Much as I’m most comfortable with classic, smooth, monochromatic yarns with good stitch definition to let my stitch experiments shine, hand dyed yarn is so big. I’d like to be one of those designers who helps knitters use their beautiful yarns, and helps dyers sell their gorgeous creations, but I really need to study up on them – and possibly say, OK, you other guys be that kind of helpful designer, I’ll be this kind of helpful designer. We’ll see. But Sweet Georgia Yarns published a bunch of fascinating articles this week – I needed the education, how about you?
When I was starting to knit, I realized that much as I loved reading Threads articles about color theory, I was pretty relieved that I could pick yarns already colored, not dye them. I was basing my reflections on childhood painting experiences where everything turned brown eventually. At a homeschool art class, my son’s teacher said that children’s paint sets often spike the red with yellow so each color will look appealing on the shelf, but that makes it hard to ever mix a purple. Maybe I should try paining again. I’m not sure I’d like to be a dyer figuring out colors to include, but it’s so interesting to read about how they do that. (I threw in a link to Kate Davies on her yarn colors while I was at it, it was on topic)
Even after reading Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting (birthday present from Miss Jane at church when I was 20 or so) with her guidance on picking colors from a photo you already liked, colors shift around when they are together. Their values and hues aren’t stable when they are next to each other. I didn’t exactly decided that color was too tricky for me, although my family’s reaction to my, “take all the odd skeins of yarn on sale and attempt to Kaffe Fassett them together then have my Mom wear the result to her conservative office with the heat set too high.” attempts were a strong nudge that way. I needed a budget, I needed to give myself permission to knit for myself. I needed to ponder what other people wanted, and respect their desires to NOT be given hand-knits if they’d really rather a nice theology book. I also needed to make bigger swatches and try proportions out.
My last two years in college, I left the dorm for the Humanities House. It was rumor-ed that my neighbor, the sponsoring professor, wanted to hand pick quiet students who would let his baby sleep. At the time that part seemed a rude poke at adults, surely they weren’t that cynical? Now that seems brilliant – getting a sleeping baby to stay asleep is gigantic. And what was the harm? We read a book a semester, discussed it, and watched art movies and discussed them with our neighbor, and his baby slept. Sometimes we babysat. I got access to the neighbor’s wife’s stash of weaving yarn she’d picked up on sale before she realized that weaving wasn’t her thing. I knit her family about 4 sweaters with that yarn, for which she paid me. I lived with art majors who would talk color. Not that all of them approved of me calling intense purple red “cranberry.”
The Speckle/not speckle article reminded me of when I worked as a quality control chemist, yes, wear your masks ALL OF THE TIME folks! Read those MSDSs!
How about you? Does color delight you? Baffle you? Seem something to delegate to dyers?