Sunday, April 24, 2011

....using what's at hand....

....driving to the studio today along our exquisite lakeshore drive....and as I looked at the way spring is unfolding, near water and elsewhere, it came over me that, if I only could become a technically proficient yarn dyer (not Laura Bryant, not Ellen Minand, but at least competent), I could work to develop a sock yarn line that would be keyed to particular local vistas and vignettes of particularly striking beauty.  This will be a trick.  All I have done, really, is to overdye some natural grays and browns, and then kettle dye some of Green Mountain Spinnery's nice medium-weight natural wool.   Of course I've sat through a dyeing workshop with Ellen, and I've read the requisite books.  But that's not how one learns about dyeing and color.  So maybe I'll start with one vignette and see how I do.  I won't want to sell yarn that isn't done properly.

The idea here, though, is pretty wonderful:   Larry or I would take some photographs of riveting moments along the lakeshore and elsewhere -- he would reproduce the photographs (or at least the best and most telling one) on a yarn band, and we'd call the series something like Water and Earth by Artisan Knitworks -- he can come up with something more elegant than that.  And it will take me the summer to figure out if I can do this.  If not, then not.  Two friends promised today to tell me if the things I turn out are not up to snuff.

Or maybe, like the mama spider, I can lure someone over here to help!  I have in mind the brilliant Nancy McRay from Woven Art in East Lansing, whose parting shot was that she might try to come visit someday soon.  I can easily envision a dyeing workshop......  Failing that, or perhaps in addition to that, I could ask friends at Lorna's Laces in Chicago if I can drive over there and watch for a day or two.  (For Laura:  Florida is too far away!!!!!   And I don't think I can dip-dye.  This has to be done with poured dye and brushes, etc.).

The first vignette -- it almost made me cry to see it -- will involve some willows covered with brilliant, almost neon baby green (the color of what?  maybe a cross between lemon and lime, though it's not that either -- it has some gold in it -- close to Classic Colors' golden pear) with some other greens, draped over water that shimmered with blues and grays, and then of course a shot of deep, deep yellow from a patch of daffs newly sprung from the trap of winter.........We'll see.  This idea has appeal to me, but everything depends on technical competence.      svb


  1. Ouch! You don't set the bar too high for yourself, do you? What you describe is lovely, poetic, and very difficult to execute. Watch the overlaps and the boundaries--they will tell the entire story and make or break it. BTW, dip dyeing can have remarkable control and so can wet dyeing--what I do for my weavings.

  2. Well, I won't pull it off ever, my friend, if I don't try!!!! So I'll get some inexpensive stock and have a go at it. I have the idea that I will see more clearly if I try to translate nature into dye. Could be wrong. You could come help, you know, anytime!!!!! Hugs to you. svb