Seasons In The Studio

Nature, and the things it inspires..........

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Painting with Yarn, Ellyn Cooper's Inspiring color work

I attended the 2014 Knit and Crochet Show in Manchester, NH and as is the custom of everyone who goes, spent lots of time on the show floor looking at the vendor offerings.  The array of yarn choices at these events is almost overwhelming.  Since I generally purchase yarn to make my own designs, looking at samples is time consuming unless I already have an idea for how to use the product.

I've seen a lot of lovely hand dyed yarn at these shows, and this particular show featured many independent dyers and spinners, which was a welcome change from the usual commercial choices.  It was here that I discovered the stunning work of Ellyn Cooper.

When I got to Ellyn's booth at the show, the display stopped me in my tracks!  Her work looks like watercolor paintings.  She calls her products "Yarn Sonnets".  Yarn Sonnets.  I couldn't take my eyes off this yarn!  I must have been standing there long enough that she thought something was wrong with me, because she asked if there was something she could help me with.  I wanted to say, "just load one of each into a bag and I'll be off", but I didn't.  I told her I thought this was the most beautiful yarn I had EVER seen.

I knew I wanted to go home with a couple of choices, so I spent a long time looking, and reading fiber content, and imagining.  I had no idea how I would use what I purchased from her, since I was planning to crochet with it (rather than knit it).  Some short striping yarns can be difficult to crochet with because of color pooling, so I knew finding appropriate stitch patterns would require effort.  In addition, I purchased two types of yarn I've never worked with, a very fine lace wool and silk blend and a chunky skein of all different types of yarns worked together, called appropriately, Pot Luck.

I took these lovely yarns home and spent the next year taking them out, trying stitch patterns, and putting them away again.  This winter I figured out two designs that are working well with her products, and doing justice to the beautiful dye work she creates.  A third batch of multi colored linen is still waiting for a design….

Ellyn is really helpful on the phone if you have questions about her yarn, or need more in an emergency (as I did).

If you love stunning hand dyed yarn, you need to check out Ellyn's website:

Or see her products (and finished items with her yarn) on Ravelry:

Better yet, she'll be at the Maryland Sheep and wool Festival this year (2016) also, so you can see her work in person.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Ok, so a lot has happened since the last time I posted.  I got so busy with life, there was hardly enough time to think, much less write!

We decided early last year to sell our house, and that turned into a major project.  We wanted a smaller house, which meant giving away a lot of things, which was the easy part.  What we hadn't counted on was how much repair the house needed.  Our house was almost 30 years old, and we thought we had done everything we needed to do to get it ready, but there are always surprises.  Somehow, what used to be fun (fixing up old houses) wasn't so much fun when faced with so many major repairs!

This process took the better part of a year, and now that it's over I am FINALLY back to designing!  I had to put all my ideas on hold, or just make a few sketches and save them, until I could get life back under control.  A lot of my books and materials are still in boxes, but I am working anyway, and good things are coming out!

Winter has come to the northeast, and being stuck inside because it's so cold is giving me lots of time to work.  I can't wait to share!