Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dying to dye

With the crisp fall air I am encouraged to work on projects and dye wool that I have obtained during the summer. I am usually kind enough to wait until the hubby is off hunting so he doesn't have to smell that lovely aroma of wet sheep and vinegar...and try for a day when I can open the windows. Today was my day. I have finished planning out my rug for the upcoming Vermont Rug Hooking Guild show in two weeks. I will be taking a class with Jule Marie Smith, and I hope to learn a lot. Her rugs inspire me, not only the wonderful borders but the colors. We had to design a rug, which has been a huge challenge for me. The theme of the class is "Once Upon a Time" so the rug had to tell about something or someone. It should be a fun class. I realized that I have a nice collection of dye books, and just aquired a new one. It is by Cathy Meyer..."A Rustic Pallette". I wanted a dark reddish brown background so I though I would give one of her recipes a try. They use Cushings dye, which is what I have on hand.
I should probably start out with some sort of disclaimer saying that when it comes to dying wool, I don't really know what I am doing. I just play. I know the basics, but I dye wool the way I cook...a pinch of this and a dash of that. Somehow it always works out, and if not I can always dye over it again, right? I start out with recipes but almost always end up changing them. I seldom have an exact color in mind, and always do "one pot dying" with multiple textures and colors all in the same dye pot. This summer I scored bolts of fabric at a yard sale, and pulled out our smoker, took the top off and used a big garden tub to dye yards of wool at a time outside. I used purchased dye, but also tried some dried plants from the fields and got some great soft colors. It was great fun! This time I was inside due to the cold, and was dying smaller amounts. I am using some of the bolt wool from the summer, as well as some tan plaids and a bit of white. I figured out the selvedge of the wool and tore the wool into pieces that would fit into my pot well. This is the selvedge edge in the next picture. The following picture shows the torn edge. I still never know if I am tearing the wool properly but I always snip the selvedge edge (either 18" or 9")and tear down. Then I tear that piece in half which results in pieces about 18" by 30".
I used Kathy's recipe and was quite pleased with the results. I then dyed some greens, and then one of Kathy's colors called "Aged barn wood". It's a great color. Here are some pictures of the greens with the background red, although several of the pictures show the greens much brighter than they actually are. The red is Kathy's "dark red cool". Some of the "Aged barn wood" is to the right of the red.I dyed the greens over gray, white and pale yellow in two strong and one weak. The pale yellow with the old barn wood recipe came out the darkest (surprise...darker than tan!) and has a wonderful primitive look.After that I did two more batches of colors. I did some rose colors using straight "wood rose" dye from Cushings over a variety of wool. Then I did some blues and came out with a good sampling to choose from. Jule Marie had told us to bring wool that had a wide variety of shades that we liked and she would show us how to shade and blend colors to bring the viewer's eye from one area of the rug to another. Next weekend I'll do some golden browns and pale soft yellows. I already have some lavenders and other colors that I will go through and make my final color selections just before the class. I will bring twice as much wool as I need...but there's nothing wrong with that. I also have to cut and zig zag edge of my linen, and transfer the paper pattern that I drew onto the linen. Something else I have very little experience with! I think I'll buy some of that red dot tracer paper that ruggers speak of. I've never tried it, but it might make the pattern transfer a lot easier! Thanks for sharing my relaxing dye day with me!


WoolenSails said...

What a beautiful palette of colors. If they are going in your new rug, it is going to be gorgeous with those colors. I am envious;)


Rag-a-Muffin Collectibles said...

oh gosh Miz! You make me want to take out the dye pot! The fall air sure helps with the motivation. I must, I must, I must! Another item I'm putting off until a rainy day...should be soon!


BeFRuiTFuL said...

Ohhh my can I come play to!!!! Just look at that wonderful wool. I will be bringing out the supplies to dye when we get to Quartzsite for our winter home location. I to will be doing some red for a Santa cloak. I need to do some transtion swatches which I have never done. Thanks for sharing your dye day with us.


JoJo said...

Lauri, you're braver than I am. Although I claim that I have no desire to dye, reading your post piqued my interest. If only someone would follow behind me and clean up the kitchen! Your colors are lovely and I hope you have a great time in your class with Jule.

craftingaplenty said...

Hi, I wish I had the energy you do. I love the colors you came up with.Thanks for all the help for my blog. No It didn't go to my e-mail.Thanks again twgless

Sheri said...

Beautiful dying!! I think I'll get out the pots tomorrow and I don't even need any new colors. I bought some pale gray at Joann's Saturday at 50% off. I just got Cathy Meyers book too and have only used a few formulas but I thought they turned out great!

Jacque said...

Hey Lauri...great job with your dyeing! Lovely colors...can't wait to see how you use them. Your class with Jule Marie will be a great learning experience!

Trudy said...


Love the colors, they are scrumptious! Looked like a perfect day for dying. I have a pot full of walnuts soaking on my porch, I just go out and still it around every few days!

Cant wait to see what you 'hook' up with this wool:)

Wooly hugs,