Tag Archives: colors

On color and vests

So I admit, I was whiny about my inability to get what I wanted with the redwood roving mix, but I keep thinking about color and I’m trying to understand it in terms of spinning.

vest

This is made from some of my earlier handspun yarn that I mixed myself and liked. Some will think of it as Pepto-B, bubble gum, and berry & orange sherbet barf, but I think of it as campfire embers.  This was also (in my mind at least) a success with taking a color I don’t really like (the pink) and mixing it up with others to tone it down.  I’ve got some strong and opposing feelings about certain colors – some pinks and yellows I abhor, some I love, some that I abhor I love on others, or love knowing that others love them.  This was also made up of souvenirs from nearly one coast to the other.  The burgundy and bright orange were some crappy batts seconds from a now forgotten booth at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and some goldish-lavenderish roving came from there as well; the pink was a bag of dyed  Border Leicester locks from SuDan Farm at the Portland, OR farmer’s market.  We were in Portland during one September when it was being its characteristic grey and damp self, and the colors in the market happily screamed out:

portland toms

portland fiori

portland peps

The booth with the locks also screamed out to me since it was the only one I saw with wooly goodness and I was immediately on it like the fly on sh*t.  I first selected a bag of cheery bright yellow locks and then decided I wanted another to keep it company, but I’m not sure why I picked the pink – this particular pink falls into my category of not liking it, but glad it exists.  But I think at the time it was just showing off at the moment in super-saturated glory amidst the grey.  When I got home, it didn’t appeal to me so much, so I knew it would have to take second seat to some of my other more loved colors.  However, I wanted to retain the bright warm mood to turn it into a garment or accessory best worn on grey days which my old city had aplenty.  The yarn turned out to be pretty stiff and scratchy and felt most like baling twine, so it wasn’t going to be something I could wear next to my skin, but I didn’t have enough to make a sweater, so…. enter the vest.

This brings me to ranting territory, and by the way, the vest above is loosely based on the  East-Knit Vest in 5 Sizes pattern by Kathy North – but I improvised most of it, so don’t use mine as a reference for the pattern.  But, why are vests often inherently frumpy?  I wish to exclude the long flowing designer-y ones, those that are more practical as an outer-garment, and anything for men or children and just focus on the basic waist-ish length knitted vest for women.  There is almost no way that I can wear this and I don’t look like: a matronly frump, a homeschooler of the creepy variety, a media stereotype of a spinster in the making, an aging woman who still sleeps with teddy bears and a unicorn nightlight, someone who wears mom jeans, or someone who still wears what granny made in the ’70s even though she shouldn’t.  Part of the problem could be that it doesn’t suit my body shape* and the yarn is bulky and loud and attention-grabbing, but there is still this [nearly audible to others] underlying drumbeat of frumpity dump dump, frumpity dump dump, frumpity dump dump…** whenever I wear it.  I’m not particularly fashionable, I don’t give a damn how others judge the way I look, and I frequently wear a down vest, but I just can’t rock this one…  I still wear it though, occasionally.

*My vintage dress dummy is not me – she/it has impossibly high tits, though we do share the same approximate waist size.

**Phrase coined by my old [former, not elderly] co-worker and knitting friend F. W.!

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Curse of the redwood roving

I buy economical roving seconds from an American yarn company – I could name the company and my source, but I don’t want to give away what I feel is my own personal secret stash that I don’t actually own.   The roving is easy to spin, comes in some nice colors, and makes a durable yarn.  I haven’t had much desire for spinning a solid-colored yarn since I want my yarn to look handspun and unique, so I usually blend colors.  I have a background in art, I am good at picking out pleasing paint palettes for rooms, and I am in no way colorblind or challenged, though I do like some challenging colors.  I bought a pound of what appeared to be a soft, slightly dirty red, the warm color of redwood and the innards of cedar.  When it arrived, I was pleased, and it was the pleasant not-too-reddish hue I hoped it to be.  However, whenever I put it with other colors, it turns a nasty raspberry – I have nothing against raspberries, I like raspberry sorbet, not berets, unless it’s a song, but I don’t really like the song either, just the artist, well, sort of but really, in the past maybe, but I don’t like that part of the past very much… So yeah, raspberry reminds me of the 1980s, and those being my years of middle school and other childhood angst and trauma of being a geek in a backassward rural town, I’d rather not go there again.

I figured this first glimpse of the evil that this raspberry roving becomes is my my fault entirely.

fugly original

I don’t know what I was thinking, but I think I was thinking of the American Southwest – turquoise in a desert sunset or something stupid.  I stopped spinning when I knew it was clearly awful.

fugly hat

My mom needed a birthday present, and she had some purplish fuchsiaish eyeglasses that I thought would go with the yarn, so I whipped up a hat.  A hat only a mother could love… but this isn’t some stupid crayon drawing that can be ignored until something conveniently spills on it, so I don’t think she wears it much, and wouldn’t model it, but N is a good sport.  The hat is warm, and though the pattern was improvised, I jotted down the recipe for future bulky handspun use, so at least it had purpose.

A few months later, I bought some gorgeous hand-painted roving from Scarlet Fleece at my then LYS in a colorway called “easter egg.”  To me, it was all of the lovely colors of autumn, so I’m not sure what they were going for in the name, but the gorgeous colors were the important thing.  I wanted to make a small shawl from it, but only had four ounces, which could have been just barely enough, but I wanted more, I wanted bigger.  Enter the bastard redwood.

fugly roving

This picture really does show it being a bit berry, but trust me, I didn’t photograph it well, and see the reddish tone in the multicolored roving on the left end?  Yeah, it does match.  My other choices for blends were a saffron yellow that seemed a little too bright, and a coppery brown (see hat above) that brought it down into dinginess.  All my little samples and tests in indoor and outdoor light led me to believe the redwood would be the perfect match, so I went with it, and kept going with it even though I could see it was an utter mistake after plying the first few yards…

fugly yarn

So, now I know I suck at color when it comes to spinning and I ruined the perfect subtle warms oranges in the other roving.  It is raspberries with lemons and grapes.  Hello 1980s, hello fugly-ass yarn. It looks like one of those vomitous swirly lollipops.

Maybe I’ll make a shawl out of it for my mother…

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