We’re working on our second Yarn Love Club (you can still get the first one here). While we’re not quite ready to reveal the details of our next shipment, we can introduce you to the designer of the pattern for the next shipment.
Stay tuned to learn more about our next Yarn Love Club Shipment!
What’s a mood board, you ask? Mood boards are a way to visually organize a theme, idea, or feeling. I recently put out a call for submissions for the second shipment of the Yarn Love Club. For this shipment of the club I wanted something that would be an elegant and wearable accessory using two colors of Yarn Love yarn. I came up with this mood board for the call:
Everyone gets their inspiration from different places. For me I looked for classic and wearable accessories that highlight the beauty of the yarn. When creating a mood board there are a lot of things to keep in mind! It’s important to know what sorts of patterns you are looking for, and the pattern’s purpose. As an independent dyer my goal was to get a fun knitting pattern that would be easy to wear, not too difficult to knit, take about 2 skeins of yarn, and really highlight hand dyed yarn. I also wanted to keep in mind my own style and aesthetic, as well as accessories that coincide with current trends. Let’s just say I wasn’t looking for a Cosby sweater!
One of the most exciting parts of this process was seeing all of the amazing submissions that we received! From the six images provided on the mood board we got a ton of ideas from very talented designers. It’s interesting to see how each person interprets the mood board and prompt into accessories which also fit into their own personal looks.
We’ll be releasing the new pattern for the next shipment of the Yarn Love Club in May, so be sure to keep an eye on the blog for more info to come!
Since warmer weather is just around the corner, or maybe already arrived, depending on where you live, I’ve created some looks with warmer weather in mind. The <3 hat is made in Marianne Dashwood, a superwash merino sport weight yarn, the hat is lightweight and breathable, perfect for transitional weather!
November is all about color! We have our new fall colors coming out this month, so to keep up with this theme we’re going to be posting all about color, all month long. When it comes to yarn color is very important. Pairing the perfect shades can take your project from pretty to show stopper! Most people are also drawn to certain colors. I’ve noticed people often pick up the same colors of yarn as they are wearing, everyone has their favorites! Today we’re going to talk about a few basics of color theory, and how to find the perfect pairing for any project.
Yarn Love Color Wheel
This color wheel includes primary colors: red, blue, and yellow. It also includes secondary colors, that are made of two primary colors, green (blue + yellow), orange (red + yellow), and purple (red + blue). There are also tertiary colors like grey and brown, which are made of three colors, which include varying amounts of blue + red + yellow.
Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. The high color contrast creates a vibrant look when used at full saturation, however it can be a little jarring, you can soften complimentary colors by using less saturated hues.
Full saturation: Tomato and Vintner
Less saturated: Banana Split and Sparkling Pool
Analogous color schemes use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. They usually match well and create a feeling of serenity. Analogous color schemes are often found in nature and feel harmonious and pleasing to the eye.
Analogous color scheme: Forget Me Not, Dryad, and Ancient Forest
The split complimentary color scheme is a variation on the complimentary color scheme. In addition to the base color it uses two colors adjacent to its compliment. The split complimentary color scheme has high contrast like a complimentary color scheme, but with less tension.
Split complimentary color scheme: Ancient Forest, Shiny Penny, and Cranberry
Look out for our next post on how to pick Yarn Love colors for some of the most popular colorwork knitting and crochet projects.
Last time I talked about all the beautiful patterns in the world that are inspired by literature. What’s better than knitting an amazing belletristic pattern with your favorite hand dyed yarn? So here we’ve paired up some beautiful patterns with beautiful yarns, because from one yarn addict to another, sometimes you need a little inspiration to get your needles (and hooks) moving!
This time we’ll be introducing our final starlet: Anne Shirley, and Dyeing Diva Extraordinaire and Yarn Love Fearless Leader: Katie Franceschi.
Anne Shirley is a smooth multi ply worsted weight yarn comprised of 100% Merino wool. Each skein of Anne Shirley is $18 and contains 250 yards and 115 grams of yarn love. Want a little Anne Shirley for your private stash? You can find Anne Shirley at the Yarn Love Etsy Shop and at Eat Sleep Knit.
Anne Shirley in colorway Tulips has recently been featured as Springtime Monster in mercourier’s new claymation movie Monsters of Green Gables.
Aberdonian’s Lenina in the Forest is a sequel to Sin City and features Anne Shirley in the Ancient Forest colorway.
And finally, Dyeing Diva Extraordinaire and Yarn Love Fearless Leader: Katie Franceschi.
Katie is a mad scientist with a love of colors. Here’s a sneak peek at her dye studio/home/laboratory.
All the component colors used at Yarn Love are mixed into concentrated dye liquids in those water bottles. Dyes get goopy over time so these bottles get recycled and replaced regularly. All the Yarn Love colors are mixed by hand from these 11 hues.
There is a window directly above this mixing station to provide the best light possible. Katie spends a significant portion of every dye day standing right here measuring and mixing up each color.
The hand-painting station with freshly dyed skeins stretched across the sink. Skeins are tied for dyeing, soaked and then stretched across this mesh shelf for dyeing. Once all the colors are applied the freshly dyed skeins will be wrapped and moved to the oven to set. This is Early Crocus.
After the skeins are properly set, they go into a soothing wool wash bath. Small buckets are used and like colors are grouped together; this helps conserve water. Some days there is an entire line of soaking yarn!
Immediately after their soothing wool wash, the skeins are spun out in the spin dryer to remove excess water and hung on one of our drying stations. Each drying rack has a fan along each side to encourage swift and thorough drying.
This canvas bin just to the side of the drying station is where finished yarn awaits banding. It’s a waist-high laundry bin & it holds a lot of yarn. Diving into this baby is the most wonderful experience ever! In this shot, it’s filled with Elizabeth Bennet – about 12 lbs worth. The finished bin will be carried off to the banding table when the yarn is ready to be shipped.
Like any respectable operation Yarn Love has it’s own quality control team. Our Yarn Love mascots ensure your yarn is of the highest quality by hanging out on the dyeing counter making sure every skein is dyed just right. These two goldfish, which are named The Daddy Fish and The Xavier Fish are 3 years old and huge! We also have two lyre-tail mollies and an algae eater, but they’re holding a staff meeting off-camera.
So I’ve been wanting to lend a more personal touch to Yarn Love. It’s true that all my yarn is crafted by hand – from the skeining, through the dyeing, washing, drying, twisting and banding. My skeins are hand-wrapped in tissue, a lovely Yarn Love sticker is popped on and off they go to you. Each skein is special and important.
But lately I’ve wanted to make something even more personal.
I have a sock of the month club where I get the pleasure of creating two new colorways every month. It’s so exciting. I love color. I love combining them into something fresh and beautiful. I love hunting up inspiration from life and photography. And I confess, I love the responses that my club members give me when they see the new colors for the first time.
But right now I’m the only one impetus behind the Yarn Love color palettes. That’s something I’ll never give up, but lately I’ve longed for some collaboration. But I want your help. I want to know what you want.
I’ve come up with two options which sound fun to me, and I’d love it if you’d leave me a comment stating your preference.
Option 1: Personal Palette – a single personal palette spot will be available on a regular basis via my Etsy shop. You purchase it, fill out the accompanying color questionnaire and I send you some wonderful yarn, and a palette image similar to this to help you plan out your project:
Option 2 : Mood Board Monday – instead of offering a single personal palette to one customer, all customers will have the opportunity to submit a “mood board” or inspiring picture. I’ll collect the responses, post them to the blog for you all to enjoy, then choose a single inspiration to make into a new colorway. The new colorway will be available for anyone to purchase (on the base yarn of your choice) via the Etsy shop. Mood Board Monday would be a recurring event, say the first Monday of every month.
So let me know what you’d prefer by commenting. Inquiring minds want to know!
- 3 complete restarts. Everything ripped followed by a new cast on.
- 4 partial rips: most of these rips removed 50% of the current progress. I could have had the whole thing done if only I’d avoided this.
- 1 new technique incorporated. Ironically, this has been the smoothest part of the whole design. Go figure.
- Lots of questioning of my previously very solidly held belief that this design was, indeed, very clever.
In the course of the entire week – we’re talking daily work in this rather diminutive garment – I’ve not even used up all the yarn freed from previous ripping sessions. I have mixed feelings about ripping out knitting. In days past, I would do anything to avoid ripping out my work. It was tragic. It was soul-wrenching. All that work disappearing into the ether…..never to been seen, used or loved.
In more recent days – or in the days since I’ve started designing I’ve embraced ripping out my work. When you’re publishing, things have to be as near to perfect as possible. Missed stitches, wrongly crossed cables, and questionable design decisions all have to come out.
While rambling down the road to knitterly perfection, I’ve learned that no matter how precious my knitting is to me, I feel better when I’ve recognized and fixed my errors. I like that my work is quality, and value that more than the mere production of knitted fabric. I feel that I’ve grown as a knitter. That by pushing myself to work outside my comfort zone I’ve improved my skills, patience, and the quality of my finished knitwear. I like that.
This week’s challenge has been the gussets on this sock. They just will.not.work. I’ve designed, redesigned and reredesigned. Colors have been changed, the stitch pattern has been rethought and reworked. Last night I came to a conclusion. It may have been inevitable. It may have been fate.
These socks aren’t going to have gussets.
So despite my very firmly held belief that all socks should have gussets, I’m giving in to the impulse of the design and leaving them out. It’s the best thing for the pattern. It still fits the foot for which it was designed. Since I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone (I love gussets! They’re my favorite part of any sock pattern!) I’m going big and going to do an afterthought heel. Ooh, the drama of design!
So if you are fighting with your knitting, stop. Listen. Be un-afraid to quit fruitless attempts to mash a project into your ideal and find it’s hidden potential….even if that means doing something new.
You know, working out of your home – even when you have dedicated studio space – while balancing the needs of your family is a challenge. Many indie artists face this challenge everyday. For me some days are quite hard – the business must wait because my children need me. This can cause me stress and frustration as my deadlines and daily strategies are altered or disappear all together. Other days we all work in harmony and I make great yarny accomplishments! They are satisfied with their work and play, and I accomplish what must be done and more. As an indie artisan, I feel the tug of many tasks that need my attention. I make lots of lists in order to a.) remember everything and b.) prioritize my tasks c.) ensure both the household and the business is running smoothly.
To me, this is the heart of being an indie artisan. Bringing my career, and money making pursuits, into harmony with my life and my family. I feel this indie life is a great blessing to myself and to my family even while it is one of the most challenging pursuits of my life to date.
Case in point: I am currently working on a tight deadline for publishing two patterns. Contracts have been signed, and my professional image as a designer is riding on me getting my patterns and samples in on time. Due to the crazy forces of mid-winter holiday madness, I had 5 pattern deadlines changed by the publishers during the month of December. Even though I have been working days, nights and weekends on these two particular patterns, I had to write for an extension.
I felt terrible. I felt unprofessional. Luckily, the project is not as time-sensitive as most & the publisher granted me a bit of extra time to get everything in order. It was a huge weight off my shoulders, but I’m still working like mad.
Yesterday, I looked downstairs as I was cleaning up from breakfast to see my youngest son (16 months) playing with my yarn cakes for this pattern sample. We’re talking custom spun yarn that I’ve hand-dyed and hand-wound and are integral to this project which I’ve been trying not to stress over.
And I smiled. Because my yarn was ok. My pattern and sample are progressing daily. And my baby found joy in something I created.This is why I am indie.
Meet Ruth from Rock + Purl. This is Ruth here, isn’t she lovely?
She’s awesome, and so are her designs. I got to know Ruth via Twitter and Ravelry. I immediately loved her design aesthetic and her quirky personality. She’s full of good information; I’ve heard her discuss everything from the proper way to cook a paella to how short rows make a sweater awesome. If you follow me at all, you know I love all things food and knitting related. You can easily see how Ruth quickly made her way into my heart.
For November’s sock club colors, Ruth provided me with a photograph as a starting point for a brand new colorway:
Then I translated it into yarn form:
Since I try not to double up on colors for the sock club members (just in case they don’t like a particular hue) I created a second color choice that follows the same theme, in a different palette. Just Before Dawn follows the sunrise/sunset theme, and mimics the way the sky looks out my window at dawn:
Now a little more about Ruth. She has many beautiful designs. In particular, I fell in love with her She Wore Blue Socks, and knew I just had to interview her for the blog. If you’re a member of the Sock Club, you’ll be receiving a free copy as your November goody!
If you’re not a sock club member, no problem. Ruth has generously provided a copy of the pattern to one lucky blog reader. Simply comment below to enter!
My questions are bolded, and Ruth’s answers follow. Without further ado, here’s more about Ruth and how she designs!
K: Where in the world are you located?
R: I was originally born in Spain but have spent my adult life in the UK – I live in West Sussex, a mostly country-side county in the South of England.
K: How long have you been designing, and what inspired you to start?
R: From the start, I added my tweaks and preferences to other people’s designs (I was one of those knitters who know how to manipulate measurements to make things fit me), and with a father in fashion, it’s always been in the back of my mind. When I found myself out of a full time job and wanting to take more control over my life, I chose to start small (all my first designs are accessories) while I “honed” my skills at grading/pattern writing!
K: What inspired you to design She Wore Blue?
R: I was playing with yarn – initially it was only lace, and browsing through stitch dictionaries, I found a way to include the cable in my lace!
K: What is your favorite color?
R: Oh, that’s too difficult to say!! I love anything bright – I don’t like dull colors or colors that don’t inspire a smile!! I guess if I had to choose it’d be red or yellow.
K: What’s your favorite knitting technique?
R: Cabling without a cable needle. Many of my designs feature cables, and it’s the fastest trick in the book!!
K: How can we keep up with you & your designs?
R: I love hearing from people on twitter (@rockandpurl) but I recently opened my Facebook page (http://on.fb.me/rockpurl) and can’t wait to see more knitters joining!
A huge thank-you to Ruth for teaming up with me on this month’s yarn, taking the time to participate in the interview, and providing a great pattern giveaway. If you haven’t yet, comment below for your chance to win!