I spent Saturday with the Southern Michigan RugKrafters in Clinton, Michigan, working with them on hooking Old World Saint Nicholas impasto style. In the morning, we started with the pattern drawn on foundation. Six hours later each hooker had the beginning of a face done! Here we are standing on the steps before going home for the day. I was impressed with their progress! What a wonderful time.
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Have you seen the October issue of The Wool Street Journal? Pat Freasier's Santa is on the front cover and is the feature article. A hearty congratulations!
Pat writes about her journey hooking my Saint Nicholas pattern in my class and afterward. It is a great story about a primitive hooker taking on the challenge of a #6 cut with value-hooking (VIP hooking).
If you don't subscribe but would like to read the article, you can purchase a copy on their website HERE.
Or if you want to hook your own Saint Nicholas, the pattern with complete instructions is available from me HERE.
Yesterday I facilitated a workshop at the Kirby Hooking Circle to hook my pattern, St. Nicholas. After talking about my color and dyeing theory, I introduced VIP [=V(alue) I(ntense) P(alette)] rug hooking, a type of hooking that I am developing to help us hook stunning 'realistic' rugs simply.
After a couple of hours of hooking, the girls had two eyes and a nose completed. I was able to capture some of the pieces with my camera before the workshop ended which I show below (left to right: P.D.; Pam; Pat; Sondra; Sylvia; Martha). Jo worked on a wizard rug which she posted about on her blog with pics HERE. I am impressed with their work and can't wait to see these pieces finished. After Saturday, I realize that this is really a two-day workshop, so we are going to reconvene another Saturday to finish up. So more later...
A note about the background black. I pulled some old black wool I had in my wool closet to use and it just didn't "go" with my palette. Can you believe that a black can be the wrong color black?! I didn't. But there it was staring at me all wrong.
So I took out my crock pot late this afternoon when I got home from work, measured in one tablespoon of dye per 6" by 15" strip of black wool. I had six pieces, so I used 3 tablespoons of my 10=BLUE-PURPLE and three tablespoons of my 12=PURPLE-RED which were two of the dyes I used in Santa's coat. I figured that I could 'marry' my icky black with my palette this way. And wow did it work!
By the way, I have to say it again: I LOVE my crock pot. I just put the dye in warm water with a squirt of synthrapol, added the black strips, put on the lid and turned it on high for 1 1/2 hours. At 30 minutes I added 1/2 cup of vinegar. Then I took Alexander across the street to "Christmas in the Village" where he petted reindeer and watched the children play carols on their violins and played in the slush pile the Villagers make to treat the children to snowballs (remember we're in Houston). When I got home I processed the wool in my washer and dryer, and hooked it in the background this evening.
So if you don't know what to ask Santa to bring you this Christmas, and if you don't have a crock pot for dyeing, ask for a 6 1/2 quart with a timer and porcelain insert. It will change your outlook on dyeing because it is so darn simple and about as mess free as you are going to get. And what fabulous results!
Here is the progress I made last night...mainly worked the beard. I hooked my #1 values plus dorr white and natural and one off white grey texture in the top of his beard. About 2/3rds of the way down the beard I switched to #2 values. What hues did I use? My two neutrals created by mixing half and half of my recipes for 11=PURPLE and 5=YELLOW; and half and half of my recipes for 1=RED and 6=Green. My 9=BLUE; 10=BLUE-PURPLE; 11=PURPLE; 12=PURPLE-RED; 1=RED.
Tonight my plan is to work his coat. Then all I have is the background to go. Now that I see a photo of the beard, I think I will replace a couple of the darker strips with a lighter value.
Last night I worked on Santa's hair and his hat. I concentrated on hooking light, medium and dark values rather than color. I used four different swatches for the hat (10=BLUE-PURPLE; 11=PURPLE; 12=PURPLE-RED; 1=RED), and all the lightest values of these swatches for the hair, plus some natural and textured wools undyed. Tonight I'm going to work on his beard.
Santa's face is already emerging after one evening of hooking. I'm using 6-cut, and even with this width I am able to get incredible detail. I am amazed how Palette Dyeing has transformed my rug hooking. I finally have at my hand every color of the rainbow in six values, two tints, two tones, and two shades.
The result is that I can hook anything by studying the values of a black and white photo of my inspiration picture (the lightness and darkness) and hooking accordingly without worry about color since all my colors are created from the same three dye formulas. All my wools automatically look great together! I am so glad that I had that conversation this summer with Sondra when the light bulb went on in my head about needing to create an artist's palette of wool.
Needless to say, I'm having fun! I've hooked his face - I always start with the eyes, and put in the lightest values in the hair and beard.
I am starting Saint Nicholas 2009. My intent is to make a pocket pack out of it. Its outside measurements will be 10" by 15", so a little bigger than those 10" by 10" pocket packs I hooked this summer. I need a bit more room for all the stuff I carry around with me!
Here is the picture that inspired me and the sketch I made of it on my linen backing. Since I will be hooking by value, I made a black and white copy of the color picture so I can watch my lights and darks, hooking lighter values in the light areas and darker values in the darker areas. This will allow me to not worry so much about what colors I am hooking, but concentrate on values which will cause the face to emerge more creatively.
I probably won't hook the same colors because I'm a purple person and Christmas is purple and white for me. So I have to use some shades of purple. I am using the wool palette I dyed this season as I have been teaching the Palette Dyeing rug camp on Rug Hooking Daily (join the group for details). So first the neutrals. These are the two neutrals I am going to use. In lefthand photo: the wool on the left I created by mixing half and half of my recipes for 11=PURPLE and 5=YELLOW; the wool on the right I created by mixing half and half of my recipes for 1=RED and 6=Green. In the righthand photo, these are the other hues I will use (from left to right): my 6=GREEN; my 11=PURPLE; my 12=PURPLE-RED.