Last week, I prepared the backings by hemming them to the desired length. Now I will show you how I take a painting and adapt it so it can be knotted as an off-loom rya. The design I am working on is from a painting by Claude Monet, but this could just as easily be an original pastel or oil painting, or a zoomed-in abstract from a colorful photograph. Designs are everywhere.
I like to use diluted watercolor paints so I can see the graph lines as I work. Even if an area was going to be black, I would watercolor paint with gray just to give me the idea of dark or black. Note that the graph paper is not standard. In a one-inch-square there are 70 smaller squares representing where the knots will be. (See the close-up shots below.) I carry this special graph paper if you want to give a shot at designing your own someday. As I paint, it dawns on me that I ought to be thinking yarn-colors, not paint-colors, so I grabs some color samples. (I know that is not so easy for you. If you are serious about designing a rya, I’d recommend a yarn sample card set with about 80 colors. My Yarn Samples as sold on etsy.)
So I roughly paint a similar image to the inspiration, dabbing in color and thrust and shapes. I avoid too much detail because detail doesn’t translate well into the moving pile of a rya rug. Luckily Monet did great organic flowing designs. Here is my watercolor nearly complete. Remember it is just a guide, not a literal painting.
As soon as I am happy with the feel of the painting, I start to “square-off” my painting lines into color areas for the yarn. It is fun to follow a curved line making only horizontal and vertical lines. That is squaring off. Each of those squares will be a knot with one, two, or three different shades of yarn.
And another squaring-off illustration. When I am painting, I pay no attention to the grid lines. Don’t even try to paint according to the grid. Squaring off will make it look as though you planned it out very carefully.
I will leave you today with this image as I walked away from it this evening. It is more than half squared off. In the next work session, I’ll show you how I make a corresponding color card showing exactly what color yarn will go where. Any questions?