Color Inspiration Thursday: Subscriber Color Collaboration

Towards the end of last year, I was thinking over the things I’d done over 2017, and what I enjoyed most. My chosen profession is a creative one but also a fairly solitary one; most days I work in my studio by myself. Which is fine for the most part (being somewhat of an introvert), but sometimes I sort of wish I worked in a larger group setting (but not that not often, of course 😀 ).

One of the things I most enjoy is collaborating with other people on colors, because it connects me to the outside world and gets me out of my self-imposed and mostly enjoyed dye-cave. I did a few collaborations in 2017: with designers on colorways for their designs, with other dyers on joint designs or projects.

As I was making plans and goals for 2018, I knew I wanted to expand this idea of collaboration, and who better to do this with but people who I know like my yarn and color sense (or at least I think they do): the people who subscribe to my newsletter. So in my January newsletter, I sent out a call for color inspiration photos. The idea being that I’d choose one to create a colorway, and whoever’s photo was chosen would get a free skein of their very own special yarn. And boy, did I get some great photos back! It was really hard to choose one, but I did.


Rheba sent me a fabulous photo of a beautiful, colorful chicken. This photo intrigued me, because this bird was a blend of colors I normally would not put on the same skein of yarn: lilac-blue-purple with deep orange, tans, brighter oranges, hints of green, and red. When handpainting yarn, putting purple and orange next to each other does not normally produce an attractive result … wherever they blend sort of turns to an unpleasant shade of brown (puke brown? not to be too graphic, but it really isn’t very pretty).

BUT. Fixing a base color on yarn, and then adding layers on top? Yes, indeed. That can be done.


Viola! Chicken yarn!

I used the bottom color on the chicken, which on my monitor looks like a soft blue-lilac color, as the base color. Then I layered deep oranges, hints of green, lighter oranges, tans, and bits of red on top.


I can’t even with this color.

I really love the result! I did take some artistic license, of course, but side by side, they look pretty nice together:

And, because I’m not one to leave well enough alone, I dyed a complimentary color to go with it …


Chicken Yarn with its compliment, a deeper lilac-blue-purple.

Want to play? Subscribe to my newsletter (if you’re not already subscribed; note that it’s not the same as subscribing to this blog 🙂 ) and send me a photo that inspired you, or you just love, by no later than January 31. Make a note in your email that you’re either already a newsletter subscriber, or that you just subscribed. Then, sometime in early March, I’ll send out my next newsletter, and it will include the Customer Color Inspiration photos and yarn!

Whoever sends me the photo chosen will receive a free skein of their special, personal yarn!

I had originally planned to make these colors a Lucky Pot (you’ll know what this is if you’re a newsletter subscriber. If not, stay tuned; that’s a post coming soon). But, I did actually write the recipe down for this colorway, so it *may* happen again. If not, what I have is all there is.

Back at the beginning of January, I had planned to do this every other month. But it was so much fun, I’m going to try to do it every month. And every month I’ll start from scratch – deleting all the photos from the prior months and basing my choice on new photos sent to me. If you’re photo doesn’t get chosen, you can always send me the same photo again (and some of the ones I received in January I really loved!).


Color Inspiration Thursday: Gradi-Speckles!


“Light” Spectral on STF Aurora

A few weeks ago, I was dyeing up a batch of Spectral on Aurora, my single ply superwash merino fingering weight base (which I LOVE). My Mom was here at my studio, and we were chatting away as I mixed base colors, added them to pans, and added yarn. All normal, right?

She went on her way, and when I went to start adding speckles I realized I had not measured the base dye for Spectral correctly (obviously I can’t do two things at once ;-D ) and it was super light. After stomping and cursing a bit, I just figured whatever, I’ll proceed anyway.

I loved the result, but it definitely wasn’t Spectral (I knew it wouldn’t be, of course). After looking at the Not-Spectral-Spectral for a bit, an idea formed, which was to create multi-skein kits based on one single colorway, but adjust the base color lighter and darker. On the Sea Shadows kit, I actually started with an undyed skein of yarn, with the colorway speckles. I really like starting the set so light. So, all the skeins have the same exact speckles, just the base color is a different depth.

So that’s what I did. Two new kits, dyed on STF Birte (DK weight superwash merino, cashmere, and silk), one of my favorite yarns for knitting sweaters. These kits are bot six skeins each, and total 1,650 yards.

I chose two of my newer colors that I’m quite smitten with: Sea Shadows and Crystal Cave.

The fourth skein from the left is the “true” base color in both kits.


Crystal Cave Gradi-Speckle Kit

I was even thinking of going one step darker, and doing a final skein that was basically a super dark, tonal solid. I’m exploring this idea a bit more for something I’m dyeing for a potential new pattern design, so … stay tuned …

I thought six skeins was a good, average number for these kits but I realize this may not be enough yarn for some knitters and for some patterns. Andrea Mowry’s Comfort Fade Cardi, for instance, calls for a whole lot more yardage than this for the larger sizes, although personally I’d shorten that design for myself because sweaters that go down over my butt? No thank you.

Anyway, I have more Birte here and, if you love one of these kits but need more yarn, just email me. I can dye more of any of the colors in the kit so skeins can easily be added anywhere in the gradient.

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And now I really want to finish my current WIP so I can start experimenting with one of these kits!

I’m thinking about doing a kit based on Spectral, too. What other colorways would you like to see dyed like this?