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  • Coopworth Breeding Stock
  • Handspinning Fleeces, Roving
  • Locker Hooking Supplies
  • Locker-Hooking, part one; Hand Dyeing the Roving

    Click here to go part 2.

    We have Locker Hooking Supplies for sale!
    Click here to go to our Supplies for Sale page

     My 3rd rug
    This is a photo of my third completed rug.

    I made this 20" x 36" rug for a 4-H raffle. The grass was made by hooking 2 different green rovings at the same time, one of which was silver roving overdyed with green...I like the effect. In the sky, I tore different blue rovings into random lengths, and hooked them, overlapping the ends.I spun a bulky yarn and embroidered the window trim and willow branches after I had finished hooking the rug.

    I decided to try Australian locker-hooking a rug with some of the roving from my flock of Coopworth sheep.

    Locker hooking is a craft from the 1920s-40s that was practiced in Great Britan and America, using strips of fabric. The technique was called the "Anchored Loop". It was re-invented in Australia in the '70s and given a new twist...or lack of twist, by using fleece straight from the sheep, or carded roving. All that is needed is some fleece, roving, or yarn, rug canvas, a locker hook, and locker thread. The locker hook looks like a crochet hook with a needle eye on the end. The roving is drawn up through the hole in the rug canvas,and after several loops have been pulled up, the locker hook and attached locker thread are drawn through the loops, locking them in place. The technique can be used to make rugs, wall hangings, jackets and bags.


    The first step in making my Locker Hooked rug was to hand-dye some roving.


    • crock pot do not use for food after using for dyeing.
      I purchased one at Salvation Army for $5.00
    • dye
    • vinegar
    • paper cups, plastic spoons (for dye solution)

    I filled a crock pot about 3/4 full with tap water, added about 1/2 cup of white vinegar (The dyepot for wool should have a pH of 4-5), and then the dye solution (2-5 teaspoons of dye powder dissolved in hot water). The dyes I used were Procion Fiber Reactive dyes for hot water. I used these because I had them left over from tie-dyeing cotton t-shirts. These dyes will not "exhaust" all the color from the dye bath the way acid dyes will, but work fine as long as you use vinegar or another acid- such as acetic acid or citric acid crystals.

    I then shoved about 2 oz. of roving into the crock pot...I did not pre-soak the roving, since I didn't mind if the dye "struck" unevenly. Even though this roving was for a rug, I like a little variation in the color of the roving...it will give a more hand-made look to my finished rug. I then turned the crockpot on low, and left it for about 2 hours. After that time, I lifted the dyed roving out, rinsed it, and placed it on a plastic "bread tray" to drip dry for a little while, later hanging it on a clothes line. I usually put more roving in the crockpot to get a lighter shade of the same color, though sometimes I got a very different color...for instance, my "fire engine red" dye gave an orange-red from the first dyeing, then a more true red with the second dyeing. I guess this has to do with the different colors that are often mixed to make the dyes.

    I then added more dye solution to the next dyebath- going from blues to purples, cleaned out the dyepot- then yellow to green, cleaned out the dyepot- then red to orange. I also put some of my natural colored silver roving in some dyepots and got some nice "greyed" colors, like the "spruce green" color that I got from the bright green dyepot, and the pumpkin and spice colors from oranges.

    I have dyed “rainbow” rovings by sprinkling dry powders on the roving in the acid water in the crockpot and poking the roving with a dowel to get the dye to saturate the roving. I have been most happy with this technique when using only 2 color families, such as blues and yellows to make blue/green/yellow roving.

    I have compiled a list of some great dyeing links on my Fiber Links page.

    Click here to go part 2- How to locker hook a rug.
       greens, yellow dyed roving
    Some of our dyed roving...greens, yellows

    blues, purples dyed roving
    more of our dyed roving... browns, rose,purples, blues

    Click here to go part 2.
    Jim and Martha McGrath
    178 Lough Rd.
    Franklin, WV, 26807
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