Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dying Without A Net

Because I was such a Miss Cranky McCrankypants week before last, I decided to make some changes and make sure I did something joyful each night this past week. Of course, joyful could mean anything from a mystic spiritual experience to a night of wild abandon. For me, however, it meant getting out the dye pots!
I love to dye. Before I started to rug hook, I really wanted to get into dying fabric for quilts, but everything I read looked as if you need enough room to handle yards and yards of fabric. And since I live in a tiny 50's ranch and having a studio built is not an option, I put the whole idea to rest.
Then when I started rug hooking, I was so happy to learn that I could learn to dye. In my kitchen. With minimal materials.
And so with a firm belief that something worth doing is worth doing badly (for how else do we learn unless we allow ourselves to make mistakes?), I set forth. I bought seven colors of ProChem dye, the book Beautiful Wool by Laurice Heath and a porcelain dye pot. (I just went to link to a site where you could buy this book, but Amazon says that it is out of print)
I picked this book because I read it had a section that showed how you could make any color with just the seven colors of dye. Since I really didn't want to spend a major amount of money on dye, which it seemed you could do with Cushing dyes, I decided this was they way to go.
So I have been fooling around with it. Dying a little here and there. Trying this and that. And pretty much completely enjoying myself with a few major disasters thrown in here and there just to liven things up a bit.
This week, I thought I would try dying different values, 1/8 yard each, using canning jars. Since I don't have any wool swatches from the book I thought maybe I would start making my own.
What fun! I did one color each night. By using the smaller amounts of wool and the canning jars, the mess wasn't too bad. And since Rog was up north, I didn't feel the need to completely clean up and put everything away each night. This is what I end up with:

I'm sure you will see some of this wool showing up in my Crazy Horse Quilt rug--especially the reds and browns (actually the golds on the left are really more of a brown). And that little bit of black fluff in the background on the left? Mr. Jasperkitty trying to get into the act. He truly feels that each piece of wool isn't ready for use unless it has a good coating of cat hair!


  1. It looks like you really had some fun there! Your wool is soooooo lovely! Great colors! I can't wait to get going on dyeing. I'm using Cushings and bought 26 colors so quite an investment. Enjoyed your post! Cathy

  2. Your wools turned out beautiful! Isn't that a great dye book?! I just love mine!!! Ahhhhh, to dye a little every night...wouldn't that be a joy?!

  3. What yummy colors you dyed! I have that book too, but have never actually used it yet! LOL Need to pull it out and give it a try.