I had a lot of fun dyeing, colour planning and hooking this piece. I over-dyed about 12 different Pendleton shirts and skirts with Majic Carpet’s, Red Violet. Some of the plaids were darker so the result was a deliciously intense, deep pinkish purples and reds. Some were softer so they took on varying hues of dainty pinks and mauves. Depending on the base colour of the wool, each piece came out with its own personality, providing a large selection of light to dark stash to give the rug the contrast it would need to pull off monochromatic hooking.
I basically threw each piece of wool into a pot and added dye with abandon. I didn’t keep records or think much about the outcome, just measured out different amounts of dye and dumped it in the dye bath. For one application, a lighter wool got ¼ tsp and then maybe 1/64 for another. Sometimes I dumped in almost a full tsp for a deep colour on top of a darker based wool. Every pot and wool got a different shot of dye and each rewarded me with a perfect colour. Some of the wools were predicable while some were wildly exciting. Pink was never a big favorite, but after this experiment I held it in higher regard. After the wool was spun and dried, I threw all the colours on the floor, sat in the middle and paired up the ones that most complimented each other but had enough contrast to stand out, separated them into piles and grabbed my cutter.
The trick with a monochromatic colour plan is to make sure that when two or more colours touch, they need to stand out from one another but still blend. If they are too close in tone they become muddied into a blob. I think I effectively achieved the goal and found the exercise a great learning experience. This rug held my enthusiasm from start to finish, maybe the little girl in me remembered a secret crush on a cute boy and the wish to be his Valentine. I used to love cutting out paper Valentines back in the days of elementary school and I remember decorating my brown paper bag that we all lined up along the wall and waited to see how many I would receive.
The cuts were all #5 for the lace and hearts, except for the background and border in #6. The housecoat I used for the border was a bit on the thin side, so I cut it in wider strips to fill in better. Borders being what they are, straight lines of one colour , I say "go wider or go home". Why put a lot of work into a dark border? You hardly see the cut width with darker colours anyway so pick it up a notch, finish it quickly and get on to the next project that’s probably already percolating in your mind.
The background is Dorr Oatmeal with a very light dusting of Red Violet. The oatmeal wool is light beige in colour so it came out a bit warmer than some of the cooler pinks but it worked. The oatmeal had a light texture that doesn’t show so much in the pictures but is very effective in
the actual rug. The only non pink is the few hits of two tone Shamrock Green for the leaves.
The dyed wools showing in the picture below are not the same pieces used for the rug. Today Shane over-dyed yardage for me to add to the rug display in the window. I selected various new plaids, a herringbone and solids to duplicate what I initially dyed for the rug. The colours are yummy! Maybe these colours don’t fit in with the red, blues and yellows of my home, but I have a new appreciation for them.
Customers are always asking what plaids look like when hooked and this rug is definitely a great teaching tool. Considering the shop sells wool, we need to strut a bit of our stuff in the window so I’ll figure out a way to drape the various pinks around the rug for a dramatic sea of colour. Until February 14th comes and goes, we will remind people how these beautiful colours are synonymous with romance and love!
When my friend Susan Leslie passed away I was frantic with grief. I needed to do something for her and for lack of a better idea I became obsessed with hooking this small token to have at her memorial service. I don't know what possessed me, I just knew I had to do it. I used leftovers from the Heart of the Mat-ter piece above. After the service, Susan's mother asked if she could have it and I was so happy to say "yes". Thinking back it now seems kind of weird that I worked so feverishly over this tiny piece but somehow it made me feel better, held me together, kept me focused so I wouldn't run into the street screaming.