Color Chicken

  In her video The Spinner's Color Toolbox, Judith MacKenzie uses color to open up a whole new world of spinning yarn.

True confessions: I get nervous with too many colors, or combining texture and color, or combining patterns. Fair Isle colorwork is about as far as I can go. Curtains with two or more different floral patterns, as I've seen in home decorating magazines–no way. Knitted lace or cables with a multicolor yarn–not gonna happen. Sometimes even a tone-on-tone yarn goes beyond my comfort zone. I recently started a beautiful coat with a tonal yarn that had too much contrast from the lightest to the darkest blue, so the horizontal bands of changing color fought with the cables and lace motifs. That yarn got repurposed for a different project, and the coat now employs a solid yarn. (And it's gorgeous, thank you very much.) When I spin a colorful yarn, it doesn't have texture; when I spin a textured yarn, it's uni-color. Then I go on the hunt for a simple pattern that won't fight with the color or texture.

So my initial mental response to Judith MacKenzie's new video wasn't exactly enthusiastic. Sure, it was Judith MacKenzie, long one of my spinning superheroes. But I wasn't going to make colorful textured yarns.

Then I saw the video. Judith placed 4 different colors of top in her hand and created magic. She talked about choosing the 4 colors, and how 3 cool shades could live harmoniously with 1 warm shade. She made singles with these 4 colors in different configurations, from muted gentle transitions to pops of yellow on a blue/green/purple background. She designed singles and then plied them–again, with 4 different colors–to produce different effects. She boucléed in a plied version and in her signature one-handed boucl é Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE . Judith's wizardry didn't just impress me. She made me feel as though I too could combine colors and textures in my yarn without fear or discomfort.

I'll come back to this video over and over, whenever I'm feeling bored with my default yarns, to find inspiration, technical solutions, and most of all, confidence. Admitting I was wrong about something has never been so easy.


imageplaceholder Deborah Gerish
Group Content Manager

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