of simple geo patterns. And I said use your scraps, value sorted in three groups, light, medium and dark to hook the pattern with multicolured 1 value wool in each section and create contrast.

4 people out of 60 said they would accept the challenge. Would you accept the challenge too?

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Harbingers/Recipe for Bali water

Two things that are sure D signs of spring here:

Over 1/2 yd natural in a dye bath with majic carpet dyes:
1/16th tsp turquoise
1/32 bottle green
1 wet toothpick dipped in 1/4 inch of seal brown
I have a compulsion to dye this each spring!
The green was a gift from the the next batch which I laid beside it.
I wasn't adding acid until I was all done a colour rotation.
Then I popped all in the oven in an acidy dye bath
It made interesting effects.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Many Days Dyeing/ Dark Wandering Recipe

Dark Desire, a wandering
Here is the recipe:
Dark Desire
1/4 tsp Moss Green
1/4 tsp Brilliant
1/8th tsp Red Violet
2/32 Golden Brown ( Aljo) you can use equal amounts of orange and chocolate brown for close to effect.
1/4 tsp Blue

I'm spending my days dyeing. I only have to do this about 4 or 5 times a year and you know I kinda like that way. I like being single minded.
I like looking at the shelves and seeing what's missing. I like recreating something greater out of something lesser.
I like seeing all those newbies playing with the oldies on the shelves.
And they all look better for it.

NEWS FLASH- this week I'm recording most of my recipes. That's good news for you and for the Mat!
I ran through blues, greens, reds, oranges and browns today before I called it quits.

I was wondering if you knew that if you double the amount of dye in a recipe you only gain one value.

I think this is why we don't get the dark darks we need on our shelves because we never use enough dye.

Have you ever used a wandering recipe but changed your measure? Like use a toothpick instead of a /32?
Or used a 1/2 tsp.instead of a /32

Just wondering if you have played enough with getting lights and darks into your life, you need them.

"The first rule of focus is this: "Wherever you are, be there."

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Here is more of yesterday's dyeing. Many varieties of textures and plaid wool- one dye recipe. Instantly interesting.
I have to keep in mind if I'm dyeing yellow and I want it to appear yellow I need to use textures of light or medium value for instance and that orange will make blue turn gray and all other interactions of the complements.
I try to make sure I include a crazy in each one that creates something truly strange. And I make sure I throw in a small piece of natural to show people what the dye colour looked like alone. It never ceases to amaze!!!

And to really make your imagination run you can see them before they are dyed on the right hand side of the stove. Sorry T.

Happy hooking!
"It's a much more valuable kept together than it is in pieces."
Lee Smith
You might notice our lady of the fence sitting dye methods strikes again. It is easy to get darks and mediums with this method, not so easy getting lights. We gotta keep these things in mind as we dye, so when it is time to do our project we have what we need before we start hooking and get in a flap!

Simply Marbleous!

On Wednesday Laurel got me all ready to dye. This is no small gift.

You can see the marblizers ready with their partners rolled up in a box. Tony- sorry about stove porn. It just looks so dang handsome!

Yesterday Laurel wet wool for me, also a terrific gift!!

And here are the results of our marbleizing roughly sorted according to value. You will noticed there are no real light nor darks, marbleizing is the best way to create a grand group of middle values! Look out for an indistinct blur when you hook with them!
You know it is my secret dream to sort all my wool into value piles and not the colours ones I now use. I think it would crack open wide the things we imagine we should use and where we put them in our projects.

"Values provide perspective in the best of times and the worst."

Charles Garfield

Friday, March 19, 2010

Redyeing The Dyed

The Wet Befores

Oh I've been having fun these last few days.
Laurel and I went through my wool and culled out the little pieces and the ugly and put them aside for an upgrade.
Upgrading these wools is one of my favourite things to do.
This is what I love about this business- my stock never gets rotten, passe or even obsolete for lack of parts. It is infinitely and wonderfully transmutable.

The Dry Overdyed with Moss Green Afters

What really turns my crank is the amazing subtleties that transpire when I over dye something that is spot dyed or dyed using Karen Kahle's method - marbelising.
The magic for me lies in taking a big pot of something no one loved, adding an unexpected colour to it and getting a brand new "look".
Dior's got nothing on me.

Marching Along with Vogue Rug

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Not going to The Annual

Me and Donna G thinking over something ??? last year in Kitchener.
I'm sad to announce I won't be going to The OHCG Annual Rug Show this year. If you needed something you can still contact me and maybe even come to visit here in Wiarton. I'm having classes too this summer and fall.You can find the info by clicking the contact me link above and going to classes.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I gotta tablet

Results of tablet drawing.
Cherry Blossom try out for April's free pattern on The Welcome Mat ( I hope to have it perfected by then but not a bad start)
Here is my boney tree. If you want to do something with either of these please do.

I was able to fulfill I dream I had of getting a draw tablet.
You can see to the right I'm tweeting some of my drawings and also I'm trying to tweet dye recipes in 140 characters or less. That is kinda fun!
It will take some practising with the tablet but I'm already half addicted.
My user id there is wandakerr
The recipes look something like this
OLD RED 1yd wl mix txtrs. 1/2 t MC Red 1/4 t RBrown add 1/4 tsp C acid after almost all dye is up Rinse well in H water and synthrapol

Kin ya unnerstan it?

We are also working on podcasting with interviews over the phone here at the hub and frankly I feel like I'm operating well over my intelligence level! LOL
It's kinda exciting though.

On the Welcome Mat we are trying our hands at writing hooking poetry.
Cathy, you wrote a real sweet one!
Thank you.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Point - A Recipe- Getting The Blues

Getting The Blues
Using the Point Method over 1/2 yd of natural wool
6/32 tsp of Majic Carpet Blue dissolved in to the pan, add in wool.
Point in :
Blue violet
Bottle green
Moss green

You can see a video of the point method on The Welcome Mat
The first month is free!


While showing people to dye the last few years I began to hear the complaints of yellow that will never take up and clear the dye bath, and what to do?
At the time this wasn't happening to me and I didn't know what to say!

Well, it is happening now!!!
Yesterday I was making some co-ordin8s.
These are 8 1/8ths of differently colour or textured wool. I use one dye or recipe over all the wools.
I made a red, golden brown, a blue and a yellow one.

6 years later the yellow and the golden brown were not completely taken up.
And the day before I was doing another yellow, same thing.

Okay ... so I had done some research and saw there are dyes that require various levels of acidity to work. So I added more acid as I'm sure we are all inclined to do.
No help!
The water was salty from doing a wandering earlier. Was that the trouble? But the golden brown wasn't in salty water....
I added a lid.
Slightly improved....
It never did clear even close to completely.

I was up most of the night thinking about this..... WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?
I thought I might be in the twilight zone, maybe the victim of gas lighting....

And then I thought, I'm gonna dye yellow with no acid and see how it likes that!
So this morning here I sit typing to you AS THE YELLOW DYE IS ALMOST COMPLETELY ABSORBED WITHOUT ANY ACID. There is just the faintest hint of yellow in the water.

Now I'm going to add 1/64 of acid and think about this for awhile.
For further experiment I think I'll try seeing if making another co-ordin8 will work this way.
OHMYDYESPOON !!! I went to add acid and the water is clear!
Tell me what you know or think on the matter my friends, are you willing to try out your troublesome yellows and report in?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More Wandering Recipes for Tony!

Saucy Monet
Wandering method over 1/2 yd natural wool, Majic Carpet Dyes
2/32 tsp. Blue
1/32 tsp. Turquoise
1/32 tsp. Red Violet
2/32 tsp. Yellow

Shimmer on Steroids
Wandering method over 1/2 yd of natural wool
Majic Carpet Dyes
4/32 tsp. Bottle Green
3/32 tsp. Blue
1/32 tsp. Red - FLIP WOOL OVER
2/32 tsp. Yellow STIR

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


What are you doing while preparing to dye?

We are having dyeing days on Thursday at hook-in during the month of March.
Last week when a brand new dyer was preparing to dye for the first time we spent time going over what is necessary to prepare to dye.
I was amazed that old rumours still persist.

pre-washing your wool before dyeing - what for ?
Every time you process your wool, this includes washing and dyeing, you will loose acreage.
Synthrapol is both a soaking and a scouring agent, it will remove whatever sizing boogie men might be in the wool. Watch me wet my wool in the video below (this is what passes for excitement in Wiarton!)
Don't wash your wool before you dye it unless it is recycled. You are losing expensive, expensive real estate each time. Be a good conservator of energy, washing and drying wool that doesn't need it at all is both shortsighted and wasteful on all fronts.

soaking wool for more than a few minutes, like overnight
If you are using a good wetting agent like synthrapol you can dye without soaking wool at all by adding the wetting agent to the dye pot and throwing in the wool. I do this as a last resort. Using hot water from the tap to soak the wool in makes it even work quickly and efficiently.

shocking wool
Relax. The wool flannel we use to hook with is not susceptible to any harm by changing its temperature quickly. If it includes fibers such as angora, alpaca, or cashmere some mild caution is required.

cleaning dye spoons with salt
cleaning aluminum spoon with salt is not only ineffective, it is corrosive. Try sprinking salt on foil and wait to see what happens if you don't believe me.

Now I say all that to say this... just because someone says so is no reason to do anything.
If you have a practice, say of washing your wool.. you need to say to yourself, does this practise have validity? Am I just doing because someone said so? Does their reasoning include a sound basis? If not I suggest you do what you feel comfortable with. When people are hired to tell people things they often run out of sound bytes. Pun intended.
Beware the expert, they will have dozens of reasons about the ways things should be done.
I prefer to reflect on what could be done.

The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-distrust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him. He will have no disciple. ~Amos Bronson Alcott

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary. ~Thomas Carruthers

Monday, March 8, 2010

The POINT - A Recipe for Howard Hues

Howard Hues (because it is so damn rich!)
Majic carpet dyes over 1/2 yd natural, using the Point method. See videos in The Welcome Mat for instructions.If you need an invitation contact me
1/4 tsp red
bottle green
blue violet
red violet on top of red spots
more bottle green

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Going For Gold Becomes Shibori

During the Olympics I challenged the members of the Welcome Mat to go for gold and dye up great yellows or golds without a recipe. I gave them lots of hints and and made a couple of videos with pro chem and majic carpet dyes.

I had a few samples left from those videos I wanted to make into treasures. I shiboried them via spot dye with blue and red violet on one side of the bricks and seal brown on the other.
The top one was over a gold, the bottom one over yellow.
You might ask what could these be used for... last evening I saw the sun through trees and watched the branches disappear and reappear from the brilliance... I wonder if this wool would do some of that soft edge work...

If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull.
WC Fields

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thursday Hook-in Report

Barbie brought things she is ready to finish!Barbie's Rendition of Girl Tawk
Shirley brought us this rug to admire
Joanne is hooking her bullrushes, her second piece, she is doing great!
Linda's beautiful project of radiating shapes is very pleasing to me.
Marie works on her Angels in the Garden rug, she dyed her own sky yesterday for this rug, first time dyer!

Shirley starts her orientalBarbie works on the Bartlett Balls

Helen works on Girl Tawk , the Welcome Mat March Free Pattern

Lorraine is getting to the end of her fruitful chair pads
Erin continues to build her tree magnifique
I hope you hook happy today!
"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." ~Albert Schweitzer

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Just a pile

I love the way the colours in the picture are relating and you know they weren't all that attractive until I added the yellow green on top. It gives the verve this array needed and is pleasing to the eye.

Here is a pile of stuff just waiting to become something, it's potential reminds me of human beings.
On the surface , looks a little messy, coming slant ways at you, all tossed up or as rigid as the chair or bookcase.
Look in the far right corner, see Birdee's cashmere bed?

Yah, that's the soft place I want to land when I'm trying out my new wings.
Couldn't we give everyone the same soft place we desire as we intersect with them?
And don't forget to give 'em VERVE! It is just as important!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Point - another way to dye / Bark Wander

Here are the results of a fun way to dye.
You can do it on the stove top or in the electric skillet. This recipe is called India.
I love dyeing this way and have made a video of how to do it and put it on The Mat.
It is quick simple and as you can see... beautiful.
It involved putting dye in a dye bath, laying the wool onto top and then adding dry dye to areas that are poking up. The dry dye dissolves and travels around a small area and creates wonderful colour play.

I've used new wandering recipe colours to create these with stunning results especially if you like using unexpected colour.
For wandering method using MC dyes:
2/23 Black
1/32 Seal Brown
1/32 Blue
1/32 Reddish Brown
1/32 Turquoise
1/32 Yellow

When using the Point method more dye is applied, about 50%
The Point Method on the left, Wandering on the right,
See what I mean?

Wandering Recipes for Tony!

Ask and ye shall receive!
Well, if you are Tony it will work.
Over 1/2 yd wool in the wandering style:

Sea Tossed ( It's a wee quiet one!)
2/32 tsp. MC Bottle Green
1/32 tsp. MC Moss Green
1/32 tsp. MC Orange
1/32 tsp. Chocolate Brown

Vampire Witch Black
This is a deep,warm rich black that looks good enough to eat.
1 tsp. MC Red
1 tsp. MC Bottle Green
1/2 tsp. MC Yellow

The wee fuzzies are from me drying it with lighter wool, will I never learn?

2/32 tsp. MC Bottle Green
1/32 tsp. MC Moss Green
1/32 tsp. MC Blue Violet
1/32 tsp. MC Orange
I frequently make this colour without meaning to. WHY???

Making more as we speak, oh take a look at this ugly!!!
It won't be named and wrote up until I retrieve it intro some semblance of usefulness, it's a piece only a Birdee could love!

BROWN will save the day or perhaps yellow.
It contained to this point:
3/32 Orange
2/32 Turquoise
2/32 Red Violet
1/32 Moss Green

I can't wait to see how it turns out and here it is:

I added 2/32 seal brown to the wander pot and threw in the wool.

You are NEVER stuck if you can dye

Some wonderful person gave me 5 skeins of Fleece Artist's River wool and the marvy basket it is in. Thank you Denise!!!
I looked at it for several months and though it had a wonderful hand I didn't like the way the colours played together. I don't know what rotation it is called but there was a very, very bright blue, a brown, a purple, a green and a gold. The purple didn't take too well and was whitish in spots though consistent through all five skiens. The blue was harsh by comparison and the gold was weak.

It reminded me of making spot dyes, sometimes things just don't play well and they need amended.

I took the river by the hank and over dyed it. I didn't change things much.
I spotted the blue with black and seal brown to dull it.
I added even more purple.
I used turquoise to get rid of strange areas of non transitions and added chocoalte brown here and there for sport and I'm much happier now.
I'll be even more happier than you can believe it once I start knitting my shawl sweater !