color and place

the conversation from the last post (if you haven’t read the comments, or contributed your own story… go!) has me thinking about what colors have really changed for me in the last few years, especially since i’ve started dyeing as a major part of the fiber arts that i pursue.

both of these color changes have to do with my homeland: montana.

montana blues and greens

variations on certain shades of blue and green have become attractive… think bright and dark piney greens layered in front of bright sky blue. think cold mornings and 90 degree days of the most delicious dry heat.  this change has been so pronounced that ben has even noticed it.

the second color change is more recent, developing since i changed dye brands last summer.

montana yellows/golds

variations on all shades of yellow – we are now in late summer montana. think fields of wheat, dry yellow grasses on the side of the road.  or early summer – think sagebrush buttercups.

how have the places and spaces that you have spent time with affected the way you look at color?

about face

recent yarns.  i totally thought this yarn was ugly, until i went outside to look at it and noticed this

and then this one was too fun not to take a photo of

and i must tell you that this is not the first time that my opinion about colors has been changed by nature.  while we were living in vancouver and i was a fairly new dyer, without fail, i would get all variations on green/gold.  not my favorite colorway ever, and then one day i looked out my living room window and noticed that it was almost exactly the color of the green maples turning gold.  a whole new appreciation for the color was born and now, again. from fleshy to floral in no time flat ;)

have you ever had your opinion of a color changed from something in your environment?  have you ever had an about face about a color?

color combining

cosymakes: answering your questions since early 2009 ;)

margie over at the buzz A roni blog asked what my favorite color combination is.

currently the fave is homeland inspired – green pines and blue blue skies, plus a bit of dirt/bark throw in is good
green and blue

and another old standby – because valentines is soon – purple and red and or red and pink
red and purple

what about you? has any color combo been haunting you lately?

the blues of color

blue knitting

in my first blog entry about color, i mentioned that i never thought i had a favorite color. well, the fact that i’ve been knitting in a lot of blue and the fact that some of you mentioned liking the blue of my sock in the last post has brought me back to thinking about colors again, and the potential of having a color that i’m relatively neutral on. blue is a color that i’m not particularly attracted to. i may, however, be attracted to a particular kind of blue for a particular purpose.

in the photo above, bottom right and fuzzy, you see some of my hand dyed handspun shetland. i am quite a fan of the shetland to begin with, but this blue has more than that going for it. i think grey blues are very beautiful and it helps that the roving was dyed in the wool giving the subtle and lovely depth after plying. ben always likes the dark blue/black/grey combos and so they have been growing on me as i have started to notice and appreciate them more. as a side note, ben’s eyes are blue/grey too. maybe it’s a ben color that has rubbed off on me.

the sock. for some reason, i thought that bright blue needed to be on my feet and i wasn’t particularly enamored with any of the other colinette colors. frankly, in hindsight, i love the spiraling purple/magenta too. ben was surprised by this purchase i think.

light blue ball of yarn. what can i say? this yarn is the nice sort of rough and the depth of color that i always fall for. when my mother-in-law first took me to learn to crochet at my favorite yarn store in fairbanks alaska, i chose a yarn pretty much the same as this one. i have a crocheted potholder made out of it. i looked at all the colors in this sort of yarn and i chose this one. i have no idea :) i think the instructor recommended acrylic or a blend to learn on and i came back with this one. a cheeky girl, i am.

in the back you can see some garter stitch in pale blues and brown – my hand dyed recycled sweater wool. despite the fact that i do, as a general rule, like pale and muted, i think that what attracted me to this one was the interplay between the brown and the blue.

despite the fact that i’m not overly keen on blue as a pure thought, i love both water and sky. i love looking at them and living with them and, frankly, i would not do without any color. i remember once when we had to do a paper trying to convince someone of something in university, i pretended i was the color yellow and i was trying to convince them not to put me in exile. in the same way, the world would not be the world without the color blue. nor could you make green, and that would be a crying shame ;)

your turn. has anyone ever ‘introduced’ you to a color or a particular shade of color so that you saw it in new light again? have you ever surprised others or yourself by choosing to buy something very outside of your personal preference color range? do you love one particular thing because of the color interplaying with other colors, even though you don’t really love the base color? do tell. i’d love to hear your color stories.

au naturale

lately, i’ve been rather enamored with the natural tones of wools. in specific, whitish, oatmealy, and grey colors. very unexpected – i mean, my wedding dress wasn’t even close to white! and i make part of my living dyeing things so that they are no longer white. how could this happen?


i think the progression went like this:
first came this and this. then, lots of work on this. it couldn’t have helped that i have shetland wool on the brain and have all sorts of lovely shades of natural to spin. there are 11 different natural colors of shetland, you know. then last week, i found a squishy soft merino sweater at the thrift store (the squishiest, the softest) so i just had to turn it into this because i *needed* to touch the yarn

white wool

so for the new pattern, how could i do anything but this?

new pattern

the snow cat hat is almost ready to be published. the hat that made the final cut for the photo on the pattern was not white. but truthfully? i wish it was :)

have you found yourself drawn to any strange colors lately?  maybe it’s the weather…

matchy-match clash

are you a matcher? i’m pretty sure i was at one point in my life – i recall having a gagillion pairs of keds and choosing a different pair for each different occasion. early photos seem to contain similar shades and tints of pink. i’m not sure when that changed. now i’m, what should we call me? clashy?

i think one of my problems with matching is that it not only overwhelms me with one shade/tint/tone but it also doesn’t even look good (read: interesting) to me. i don’t even like my winter accessories to match. when i was in high school my accessories were green – but they were different greens. olive green hat, forest green mitts, different shade of green for the scarf. that may have been the beginning of the end – my love affair with the monochromatic.

i just can’t bring myself to do it even if people request it for the shop. no matching sibling sets here, no mother/daughter combos. my friend steve bought this hat for his sister-in-law and this one for his nephew and i think they look great together. but, they do not match.

anyhow, here’s some matchiness as matchy as i get today… two of the yarns are the same, buttons, and oh my! radiating embroidery. i have to tell you though, that i think the colors of the hats steve bought made a much better combo than these two.

for the smaller set
purple babydoll eyelash hat

purple babydoll eyelash hat

my hand dyed recycled sweater wool
thrifted wool
recycled sweater 50% mohair/25% nylon/15% angora/10% wool seen here

18 mo.-4 yr.

purple babydoll eyelash hat - embellishment

and for the larger
purple flapper tam


recycled sweater 50% mohair/25% nylon/15% angora/10% wool same as above
my hand dyed recycled sweater wool

adult medium/small


just to point it out, lately it seems that i am much much worse (read: crazier) than usual with color – putting together things that i never would have thought about a year ago. like this!, this? or this!?! what’s the state of your sense of color as of late? i think mine needs some tea or some yoga or something.

p.s. i’m to the point where the backlog from the move is pretty much gone – so i’m putting hats up in the shop as they come through the blog. yay!

yarn theories

it worries me a bit that you all think that yarn henge is a lot of yarn… because i also have a big trunk full and several bags more!

should i not be admitting to that? now you all get a bit of cosy yarn theory lest you think that i am simply a mindless consumer who cannot get enough.

most of this yarn is 1) recycled sweater 2) thrifted 3) gifted 4) mill ends and then the little bit that’s left was bought at full price (basic wools) or on sale. Despite the fact that i have to move it, the many colored, many balled nature of my stash is what allows me to have a large enough pallet to create and never get bored with making my hats (and accessories do not use up much yarn so it goes down slowly…  do you know how long it will take me to use a whole sweater that i recycled?). plus, remember those hat kits, it’s all for the business, i swear ;)

well, maybe not all.

anyhow, i am for large palleted knitting. i’m also for, as mentioned before, giving away wool.  and i love thrift store shopping, so you can imagine how this all happened.  if i’ve whetted your appetite, you can read more of my many yarn theories and stash opinions when the book comes out.

p.s. when i started writing this i accidentally dubbed these ‘yarn theories.’ and then i kept it because it makes me giggle – like i believe in conspiracy theories or UFOs or something… i think to non fiber people, it seems about as strange :)

yarn poll

i wound a lot of yarn into balls this morning and weighed them. then, i corresponded much of the day with my friend erin about what sort of colors she would like for two baby hats she’s going to make. this pic is of some of her options, but not the ones she took.

i’ve been told time and again that i have a way with colors. so, the question has been for a while now, how can i use that in the shop to cater to my friends who like to knit themselves. here are the options i’ve come up with:

1) yarn kits – no pattern, just 4 oz. of color coordinated yarn (with some extra colors etc. for embellishing)

2) knitting kits – 4 oz yarn with the option of several patterns to choose from

3) hat/mitt kits – yarn with the pattern, put together with a very specific pattern in mind

and to add to the mess that is my brain, once the book comes out in the spring, many of those patterns can be used with these same yarns (basic worsted weight). should i just do yarn kits with no patterns until the book comes out?

i obviously don’t have the time right now to work on 2 or 3, but i’d love to hear which you are most attracted to and why.  and if you’ve any other ideas of how to integrate my sense of color into something for the shop, i’d love to hear them!



i just wanted to thank everyone for their wonderful reflections on color. if you haven’t read that conversation yet, you can do so here.

it’s interesting the differences in between what colors intrigue us and what we wear. or how the the colors we like may relate to our personalities. it’s also interesting to think about how our relationship to color changes as we move and grow.  the link of color to our environment seemed very strong.  i love the idea that we can have a favorite color in a particular way – i.e. the comment on the purple in flowers. anyhow, thanks for the food for thought and if you haven’t read the comments, do! and add your own voice to the conversation if you like.

seeing green

my friend susan has been reading this book on color and i’ve been writing the section of my book on color theory and it has me thinking.

i have an interesting relationship to color. i’ve spent my life saying that i don’t really have a favorite color, which I don’t. if i see a rack of the same shirt, one particular shirt will the best on the rack for me because it seems the most interesting color on that shirt. i’ve also spent my life thinking that others were silly to have favorites (i think i just don’t like the concept – if it’s better in a different color, it’s better in a different color). i’ve also spent a good deal of time in arts classes where people would say things like, “my real love…” or “my real passion…” is color. What does that mean? Who are you people? but then again, i’m always a bit frustrated in classes, being a grumpy learner and all :)

but seriously, when i put things into my dye pot, they all have an equal chance to impress me when they come out. they all have the equal chance to be used in interesting and challenging ways. when i paint, i have many colors on my palette and mix them together in numerous ways, and use all or most combinations.

that said, i’ve come to the conclusion lately that the color green (at least the murky shades) is a part of me, deep down inside. it’s in my bones. i wouldn’t say it is my favorite because I don’t want everything to be green, i don’t only buy green things and I certainly don’t want others to only buy me green things. But the more I think about it, the more I know that it has been green for me for a long time. I have a feeling that my mom could have told you that years ago…

here’s a early cosy knitting story. back in the winter of 2002 i wanted to start knitting so i asked my mom to buy me a scarf kit for christmas. she went to the local knitting store and couldn’t decide what colors to buy so she told the lady that i liked ‘ugly’ and ‘pukey’ colors! i think the lady probably looked at her like she was crazy. and, if you ask me, neither of them could figure out what ugly colors were to save their lives… because my first scarf was beautiful (and no, it wasn’t pukey green).  i think part of noticing that i am so attracted to green is noticing that other people weren’t and thinking that was preposterous.  susan says every once in a while, ‘i’m usually not attracted to that color, but…’  and as you can imagine, my mom and i have very different color tastes.

it all makes me wonder why we are attracted to the colors that we are. i wonder if i internalized the greens and browns of my montana environment.  i do very much like to be outside and with trees.  i wonder what green means to me. does it make me feel relaxed? i don’t dye more in green than other colors. my wardrobe is none the greener for it… probably because i’ve kept it so well under wraps for so long… so, unlike me, i assume this won’t be so hard for the rest of you – what color are you irrationally drawn to? any idea why?

p.s. i was not paying attention when i was writing this and capitalized in all of the right places. i definitely had to go back and de-capitalize! it’s entirely too shocking to change the way i write my blog now, this far in.