Friday, May 4, 2012

A Little Progress on the Moshimer Rug

I did find a little time to hook the strawberry Moshimer rug yesterday. And I am so glad I did. Even if I only have time for a few loops, it is always a pleasure to hook. I put on an oldies radio station, and I am in my own little world. I get into a rhythm pulling little pearly loops, never bored, entertained by the changes of color.

When I work on a rug, I forget time. So before I knew it, a flower and part of a leaf were hooked, and and it was time to prepare dinner for the family, before heading out to teach a French class.

The happy felling I got from my afternoon of rug hooking stayed with me throughout the evening, even when I had to remind my students, as I do every week, that they should learn to conjugate their verbs!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Every Good Hooked Rug should Have its Greens

To go with my pinks, I needed some greens. I picked some more fabrics from my stash of recycled vintage wools, including the dark chevron I had rejected yesterday.

Making green I find is always hard. You don't want screaming green, not too yellow, not too blue, but not too brown. For this green batch I mixed a golden yellow with a little navy blue.

I got a lovely range of greens as they combined with the plaid and chevron patterns on my wools. The piece on top I decided to throw in the dye pot as an afterthought. I am so glad I did. I am particularly fond of it. It came from a vintage Pendleton Woolen Mills skirt, and based on the style of the skirt, I would say a 50's skirt. It took the green so well. It will add a lot of punch to my heart design. I will probably use it as a touch in a leaf. It will make it look sun-kissed. The best part for me is that I love how my greens go with my pinks. 

In the middle of the pinks I stuck a little piece of  aqua blue. I think it makes everything pop. I will have to dye some more of it.

I hope I will have some time today to continue working on my Moshimer Hooked Rug. I have given myself the goal to finish it before I start hooking anything else. Do you ever give yourself a goal like that? I think I need a little encouragement from you to meet this goal.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tickled Pink

I have more dyed wool fabric to share with you. Today's dyeing session is maybe not as exciting and miraculous as yesterday's marbling session, but  I still love the results.

Once again I picked some fabrics from my stash of recycled woolens. I really like using recycled wool as opposed to new wool. The wools have a vintage charm, with unique patterns, and even though they are of similar thickness, the slight variations add dimension to a hooked piece. I also like the fact that using recycled  wool is closer to the original intent of the craft.

Because I had pink tones in mind, I picked fabrics with browns and creams, or tan in them. I actually did not  put  the fabric with the larger, darker chevron in this pot. I decided to keep it for a different color. The chevrons were a little too dark to give the more subtle look I was after.  Using fabrics with softer browns allowed the pinks to be more subtle, with an old rose feel. My goal was to mute the textures, and use the differences between the cream and tan ground to create variations in my married rose fabrics.

I love the aged pink look. I can see lots of uses for these fabrics, can't you? Next I will be dyeing some greens. I plan on using all these colors to hook a heart I have designed.

There is a lot to say about this heart, but that will have to wait until later...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Little Marbling

The process of marbling woolen fabric gives magical results every time. I don't know about you, but it never ceases to amaze me.

For those of you who are not familiar with the process, the amazing results, reminiscent of book marbling are achieved without any dyes. The dry pieces of wool are just layered, alternating lights and darks, then rolled together, twisted and tied to secure the twist. The bundle is then placed in boiling water, and left to simmer until the dyes of each respective piece bleed on each other. The results are striking, giving a fabric with variations that will add movement to my rug hooking projects.

For this little marbling sessions, I started with four pieces of recycled wool, a burgundy, a camel, a soft grey, and a cream.

I layered the pieces...

Rolled them...

Twisted the roll, and tied it...

I cooked the bundle for about 50 minutes, and added a shot of vinegar to set the dyes, and let it sit in the pot for another few minutes.
I rinsed the fabrics, gave them a spin in my washer, and dried them in the dryer.

Here are the results. The cream fabric came out with lovely rich berry marbling, with touches of camel, the grey fabric with camel and burgundy marbling. The camel fabric darkened to a rosier camel, and got subtle burngundy marbling. The burgundy fabric kept its deep color, but with added highlights and "lowlights".

I am very happy with the results. It will be so much fun to use these fabrics in my next project. The pinks and berry tones will look lovely in the heart I have in mind.

I always have fun marbling woolen fabric! I love the surprise as you untwist the roll. It is a little like a cracker jack!

I am planning on dyeing more fabrics today. This time to create married textures that will work with my marbled fabrics.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Rug Hooking Memories

I have been wanting to have a "real" studio for me to create, and craft. Up till now, I would say that I have been a nomadic crafter, planting my craft tent in this room or that room... Yesterday, as I was gathering stash and projects, I found a project that is full of memories for me.

This project is special in two ways. It reminds me of a lovely trip my husband and I took to Maine, and of discovering rug hooking. We stayed in a bed and breakfast, the Hearthside Inn in Bar Harbor. One morning, after breakfast, I was sitting in the parlor cross-stitching. The owner of the Inn came to see what I was working on. We started talking about crafts, mine and his. He said he liked rug hooking, and asked me if I wanted to see his work. I of course agreed, always wanting to discover a new craft, but naively not expecting that I would fall totally in love with it. He was working on a geometric rug in lovely fall tones. I marveled at all the perfect wool fabric loops, at the depth of the colors. He gave me a crash course in rug hooking, and gave me addresses for two stores he liked in Maine. We decided to visit the one in Kennebunport,W. Cushing & Company. The store was full of hooked rugs, florals, geometrics, animal patterns, and a rainbow of wool fabrics.

While still in denial, on the way to the store, I had told my husband I just wanted to look, but that I really was not going to take up another craft. When my husband saw me in the store as happy as a little girl in a candy shop, he whispered in my ear, "pick a project."

I did not resist, I picked one. I picked a small strawberry chair pad project, that had been designed by Joan Moshimer. I bought the project as a kit with all the wool already chosen for me and cut. I purchased a simple Joan Moshimer hook.

As soon as we got home, I started working on the project ... I hooked, and hooked, following the directions provided in the kit. The strips of wool were #3, and I found it hard to bring them up through the linen backing without twisting them, or shredding them. In retrospect, this might not have been the best project to start with. A primitive rug, with wider strips, and a lot less shading might have been a lot better for me. I did learn a lot, but at some point I started feeling restricted by the project. I put it aside, and started creating my own patterns, and my own wools, embracing the old traditions, recycling woolen fabrics, and creating simpler more organic designs.

When I found the strawberries yesterday, I decided it was time to finish it. So this is what I will be working on for the next few days. This piece has a special place in my heart. I would love to have it adorn the top of a shaker box. I could use the box to store notions, in my soon to be studio ...