February/March 2005 - ATHA

A Study in Leaves

Submitted By Sibyl Osicka

February/March 2005 - ATHA

Use a variety of greens in a rug. Some blue-greens are good for shadowed leaves, but add some yellow-greens for warmth. Always use unequal proportions, as in 60 percent blue-green and 40 percent yellow-green, or 70 percent to 30 percent. If a leaf has a turn over, do the top side of the leaf in one swatch and the underside in another swatch. When doing this, the color travels around the rug.

In hooking a formal-looking rug, it is best to finger or mock-shade your values. Fingering blends your values so effectively. When viewing a leaf in nature, you will see its colors are fingered also.

In a primitive, fingering is a no-no; instead, it's best to outline and fill. Two or three values may be used in one leaf, if you wish.

The leaf colors should be selected after the flower colors have been. They should harmonize and look good together. Blue-greens look good with reds and orange-reds. Yellow-greens generally look good with purplish - reds and blues. Some greens are neutral and look good with all colors. These greens can be combined successfully, too, with blue-greens and yellow-greens. For example: pair W. Gushing & Co.'s Silver Gray Green dye with Reseda Green dye.

Hook in directional lines. This helps with the flow of the leaf; generally, the directional lines go from the vein to the edge in a diagonal manner.

Hook leaves one at a time. Work the top leaf first. To avoid having them run together, make the one on top in lighter values, then the underneath one. Also, by hooking the underneath one (in the area near the top one) in darker, duller values, it helps to separate them.

Before starting to hook a leaf, decide just how dark and how light you are going to go in that particular leaf. Hook the dark in first, then the light, then lastly, hook in the intermediate values. In hooking large leaves, do not have your colors too bright. It's best to use quiet colors and avoid much contrast of values. The flowers that accompany these leaves should be brighter and the leaves should play second fiddle. Casserole dyeing is another approach to consider, especially for autumn colors. Spot-dye or tweeds are very good for primitive leaves.

If your background is light and you're hooking a leaf, use values 1, 2 or 3 of your 8-value green swatch in the center, by the vein. This means you are using your swatch evenly and the first three values will not get lost against the light background. I always try to place these values next to the vein in the fattest part, making this area light. On the opposite side of the vein, use your darker values. Do not take the value 8, shadow line and hook it a little lower in height, all the way to the top of the leaf, because doing so will cut your leaf in half visually. This style of hooking is called mock, or contour, shading. NOTE: Never stop and start in the same place with each value. Always take the next value one or two holes beyond the last. Hook your shadows the same. Review the photos of the "TS 515" by Jane McGown Flynn that I hooked and note the left next to example C.

I try not to finger too much in a rug, because of all the cuts. I will mock/ contour shade for it. On a wall hanging, it doesn't matter. With my fine shading, I like to shade my veins. See example of leaves B and C. I cut the veins into three sections, value 8 at the base, then value 7 and value 6. I fingered both of these leaves. You will notice on leaf C that I kept the left side of it a little darker because of the smaller leaves on top of it. I hooked from under that leaf using value 8 to value 3 at the base. One thing you want to remember is to keep a contrast between the leaf and vein; if you don't, they will run together in values and everything will get lost. On the right side of the leaf at the base, I skipped a value by the vein. The vein was value 8, so I started with value 6 and proceeded to value 1 at the tip of the side.

Remember to keep a difference of light and dark between the leaf and veins. The same is true of your motifs. Do not get hung up with values, but think light and dark. When you put your work down and look at it from a distance, if you can see a difference between light and dark, leave it alone; however, if you can't see a difference between light and dark, go back and make the correction by lightening the one side or darkening the other. Your work will be viewed from a distance and not up close.

Working with leaf B, I used two different swatches very closely related on the color wheel, analogous and the same intensity. It is fun to hook a large leaf or motif this way. If progressing from one swatch to another, before hooking it, lay the values next to one another and if they are closely related, proceed. If you stopped hooking with value 3 of swatch A, you probably will proceed to swatch B with values 2, 3, 4 or 5, depending on the intensity of swatch B. You can use this method when hooking any larger motif, dress on a girl, fur, hair and so on.

This pattern was fun to hook, but try it with fall leaves and see a vision of color