Since my last post had no kittens, I begin by offering you a bonus kitten! And a rare one at that – a picture of me and Fritz, taken by my friend Carla while she was visiting:
The kittens have picked up their growth – I had been thinking they were just about full-grown, but Fritz has gained over half a pound in the last eight days! I’m impressed, and a little terrified about where we might be heading.
Anyway, I’ve started thinking about my color study. It’s difficult to plan it when my head still feels incredibly stuffy, but I feel like I’m making some progress, so I thought I’d share what I’m up to.
First I went through Deb Menz’s book “Color Works”, which I think is one of the best books I’ve seen on color and its use in fiber arts. I wrote down all the different knobs-and-dials she discusses. There were four of them: proportion of color, value scheme, hue scheme, and contrast in saturation (bright/dull). (Obviously there is a lot more to color than that, but that’s what she started with.) Then I started thinking of all the different ways to express those in fabric. Around then my head exploded.
I decided to simplify, and just try examining one of them. I picked proportions of color, and came up with this draft:
It’s what I would describe as a proportion gamp. There are three groups of five stripes each in the warp (separated by black threads). The color order is the same – red, green, purple, green, purple. The only different thing about each group of stripes is the proportions of the stripes. In the right-hand group, all the stripes are exactly equal in width. In the middle group, the stripes are of random size. In the far left group they are different sizes, but with a regular pattern.
The gamp shows the results of weaving “as drawn in” – the first group of stripes produces squares when woven as drawn in, the second group produces an irregular plaid, and the third one produces a regular plaid. Even though they use the exact same colors in the exact same color order, the look and feel of the three groups is quite different.
This is more of a conceptual sketch than a finished concept. But I think the idea is sound. I’m going to wind two or three warp chains, paint them in carefully chosen color combinations, and use them for the warp stripes. So I might have one section painted in black (warp chain #1), gray (warp chain #2), and pearl gray (warp chain #3). That section might be testing out monochrome designs with lots of contrast. The next section might be pastel purple, sky blue, and sea green, to play with light-valued analogous color schemes. And so on. The wefts will be chosen from a broad palette of colors, not in any planned way, but more as a way of experimenting with “What if…?”
For the wefts, I plan to make a lot of small knitted blanks and dye each blank a different color. I think that will be quicker and easier than winding a lot of skeins, dyeing each skein separately, and then re-winding the skeins onto pirns. Also, it makes storing the dyed yarn really easy – no tangles!
Finally, structure. The gamp above is plain weave, meaning you could do it on two shafts. And plain weave may be plenty to keep me busy. But just in case…I plan to thread up using five blocks of eight shafts – one block for each stripe – so I can also use structure to change the color of a block. Plain weave is 50% warp and 50% weft, but if I go to a 3-1 twill, it will be 75% warp, 25% weft, making the warp color dominant. With eight shafts threaded straight draw I could go as high as 88% warp or weft, which would be enough for dramatic changes, if I decide to start improvising.
This is an unusual color study in that I don’t have my plans drawn up well in advance. There are simply too many variables to do that. Instead, I’m going to start with a few warp color schemes, a bunch of weft colors, and just play around. It will be interesting to see where this leads!
And, finally, your kitten for today: a dramatic shot of Superkitten (aka Fritz) in action.