Friday, June 28, 2013

Dyeing with Onion Skins

Onion Skin Dye
I've been saving (so has my family) the skins of yellow onions to use for dyeing wool fabric.  The first step was to place the skins in a pot, cover with water, and simmer the skins for 1 hour.  The "soup" sat unheated for about 5 hours, only because I ran off to do other things. 
At the same time, I soaked the wool (12.8 ounces) in water with a little Dawn dishwasher soap and alum (the mordant).  I used 6 teaspoons of alum (this is what I had in the cupboard). The recipes I've read for dyeing with onion skins are varied. Some say you do not need a mordant, some use alum (amounts vary), some recipes say to use alum and cream of tartar, some use an aluminum pot to dye in and no mordant, some recommend white vinegar as your mordant, and some recipes say to use uniodized salt. So, my theory is, if you want to try it now, use what you've got and keep good records.
When I returned to the experiment, I drained the skins from the water with a colander and placed the liquid (now the color of very dark tea) in my dye pot.  I added the mordanted wool (1/2 Dorr white and 1/2 Dorr natural), heated the mix, and simmered the wool for 30 minutes.  I frequently moved the wool about to be sure the color would be more even. I left the wool to cool for 1 1/2 hours and rinsed it by hand.  It was then placed in the washer to rinse and spin, and then into the drier.  I have a front load washer, so I'm not too worried about felting the wool. Here's the result:
The natural wool is at the top, and the white wool is on the bottom of the photo. 
The colors (hard to make accurate in the uploaded photo)  are between orange-yellow and golden yellow on the Ives color scale. save skins again and try a different formula!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ice Dyeing

Ice in Dye Pot

I was reading about using ice when dyeing on several sites on the Internet, and I wanted to try it.  I soaked my wool in a little Dawn and some white vinegar (this soaked overnight - only because I couldn't get back to the project).  I didn't have a rack to use in my pan (as recommended on some sites), so I used Heavy Duty Reynold's Aluminum Foil, scrunching it up to raise the wool off the bottom. I placed the wool in the pan (1/2 yard, randomly crumpled), covered it generously with ice cubes, and added the dry dye. As you can see in the above photo, I liberally sprinkled dye (ProChem Key Lime, Grape Juice, Purple, and Seabreeze) on the top of the ice.  I let the ice melt which took most of the day.  I then covered the pan with aluminum foil and placed it in the oven for 30 minutes at 300 degrees. After the oven, I rinsed the wool by hand, placed it in the washer for a good rinse, and tossed it in the dryer. And here's the result:
The wool design reminds me of a garden.  It might be a good background for some flowers?  or maybe a flowered field?  The results were a surprise as I had no idea when I started what I'd get.  I'll try this again. I'd like to get or make a rack to hold the wool up higher in the pan, and I'll try some different color combinations. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Rose Progress

The One Rose
Here's progress to date on my first rose.  I decided to hook it in Maryanne Lincoln's Basic Red, cut in a #3.  I've dyed the green for the leaves, but I haven't decided on a background as yet. The beautiful weather and the outdoors seem to be encroaching on my time to hook.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Color Conundrum ...again

Color Tool 3-in-1
by Joen Wolfrom

Reading Ms. Wolfrom's books inspired me to purchase her Color Tool.  There are 24 color cards based on the Ives color wheel, each showing the pure color, tints, shades, and tones (on the front of the card and expanded on the back).  The front of each card shows the monochromatic, complementary, analogous, split-complementary, and triadic color plans. The cards include simple directions on the use of the tool and a picture of the Ives color wheel. The last two cards are a red and a green value finder. 

Joen Wolfrom stresses the importance of value contrast to design, even a monochromatic one (using the tints, shades and tones of one hue). You can see the values when I place the red value finder over this hooked piece.

In the hooked leaves I've used a red-violet vein that disappears under the red card.  The colors are different but the values of the green and red violet are the same.  The colors disappear under the red card, only the values are seen.  It is easy to see the contrasting value of the leaves against the background. 

Using this tool, I ordered some new dye colors today for future experiment using a split-complementary color plan with (what else?) chartreuse.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Beach Ladies

Beach Ladies
This is the fourth and final design in the ATHA year end challenge. This pattern was the most playful.  Carol and Deb transformed their hooked mat into pillows.  Carol (top pillow) added ribbon  bows to the sun hats.

Jane's hooked mat is at the top.  Peggy's choice was to use the design on a coaster.

Teomi used raffia to hook the ladies' hats on her mat (top). Raffia is a perfect fiber to use for a straw hat. She has just a bit to finish.  Judy D. is trying out a variety of fibers that she will use to complete her mat. In addition to raffia on the hats, she's using stockings to hook their tanned skin, terry cloth strips to hook the blanket, fabric strips for the suits, and plastic bag strips for the sea.  
The year end challenge was a way to highlight the creativity of members of our group, and everyone's piece reflects their individuality.  I always learn something from the work of others. I appreciate all those who chose to participate. I'm looking forward to taking part in more group challenges. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Color Conundrum 2

Color Play by Joen Wolfrom

Here's more on color characteristics.  This book, Color Play, is also written for quilters, but the message can be used with any fiber.
Joen Wolfrom explains pure color, tints (color with white), shades (color with black), and tones (color with gray). She defines intensity, value, color temperature, and monochromatic color schemes. 
When she begins explaining complimentary color schemes, there is a twist.  I learned that the primary colors are red, yellow, and blue.  The complimentary colors are opposites on the color wheel - red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple. Other color relationships are based on where these colors are placed on the wheel. This is the artist's pigment wheel.

However, Joen Wolfrom uses the Ives color wheel in her book. This color wheel is used in dyeing fabric, printing, and photography.

In the Ives wheel, the primary colors are magenta, yellow, and turquoise. The complimentary color pairs are red and aqua green,  blue and orange-yellow, and yellow and violet. ( I must admit, I like the red-aqua green complimentary pair better than the red-green combination). She understands that many quilters have not had any formal color training, so she suggests that they start with colors that interest them and experiment from there. Maybe I'll be trying some chartreuse-red-violet designs!

She shows many design examples and sample quilts. An entire chapter is devoted to each color family (yellow, green, blue, violet, red, and orange) and the color schemes for that family. (She has 3 pages in the yellow chapter on chartreuse and it's color combination options!) She ends her book with a chapter on quilt illusions that can be created through "color play" - depth, luminosity, luster, shadows, highlights, and transparency .

This is a good reference book for exciting color combinations. 

Jacobean Flowers

Jacobean Flowers

This is the third of four designs used for the ATHA end of year challenge.  The top piece is a needle punch by Linda.  She usually has a red in her designs so this blue piece was a departure for her.  Judy's piece is on the bottom, and she is hooking her mat in more primitive colors.  I haven't hooked this design yet. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tree Design


Tree Design, 2013
Wool Strips on backing
This tree design was one of four project designs our chapter members chose to hook. Leita's is at the top and was hooked as a name tag with a pin on the back. She did one of the two trees in the design. Mary's tree mat is in the center and is 10" x 10".  She's completing the design as a spring scene. (The clouds are a great addition.) My mat, on the bottom, is 10" x 10" and has a fall palette of colors.  I reversed the original design when I put it on my linen base. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mola Mat

Mola Mat, 2013
Wool strips on backing, 10" x 10"

Our ATHA (Association of Traditional Hooking Artists) chapter chooses a project during the year to complete and share at our last meeting in June (We don't hold meetings July-August). I was fortunate to have the opportunity to create the designs that we would use.  Members could choose any one of four designs and complete it in any fiber. This Mola was one of the designs I created for member use.  
The mat on the top was hooked by Joellen, and mine is on the bottom.  We both hooked our pieces in wool strips, and, as you can see, our color palettes are very different. As I drew the original design, I had a vague idea of how I would finish the piece, but it was exciting and rewarding to see how other artists interpreted the design. I love Joellen's mat, especially her color choice.
I will continue to post the other designs and projects. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Color Conundrum

Color is such a motivator.  Many times the colors in a scene or a picture motivate my creative juices. Some people seem to have an innate ability to combine colors to create a pleasing composition, but many struggle with their selections.  I love color theory, with it's split-complementary, triadic, and other such color combinations, but I've found an uncomplicated approach to color choice. Visual Coloring by Joen Wolfrom is written for quilters, but it's simplified method of color choice could be applied to any fiber arts (including rug hooking).

Her method includes first finding what colors you prefer. (I love chartreuse, violet, blue, orange....) You then select a picture or pictures whose colors inspire you.  You match your fabric (or fiber) to the colors in the image. She suggests you even take your image with you to the store to help you with your fabric choice.
For example:                                                                    

Here she chose the hydrangea photo, pulled the fabric in those colors, and the quilt was created.
The above was just one of the examples shown in her book and her information is more detailed. It was well worth reading.

 (Visual Coloring, A Foolproof Approach to Color-Rich Quilts, Joen Wolfrom, C7T Publishing, Inc., 2007, pages 26 & 27)