Monthly Archives: July 2016

Lupine Forest – playing with a colourway

Ever since my stint at Olds College teaching a class called Wild About Colour, I’ve been obsessed with dyed rovings. I spent a great deal of time developing this class and want to deliver it again and again and again. I also want to make it longer, maybe two days. . . . there’s so much to do and learn and discover when you open the box of colour. So I’ve been thinking about it and colour a lot lately.

One (delightful) challenge in planning and organizing my classes is finding good quality, reliable sources for my materials. And to continue my 100-mile wear sentiment, I want to support local artisans – so I went looking for them.

At Fibres West 2016, I was drawn to the Kinfolk Yarn and Fibre booth. I was teaching a full schedule and didn’t really have time shop. Makes some of us wonder why we choose to teach. I loved her colours and from the way she presented her work I knew she was an artist at heart. If you want to challenge this, please do. That will be an excellent blog post for me to articulate in writing.

So, earlier this month, we met up and talked fibre, colours, and supply for workshops. I came away from that meeting with four colourways to play with and excitement about working with a new dyer. As much as I am a visual person, I am also inspired by language, so often the title of a colourway will get me thinking. . . Lupine Forest.  Sometimes the name of a colourway will irritate me, but in this case, it truly inspired me because for the first time, I have lupines in my garden.

This is the story of Lupine Forest.

Here is what the braid looked like when it was all rolled up.

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I pulled it apart to see how (and if) the colours repeat and to get a sense of the entire roving. Lovely, lovely stuff. Lots of purple and green with the occasional section of brown. I couldn’t wait to play with it.

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I wanted the knitted fabric to look like lupines. You know those flowers? In the wild they are mostly purple and have long stems with symmetrical repeats of blossoms along the stems. A perfect candidate for the barber-polling that some spinners dread, and go to great lengths to avoid.

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So I pulled off a length of it, ended up being a third of the roving, split that in six sections and spun that up. Here it is. A mere 44 grams.

2016-07-16 15.02.42I wanted to have a barber-polling effect, to replicate the look of lupines, so I chose a green BFL that I had in my stash. It was far too bright and consistent, so I blended it on my hand carders with two other greens that more accurately reflect the colours of the forest, and made several of the rolags you see below. The bright green that I wanted to play down is the green at the very bottom. Plied with the purples, it would look like lupines; with brown it would look like forest with underbrush; with the greens, it would simply add depth. That was my thinking.2016-07-17 11.52.32

That gave me these two bobbins that I plied into a soft-two ply yarn.

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That you see here. A 75 gram skein. A decent amount for a wee project.

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This is a perfect example, for me anyways, of a yarn that disappointed. I thought I had gone too far with the greens and washed away all the purple. What’s the use? The lupines were all lost in the sea of green. But. . . never completely judge your yarn/result until you knit it up.

Knit up into a quick half-mitt (Simple Lines) project, you can see that the purple of the lupines was maintained. The forest is there with the greens throughout and the occasional browns of the trunks of trees. (This photo doesn’t truly show the colours, they are much warmer.)

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I have another two-thirds of this braid that I have other plans for. I want to spin a yarn so the purple really “pops” so that will mean spinning a thick/thin yarn. Let’s see how that works out.

In the meantime, I want to thank Kyla for this lovely braid of fibre. It was so beautifully dyed, no felting or crunchy parts, no dye residue when I washed the yarn. Lovely and soft for a pair of hands wanting warmth in the coming months.