The Power of Color
I still vividly remember the first time I watched The Wizard of Oz. I was fairly young and had no idea as to what I should expect. The fact that the film was in black and white did not faze me–my earliest memory of watching any television was giggling at Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby–I understood that some films were in black and white and some were color and immediately accepted The Wizard of Oz as one of those films.
Then came the moment when Dorothy opened her front door to the magical Technicolor Land of Oz. I was spellbound as I watched Dorothy leave her black and white house for a world filled with color. It’s a moment that still gives me goose bumps, even all these years later. It was the moment I first realized the power of color. It’s not that the color was so much better than the black and white, but it was how the color was used that made it so extraordinary–the way the rainbow palette of Oz contrasted against the gray Kansas farmhouse.
Decades later as a weaver I am still in awe at the power of color when deployed correctly. The way just the right colors of warp and weft can create an iridescent look. The way dark indigo pops when paired with stark white. The way weavers can take hand-dyed and self-striping yarns designed for knitters and turn them into magical pieces of cloth.
When picking project for the November/December 2015 issue of Handwoven, I fell head over heels in love with the Sunny South Scarf by Debbi Rutherford. One of the difficult parts of using self-striping or space-dyed yarns in weaving is figuring out how to make them stand out without getting muddied when warp and weft intersect. Debbi deftly avoided this dilemma by using a self-striping sock yarn as the pattern pick in an overshot pattern. The thicker sock yarn stands out perfectly from the 10/2 bamboo tabby groundcloth creating beautiful color shifts throughout the scarf.
The result is a soft, drapey scarf that calls out to be examined closer. It’s a great project to weave as-is (and if you want to weave it, we do have a limited number of kits available with all the yarn you need to make your own Sunny South Scarf) or to use as a jumping off point for designing your own pieces around self-striping yarns. Either way, it’s a good reminder of the power of color.