Well kids, it's that time again. I'd like to present the newest member of Color Commentary, Clara's Garden. I think it is just fantastic. Light and airy. Spring-like. Feminine.
Stirring things up in the dyepots with Clara Parkes of Knitter's Review was a ton of fun. I'll let her tell you all about it:
I’ll admit it, I have a thing for pink. Friends tease me about it as, again and again, I inevitably add yet more pink-hued yarns to my stash. I can’t help it – done right, pink is an exquisite color. I’m not talking about the oft-maligned pink of Pepto Bismol and bubble gum, but the elegant, nuanced, womanly hues of Mary Cassatt paintings, of peonies and hollyhocks and tulips. I know of no pink in nature that is not beautiful.
When Beth asked me to create a color with her, my mind immediately turned to those peonies, hollyhocks, and tulips—all three of which I have in my garden. They are pink, yes, but they have elements of yellow and white in them as well. I sent her a picture of a pale pink peony with hints of yellow stamens at the very center, and that’s where we began.
Translating a picture or a feeling into yarn is one thing—but doing it in such a way that you end up with a yarn that conveys this same feeling when knit up, that requires true skill. While I said what I liked, Beth knew how to make it happen, and in that regard, this was a truly collaborative process.
She first pulled three common colors from my picture—pink, yellow, and purple—and we started there. (We agreed right up front that we’d focus on the flower itself and not complicate matters by bringing in any green.) She dyed several skeins of sock yarn to start, each with different saturations and lengths of color placed at varying spots along the skein. While the skeins looked nearly identical at first, their differences quickly revealed themselves when I started swatching. In one skein, those innocent-looking yellow dabs became popcorny globs when knitted up—and the colors looked darker than I’d envisioned, pooling in an unattractive, oil-slick kind of way. (You can see a little bit of this in the cuff of my sample sock.)
One more trip back to the drawing board. We opened the curtains on our Mary Cassatt drawing room and let the light in, pulling the purple and replacing it with white, lightening the pink, and transforming the yolky yellow into a pale and delicate buttercup. The next test skeins were much happier.
Again, the mystery was revealed in swatching. One skein (shown in the toe of my sample sock) pooled in larger waves that didn’t seem quite right. But one special skein (instep section) produced lovely little rippling waves of color that reminded me of the wavy edges of a flower petal—and I chose that color as the base for Clara’s Garden.
But we had one more surprise in store, which came when Beth dyed up a hank of my favorite Lorna’s Laces yarn – Helen’s Lace – in the new colorway. Love at first sight!
I immediately cast on a lace triangle shawl that’s now just a few repeats away from completion. I could not be more pleased with how the colors translate into lace fabric, shifting softly from yellow to white to pink, much like a bed of tulips and daffodils. There’s just enough variegation for visual intrigue without detracting from the lace pattern. And the colors—and their promise of spring—provide a welcome vision that shall sustain me through the last weeks of what has been a very long winter here in Maine.
It has been a great pleasure, and learning experience, to create this colorway. I’m proud to present it to you, and I hope you enjoy it.
Clara's Garden is shipping to LYS near you right NOW!