Thursday, October 16, 2008

Colour and Design

Today I drove an hour West, to a little town called Perth, for a little bit of knitting.  A new-ish knitting shop, Janie H Knits, had invited Brandon Mably and Kaffe Fassett to give their workshop/lecture series which focuses on using colour in design - the workshop was for knitting, but the lecture (which I couldn't make it to, alas) was apparently about using colour in all kinds of design.

Brandon's workshop revolved around two things: 1) a pile of yarn in all different colours, smack in the middle of the floor and sorted into colour groups, and 2) a pattern chart featuring fat doughnuts (Brandon called them 'poppies') on a plain background.  With a few words of advice on how to select your colours - looking for matching tones of intensity, rather than colours or shades - and some instruction on how to do fair-isle knitting, we were let loose on the yarn.

This is what we had come up with by lunchtime:
And then by the end of the day:

The workshop wasn't difficult, but its amazing how much you can learn about colour by doing this sort of exercise - colours that look hideous, when paired with the right background colours, suddenly look amazing.  Also, there is a huge difference between how the colours look when you're knitting them up close, and when they're pinned on a neutral coloured backdrop several feet away from you.  Also, turning the pieces upside down makes them look completely different - sometimes better, sometimes worse.  Check out my swatch, for example.  On the left, the cast on edge is on the bottom; on the right is the flipped image: 
Admittedly, the flash alters this photo a little, so when you flip it upside-down, the colour tones aren't as affected by the ambient light...  but you can get the basic idea, right?

Janie had also organized a number of door prizes for the workshop - my prize was this great 'intro to hemp' kit from Canadian company Hemp for Knitting:
The kit includes samples of Hemp3, Hemp6, and Hempton, a Hemp/Cotton blend - the package insert says there should be enough yarn to make two dishcloths and a scarf!  Yay!

If you get a chance to take this workshop, I highly recommend it.  (if you don't trust me, Franklin loved it too!)  Take a look at Kaffe's website to see when they'll be in your neck of the woods!   Alternatively, this might be a fun exercise to do at a knitting group one day, with everyone bringing in their stash scraps to widen the possible colour palette! any takers, Newcastle ladies?  ;)

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