Hooking a Dip Dyed Sky

Hooking the sky for the Virgins piece has been quite a learning experience with lots of little problems to solve to make it work.

DSCN1801First of all, the test pieces I dyed were of course WAY too narrow.  To figure out how wide the wool would need to be …..DSCN1805….I hooked a row from side to side at the widest point, pulled it out and measured it. The only Dorr natural wool I had on hand left was not quite wide enough  (78″ of wool needed to hook one row from side to side), but I decided I would be able to fill it in with left overs that would blend . (said with fingers crossed).

Luckily The centre line left from drawing the arch was still visible, so I darkened that  and was ready to start.  For the dip dye to work, the wool must be hooked in the order.

DSCN1816I marked the right side of the wool with a pin, and used tape to keep the strips in order. ….keeping the right side on the top (as opposed to the left).

DSCN1817I put tape on the right end of the strip before hooking it….DSCN1818

……then folded it to find the middle.DSCN1823…then hooked that middle loop on the centre line marking……hooked the right side over, then the left, leaving the extras hangingDSCN1806

Once I got up high enough to go all the way across, I could work back down, thus keeping the rows straight and aligned. (I hooked every other row of the backing).DSCN1811

My wool was longer the the actual sky, but I wanted the deepest top blue to be used, so I began hooking from the top down….DSCN1812…..and took a chunk out of the middle so that the blues blended where they met.DSCN1826I finished by hooking from the bottom up using the strips that were hanging.  There were lots of left overs to fill in the few spaces left over on the edges.DSCN1831

It’s not quite as pale as shown in this picture. I like the fact that it doesn’t compete with the brightness of the virgins’ clothing. Some fix ups to do (like changing the black outline of the brown building) and the final step is to add some greenery.

A number of years ago I hooked this tea cozy, and my plan is to use the same techniques to add some vines and flowers.dscf2386-scaled1000

They are applied over top of the hooking using both yarn and strips and embroidery techniques.  Should be fun!

Tomorrow is April 1st….but I think April Fool’s day came one day early. Look what I woke up to this morning!DSCN1833

No spring flowers yet in my yard!

Thanks for stopping by.

 

The Flag Stone Struggle

Oh my! Three months to the day since my last post, and those flagstones are finally nearing completion, and yes, they have been a struggle…..Both the hooking of them, and figuring out how to make them look flat. DSCN1791 2Many thanks to Jean for her help and to Marg for sharing her expertise after her own  “flagstone, cobblestone journey”  and sending photos of her wonderful end results. I am so fortunate to have such knowledgeable hooking friends.

I thought I would have finished by now, but I’ve found the constant turning of my hands is hard on my thumb joints. (I’ll be glad to get back to some straight line hooking and/or a larger cut.)  Just an aside…I’ve found that by moving to a larger shanked hook I can considerably reduce the stress on my thumb joint. DSCN1800

I’ve just got this last corner to finish now and then to add the final dark brown details in a two cut (seen on the left). This wee bit of dark accent is my favourite part and really helps to make the stones pop.

While giving my thumbs a rest, I experimented dyeing some wool for the sky. I used Pro Chem Sky Blue and Pro Chem Mahogany. (both are colours found in the flagstones)

DSCN1795The left piece is much too strong, the right, too weak, the middle has too much strong pink at the bottom.  I tried redyeing more blue on the top of the lightest piece, but it was still too insipid. DSCN1797 My present plan is to use the middle piece, but not the bottom couple of inches of the pink.DSCN1802

I can’t wait to try this out, but I’m forcing myself to wait until the flagstones are finished. I really need to clean away all those piles of pale wool cluttering up my hooking space. I am SUCH a messy hooker!

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My final plan is to add a few flowers and perhaps a flowering vine on the arch, inserting them on top of the hooking perhaps using a chain stitch and crewel wool. More experimenting to come in that area.

Thanks for stopping by to have a look after such a long absence.

Hooking a Pathway

With the background village completed, (well I’ll likely still make some adjustments), I turned my attention to the ground and how I would hook it. My first thought was that I wanted it to be round stones to offset all the squares and rectangles of the archway. On the other hand if it was all circles, I’d have a lot of ‘grout’ or ‘cement’ filler to deal with. So I settled on ’round-ish’ . Rather than cobblestones, I think it is more flag ‘stone-ish’ . I took a soft pencil and sketched it in , soon deciding that it would be even less round than this. I’d “wing it” as I went along.DSCN1714Next decision was what colour? I had dyed some gold/grey for the arch and subsequently discarded it, and considered perhaps using that…..DSCN1716….and just as quickly threw out that idea…..far too strong.  I wanted something  light and with some interest, but not attracting attention away from the women or the arch.  Hmmmm….that’s exactly what I had wanted for the buildings….and….I had lots of very pale tints left over….DSCN1696DSCN1706

That’s what I’d try.  Now what would I use for the grout.  I suddenly remembered the wool I had dyed to whip my Grumpy Owl.DSCN0438Yarn would be much easier to handle than tiny strips ….and I had some left over.DSCN1730To my delight, I soon realized that it was 2 ply and for the small further away sections, it could be easily separated to make the grout line even tinier.DSCN1728DSCN1724…and for the nearer stones, I’d use the 2 strands for a bit more depth.DSCN1723

Finishing this should keep me occupied in my spare time over the holidays.

Wishing everyone a blessed Christmas, filled with peace, joy, and beautiful memories.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

The Third Building.. My Modus Operandi

My modus operandi is definitely….”if at first you don’t succeed….try, try again”.  And boy was it being used when I hooked the third building. Now that it’s finished, I can see that I had several concerns to deal with simultaneously, but I actually only dealt with them one at a time. When one was fixed it was still wrong because of the second problem…..etc. etc.

1.) The door on the top section didn’t make sense, so it came out.DSCN1697

2.) I initially hooked the building with shades of the very light mahogany (pink as it turned out)DSCN1700….I didn’t like the pink effect at all and the perspective was all wrong, I did like the touches of  light purple, so I searched my stash for some light mauve. DSCN1708I quickly realized that didn’t have enough light shades, so off to the dye pots and I dyed some very light violet and ‘cushing’ purple.

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3.) I finally liked the colours, but the shading was wrong for the building to appear with the right angles.  DSCN1703

4.)  The face of the bottom section needed to be darker and some shading at the top right to have part of the wall recede. Top left and bottom sections are one face, so they need to be more the same shadesDSCN1714

Finally the building looked right to me….needed some final touches…

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I made countless other tiny adjustments as I went along  but right or wrong…I’m finally satisfied with it now.

Next step ….the cobble stones…or flag stones…not sure yet what they will be. No doubt I’ll need several tries to be satisfied with them too.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Hooking the Buildings

After completing the arch, I was so happy to move on to the buildings visible in the background. Some time ago, inspired by a post by Gene Shepherd on dyeing very pale tints, I dyed a few small pieces of wool in very pale colours and thought these would provide interest for the buildings, but not compete with the women. Before starting I dyed quite a few more, and had these to choose from.DSCN1696

I dyed these in the microwave, since it is so much easier when you are dyeing small pieces. To set the dye, they can then all be simmered together in clear water and vinegar. I started with 1/256th tsp. of dye in 1cbw (cup of boiling water) then often only added a few tbsp. of the solution to the dye bath. (or you could use the wet toothpick method) I made at least two values of each colour, and also included a strip of undyed natural Dorr for edge highlights. (top left) Dyes used  were, clay, mouse grey, golden pear, mahogany, and violet, plus a couple of unknown left overs that I found in my stash.DSCN1683I wanted the roof of this building to appear to be of tile, and mused about the best way to create that impression. I considered using a light plaid and selectively using the strips, I considered separating rows with a tiny (#2) row of black, and finally decided to simply try this light mottled grey, hooking it in straight lines matching each loop carefully all the way down. Ta dah…the simplest solution worked. (love it when that happens)DSCN1686I chose brown and yellow tones for the next building, with a bit of mottled taupe wool for the door and beams. DSCN1690One row of natural helps to highlight the corner of the building. I’m using quite a bit of antigodlin hooking for this ‘stucco’ and I find it harder on my hands. So….a day of no hooking yesterday and the sore finger feels much better. My plan is to use the mahogany tones for the third building (they turned out peachy pink) . I’m not sure how I’ll like that, but I’ll see what happens.

We had our first major snowstorm of the season last night so it’s a good day to stay in, curl up and hook. ….supervised of course by these two.DSCN1680

Thanks for stopping by

 

The Power of Value

Do you often find you have some part of your hooking that really pleases you? For me it is frequently just a small touch that really warms my heart. It has worked just the way I had hoped….or perhaps even better.

In the virgins piece it was aways the hair of the virgin in blue that pleased me. DSCN1664So as I carefully hooked the archway around her lovely red hair, I was so disappointed to see the flyaway curls I liked so well fade into obscurity.  (sorry, but I neglected to take a picture of it at this stage) I wanted it to still pop out as it had done so well against the white rug warp. But it didn’t. I edged it with grey, which worked well for the wall, but the hair detail got lost. I tried Deanne Fitzpatrick’s trick of small dot of colour along the edge…nope! I tried some black, then some white, then I went in search for the left over wool from her hair.

I have to admit that it was only when the detail disappeared that I realized that both the wall and the edges of her hair were medium values and both quite dull. (this photo was before the wall went in around her hair, but you can see that the hair tips are all medium value)DSCN1662

So simple really. The two medium values together (wall and curl edges) blended together. So I took the brightest hair colour and added some of that to each of the flyaway curls which were backed by the arch. YES! DSCN1675With the bright vibrant orange/yellow added the curls popped back out.  As so often happens with me, I had to see it wrong before I was able to  figure out how to do it right. (my curse of being a visual learner).

I keep thinking of that old saying….small things amuse small minds….and this small thing (now improved) has really pleased me.DSCN1676

I hope your hooking is pleasing you too!

Thanks for stopping by.

Sky Style

I’ve finally finished the roadside and pavement of my Prairie Sky piece, (after making a number of colour changes and adjustments to the hooking style). I ended up using a variety of materials….3 different plaids, wool yarn and two different colours of sari silk. DSCN1569Now to turn my full attention to the sky.

I’d tried some areas and ripped most out. I needed to make a decision about how I was actually going to hook it as well , of course, as the colour choices.

My initial colour selection was this: blues I dug out of my stash.DSCN1533….but as I  experimented, I didn’t like the effect of the very dark blues at all. I needed more pale shades. DSCN1535I took this photo awhile ago and I’m not sure why there are only two pieces since I actually dyed four light shades these being the lightest and darkest.

I wanted the clouds to be highlighted, and so I’m using a variety of white wool yarns plus Dorr natural wool .DSCN1551My biggest dilemma was this…….would I hook the sky straight across (bottom right sky sample) or wavy and directional (cloud beginnings). I thought about this for a number of weeks while completing the bottom roadside section. The answer I came up with? Do both. I’ll make the clouds contour the actual shapes and the sky will be pretty well straight lines.  Every time I go through this sort of process, I think afterwards….that is so OBVIOUS! why did it take me so long to figure it out?  So I’m on my way…DSCN1567I knew I would need to dye more pale blue shades and yesterday was the day.

DSCN1563I now have  a wide variety of blue shades to use in finishing my sky.

Many thanks to Lucy Richard  of The Wooly Mason Jar. I recently watched her video about how to dye 1/2 yard of wool  using her amazing colour wheel system of dyeing. I’ve never tried her system,  but I picked up a number of hints from the video which were really helpful. …some hints about micro wave dyeing eg. timing and when she adds the mordent, and using Woolite as a rinse at the end.  Hookers are such a diverse community and we can learn so much from each other. Thanks for the tips Lucy.

Whew! the humidex is to be nearly 40 C today, so for me it’s a stay inside, stay cool, and hook day. Hope you have a good day too

Thanks for stopping by.

Building That Wall

It seems Trump isn’t the only one having trouble building a wall. Figuring out how I wanted to hook the walls and arch in my ‘Two Virgins’ piece stopped my progress for a few weeks.

From past experience, I know that I have to see something before I’m sure it works for me. My minds eye certainly isn’t always reliable. This time it took several tries to capture the effect I wanted, and I had to accept several compromises  along the way.DSCN1469…two cuts and styles tried here and an attempt to catch the corner highlight……nope!DSCN1473….a 6 cut and straight lines…..nope!  ….but I liked the effect of the cornerDSCN1496 2….a 6 cut, straight lines and a much lighter wool (thinking of marble at this point)….then tried the arch in a 3 cut and a variety of mixed , darker colours.

At this point, I shared my dilemma with my friend Jean who liked  the arch  best…(as did I)  so on to further experiment with wall options….now using a 3 cut and antigodlin hooking.DSCN1498.Hummmm I like the left, the right is too light.

whew!

…so all the attempts came out and I’m finally on my way with the wall and arch.DSCN1503It’s a large area, and a small cut, so I think I’m set with enough hooking to keep myself busy while watching the olympics next month.

I sometimes get frustrated and think ‘will I ever  come up with the effect I want’, but its so exciting when I finally can look at my work and say “Yes! That’s what I was after.”

The compromises I mentioned…..1.) now a lighter sky colour to figure out

2.) lots more work using a 3cut rather than a 6 and antigodlin hooking rather than straight lines.

…….both incidental since I’m pleased with the effect.

If at first you don’t succeed…..

Thanks for stopping by

Virgins’ Faces

Last week was a very big week if you are a curling fan. The Roar of the Rings Tournament decided on the teams to represent Canada in February’s Winter Olympics. Needless to say, I was glued to the TV, and particularly on Sunday while the finals were on. To help ease the tension, I hooked while I watched and by the end of the day, I had completed the faces of both virgins.

 

The wise virgin…..DSCN1453

….and the foolish virginDSCN1457

I know she looks like she has a milk moustache….(just cover-up to be removed later) hiding some mistakes I made in the original pattern drawing. I wanted to see what the profile actually looked like.

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I was pleased and surprised with how they turned out…..my first attempt at such tiny detailed faces. (done in #2 and #3).

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Some notes to myself in case I want to do this again sometime.

1.) all done in various shades of two basic colours….yellow and pink

2.)all done with bits and scraps from my stash

3.) pre-cut strips which were too wide, I carefully recut to #2 and it worked well

4.) followed the basic procedures taught to me by Anne Boissinot for eyes, nose and mouth

5.) I followed the face and neck value choices and placement taught to me by Wendie Scott Davis

6.) I remembered a recent discussion on cheek shadowing by Gail Mueller and Cheri Hempseed, and followed that advice. Thanks to all these ladies for sharing their expertise.

N.B. I must never forget that my work is the result of applying the information passed on by the skilled people I have been privileged to work with.  (I know…it should be “with whom I have been privileged to work”….but that sounds so formal)

Just hands and lamps now to hook before I tackle the arch and background. I’m still struggling with design and colour choices for that. I think it will require several “test” areas to see which I think will be best. The primary dilemma is whether to go dark or light.

So the faces are done and the curling is over. I’m happy with the faces, and although my favourites didn’t win the curling, I’m really happy with the teams that will represent Canada, I’m sure they will do us proud. Go Homan and Koe.

All in all a great Sunday.

Thanks for stopping by.

Revisions and Background decisions

Have you ever noticed something in your work that you didn’t like, and suddenly that’s all that you can see? Well that’s what happened to me with my wise virgin. I noticed that her breasts were decidedly lopsided. DSCN1422The poor girl needed radical surgery, and for my peace of mind, she needed it at once.DSCN1423

Lots of fiddling about  was needed. It’s surprising how much is involved to move that small section down a bit,  but finally she looks much better.

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The other area of struggle has been the centre of the left side of her skirt (my left).  She’s holding it back, but it just looks like a mish mash. I reduced the light section to see if that helped….DSCN1435….and it does, especially when viewed from a distance, but I’m still not satisfied with it. It will get makeover later when I have a better idea of what I want to do with it.

I love the wild head of hair on this lady , and wanted to do it justice. My first choice of colours was too drab and bah, …..DSCN1442 2so I dug in my bits and pieces for something to give it more pizazz., and I came up with thisDSCN1443

I like how just the hints of orange and pink bring her hair to life…DSCN1440DSCN1439 In the meantime, the background  has been on my mind. I had several ideas, including being on a path with a misty background, a medieval castle in the background, doing a total disconnect with an abstract background of some sort…or?…. Then for some reason, I thought of having them stand in an arch, and immediately went in search of ideas for an “arch to suit”.  These three caught my eye…..DSCN1445DSCN1444DSCN1446

To find out how it might look, I cut out pictures of two left over virgins (not the ones I chose to use) ….DSCN1447….then posed them in front of the arches…..Arch number two I eliminated right away. Down to this one….DSCN1419…..or this one….DSCN1420……and the winner is this last one.  I like the stone blocks, and the greenery hanging down.

I have no intention of doing anything more than use the basic ideas and shapes, (I think the car would really spoil the effect don’t you?)    The potential sky colour is another problem  to solve  in the future, but I am having so much fun with this. Gee I love rug hooking!

Thanks for stopping by.