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MARRYING … (wool that is…)

Ohhhhh heat and humidity have set in so hmmm no sitting in the porch to hook today! Instead I am in the studio dyeing wool and making up kits. A few weeks ago I was asked to make up the kit for this little mat that I hooked a few years ago:


I call it Hit and Miss Squares and it is 17 x 9 – not huge but a fun easy beginner kit. What I loved about hooking it was that it used up LOTS OF SCRAPS – all those ย 3 – 4 inch wide pieces of wool that were left over from previous projects. However, I wanted the mat to have a very cohesive and old look and the left overs (like most of the ones in my fridge) did not work too well together – either they were too bright or too dirty and had I used them as is it would have been a very jarring mat. I wanted old and dirty and blended! So what to do with all those scraps to make them work together. Welllll, this is nothing new for those who have been hooking and dyeing for a while but I thought I would share it anyway. I married the wool together. Took all my scraps, threw them in a big pot and brought them to a simmer. What happened was that some of the red bled from one piece of wool into the neighbouring piece of wool; some of the greens did the same thing. But it still was not exactly what I wanted – I wanted to age the colours a bit more. So I turned to my dyes and mixed up Magic Carpet orange and moss green in equal amounts and threw it in the pot(along with vinegar) and stirred a bit and continued to simmer until the dye was all absorbed. In the end not only did my wools bleed into each other giving each piece a wonderful mottled look but the orange and green browned out or dirtied(perhaps antiqued is a better word) the wool. I ended up with a wonderful old and aged palette of wool that I then cut up and hooked hit and miss style into my squares. The colours do not contrast – they blend(which in this case is what I wanted) and they all work together from light through medium to dark, from dull to bright!



So have I mentioned that Kathy Clark of Briarwood Folk Art is coming to teach a group of us here in September. Am I excited? You BET! Because Kathy’s rugs all have an aged, timeworn look to them and we both LOVEEEEE primitive rugs and I am thinking the wool I have left over from my dyeing this morning will be PERFECT in my rug I will do with Kathy.

12 responses »

  1. Hi Loretta!

    LOVE everything you do, clearly!!

    Are you offering these as kits??

    if so, pricing??



  2. Ruby MacGregor

    Great ideas. Thanks! I may have to learn to dye, this marriage looks easy, like making soup!

  3. ……and from Perspiration comes Inspiration……….
    Good work!
    What a difference the ‘pot’ made!
    Time to go through the bits again……

  4. Looks yummy – I was doing the same thing last week, before the humidity set in. And guess what – I met a student of yours at Loyalist – Suzanne Paquette. She was in an illustration class, but turned out to be my “roomie”. She’s great! She showed me pics of one of your shows – a pic of Gord with David. So if your ears were burning, it was just us. Enjoy the heat and the summer.

  5. Oh I really like this one and I would do it I have so many leftovers from my crow house rug.

    So are you enjoying the heat I sent you? It didn’t get rid of any here though,darn! If only it would cool down some at night here.

    Talk soon, hugs. Amy

    Sent from my iPad

    • Oh Amy not only can you do it with left over pieces of wool that are uncut but you can do the same with your leftover worms I put the worms in a glass 9 x 9 pan, soak them with warm water and then overdye them by pouring the dye over them and mashing them with my potato masher (which has never seen a potato) and then putting them in the micro wave (add a touch of vinegar first) for 10 minutes I then cool them in a colander (again no food!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ rinse them and roll them in a towel to squeeze out the excess moisture and then hang them to dry I once did an entire rug with left over worms which I had overdyed yellow – took all my lights and mediums and a couple of darks and overdyed them and wow what a great background that made and alllllll from leftovers!!!…. hmmm thanks for the heat! ๐Ÿ™‚ although today it is cooler and very damp (rained all night i think)… so down to the dock with coffee before the heat sets in…

  6. Oops

    Sent from my iPad

  7. How much dye of each colour do you use & why the orange with the green. I know green can dull reds but why the orange. How do you know which colours of dye to use with what is in your pot?

    • Hi Della Ann I used 1/4 TSP each of orange and moss green. This gives me a kind of soft golden greeny brown = very aged and antiquey colour. I have used this for years to age colours – by itself I love it but over a bunch of other brighter nonrelated colours it is a great aging colour. I did not use red and green because moss green is already a more olivey green and the red would just make it a more muddy brown – the orange accomplishes the “browning out” without making it too muddy. I also use this same combination i.e. orange and moss green to dirty up commercial or blue blacks. I find most blacks when dyed come out way too blue based for my dirty old colours and so once the black is absorbed I throw in a mixture of orange and moss green to dirty the black hence the name Dirty Black! a more aged antiquey black but still BLACK. Does this help…Loretta

  8. Patricia Narcum Perez

    Thatโ€™s my thang-marrying ugly wools! Itโ€™s so much fun! Love this little mat. Are you still selling it? Would also love to this in s runner. Do you think it would translate?

    • Hi Patricia so sorry to be so late getting back to you but for some reason this did not pup up in my in basket. Yes I could do the pattern or kit up as a runner – it would be a lovely old looking runner… so if you are interested just let me know size and with or without wool strips… Loretta


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