Let me begin by saying, I do not have a kitchen that's well set up for dyeing yarn or wool.
(Anyone who knows me can also confirm that I do not have a kitchen well set up for cooking, either. But since I do not know how to cook, that's not a problem. I can go for years without touching a stove.)
It's tricky to do dyeing here (Ya think? Look at the mess above). I have a lot of dyeing to do for the Moon and Clouds rug I'll be starting soon. I've been thinking about this rug for a while. Moon and Clouds is a runner-type rug, a McAdoo rug pattern that I haven't yet seen anyone else make. It's one of the only remaining patterns I have--after I finish it, I'll be working with my own rug designs from here on out.
[I will make one exception for the final pattern I own, a fabulous one called "Russian Oriental"; it's gorgeous and intimidating, but I am slowly inching towards being ready to hook it. Maybe I'll get that done in the next couple of years.]
Moon & Clouds is 3 feet by 6 feet and will use about 14 pounds of yarn. I have nowhere in my house to put this rug. Several people have suggested I will need to buy a house in order to use the rug. Hmmmm.
On Friday I started testing background colors; I have an mental image of what I want for the background but am still playing with what I'll use for the motifs. I decided to try a purple recipe I learned from Heidi Whipple of the Oxford Rug School. I wasn't sure I could replicate her color, but look at this for a result! Not bad! The yarn I am trying to match can be seen in the two strands that are laid across the skeins. And next to that photo is the same yarn made into "yarn cakes" after it was completely dry.
Yes, those are the same skeins in each picture, just differently wound, and the photos were taken in different lights. But both photos are of the same yarn. Wish I were a better photographer and knew how to eliminate the lighting differences.
Encouraged by all that, I went to town on Saturday and produced the test skeins on the right (the "yarn cakes" in the photos are the same yarn cakes that you see above). What a day. I spent five hours dyeing, with a couple of breaks, and by the end was really happy with my results. I'm still not entirely certain if I will end up using any of these colors--or some combination of all of the dark purples as the background color of the rug--but I am so happy to be playing with color and dyes after all this time.
If you want to see a closer view of some of the colors and brief captions for each, click any of the photos below.
It has been years since I tried to do any serious dyeing of wool or yarn. When I was working full-time it was impossible. Perhaps if I'd had the room for a permanent dye kitchen (or a differently configured regular kitchen) I would have made the time, but since any type of serious dyeing requires completely deconstructing and protecting a small space normally used for preparing food, that wasn't realistic. Now that I have more time, I can afford to do all the set-up and take-down that dyeing requires in the space that I have.
I have more color test skeins to make, and then once I've decided on the colors I will have a lot more dyeing to do. 14 lbs of 4 oz. skeins = 56 skeins to dye for this rug. Plus a few extras to be safe.
I will be busy.
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), a long-time meditator, a certified meditation teacher and coach, and focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society