Designing Colorways and Handknits

Fingerpaints Colorways

I designed my line of Fingerpaints Colorways while on a trip to Peru in 2008.  A friend of mine had invited me to his Alpaca ranch in the Highlands and also wanted my to meet with a group of Americans that were starting a handpaint yarn co-op designed to get Peruvian women out of the coca fields and into viable day jobs.

While visiting the co-op I noticed that the hand dyers were moving from traditional kettle dyed yarns to space dyed yarns in which the colors are applied by hand–what we call handpainted colorways.  These colorways were very exact–so much so that they could have been machine dyed, which can cause pooling and stacking as many knitters know.  Instead of trying to fix this problem, we decided to accentuate the exact stretches of color by creating self striping handpainted yarn.  As we were in a village in Peru it was a little more difficult that you can imagine.  Making the dye hanks long enough involved a walking wheel hooked to a bicycle.  The end result was beautiful and we ended up sampling about 30 colorways and picking 10.  This certain colorway, called Morning Glory was picked up by Yarns On Stage for their showcase the next year.

Fingerpaints Morning Glory
Designing Ratta’s Muffin Top Mitts

I did not design the mitts.  What happened was that we knew that this colorway was going to be used by thousands of knitters because of Yarns on Stage and we needed pattern support.  We ran a design contest using just this colorway in 2009 and received all kinds of sock entries and only one other–the Muffin Top Mitts.  Even though this design did not get chosen by Yarns on Stage, I liked it so much that I decided to buy it myself for the book I was writing, now known as The Broken Circle:  Yarns of the Knitting Witches.  In the book, the mitts are magical, allowing the wearer to perform tender work even with roughened hands.

Ratta's Muffin Top Mitts

Ratta's Muffin Top Mitts

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