Sunday, October 25, 2009

Genesis of a Colorway Part III

This is the final part of Genesis of a colorway. After I left you last, I went ahead an played with dyes, and as always, as I was playing, changed my direction slightly. Each colored circle became it own colorway, and the results are amazingly rich with subtle variegations.I name each skein after a verse from Dante Gabriel Rossetti's famous poem, the Blessed Damozel.

Here is the Blessed Damozel Collection

I hope you will enjoy the Blessed Damozel Collection.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Genesis of a Colorway Part II

I left you yesterday as I was about to grab my sketchbook, and my colored pencils.

I like to have all my pencils available, and after some serious sharpening, I draw about 18 circles on page.

I love working with the colored pencils as they can be layered to create subtle color variations.

Before I continue, let's look at the Blessed Damozel again.

The first color I saw was the one in her robe. I saw a deep green with a navy undertone. So I started to decline ( a word I use referring to the process of Latin and Greek declensions in which a root word is modified) the greens making them gradually more green, and leading them towards the gentle greeninsh greys.

Next I saw the browns, rusts and oranges. I started with the deepest brown and added rust as an overtone, again as for the greens I declined the browns to their simplest orange.

Next, it was the turn of the pinks and corals. I started with a red with a coral undertone, and went gradually towards the lighter pinks, adding a coral cast to all of them. Finally came a touch of yellow, and a pinch of pinkinsh beige.

This process left me with 18 colors, way too many for a skein of yarn. That is the hard part, to simplify the color range while at the same time keeping the colors true to their inspiration.

I narrowed the colors to 5 main colors with 4 in-betweens. The five main colors will become my main colors on the skein, and the in-betweens will be the areas where 2 colors touch and in the process create a variation.

Next stage, selecting the dyes, and mixing them precisely to obtain the desired colors. I love that stage, this is when my colors come to life.

This will be Part III!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Genesis of a Colorway Part I

People often ask me how I come up with my colorways, so I thought it would be so much fun for you to follow my color creations this week, from the start to the moment I update them on the website.
So back to the question. How do I come up with my colorways? Like everything else I do in life, impulsively.
Every Monday morning, I literally let my mind wander. I let myself feel the world around me. Like this morning for example. The idea actually came to me on my early morning walk. The air was crisp, and the sun gave a rich glow to everything, the landscapes looked like paintings, I looked at my emerald green coat, I felt my hair gently pushed by the breeze, and then my favorite painter's name filled my mind. Dante Gabriel Rossetti. I almost felt hunger for Rossetti's colors.

So as soon as I returned home, I started working... The blessed Damozel will be my first colorway.

So I have my inpiration, and I have chosen my first colorway. It is time to grab my pencils and my sketchbook, and play with colors... I will write about my colorplay in the next post.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Natural Beauty

I have been really fascinated by my work with natural dyes. This week I pushed my work even further, and worked on variegated colorways using natural dyes. I was scared that I would not succeed, but at the same I was excited. I set up the pots and pans, brewed my dye stocks, mixed, and played...
I chose colors inspired by the movie the Last Emperor, and in each skein worked to capture the boldness of the colors, and at times their subtlety.
To create my Last Emperor colorways, I chose brazilwood, cochineal, osage orangs, walnut, and sumac.
I hope you will enjoy the Last Emperor Collection .

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What's in a Leaf?

Have you ever stared at a beautiful fall leaf? Well, that is what I spent my week doing. It is just marvelous to see the beautiful colors that nature offers us. I know that when we think of natural, or when natural products are marketed, browns, beiges and creams are portrayed. But there is so much more in nature. There are flamboyant reds, vibrant corals, plums, golds, greys, and greens of all kinds. I saw all these colors in these simple leaves, and set out to recreate them using natural dyes. My natural companions this week were brazilwood, sumac, goldenrod and osage orange. Some of the colors took my breath away. Who knew that such vibrant reds could be created with brazilwood, and such opiniated greens with osage!
I hope you will enjoy my Feuille d'Automne Collection.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dare to live in color

I just love color to the point that even my home has become the stage for my "colorplay". Lately, maybe because of fall, I have been in the mood for reds, pinks and oranges, so once again the house has morphed! The funny thing is that each time the house goes through a color metamorphosis, my family doesn't even seem surprised. The family leaves a blue house in the morning, to come back to a passionate red one at night. One day I asked my husband and children, how come you are never surprised or even upset that I changed everything again. My oldest daughter said:" Mom, you make us so happy, we love that you bring so much color and joy in our life!"

Don't tell the family, but I see great new colors for the kitchen!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Knitting for Mom

Both my mother and I have our birthdays in September. This year, I wanted to do something that would combine knitting and natural dyes, so instead of dyeing the yarn first, and then knitting it, I reversed the process.
I started with this, 100% BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) in an Aran weight, 200g of it to be exact.

I chose size 9 needles, a simple lace pattern with clean edges, that would be easy to memorize, perfect for knitting while homeschooling the children.
After a few hours of relaxed knitting, I had a lovely scarf.

My mother's favorite color is blue, so I decided to play with indigo. I did not want to do just a blue scarf, but rather decided to create a gradation of blues by immersing the scarf once all over, and then repeating the immersion process over gradually smaller sections of the scarf. I chose to make the center the darkest, with the blue getting gradually lighter toward the edges.

I always find it amazing that out of this odd scented mixture can come the most beautiful blue!

After washing, drying and blocking, the scarf was ready.

And here it is worn by Miss SockPixie. I had a really hard time getting it back from her in order to wrap it and give it to my Mom!

P.S.: My Mom loved the scarf, and is already enjoying it as the weather is cooling down fast out here in Boston.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

October Sale

It is October Sale time for SockPixie. I have put all my creative study skeins up on the website at a 30% discount. Each skein is unique, and the skein in each picture is the skein you will get. I have so many wonderful things in store for SockPixie that I needed to make room, and these colorful babies were in need of good homes!
I hope you will enjoy my October Sale!