Color Blending: The Circle

UntitledUntitled A while ago, a wrote about learning how to make rolags on my drum carder this spring. After coming up with a few combinations of gifted roving, I made sets of gradients between two colors, starting with a bright green and an aqua. I’ve done this before – when I made my first Bohus cardigan. This time, both the rovings are 80% merino, 20% silk; I didn’t want to blend textures or qualities like shine from the silk thanks to an earlier recent rolag experiment blending two dissimilar fibers together.

circleFirst, I made rolags of the solids, weighing out 20 g of each. Then I mixed them 50-50, with 10 g of aqua and 10 g of green. Finally, I mixed them 25-75, with 5 g of one color and 15 g of the other. I really love these colors and how they blended, but I started to think about adding a third color. When arranged on a flat lay or diagrammed on a piece of paper, I had a straight line of aqua->gradients->green, but if I added a third color, I could make a circle, which I did. The third color, blue, has a slightly different fiber content – 70% merino, 30% silk – it’s definitely a different roving base as the roving is very thin, perhaps half as thin as the other two rovings, and the silk has some nubs and chunkier texture than the other two, but it’s close enough in texture that it’s not too noticeable.

Just before Tour de Fleece started I decided to warm up and spin the circle. I didn’t think about how much yarn the circle would make, but that’s 240 g of roving, about 8 1/2 oz of fiber. I realized during the first gradient that it wouldn’t all fit on one bobbin, so I spun from blue to the last gradient before aqua, started a new bobbin for aqua to the last gradient before green, and then one more for green to the last gradient before blue.

lineupDuring spinning, I was thinking both actively and in the background about what to make. (You know when you have a problem to solve but actively thinking about it doesn’t help so you take a walk and while thinking about something else the answer comes to you? That’s what I mean.) I really wanted to maintain the circle idea, but the only thing I could think of that would work was an infinity cowl, but I knew I was going to end up with much more than a cowl’s worth of yarn. I decided I’d make a scarf instead, casting on lengthwise and knitting all through the gradients. To keep the colors all evenly striped, I’d need to spin 20 g more of one of the solids – I picked blue. For the picture above, I chose aqua but evenly divided one 20 g set of rolags for the photo.

I chose the blue because is a much darker hue than the aqua or green and it could act as a frame for the two lighter colors. Also, I’m not entirely happy at how much more dominant the blue is because it is so much darker; the aqua to green transition is much more subtle than either of the transitions to/from blue – something I’ll need to compensate for the next time I do this.

color blended handspunI chain plied everything and while skeining it, spit-spliced the ends to make one giant skein. I washed and whacked it, let it dry, and then gave my jumbo ball winder a workout. That’s a US quarter in the picture for scale – this is perhaps the largest yarn cake I’ve ever made; it was almost too big for the jumbo ball winder. The finished 3 ply sport weight yarn is about 768 yards and weighs 279 g. I’ll post about the scarf I’m making with it once it’s done and I have some fancy pictures of it.

First, some things I’ll do differently the next time I make a gradient:

  • I might exercise my math muscle a little more to make smaller rolag quantities. I honestly picked 20 g because it is so easily divided into the necessary portions.
  • As I mentioned, the darkness of the blue bothers me. I’d like to either figure out how to properly blend a dark color with a light for a more subtle transition or stick with colors with the same … values? Is that the right word?
  • I need to read a book about color theory and blending.
  • For symmetry, I would repeat one of the other colors, making one the center. The yarn I made has blue, light green, aqua, blue stripes. My circle idea would be abandoned, but the resulting skein and FOs made from it would be more pleasing to the eye and my sense of order if it had blue, light green, aqua, light green, blue stripes (or with light green in the center).

Stay tuned! Fancy pictures and scarf details are forthcoming!

 

The Future of The Yarn Office

I know it’s been a while; I think of writing (and things to write about) and then I put it off. But today I made an important decision: I’m letting all my etsy listings expire and am closing down The Yarn Office on etsy (my studio space at home will forever be The Yarn Office). In total, I have a very modest overall profit, modest enough that given the time I put into it, I’m more in the hole to etsy than profitable. There’s also the matter of marketing, which isn’t exactly my strong suit despite buying and reading 2 books on how to turn your art/craft into a business. My takeaway that’s been festering for a while is that I’m not a good businessperson and it’s time to move on to something new.

This morning etsy sent email to all shop owners announcing some changes. Listing fees will remain $0.20 per listing, but etsy’s commission on sales is going from 3.5% of the item price to 5% of the item price and shipping. In addition, they’re creating a monthly subscription service called etsy Plus that’s supposed to help your business grow and will roll out etsy Pro for high volume sellers next year. Not subscribing to these plans supposedly won’t affect your search results or access to current tools, but I can’t help but think little vanity shops like mine will be at a disadvantage. In the end, I’ve sunk more time and money into this than I’ve gotten out and so yeah, it’s time to move on to something new.

I said on Instagram that I was going to just let my listings expire over the summer instead of shuttering the whole thing, but the fee change goes into effect July 16 – I may just put the shop on vacation mode then and leave it in case these changes end up being beneficial overall to little cheeses like me. But I doubt it – I think they’ve been catering for quite a while to high volume sellers and factories rather than artisans, and in the 3 years since they’ve gone public, they’ve shifted even more to focusing on etsy’s bottom line, to which I no longer want to contribute without getting something more back. I mean, sure – etsy is a business, but it’s a business for which I’m pretty sure I’m no longer a customer.

I might actually start my own shop here on this domain, or at least create a gallery of work that I’m most proud of and move in more of an art direction rather than a craft direction (which I’ve been sort of trying to do anyway). I also heard about FiberCrafty for the first time today, too, so I might check that out – it sounds like it’s etsy (and Amazon Handmade) but for fiber crafts only. There are lots of possibilities, I just have to figure out what I want to do and what’s going to work for me.

Mending Jeans for (Social?) Justice

img_2471One of my favorite pairs of jeans developed a hole where the top of right back pocket attaches. I kept wearing them. The hole got a little bigger and I just wore longer shirts. Finally, I heard them rip one day as I was getting out of the car to go grocery shopping. Thankfully, it was cold and I was wearing my winter coat, which ends about mid-thigh on me, so no one could see the rip.

I knew I had to mend them but wasn’t planning on doing it anytime soon, just at some vague point in the future. Then I saw a post from badasscrossstitch on instagram. She had one of her embroidery designs stolen by a jeans-maker who popped it onto the back pocket of a pair of skinny jeans without permission. She wrote a whole blog post about it and then, making lemonade out of a lemon of a situation, she started embroidering other designs on the back pocket of her jeans, wrote a tutorial on how to do it on her blog, and then started the #reBUTTal hashtag on instagram.

img_2473This has inspired me to do the same to my holy jeans. I took the pocket off my jeans this morning and will patch the holes – yes, there’s another one on the other corner of the pocket, and another small hole starting at one of the corners on the other back pocket – when it rains, it pours, I guess. At least I realized it now, during the mending process and not right after mending them.

I’m going to cannibalize a pair of Henry’s jeans that are too small for him now. I haven’t quite decided if I’m going to use my sewing machine to patch them discretely or if I’m going to use embroidery and patch them visibly, maybe with sashiko (Japanese technique for mending). I did at least get one pocket off along with all the bits of thread. I need to think about if I want to take the other pocket off or try patching with it on.

Anyway, while I’m patching, I’ll be thinking about what I want my pocket to say. It should be something feminist, I guess, and also have something to do with art theft, or paying artists. Ideas so far:

  • ®
  • © 1972
    (Yes, I’m that old, or maybe that young, depending on how old you are.)
  • Ask First
  • Believe Women
  • My eyes are up there
    (Just kidding, I think this would be funny but I wouldn’t actually walk around with that on my bottom.)

Do you have suggestions? Even if it’s not a suggestion, what would you put on your jeans if you were embroidering a back pocket?

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