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Celebrate your passion for color with Colorways

Jun 20, 2011

A note from Kathleen: Interweave's spinning and knitting eMag Editor, Anne Merrow, is our guest today to introduce the newest in Interweave's group of interactive digital eMags for spinners, dyers, and other fiber artists, Colorways.

Colorways looks closely at all the ways color meets cloth. The eMag format uses photos to show you rich palettes, video to introduce you to the fascinating people who make color their professional passion, interactivity to bring you face-to-face with new experiences, and three downloadable PDF recipes for building your own skills as a fiber artist.


Cotton naturally comes in a variety of neutrals Spacer 10x10 pixels
Cotton grows in all these colors—naturally!
   

The Many Sources of Nature's Color

With the amazing range of colors that yarns come in, it might be hard to imagine using just natural colors. Using plants, insects, and minerals to create colors seems like part alchemy, part miracle.

But in the first issue of
Colorways, Chris Conrad demonstrates how to use kakishibu—fermented persimmon juice—to dye yarns. Without any heat, mordant, or other chemicals, the kakishibu creates shades of red and brown that deepen and richen (rather than fade) in sunlight.

Ever wonder how the organic cotton yarns you see get their unusual hues? Well, they're bred that way! Stephenie Gaustad explains where the colors come from and how to care for those yarns and fabrics—and even, if you're so inclined, how to grow colored cotton yourself.

Spacer 10x10 pixels An array of reds
  An array of reds, all made from cochineal bugs
  Spacer 10x10 pixels

My favorite color is red. (I'm currently wearing a red shirt, in fact...) Red alls out to me—stops me in my tracks. Did you know that cochineal—the source of brilliant reds for hundreds of years before the development of synthetic dyes—is made from bugs?

In an era when we can use powdered drink mix to dye yarns fruity red, it's hard to imagine gleaning shades of crimson only by coaxing it from crushed insects. (Legend has it that the red coats of Revolutionary-era British soldiers—the officers, at least—got their famous color from cochineal.) Even though dyeing with cochineal is an old process, there are still dyers who use it today, from modern dye studios in California to family weaving cooperatives in Oaxaca, Mexico.

The first issue of
Colorways focuses on natural colors: artisans working in the old tradition of plant-based dyes; cotton growing in shades from pure white to startling green and mauve; a Seattle entrepreneur helping weavers use their natural colors in new ways; woad, the shocking blue made famous in Braveheart, serenaded by Alden Amos and Stephenie Gaustad.

Anne Merrow Spacer 5x5 pixels

Explore the world of color in fiber—from tan to Technicolor. Download your issue of Colorways today!


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Comments

babybat wrote
on Jun 21, 2011 4:57 PM

I just finished reading my Colorways and was rather disappoined with the lack of information on how to get some of the beautiful colors shown.  I did download the two tutorials  but was really interested in more hands on dyeing methods.  

TammyT wrote
on Jun 20, 2011 12:29 PM

This is interesting.  I Would love to do some dying with this natural product.  The really disgusting thing is that cochineal is routinely used in food and cosmetic products.  Most brands of strawberry yogurt are colored with it (it's called "carmine" or another name that starts with a "c" that I can't remember).  Most red fruity drinks are also colored with carmine.  We could just buy a bottle of Hawaiian Punch and dunk our yarn in it!  Hmmm.... I feel a dying experiment coming on.

on Jun 20, 2011 9:07 AM

I think dying wool is so much fun...but it is hard work. I used to dye strips of wool fabric for my Pearl McGown hooked rugs, particularly one with roses with eight shades of red! Boy, that was challenging. Not sure I'm up for the task again.