Saturday, April 22, 2017

Color Removal

Using Ammonia

Pearl McGown published a written piece in 1946 (Dye Dabbler # 19) that explained experiments that were tried to change the color of wool.   She wrote that hookers might not realize the variety of colors that they had at hand because they used their wool "as is".  Pearl tried 4 different experiments, some successful, some not. 
I was interested in her use of household ammonia to draw the dye out of the wool.  In the experiment, Ms. McGown used one teaspoon of ammonia to a quart of water and boiled the wool for 20 to 30 minutes.  She stated that the ammonia did not harm the fibers of the wool and it could then be used for hooking.
Many hookers use recycled wool (I do), and if you don't over-dye the pieces you reclaim, your color choices are limited.  Often times those colors may be drab or too intense for your pattern or purpose. 
Using her formula, I tried her experiment. I simmered the wool for 20 minutes, but I found if I poured out the first bath and again simmered the wool in ammonia water, I got a greater color change. The wool was about 6" x 24".  The pieces were then washed in the machine and dried.

Starting on the left:  The deep green became a blue green (it's a softer color than appears in the photo).  Of all the wools tried, the green released the most dye into the water.  I should have had other wool presoaked so that I could have taken advantage of the remaining green dye water.  (I may try that to see what happens.)  The two bright yellows softened to tans. The blues and magenta colors softened, but these last two wools changed the least.
Pearl McGown said that you cannot predict what color you will finally have..."there is no guarantee that the colors of all materials are 'built up' in the same way."  I've read that some colored fabric is produced when multiple dyes are used and all the dyes may not react to the ammonia.  So... you could have two wools of the same color, heat them in the ammonia solution, and get two different final colors. Surprise!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Lion Progress 2

Lion, 38" x 47"
Pattern by Edythe O'Neill
Adapted and Hooked by Karen

I've completed the mane and the end of the tail.  If changes are necessary, I'm not making them now.  I'll wait until I've hooked more or all of the rug.

When I change the photo to black and white, there is movement in the mane due to the varied values.  Think this will work.

Sunday, April 2, 2017


The Mane
Choosing colors from the stash is limiting, but I'm determined to use what I have as I hook Edyth O'Neill's pattern.  I chose ten colors to use in the lion's mane that are different, moving from dark to light.

However, when I change the photo of the colors to black and white, you can see there are really only four values.  The value of a color is its degree of lightness or darkness. When these ten colors are hooked into the rug and you step back to view the mane, you will only see differences between the four values.  The colors that are of the same value will blend together from a distance.  I need to remember this as I hook.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Lion Progress

Lion by Edyth O'Neill
38" x 47"
This is my redraw of the lion's head for the Lion pattern by Edyth O'Neill (2/20/17).  I'm using a six cut for the face, but I used a 4 cut to hook the eyes.  I started the face by hooking the eyes. Elizabeth Black says "the eyes are the 'soul' of the animal and to give them life they must each have a highlight." (Hooked on the Wild Side, p. 16) The eyes are 3 tones of gold, a dark (not black) pupil and outline, and a white highlight. The darkest gold is at the top of the iris to show the shadow from the eyelid.  The 3 golds are easier to see in the drawing below than in the hooking.  The wools I have used to this point have come from "the stash".

Here's the color plan I did with Prismacolor colored pencils on my pattern for the lion's face. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017


The Rockefeller Rug, 2017
Original Pattern
Wool strips on rug warp, 26.5 " x 46.5"

The hooking, quillies, and shirring are done.  This rug was inspired by the Rockefeller Quilt (New Project 10/21/16).  I've enjoyed the bright colors, the animal motifs, and working in an eight cut.  
Now on to The Lion......

Saturday, March 18, 2017


The April/May 2017 edition of ATHA magazine has an article, "Fresh Rug Designs Using Apps", by Sharon Smith. (pages 8 - 10) She uses the filters in a free downloadable app called "Dreamscope" to alter her photos and drawings.   This photo editor lets you "turn your pictures into paintings".  Sharon turns her edited images into new rug hooking patterns.  The article is worth reading as she gets some interesting and beautiful results.
Here's an example using the app with a photo I took on Cape Cod.  Big improvement....

I think this would make a great painting or rug. 

The photo editor is a pleasure to use and has a lot of potential as a design tool.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

First Casserole

Casserole Dyed Wool

 After watching Sandra Brown casserole dye some beautiful wool in her video, I wanted to give it a try.  The wool I used was intention is to use these in an applique treatment.  The colors are somewhat warmer than they appear in the photos.

The red wool is for flower petals.  I started with pieces of creamy white wool soaked in warm water and Dawn detergent.  After placing one piece of the soaked wool flat in the dyeing pan, I used a spoon to spread the dye.  I dyed about half of the piece and down both sides with Cardinal by Cushing.  I then dyed across the top with Cushing's Blue.  I layered the next piece on top of the first and repeated the dyeing process.  After layering six pieces of wool, I added white vinegar around the edges of the pan (not on the wool), finished processing, and washed and dried the wool. I liked the results, but expected the bottom layers to be much different....much darker.

The six pieces of green are intended for leaves, and I started with a dull gold wool.  These pieces were dyed in the same manner, but I had more difficulty getting a color I liked.  I dyed across the top and down the sides with Cushing Blue, thinking I'd get a blue green.  The result was much too blue.  I took the pieces out of the dye pan and redyed them with Dark Green.....still too blue.  The final dyeing was done with Cushing Bronze Green and I was satisfied with that....they are a more yellow green than they appear.

To help with color, I've just ordered Pearl McGown's book Color in Hooked Rugs (It's Pearl's 1954 explanation of color theory).  A friend showed me her copy and offered to loan it, but after reading a bit I decided this was one of those books that I need to make pencil notes in the margin. On the dust jacket it says, "Here is a book, based on a Correspondence Course on Color, conducted by Pearl K. McGown, that has been long awaited by hook-craftsmen all over the world. It will be of equal interest to anyone who is dealing with color in any phase....Mrs. McGown explains the law and order of color, in accordance with the Munsell system.... Color is very important in this craft....The rugs which are made today will become heirlooms for our children's children. They should, therefore, show progress in color...." I'll let you know what I learn.