It’s all about the base

 I grew up surrounded by women who sewed needlepoint, esp. canvases inspired by tapestries.  In needlepoint, the artist hand blends single plies of different color yarn and thread before stitching and then interlaces the colors on the canvas so that the eye blends them to create incredible depth & complexity.  In spinning, I do something similar by hand-blending roving and layering the plies.  In dyeing, it’s a totally different feel.  Hand-painting is the best way I’ve found to get complex colors, and I’m working on painting subtle yarn that will create the same feel when knitted as the complex colorwork in historic needlework.

Right now, it’s all about red.  Rose red, tiger lily red, hibiscus red.

reds sheilas gold base


Red can go so many different ways from barn red to slinky red dress.  So many possibilities, but also so many beautiful reds already being made by other dyers.

I’m developing the color below: Tiger Lily Red.  cropped tiger lily

It’s a true red with hints of orange red, red-pink, and some brown & gold tints throughout. This is on a superwash merino/nylon base.  It looks very earthy and floral rather than 50’s lipstick.  That’s the goal.  This base isn’t the best choice for the color I am after.  It’s a wonderful yarn that takes color easily and makes a bright, in your face yarn.  I’m trying for something a bit more mellow with the Tiger Lily.

Next up, trying it on shetland and on a camel/merino blend.   I also plan to spin up some targhee/alpaca roving that is a gorgeous light grey & brown.  The warm undertones of the handspun will add a nice depth to the finished colors.





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