Violet Jane Yarn
In 2014 The Oxford Company purchased Violet Jane and we are now dyeing all the yarns in our dye kitchen at The Oxford Rug Hooking School! Our Violet Jane yarns are variegated while most other places only sell solids. Violet Jane multi-colored variegated yarns are GORGEOUS! Solids are beautiful and necessary but including Violet Jane in your work can add interest and shading to your rugs, giving them richness, depth and texture without any extra work on your part! At this time we only sell our Violet Jane colors in rug yarn but soon we will be dyeing up worsted weight Violet Jane as well - perfect for our fine point and "Mini" needles.
- Hand Dyed - One Skein at a Time - by Heidi Whipple for The Oxford Company
- 100% Wool 3-Ply Rug Yarn
- $16.50 for 4 ounces (approximately 65 yards)
May I order specific colors?
Yes! Because computer monitors all show colors differently, we have chosen not to have the individual colors for sale on our website. Ordering from a photo could cause disappointment because the colors might not match. Our color cards are the best way to see the exact colors. Once you get your color cards, please phone or email us your order. We custom-dye this for you, so please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.
Violet Jane Color Cards
- 6 cards featuring samples of 93 glorious variegated colors.
- Each yarn sample is 13” long
- Color cards updated October, 2014
Violet Jane Natural Rug Yarn
- This is the same base yarn we use to dye all of our Violet Jane yarns
- Use as-is or to dye your own colors
- 100% wool 3-ply rug yarn
- Comes in 4 ounce skeins (approximately 65 yards)
What punch needle sizes work with Violet Jane Rug Yarn?
Our #8 regular, #9 regular, and #10 regular Oxford Punch Needles work like a charm with our Violet Jane rug yarn. The #8 makes the thickest rug that is 1/2 inch thick, the #9 makes a 3/8 inch thick rug, and the #10 makes a 1/4 inch thick rug. Our favorite needle size for the Violet Jane rug yarn is the #9 regular. We love the look of the lush pile of rugs made with this size loop. It is also more economical to use a 3/8" loop height than a 1/2 inch one.
Violet Jane multi-colored variegated yarns are GORGEOUS! Solids are beautiful and necessary but including Violet Jane in your work can add interest and shading to your rugs, giving them richness, depth and texture without any extra work on your part! At this time we only sell our Violet Jane colors in rug yarn but soon we will be dyeing up worsted weight Violet Jane as well - perfect for our fine point and "Mini" needles.
About Violet Jane Rug Yarn and Dye Classes
Violet Jane was started in 2004 by Sara Jane Burghoff and is known for its gorgeous hand dyed variegated rug yarns. When Sara was ready to retire in 2014, Amy purchased the business. Sara has trained our own Heidi Whipple over many months and when Sara has visited she has said that Heidi’s colors are “spot on,” meaning they exactly match the originals. We now dye and sell the complete line of Violet Jane colors and also offer classes in dyeing variegated yarns using Sara's methods and dye formulas. Violet Jane yarn changes color or value approximately every one - two inches unlike most variegated yarns that change color much further apart. What’s the difference in the effect? One - two inch variegation creates a dappled look while color changes that are further apart create stripes. When punched up, Violet Jane’s look is unparalleled: the mottled effect adds texture and interest, making it seem like you worked much harder than you really did!
June 26, 2014. Left to Right: Sara Burghoff, Amy Oxford, and Heidi Whipple take a selfie on the day that Amy purchased Violet Jane from Sara. It was a happy day for all of us. Sara got to retire, went home and made a peach pie to celebrate, Amy looked forward to offering amazing yarns to her students, and Heidi was excited to spend more time in the dye room and less time in the office!
“Just as a fine piece of marble can speak to a sculptor, telling them what to sculpt, and a piece of interesting wood can speak to a woodcarver suggesting what to carve, Violet Jane yarns also speak to the rug hooker. A redish orange can evoke a fox, dark blues urge you to hook night sky, and golds call out to be stars… These colors will speak to any rug hooker who knows how to listen.” — Amy Oxford
A Brief History of Violet Jane
The Violet Jane company was started in 2004 by Sara Jane Burghoff to sell hand dyed wool rug yarn and wool fabric for punch needle and traditional rug hooking. Sara was unable to find colors she liked so she did what many have done before her – she taught herself to dye. And boy could she dye! Violet Jane became known as the company with the most exciting and beautifully hand dyed variegated rug yarns on the market. (Please note that this yarn is also referred to as “spot-dyed” and “hand painted.”) Sara’s skills as a dyer earned her the title of "Hue Guru."
One of Sara’s biggest fans was punch needle rug hooking instructor Amy Oxford. Whenever Sara gave Amy yarn for her classes the students pounced on it, leaving an empty pile of yarn fuzz where the skeins had once been. Close friendships were often strained with the impossible task of having to share the colors. We won’t mention the time a fight broke out...
When Amy opened The Oxford Rug Hooking School, Sara kindly agreed to come and teach her techniques and share her secret dye formulas. Rug school employee Heidi Whipple took several classes and began acting as Sara’s assistant. As it turned out, Heidi LOVED to dye yarn. Everyone noticed this and comments were made such as, “Wow, I’ve never seen Heidi smile so much,” and “She’s never going to want to work in the office again!” Not only did Heidi love to dye, she was REALLY good at it! Sara was impressed with Heidi’s ability to reproduce colors accurately and repeatedly.
When Sara was ready to retire, Amy offered to buy Violet Jane. Sara agreed and Amy is now thrilled to be able to keep this extraordinary palette of delectable yarns available to everyone. Sara has trained Heidi over many months and has kindly volunteered to continue to offer help and guidance whenever it is needed. When Sara has visited she has said that Heidi’s colors are “spot on,” meaning that they exactly match the originals.
The Oxford Rug Hooking School will continue to offer dyeing classes using Sara’s methods and dye recipes. Students have been flocking to the school to learn to spot-dye and are not only dyeing up Sara’s colors, they are even inventing their own!
What’s Makes Violet Jane Rug Yarn so Special?
This 3-ply 100% wool yarn is simply the best possible quality! It’s spun from breeds of sheep with coarser, stronger fleeces, making it durable enough to be used for rugs in high traffic areas. Yes, your rugs made with Violet Jane can really go on the floor and can even be doormats! It is also the perfect weight for the regular Oxford Punch Needles! The colors range from subtle pastels to jewel tones. They have depth and richness not found in other commercially available yarns. Who could ask for more?
How is This Variegated Yarn Different From Other Variegated Yarns?
Most variegated yarns have long sections of one color. For example, a yarn that is blue, green, and yellow might have sections of each color that are 4-20 or more inches long. When this gets punched it creates stripes – not always a bad thing but one doesn’t always want stripes! Violet Jane on the other hand changes color approximately every one to two inches. When punched up, it makes a lovely dappled, mottled effect. For example, if you’re punching a flower, you wouldn’t necessarily want it to be striped, whereas dapples create shading, texture and interest, making it look like you worked much harder than you really did! Add Violet Jane anywhere, to sky, water, trees, flowers, animals – the list is endless.
Can I Have Too Many Variegated Yarns in One Rug?
I’ve seen rugs that were made entirely with variegated yarns and they were gorgeous. If you are concerned that the look might get too busy you can combine Violet Jane yarns with solid yarns for a lovely effect.
Why Does Violet Jane Cost More?
Good question. To achieve such beautiful results, this yarn can’t be produced en masse! Each skein is carefully hand painted one at a time. It is then covered with water and baked individually in a stainless steel pan in the oven for one hour. Then the skein is rinsed repeatedly (also by hand), air dried, and re-skeined. Skill and accuracy are required, not only to make such a complex pattern on the yarn, but also to be able to repeat it in a uniform way for our customers who need multiple skeins of one color.
Do I Have To Worry About Getting the Same Dye Lot?
Though it is impossible to dye two skeins of Violet Jane yarn exactly the same each time, you can be sure that the skeins are close enough that they can be blended together in your work for a seamless effect. If you know you need multiple skeins it’s always a good idea to order them all at once.
More about Sara Jane Burghoff
A note from Amy: Several years ago, when Sara began teaching at The Oxford Rug Hooking School, I asked her to write a biography for the website so people could find out more about her. She wrote a serious bio that we put on the site and what she called a "silly one" (below). I couldn't stand to leave out the silly one, so here it is:
Sometime in the 1990's while working on her very first hooked rug, Sara first stuck some wool fabric in boiling water with onions. Soon afterwards she ordered some Cushing's Dyes, bought the biggest container of vinegar in the grocery store, and was on her way to creating colors on wool fabric. Some years later she read Amy Oxford's book and learned that punch hooking gave her the opportunity to actually complete a rug in a reasonable amount of time. This was important, because she was working full-time as a computer programmer and raising 2 sons. Free time was almost nonexistent. However, dyeing wool yarn became her next obsession. Her kids learned to answer the phone with, "She can't come to the phone right now, she's dyeing." Once at suppertime she was asked, "I'm starved! What's cooking?" The answer was, "Purple!" Sara jokes, "No kidding. Even now my kids are extremely skinny. Holidays revolve less around favorite foods and more around, 'Look at my latest color! What should I call it?'"
In the early 2000's her house was overflowing with yarn, so she started selling it. Her first attempt to sell her solid colors brought in $1.50 at the local 2-day "Harvest Market." Undaunted, she asked Stephanie Krauss of Green Mountain Hooked Rugs in Montpelier, Vermont just what kind of yarn punch hookers were looking for. The answer: variegated colors. She started keeping notes on the variegated colors she made so that she could re-create them, and the company Violet Jane was born in 2004. She is a member of The Association of Traditional Hooking Artists (ATHA), the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild, The Northeast Kingdom Rug Hooking Guild, and is a Certified Oxford Punch Needle Rug Hooking Instructor.
Questions and Answers With Sara Jane Burghoff
Q: What inspired you to start dyeing wool for rugs?
A: My very first hooked rug had a commercially-dyed gray for a background color. It took me 8 years to hook that rug, and it looked so ugly when it was done! That's when I realized that COLOR choices were the most important decisions involved in making a beautiful rug. And the rugs that looked beautiful to me were created with hand-dyed wools.
Q: How did you learn to dye?
A: I collected the lessons in Rug Hooking magazine by Maryanne Lincoln, and methodically practiced each color. I was using Cushing's Dye when I started. I took a week-long class with Karen Schellinger at Green Mountain Rug Hooking School and switched to Pro Chemical dyes during that class. While in Virginia at a rug camp in 2004 I attended a brief workshop on color with Eric Sandberg.
Q: What's your favorite color?
A: For the past year or two I've been in a purple/green/orange phase. Prior to that blue and yellow were favorites. Red and Green appeal to me, too. I sold a rug that was all browns, and I really miss it. I guess all colors are my favorites.
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