Creating shading in your hooked rugs is really a matter of creating a palette for you to work with. The easiest ways to do that are with overdyeing, successive dyeing and dip-dyeing. I’ll cover the first two in this post, and we’ll save dip-dyeing for next month.
In a previous post I extolled the value of overdyeing as a way to make use of leftover yarns from other projects (https://judytaylor2013.wordpress.com/2015/10/03/dont-trash-your-stash-overdye/). In that post, you see that the leftover yarn from one rug can be overdyed to create a very different color scheme in the next rug. To prove the point (or just because I’m obsessed with the idea!), I actually made four rugs from yarn I used for the original rug (Box ‘O Crayons, below), by overdyeing the leftovers. So the fourth rug in the series (Haleema) was made using yarn that had been overdyed at least three times.
Overdyeing can also be a great way to create shading, when you put three neutral colors into a dyebath.
Above are three yarns which were overdyed in light blue.
These three neutral colors (above) were overdyed in a dark blue dyebath.
To achieve a more subtle shading effect, such as the Rabbit Rug at the beginning of this post, try successive dyeing. In successive dyeing, start with your base color (white for the rabbit) and make three skeins. Drop all three into a VERY light dyebath, the color that you want for the very lightest shadow. Let the skeins simmer for fifteen minutes. Remove all three skeins and add a SMALL amount of dye to the dyebath, and return two skeins to the pot. Let them simmer for fifteen minutes, then remove both skeins. Add another SMALL amount of dye, and return only one of the skeins to the pot and allow it to simmer for fifteen minutes.
Have lots of small pieces of the base color on hand during the process so you can test the strength of each dyebath before putting in the skeins. Remember, it is much easier to add dye than it is to take it away, so start with a tiny amount, and add color as needed.
Both overdyeing and successive dyeing are great for designs that have blobs of shading, in varying degrees of dark and light, as in the Rabbit Rug and The Great Easter Egg Hunt, but there is an even better method of shading you can try when the gradation of dark to light is more regular, as with leaves and flowers.
Dip-dyeing is the easiest method on the planet for creating the subtle gradations of shadow and light in hooked rugs. Tune in next month for the whole story!
If you’d like to try your hand at realistic shading, subscribers to this blog can order the Rabbit Rug pattern on linen for 20% off. Go to http://www.littlehouserugs.com/blog-special-february-2016-rabbit-rug.html to order. Not yet a subscriber? Just click the “Follow” button!