Spot Dyeing a Maine night sky~

While working on my rug "On The Edge of a Dream" I realized that I needed quite a bit of nighttime sky to hook in and around the off to the dye pot I went....I thought I would share the process with pictures to help or inspire those who love to hook and dye~

I have plenty of medium blue 100% wool but the color is too flat for my taste to capture the dark blue almost black swirly skies of Maine when one looks over the cliffs on a beautiful summer night....

So for starters, I ripped about one yard in total (per recipe....) into manageable pieces. 6x8, 8x10, 8x5...however you want to cut it up to scrunch it into the pot....I like the pieces to start smallish so I can hand cut as I hook....

So, scrunch all your wool in your pan...I use an old roasting pan....
Cover with water and let soak overnight....Its important that your wool is wet all the way thru so the dye will reach the center~ otherwise you will have light or whitish lines when you cut and hook....

plain medium blue wool below....

Here is the spot dyed wool next to the plain.....#love right?

 As I said cover your wool with water and soak, soak,soak......You can add a splash of liquid dish detergent to soften the water...

 I use Cushing dyes....I chose Black~Peacock and Cardinal to spot dye over the wool. I used 1/4 tsp in 1 to 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Three jars.....three dyes prepared to spot over the wool that is now just at a simmer....a very small simmer on the stove.....
Here are my three dyes all jelly jars from Agway......I use my Grey dye spoon but you can measure your dye with any measuring spoon...even "eyeballing it on the tip of a plastic spoon....This is "relaxed" dyeing, remember?
Now as I look at this picture you can see my countertops are all white.....and this dye don't do what I do......use an old cookie sheet under your dyes or something for goodness!
So with your wool at a slow simmer just pour in spots (careful its hot) the black dye, the cardinal dye, and the peacock dye....I pour (separately)1/2 of the mix of a the three dyes then I add 1 cup of white vinager and let the dye stirring!!!
 Then when the colors are absorbed (slow simmer for abour 30-40 minutes) I pour the remaining dye in spots again over the wool in the pot, (no stirring)I add a few more glugs of vinager and simmer for another 30 to 40 minutes till the dye absorbs.
 If it needs more time just let it simmer...keep the water level above the wool....

Now...when the dye has absorbed take your wool off the heat....I dump mine in the kitchen sink...Its really hot so be careful...Let it cool down before you rinse it with cool don't want to felt it.
I rinse it good and squeeze out the excess water and hang it out on my clothesline or on a clothes rack on my porch..
I suppose you could rinse it again in a cool wash and put it in a "fluff" dry in the dryer. I have always hung mine outside~

Look.....Maine night skys for days.....

Ready for cutting....yum...

I really like the way it looks~ Its hard to get a true read on a small bit of the rug but its really going to be just what I wanted....phew! You never know for sure!
I hope this helps or inspires! please feel free to ask me any questions! xoE


  1. Lovely end product, they would be fun for wool appliqué also.

    Looking forward to your finished piece!

  2. I love the end color. It's so deep and rich. I can't wait to see the finished rug.

  3. Your wool turned out beautifully! I always cover my countertops with a cheap vinyl tablecloth and it protects from dye damage. Thanks for your step by step how-to!!!!

  4. Gorgeous! Thanks for the tutorial!


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  6. Hey, is that hook from Wood Turnings by Cynthia??! :)

  7. Hi! It's me from instagram! You and A.N. Other have got me blogging again... not a brilliantly interesting post but it IS a post. Now then.... your blog...oh my word! The colours! The textures! I'm in love! I did a spot of rag rugging (my friend Yvonne teaches it all over the place ) but I never really got going with it - too many other things grab my attention. Like the knitting last year - totally knocked my textiles off the shelf for a long time. I adore your dyed wool - I do some dyeing of old recycled blankets for my wool applique cushions, but you are on an industrial scale! Looking forward to reading your blog archive, and so good to 'meet' you!

  8. Gorgeous! Thanks for the tutorial!Thanks for the share.
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