Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Lime green and tangerine

(With extra points to anyone who gets the song reference)

There's a post on colour that's been kicking around in my head, waiting for the right moment to get out. This probably isn't it. But colour has been a big part of my musings lately.

We all have favourite colours. We tend to stick to those colours and those combinations that are pleasing to our eyes and our differing tastes. Sometimes that can work us into a bit of a rut. The mossy lime green silk cap above is another example of the continuing series of greens that I've been playing with for the lat six months or so: and I've been weaving it into yet another green/brown/yellow handpainted warp. The tangerine is as well, because the scarf it will turn into will be red, yellow and orange: fun, but predictable.

But sometimes you're lucky enough that something prompts you out of it.

That happened to me a week or two ago. While spinning the tangerine silk cap (not looking anything like it's wonderful glorious brightness in the image above) at Rampton spinners recently, the wonderful scarf in Meg's avatar leapt into my mind. Suddenly I started to see the bright orange silk cap woven with a complex weave - possibly a block-drafted crackle - into a deep royal purple silk warp. The effect would be shimmering. I mentioned this to Meg, and she said that the only reason she had the gold cotton in the avatar was because she'd been sent it by error, and yet it had become one of her favourite cottons. She'd been taken out of her comfort zone and it had worked. I call that serendipity.

Since then, I've been looking at colour completely differently. My brain is brimming with ideas, at various stages of maturity. The orange and purple, which is still germinating in my head. Pale lemon yellow weft into soft grey splodged with rose pink and blue (a dog's breakfast of dyeing someone else did on a silk skein which I've later inherited - I'll take a photo one day). Stripey pleats, making a fabric with two different sides. Soft yellow pleats into dark navy blue, to up the contrast. And maybe trying to do something like watercolours, which change hue with changing perspective.

Sometimes all it takes is the smallest prompt.

Also, apologies for any typos. I think I've caught most of them, but I'm typing with a bandaged index finger due to a minor olive-oil-tin-and-sharp-knife gardening accident last weekend, and the extra bulk catches keys.


  1. Oh, my, your poor finger. You've got some exciting ideas there. And after you weave, I'll be just as interested to see how you photograph the shimmers, because that's one of the hardest thing to capture on film, well, in digital files, I find.

    Really look forward, Geodyne!!

  2. Dear, no accident involving the listed components sounds very minor to me. My imagination winces!

    I recently started thinking similar things about colors and comfort zones as I chose wall paint, and discovered that every room was likely to end up in a shade of green if I didn't start paying attention! I believe bargain second-hand yarn and well-meaning gifts of yarn can really help that with weaving. My lack of interest in dyeing (laziness about the mess really) keeps me from running to overdye "ugly" yarns the moment they come into my stash. Instead they lurk in the bottom of the boxes until they surface next to another color and I say, "Wow, nice! I could weave those together!"

    I look forward to seeing what colors come to flower on your loom!

  3. Meg: that will indeed be the challenge!

    The finger isn't too bad really, it's just a cut on the pad of the finger. I was more concerned about the fact that my hands were covered in dirt at the time but the knife was clean and my finger hasn't dropped off, so all is well.

    Trapunto - that's interesting, I use a similar tactic! I have also obtained some of my stash by buying bulk lots of yarn on Ebay as people clear out their studios and enjoy the challenge of finding uses for random bits of yarn. I keep them all out on a large bookshelf so they can inspire me and make their own pairings. They can sit there for years, but eventually do jump out and tell me what they want to be.