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Dyeing a skirt at Pastimes PEI Rug Hooking Shop

16 May

Barry’s Aunt gave me a dozen high quality wool skirts the other day. You can see that the one I chose to make into a ‘flower bed’ is plain beige….making it perfect for dyeing. Most winter clothing is dark so great for overdyeing or using as-is but not this special one.

doesn’t look like much yet….

You can see that it starts out somewhat white. In the pot it goes for soaking in warm water and dish detergent for overnight. You should never rush dyeing. You can but the karma is not the same. Should be a fun process, not a harried one.

have a large pot to dye wool

Cover wool with warm water and let soak overnight.

I used a green and a ‘lilac’ acid dye to create my ‘garden’ colors. I wanted to be able to hook without shading so I splashed the green among the purple.  To create the green patches I poured spoonfuls of  the green dye solution between the darker purple parts of the skirt. By this time I put vinegar into the solution so that the colors would set into the wool. The more splotchy you want your finished product, the sooner you introduce the mordant, ie, the vinegar.

the skirt label

Please note that I usually take apart skirts before I dye them; I wanted to show you how I got from plain reused wool to hand-dyed wool. The label ‘pure wool’ does not mean the item will be a great hooking wool. A wool flannel is best but you will learn after trial and error how to pick wool that is h

Jack likes the ‘before’ colorookable.

the freshly dyed skirt drying on the porch

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Prince Edward Island’s Historic Rug Hooking Connections to the New England States

21 Mar

 While I am not much of a traveller myself, I do know that this is a great tour for rug hookers of Prince Edward Island and the rest of the Maritimes.  People who went on last year’s tour tell me that they couldn’t believe how much rug hooking they saw in such a short time. http://www.targettours.ca/destination/72/New-England-Rug-Hookers-Tour

 This tour gves me the opportunity to talk about my interest in the rug hooking history of PEI.

Pastimes PEI gallery wall

My quest to fnd out more about the history of rug  hooking started a long time ago – when I started hooking n 1975.  If you are familiar with the history and culture of rug hooking, you will know that it seems to have ‘started’ in the Canadian Maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador, eastern Quebec and the New England states. No one knows for sure because, like many things that women did in in the household, it did not make it into the history books. (That subject can be left for another wntery day.)  I can tell you that just as rug hooking culture runs deep here on the Island, so does it just south of the border, not far from here. 

 Much of the rich PEI rug hooking history has not been recorded.  Heather and I  interviewed just a few Island rug hookers way back in 1991 as part of an art class we were taking at University of Prince Edward Island. In 1999 we created a slide show about the people who hooked on PEI.  All of this was before technology – we used a plain old 1990s camera and took real ‘slides’ of the rugs and the women…. but at least we did that much way back then. I promise to keep you updated on our quest to gather up more Island rug hooking history.. if you are nterested.  We have presented our new version of the presentation to a couple of local rug hooking groups but it is still a work in progress.  The more people tell us about our history, the more we all will come to know and appreciate our past rug hookers.

Meanwhile, online, you can read Anne Nicholson’s detailed and very informative series of topics on the culture of PEI rug hooking with separate articles on some of  the people who hooked great rugs: http://www.gov.pe.ca/firsthand/index.php3?number=43723&lang=E

Jack and I have to get a move on today and finish a little rug for a new little beginner kit called 1-fish 2-fish using two new Dorr wool textures and plain Dorr blue – all while we watch the Canadian women’s curling team in the World Curling event:

Jack is supposed to be helping me hook the sample for the new beginners kit....

Hand-hooked eagle to fly on the weekend on PEI..

7 Jun



boring….wool…



She should be flying over Mount Stewart by Friday for the weekend of the Hillsborough Eagle Festival. I’ve decided that I should tell you how things are going and what I’m actually doing to bore Jack so much. I have hand-dyed the blue sky…
I have cut the wool into strips with the strip cutter and keep the strips in order so that I can hook them consecutively…looks easy but it’s a little hard on the brain….every long strip in order, so that the mottled dye job will represent the colors in the blue sky.
keeping track is worth the trouble…you’ll see…
Then you can get the full effect in the sky; but you have to look closely at the real thing. For some unknown reason the lighter spots on the wool hooked in around the bird…if I tried to do it, it probably would not work like that. Looks like I planned it that way; did you know that rug-hooking is like everything else in life: sometimes you win and sometimes you lose but always plug away anyway. I won this round so far but…I will not show you the finished ground in the piece until tomorrow….or until it works as well as the sky did….



she’s flying over Mount Stewart PEI….



Now here is the latest version of her, flying happily over Mount Stewart – the river is in the shape of an S according to Rosemary Curley who sent me a Google map of the area…something mostly seen only by eagles  and other fliers.