Thursday, October 05, 2006

Colour Inspirations

Here's a smokey sunset picture from T-Man's camera. It was taken from our campsite in Farewell Bend, OR. There were forest fires burning in a number of places nearby and all the smoke in the air made the air hazy and sunsets and sunrises spectacular. In our next campsite at Bruneau Dunes in Idaho, the sun went down as a huge red ball and disappeared behind the smoke before it went behind the mountains. That night even the full moon was bright orange. Even scary things like forest fires have a place in nature however. It's only us humans that try to stop them from happening when they impinge on our possessions, whether that's our homes, farms, or whatever.

This lovely autumn time of year always gets me thinking about colour. Did you know that I see colours differently with my left or my right eye? Is this a common thing or just another sign that I’m totally weird? My right eye sees things with more of a green or grey cast and my left eye sees more of a pink cast. Both eyes together is somewhere in the middle. I’m sure it has something to do with the rods and cones and how many of whatever ones I’ve got functioning in each eye. I don’t know if it’s always been this way, but I noticed it many years ago.

One of the reasons that I love Fall so much (besides the usually fabulous weather) is the colours of nature that are revealed. They are all my favourites: rusts, oranges, reds, purples, browns, and golds set against the greens. Lots of tertiary mixes. Yum! I’ve always liked colours that were off the primaries and also deeply saturated. No “Barbie Pink” for this kid! When I was a little girl, my box of 64 Crayolas was an exciting treasure. And yes, I still have a big tin of Crayola crayons. Along with coloured pencils, pens, oil pastels, paints, dyes, stamp pads etc. Not to mention every colour of beads and threads I can get hold of! In Applied Design class in high school I learned how to dye fabrics (batik & tie-dye), so I started dyeing everything in sight including my socks and underwear. When I learned to spin my own yarn, I quickly also learned how to dye it any colour I wanted. It was so exhilarating to realize that I would never be restricted to the manufacturers’ ideas of “seasonal colours”. And I won’t have to pay the high prices charged (rightfully and necessarily) for others’ hand-painted yarns. How liberating!

Over the years I’ve bought a lot of white or natural yarns and fibres to dye myself. I’ve also bought a lot of black and some navy blues because those colours use more dye and are harder to get a good deep even penetration, so why bother trying. Sometimes I’ve bought light colours to overdye if they were a good deal. I particularly love dyeing over natural grey wools for a deep but slightly muted effect. I’ve also dyed fabrics for sewing clothing or household items and wool yardage for rug hooking, even cotton panties and t-shirts and sheets and pillowcases. Not much is left white around here! It’s too easy to throw it in a dyepot.

Meanwhile I’m truly enjoying watching Nature’s green things change into their Halloween costumes. Later I’ll get to admire the beautiful branches that were hiding under all those leaves. I’m glad I live where there are seasons, although they might be more subtle here than in some other places. As the view outdoors shifts from one season to the next, you get a new perspective. The light is different. Plants unfold and grow and wither away and come back again. You can see the spirals of nature happening right before your eyes. Yes spirals. Nature is not a circle because it never goes back to the exact same place and of course there are many spirals going up and down and in and out all at the same time. Kind of like an organic and complex version of those screen savers you probably have on your computer. Or the music visualizers. Right. I know. Weird.

On a completely different subject, here are some new webzines that I’ve recently discovered (or been told about! Hi, Rosemary!):

Crochet Insider has some great interviews, a gallery, and yarn reviews but no patterns. Lots to ponder though. Nice to see crochet coming out of the closet with such verve! It has many advantages, not the least of which is the ability to go off in all directions.

That Spinning Place has a sophisticated online magazine called “Spins & Needles” in PDF. This is a very polished product although there are only 2 issues so far. Note that the main link for the first issue didn’t work for me (link broken?) though the zipped version worked fine. Nice mix of spinning news and views with an Australian flavour. There’s at least one pattern in each issue.

And if you haven’t already — go see the Fall issues of the other online mags. Most of them are up now. Links in my sidebar. Knitty continues to outdo even the print magazines for great articles and patterns I want to knit. Crochet Me is catching up quickly with great content. Spindlicity and Fiber Femmes have lots for us to learn and ponder plus MagKnits and For The Love Of Yarn are up with some new patterns. (Don’t miss the latter’s gallery with shots of Roland the guinea pig’s new knitted shrug!) The AntiCraft is still showing the Lunasagh issue as yet. However, does anyone know what has happened to Spun Magazine or have they gone bust? I’m sure it’s a lot of work without much recompense to produce these things, so I can surely understand if Real Life gets in the way!

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