Dyeing in the heat

I'm running out of wool.  So what have I been doing.  Been out back in the 90 degree heat dyeing wool.  I'm trying to get ready for the Kirby Midsummer Hook In on June 25th where I will be vending.  So I have some work to do!

Here is one of the pretty neutrals I dyed today: Hubbard Fig 119.  The 8-value packs are on the top and the dapple fat quarter is on the bottom.

New "Shop for Wool" organization

I decided that the one-page organization of my Palette Pack wools was a bit unwieldly.  So I reorganized them into smaller pages based on color.  Take a look.  Pull down the Shop for Wool menu button in the red bar below the Red Jack Rugs banner and see all the color categories.  Select one of them and there should be about four wools on the page.  If you click the slide of any of the colors, a big light box will open up and show a nice enlargement of the slide.  Hope this makes it easier to find and select the color of wools you might be looking for.

Pretty cool greens

It is warming up here in Houston.  This has been a lovely winter and spring...very long and lingering.  The azaleas are just blooming, and the bluebonnets are peeking out.  We went on our annual family excursion in the bluebonnet meadows last weekend.  And we visited the sea down on the island of Galveston.




The colors of green are so vivid here, in the fields, in the foliage, in the sea. 

I'm posting a picture of a clutch of Caspian Green 108 that I dyed recently since it reminds me of ocean waves: a bunch of 8-values and textures.  Wouldn't they be great to hook into elements in any of these pictures?  The sea line, the porch boards, the old wood.


It's all about textures

When I use textures, I use different textures in the same area I am hooking.  This gives much more interesting results than working with a single wool texture. 

So when I dye and package textures, I do so in little collections or texture packs.  Each pack has four different wools overdyed with the same color dye (1/4 yd total).  When hooked together, they give such character and varigation to my rugs.  I have a photo here of some textures I just overdyed with McIntosh Million 101.

Finally did it!

A long promise overdue.  I finished the slides for the Red Jack Palette Wools and uploaded them to this website.  So they are now available for purchase.  You can access the slides under "Shop for" button in the top menu bar.  Just pull down and click "Shop for Palette Packs".  There is also a button in the left sidebar to click if that makes it easier to find.  

Keep in mind that at this point I am custom dyeing each order.  So please allow for up to two weeks for delivery.

There are 67 colors available in 8-values each, plus black.  That is 537 choices!  There are several different types of packs available (8-Value; Medium Value; Single Value; Primitive; Country; Dapple; Texture).  Click HERE for more information.

Dapple dye art?

I have to admit that these dapple dyes I've been creating are so beautiful that I have a terrible time tearing them up and then stripping them for use in rugs. It seems to me that they are pieces of art themselves. The question is, how to show them off as such. Any ideas? Check out these two pieces that came out of my dye pot this morning (Jack Horner Plum 111).

Boxes and boxes of wool

What have I been up to lately? Organizing the palette wool now that I have dyed all 69 colors in 8-gradations each. It was a chore figuring out how to organize and store the wool. Since my numbering system is arbitrary in terms of color, I found that I couldn't organize according to the dye numbers. I also found that changing dye numbers mid-stream is a bad idea. I tried it on a couple of dyes and ended up with jars of liquid dye in my cupboard that got mixed up and mislabeled because of it. I only found out after I dyed up material and lo and behold the wrong color emerged.

So I spent several hours viewing the wool and putting it into baskets that made sense in terms of color. Then I made little plastic signs and attached them to each basket so I know what is supposed to be in each basket.

I'm almost finished with Got Wool?, and will post a picture soon. Also been working on some surprises for the Kirby Midsummer Hook In on June 26th.

Five more wools

From right to left: Nightshade Berry 160; Tanglewood 148; Fiddlehead 164; Ring 'O Rosie 161; Briar Rose 159. Phew!

I'm coming down the home track with my colors - only 7 more to go. It looks like when I make all the mixtures on the color wheel, I will end up with 68 colors in 8 values each, making 544 color options! There are vibrant colors, subdued colors, primitive colors, country colors, modern colors, all the result of various combinations of my three main dye formulas. I am so excited that this experiment is working out so well. And that it is a simple process no more difficult than mixing paints on a palette.

In the meantime I have discovered that the colors are falling into twelve color families, which will take the guessing out color planning for my rugs! I can't wait to continue hooking my palette rugs - the Kirby Hooking Circle's Celestial Challenge will be my next.

Camera battery is recharging

I've been taking so many pictures of my woolens lately, that my camera battery died this afternoon just as I was going to take a picture of the two latest wools I dyed. So tomorrow I'll post them and the two I worked on creating today. So check back tomorrow if you want to see pictures.

Also, I got tired of hand sewing my labels on. So I bought this niffy label gun that shoots plastic t-pins through the layers. It creates very secure labels, and is quite a bit quicker than hand sewing, except when it doesn't work and shoots big holes in my labels!

Dyeing on Mother's Day?!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!

We are enjoying our AC. Good to have it back and better. We are thrilled that we have gone GREEN. Our AC, thanks to President Obama, will get us a $1500 tax credit this year because it is a 16 SEER energy efficient unit that doesn't use freon. So we aren't hurting the ozone anymore, and since our old unit was only a 10 SEER and thirty years old, we are going to be using about 1/2 the power to run heat and air. For those of you in the north (and I used to be one of you), AC in Houston is like heat in Michigan or Ontario. I always thought of AC as a not-so-necessary luxury because I never lived in a hot climate before until moving to Houston. Now I know different. A week without air in May is barely bearable. In July and August, well, heat exhaustion and heat stroke would be a serious threat.

My garage dye kitchen is working well. Four more colors produced this weekend: Spanish Moss 140; Mackinaw Lilac (MY FAVORITE SO FAR) 133; Pink Iris 134; and Rosehip (named by Alexander) 145.

I have also been working on creating Kinship Color Palette Collections, to take the guess work out of color planning for rugs. I'm having SO much fun.

I want to also mention that my sister Tiffany is on this same adventure with me. She is dyeing her entire palette too. It is great to compare notes daily, to see how our different primaries are effecting the color mixing process.

All of this I am working into a book called The Wool Palette which I hope to have available in hard cover and paperback by midsummer.

Black and black

It really is true that not all blacks are the same. Artists who paint usually don't buy black tubes of paint because the black in the tube was created by mixing a bunch of colors together, colors that the artist may not have on her palette already. So artists create their own black by mixing their own colors on their palette together until a beautiful black emerges.

Rug hookers face a real dilemma when it comes to black. Last year when I was hooking the black background around Saint Nicholas, it looked awful. It was the wrong black. I resolved the problem by taking the black wool and overdyeing it with the dyes I had used on the wool for the rest of the santa. It worked! When I hooked it in, it was perfect.

Our eyes are that keen. The color of black matters. So now all my black wool is hand processed with the same dyes I use in creating my palette wools. The picture shows it all. The bottom is the black wool I started with. The top is the rich antique black that came out of my dye pot!

3 new colors

Sorry I haven't been posting much the last few days. But I have been dealing with a broken air conditioner and the knowledge that the whole heating and cooling system in our home needs to be replaced. So I have been spending time getting estimates and settled on Sears after having a home consultant come out yesterday. I have been dyeing in between estimates, since the mornings have been especially nice here in Houston. I have flung open my doors and let in the cool morning air while my dye pots have been simmering on the stove. I have three more colors to post today, and two more in the pot. I don't know if I will dye more today or tomorrow because I have to finish my final grading by Friday. At the moment, I have 41 of my 54 kinship palette colors created.

Pictured here (bottom to top): Fruited Raisin 151 (blue-green and purple-red), Conch Shell 142 (yellow-green and purple), and Black Orchid 146 (red-orange and blue).