Posts Tagged ‘knit’

Consulting the Experts on Color

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

This is part 3 of my article about yellow that missed being published in 2006 when a magazine went out of business. The article has been updated.

It’s not something we generally think about much if at all, but most of us see the work of color experts every single day. Fashion, food, and craft magazines, advertisements, variegated yarns, and print fabrics are created for maximum appeal. Creators want you to buy them, so they make them beautiful.

For the price of old magazines and yarn or fabric already in our collections, we can consult their color expertise.

For my study of yellow, I gathered magazines that were destined for the recycling bin. When I saw attractive photos and ads with yellow in them, I tore them out.

Yellow, blue, turquoise collage

I ended up with a lot of pages that featured yellow, turquoise, and blue. That summery combination reminds me of swimming pools and sunny beaches with turquoise waters.

Maybe it wasn’t strictly necessary, but it was fun to make this collage…

…and these swatches.

Yellow, blue, turquoise swatches

Intarsia cables are kind of a pain, but they look so nice…

Intarsia knitted cables

As yarn lovers, we’re very familiar with variegated or multicolor yarns. Yarn manufacturers consult experts, predict fashions, and they pick the colors they think will appeal to the most consumers. The same goes for fabric manufacturers.

Go ahead—borrow their expertise!

yellow, pink, blue knitted swatch

Lion Brand’s Lion Ribbon (probably discontinued now) combines yellow with vibrant pink and blue. Small amounts of green, orange, and violet appear between the major colors. I tried to use similar proportions of solid colors in my knitted sample.

The pattern is Barbara Walker’s “String of Pearls,” most likely from her Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

Next time: “A Suffusion of Yellow” (Thank you, Douglas Adams.)

Studying Yellow

Friday, April 14th, 2017

This article was written for a magazine that went out of print before publishing it. It seemed a shame to keep it to myself, so here it is, and I hope you enjoy it.

Yellow crochet, the start of a doily

Sunshine, cowardly, lemon, journalism: yellow is many things. I was surprised learn that yellow is also “difficult.”

A friend took a creative color workshop with a well-known knitting instructor. Each student chose one color to study for the day. “But don’t pick yellow,” said the instructor. “It’s difficult.”

I scoffed at this, but to my amazement, I later heard the same pronouncement at an international quilt show.

Well, I say if a color is allegedly difficult, working with it is the only way to learn to use it well.

So let’s take a look at yellow together, and then you can use these methods to study any color you may find difficult. The best part is, no color wheels are necessary.

Basic Steps

Decide which specific color you want to study.

Yellow ranges from pale creams (yellow + white) to rich olive shades (yellow + black). Yellow school-buses are really orange-yellow, while fluorescent yellows have greenish overtones. Given the large variety of yellow, I concentrated specifically on brilliant yellows.

Observe your color in different surroundings.

Look for your color in nature, in human environments, in magazines, quilts, your own home, photos, museums, and books. At this stage, the goal is to gather lots of information about the color, and avoid judging the color combinations you see.

Answer these questions about the color and its surroundings.

  • What other colors are near the study color?
  • Are the nearby colors lighter, darker, or similar in tone to your color?
  • Do you see shadows or highlights that enhance the study color?
  • What are the proportions of the various colors?

Answer the questions in words rather than just taking a visual impression in your brain. Writing answers on paper may help you focus on words, rather than just relying on a mental snapshot.


Make sample swatches.

Knit or crochet samples with the color combinations you observed. This is your chance to try out some interesting stitch patterns. I still use Barbara G. Walker’s treasuries of knitting patterns. For crochet, my favorite is Harmony Guide to Crocheting Techniques and Stitches, by Debra Mountford, editor (1992).


Yellow in Nature

Yellow wildflowers along a caliche road

We have lots of yellow out here in rural Texas, and so I took some photos for this study. Here’s a picture of a county roadside near our house.

I wrote answers to the questions listed above:

The lemon and orange-yellow flowers are surrounded by deep yellow green and paler dusty green leaves; also light brownish gray dried leaves. The caliche road and the earth are light beige with pink undertones, but very bright. Flower centers and shadows are dark. Shadows aren’t exactly black. The amount of yellow is small in comparison to the greens and browns.

Just so you know, you may not like how your samples turn out. I didn’t like this one.

Yellow flowers and caliche knitted sample

Going back to the original photo and my own words, I realized I didn’t include the deep shadows that added contrast to the scene. Here’s the next sample with the deep shadow color added.

Yellow flowers and caliche knitted sample

I didn’t like this one much either, but I have learned not to let this put me off. Making these samples was not a waste of time. I learned something about these colors together. They may be perfect for a wall hanging someday. They may look better in different proportions. They may look a lot better to me in a few years.

Yellow flowers and caliche knitted sample

But it was time to move on.

Like you see in this picture of nightshade berries and a grasshopper, yellow in nature is often seen with black, gray, and various shades of brown. Sometimes a tan or grayish bird has a surprising patch of yellow feathers.

Here are knitted samples of yellow with grays and tan.

Yellow knitted with grays and tan

They’re okay. I won’t be making a garment with these colors, probably. But the yellow and gray combination makes a pretty good wall hanging!

Yellow knitted with grays and tan

Next time: Yellow Around the House.

On the Map at the International Quilt Festival

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Knitted, embellished quilts at the International Quilt Festival, 2015

“I’m here with my sister, who quilts, but I knit!” exclaimed a smiling lady. She had wandered into my TextileFusion exhibit at the International Quilt Festival in Houston last week. All thirteen pieces in the exhibit were knitted and quilted, then embellished with crochet, embroidery, buttons, and beads.

Knitted, embellished quilts at the International Quilt Festival, 2015

Knitted, embellished quilts at the International Quilt Festival, 2015

Thanks to the exhibit’s sponsor, Lion Brand Yarns, knitters and crocheters felt they had found a home at the Festival.

Knitted, embellished quilts at the International Quilt Festival, 2015

I was able to stay with my exhibit and so I got to talk with friendly and interested people all through the show (with a couple of breaks for shopping). As we talked, I worked on a new wall hanging, which illustrated my spiel about knitted quilts. It was undoubtedly the only quilt in the enormous exhibit hall that people were allowed to touch.

Knitted, embellished quilts at the International Quilt Festival, 2015

To help me visualize the flower arrangement on the wall hanging, I photographed it with my phone. My work table was too high, so I put the quilt on the floor to take the photo.

A quilter walked by, and I’m afraid she suffered heart palpitations when she saw me place a quilt on the floor. Clueless at first, I told her what I was doing, explaining that I can get a much better perspective on the wall hanging from a photo than I can by looking at it straight-on with my own eyeballs.

When she realized it was my own quilt, the relief on her face was obvious. Oh, I get it! I’m sorry, dear lady.

Knitted, embellished quilts at the International Quilt Festival, 2015

In another exciting development at the Festival, one of my wall hangings sold! Mama Lion will be going home with a family that is active in the effort to conserve our world heritage of lions and other wild animals. (The orange circle says “Sold.”)

It’s great finally to be on the map! Literally.

Knitted, embellished quilts at the International Quilt Festival, 2015

Thank You, Lion Brand!

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Mama Lion knitted, quilted wall hanging

This is Mama Lion, one of the baker’s dozen of art quilts in my TextileFusion exhibit at the Quilt! Knit! Stitch! show in Portland, Oregon, next month.

Mama Lion was made specifically to show my appreciation of Lion Brand Yarns, the sponsor of the exhibit.

In the early days of my design career in the 1990s, Lion Brand purchased crocheted and knitted designs from me. More recently, Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York displayed my art quilt, Passionate Heart. I have also had the privilege of signing books and giving talks at the Studio.

I am pleased and honored that Lion Brand Yarns supports my textile art. Thank you again, Lion Brand!

Sign Up Soon for Taos Wool Festival Workshops in October

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Polymer clay buttons

The Taos Wool Festival is always the first full weekend of October, with workshops starting a couple of days ahead. This is a great time to be in the mountains of New Mexico. The autumn colors and crisp weather are just wonderful.

This year I’m offering three classes at Taos:

Polymer Clay Button Boutique, all day Friday, October 3. You’ll go home with lots of colorful, pretty buttons, ready to use. They’re machine washable and dryable.

See the blue and orange buttons in the lower right corner of the photo above? We’ll make those as a group project. So fun!

Mosaic knit saguaro cactus

How to Knit Mosaic Patterns and Design Your Own, Saturday afternoon, October 4. After this class, you’ll be able to knit any of Barbara Walker’s many mosaic patterns, and you can design your own! Read more about the workshop here.

This mosaic cactus motif is one of my earliest original mosaic designs. I still like it a lot!

Knit Cables, Bobbles, and Braids workshop

Cables, Bobbles, and Braids, Sunday morning, October 5. You’ll learn how to do these stunning knitting techniques, but more importantly, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of these textural wonders. You’ll go away ready to twist and shout!

Please sign up for classes before September 1, 2014, at www.taoswoolfestival.org/workshops.

This notice is also on my other blog, but with different pictures. Enjoy!

Book Signing in Estes Park, Colorado!

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

In less than a month, the Estes Park Wool Market will be in full swing with two days of workshops and two days of shopping. It’s a beautiful venue, with the Rocky Mountains in the distance. The weather is perfect for wearing sweaters.

During the market, I will be signing copies of Crochet Bouquet in Suzanne Correira’s Fire Ant Ranch booth. Look for the flower ponchos, as in the photo above.

I’ll be teaching workshops there, too. There’s still time to sign up for classes! If you mail your registration form before Friday, May 22, you will avoid the late fee. So send in your registrations today! Here is the brochure and registration form.

May I recommend my workshop? It is called “Style and Shape Knitting with Pleats and Darts.” We’ll make at least three different kinds of pleats, including these pleats which look great on sleeves. You can use them to enhance other parts of your garments, too. We’ll talk about this and brainstorm together to come up with great ideas for how to use pleats.

We’ll also discuss how to incorporate knitted pleats into garments, as design details or as major garment shaping. We’ll discuss how to deal with the extra weight. We’ll practice ways to figure out the number of sts you need for a pleated item.

Darts make sweaters fit better, and lucky us! We can knit darts right into our sweaters. I’ll show you how to measure and calculate darts, and how to knit them using short rows.

Every now and then you don’t know you need a dart until you’ve already finished the sweater. Never fear! You can cut a dart into your sweater. To see a cut-out dart in progress, have a look at this post.

There is homework, so be sure and read the brochure closely. Hope to see you there!