Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fall Is In The Air

Fall has arrived late this year.

Slowly leaves are turning color yet still cling to the trees. Some afternoons have even been too warm for wearing long sleeves. And yet, there is that overwhelming sense that fall is in the air.

There is the early morning chill, when the furnace needs to be turned on. The faint whiff of woodsmoke from fireplaces when I am outside with my dog. The bountiful bins filled with local pumpkins, squash and apples at the farmer's market.

My garden is also telling me that the season is changing. It's time to cut back the dying plants and flowers. (But remember to leave hollow-stalked plants for bees to hibernate in.) Time to throw leaves and mulch over the soil and let nature have a rest, to have it's time to renew.

The days are getting shorter. The sun slants at a lower angle. Nature is slowing down. For me, it feels good and right to be nested inside and to creatively lose myself in a hooking project.

There is this juxtaposition of Nature inviting us to slow down, to cozy-in, to rest. Yet the holidays loom ahead with a flurry of activity. An expectation to shop, bake and attend parties. The slowing down of the season seems to be at odds with the gearing up for the holidays. This disconnect can make me feel out of step with myself if I am not careful.

My goal in the next couple of months is to find a balance. To find time for self care which is my creative hooking and crafting time, so that I can enjoy the shopping, baking, and partying, while still feeling grounded and unstressed!

Fall is in the air. I am taking notes from Nature on how to slow down. I hope you can too.

Please visit my ETSY shop to find newly listed hand-dyed wool and hooking related items. Thank You!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How Do YOU Color Plan?

Do you have favorite color combinations that you gravitate towards because it fits with your decor? Maybe your colors are dictated by your hooked piece because it is seasonally themed, using warm browns and golden tones for fall, or reds for a Christmas rug.

Perhaps you have found the perfect colored wools and are all set in your mind, that the background will be these colors no matter what, and you are willing to have the motifs be modified with the tones you use, because that color for the background is the driving force of the rug.

When I color plan a rug, it is both exciting and anxiety producing. Can I get the colors and values that are in my mind's eye to work in this piece?

Will the red wool scarf that I found in the thrift store work as well for apples as I'm envisioning?

Can I get the soft blue values of my dye formula, Pearly Everlasting, to work as a background and still have my kitten motif show up well even though it is light in value?

When I begin a new rug, I almost ALWAYS hook the background and motifs simultaneously. This is a big deal for me. I like to experiment with how all the colors, values, and tones blend together. My work area will look like a big mess because I'm often juggling one wool that reads too dark or too light and changing it out for a color that works better. This approach can make the beginning stages of the rug challenging and maybe even a little frustrating, but the trade off is worth it to me. I often consult my color wheel to help me figure out the possibilities. By working on background and motifs at the same time, I'm not left at the end trying to figure out what my background will be, nor do I need to change out my motif's values because they don't work with the newly chosen background.

I do not begin to believe that my way of approaching color planning is the only way. I have found a system that works for me. I tend to be a bit lazy, and prefer not to reverse hook more than I need to, so hooking motifs, backgrounds and borders all at once helps me see the big picture early on in my creative practice.

I hope you have a system for color planning that works for you. If not, maybe you can begin to explore an approach which makes you happy with your process and finished piece.

Happy Hooking!

Please visit my ETSY shop to view my rugs and other hooking related items.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dye Day

To dye or not to dye, that is the question I often ask myself when I am color planning a rug. Sometimes as I lay all the colors out, seeing how they respond to each other, I realize the colors I am using are not quite right. I need a wool that leans a little more to the blue green, or the red I want needs to be warmer rather than cooler.

Once I decide to have a Dye Day, it is a magical time. The whole process is inspiring! From choosing the wools to dye, mixing the dyes, and watching the wool take on color. My favorite part is when the wools come out of the dryer. I hurry with them to a nearby window to see what color they really are! It is amazing to watch how the colors can change like a chameleon depending on what sort of lighting you have to view them!

If you have not tried dyeing yet, I encourage you at some point to do so. Find a color palette that makes you excited and inspired. Invest in the dye spoons, dyes and wools and have fun being a chemist. If you are not ready to invest in the dyeing tools etc., there are a lot of acceptable ways to cut corners especially for cost by buying recycled wools. You can bleed out dye to alter that wool or save the dye to use on other wool. That process can be rewarding but hard to duplicate the results. If you belong to a Hooking Guild, maybe they will have a Dye Day to help you gain some experience.

In the meantime, please check out my ETSY shop to see some of the magic that I have created!

So much fun


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fall Hook In

It is time for our Fall Hook-In!

Our Guild, Dyed In The Wool, will be hosting it this Thursday October 8! I have been busy dyeing wool and drawing up patterns to vend.

I have memories of attending this hook-in before I had children, so that's over 25 years ago. I treasured getting to visit with other women who loved the craft just like me. This was long before internet and cell phones were a common way to communicate. Wow, I am dating myself!

I hope you have a chance to attend a Hook-In soon! All that creative energy in one room is exciting and electric! You will feel inspired by all the different styles of rug hooking, color palettes and pattern choices for weeks to come.

Happy Hooking!