I had been thinking about practicing my 'color skills', when I was going through the pictures of my weeks in the Dolomites. If you've ever been there, you might have seen the 'Enrosadira': the stunning sunset that sets the sky - just above the mountainous horizon - on fire in the most beautiful shades of reds and purples. I always take pictures of this phenomenon when I get the chance, so I have quite a lot of them (though they can in no way replace the real thing, you just gotta see it with your own eyes...). But the Dolomite mountains have more to offer! When the sky is clear and cloud free, it can be worth the effort to get up early, so you can observe the sunrise. The mountains slowly become visible, first in icy dark blue colors, while the sky above them turns soft pink until the sun peaks over them. Different colors, but just as stunning as the 'Enrosadira', this so-called 'Alpenglow'.
Suddenly an idea formed in my head: I should try to make two colorways out of these appearances! I opened Photoshop and got busy, ending up with two color schemes full of very challenging colors. I don't think I've got any of them ready to use in a pot, all the shades had to be prepared by mixing several dyes together. I wanted practice? Practice I got ;)
I imagined these colorways to work quite well for sock yarn (I can totally see a cozy pair of knitted up socks in these shades!), so I ordered two 100g undyed hanks and set up my dying materials in the garage a couple of days later (annoying my mom who constantly has to step over dye pots...sorry mom!). I started with 'Alpenglow', which turned out to be the easiest colorway. I'm pretty proud of the result!
Nice huh? I really love the different shades of blue! Although I mostly used acid dyes (Jacquard), I also added a touch of blueberry Koolaid, which came out surprisingly vibrant (and smelled lovely among the strong vinegar smell, heheh..).
Next up was 'Enrosadira', which gave me a bit more troubles. In 'Alpenglow', I didn't use any yellows, but in 'Enrosadira' I obviously did. I mean, the band of sky just above the mountains is deep, golden yellow in its purest form! The problem I didn't foresee (but should have, because it's quite logical), is that when you use blue and yellow next to each other, greens will appear. And thát's a color that doesn't appear in the Enrosadira-sky...
Unfortunately, I couldn't prevent some bits of green, unless some over dyeing. Lesson learned: next time be more careful about what colors to use next to each other.
Still, I'm also pretty happy with how the 'Enrosadira' sock yarn turned out. It's darker and deeper compared to 'Alpenglow', just like the actual skies. And I learned a couple of new things about mixing dyes! It's not as hard as I thought, I really expected a lot more 'muddy-ness': that ugly brown color that appears when the colors just flow over in each other, instead of forming nice gradients. I have to stay aware though of the fact that different fibers take up the dyes differently. For my last dyeing experiments I used alpaca, which definitely gives other results!
Both of the yarns went into my shop, because I already have way too much yarn anyway and simply can't knit up anything. (Besides, when it comes to socks, I'm the slowest knitter ever...).
If you're interested, check out 'Alpenglow' here, and 'Enrosadira' here!
So...already having made a mess in the garage (and annoying my mom) anyway, I thought: why not proceed with some roving? A little while ago I ordered a big bag of superwash roving from WorldofWool.com, which was just laying in a corner, pitiful and without any color, screaming to be taken out and join in the coloring fest. Who'd be able to resist? When I made the 'Alpenglow' and 'Enrosadira' colorways, I quickly found out how addicting it is to make these schemes. (Did you know there are also apps for your phone that can do this?! Check out RealColors, ColorView and ColorSchemer for example!). So I made some more, only this time instead of photographs, I decided to use artwork.
Growing older, I'm starting to appreciate artwork more and more. I can spend hours discovering artists, new ones ánd old ones, and marvel over their works. It's one of the great advantages of our digital age, having an endless art museum in my laptop! Sometimes I even feel a kind of hunger for art, like my creative soul is craving food in the form of illustrations and paintings and pretty handmade things. Not necessarily to buy, but just to look at and be inspired by. That probably sounds quite weird, but still I wonder if anyone else recognizes this hunger? It's simply a longing for beauty, that can be such a sweet and soothing thing in this (sometimes so harsh) world.
Okay, before I get too philosophical, I'll tell you what I did. I went to my Pinterest account (one of my favorite places to still the hunger) and picked out a couple of nice artworks, from different artists and in different styles. I made color schemes of the illustrations, just like I did with my photos, and used two of them to dye some roving. Besides having to study the illustrations and their colors more intensely than I would otherwise (which is good practice and feels like a good meal, when it comes to the hunger), I can also show yóu guys some works of my favorite artists and just simply spread the inspiration! My plan is to do this more often, not only with roving or yarn...I'd love to make some rolags and combed blends and maybe (mini) batts as well! And who knows...perhaps also a fiber mix, pre-dyed, ready for you to use for your next project?
For the first roving, I picked an illustration by Victo Ngai called 'Leap'. I was drawn to it in the first place because of the fox (foxes are just plain awesome, like everyone knows), but studying it longer I became impressed by the color use, the smooth curvy lines and the specific structure of the trees.
Victo has a very distinct style, I can totally imagine why she was honored with several medals and awards. Yes, 'she'. Victo sounds like a boy's name, but it's actually a nickname derived from 'Victoria'. You can check her out at victongai.tumblr.com. Here are some more works by the talented miss Ngai:
The second roving was inspired by an illustration called 'Bike Rider', made by BukuBuku. That's a silly name huh? I tried to find out where it came from, but ended up only with the girl's real name: Silvia. Anyway, she's another talented illustrator who makes very cute and kawaii-y drawings. A completely different style, but one that makes me happy! (And: a fox, again!) If you're up for more, take a look at hellobuku.blogspot.com.
For 'Leap', I could partly use the same colors as I used for 'Alpenglow'. 'Bike Rider' demanded for something else though: yellows, reds, blacks and a bit of soft pink. I think the roving turned out just as happy and cheerful as the drawing itself!
Just like the sock yarns, I put these rovings in my shop. They're both superwash (no felting!) and around 4 ounce. Who's gonna spin up these lovelies into something pretty?!
Click here for 'Leap', and here for 'Bike Rider'.
If there are any artists or artworks you'd like to see processed into colorschemes, rovings or other fibers, please leave a comment! I'm open for suggestions, and always happy to find out about new illustrators and painters.
Oh, before I take off, one last warning: wear a mask when preparing your dyes. I normally do, but thought I could just pour over a teeny tiny bit of powder from one pot into another - I should've known better. I had a little accident (don't ask), and fuchsia colored powder was flowing around. Even though I quickly covered my face and ran away, when I wiped my nose at night, my snot was bright pink (sorry for grossing you out here, let it be a warning :P ).