At this time of year, I like many people are thinking about their word of the year. It is a North Star or value or resolution. It marks how you want to spend your year. That is all good and I do come up with my word of the year each January.
But I want to talk to you about banishing a word this year. Let’s banish the word….stash. I’ve spoken to many of you in person about ejecting this word and concept from your vocabulary. When I hear people talking about their stash it is not out of pride. I don’t hear “You should see my stash! It is lovely.” More often I hear, “I can’t buy anything until I use my stash.” It is said in a kind of Eeyore voice. It is said with shame. Let’s banish that word! Let’s trash the shame!
I propose that we use the word, “collection” instead. You are the curator. It is your collection. Each skein and ball that is in your collection was lovingly acquired. Some with a specific project in mind and others just thrilled you with color or texture or softness. I think that if we change our language, we can change our outlook or attitude about the yarn that we have collected. We will be able to see those threads in a different light. We may even go through them and realize, “Hey! I’ve grown out of using this yarn, or this color!” Those parts of your collection can be donated or gifted. You have the power to make the choices, after all it is YOUR collection.
This year, let’s make the commitment to value our collections, to explore them anew and discover what you love about them and which ones need to find a new home. Let’s find some new ways of using what we have and making room to buy new skeins to augment the collection. If you would like to explore your collection in an organized way, you can subscribe to our Color Explorer eCourse. It is a 4 lesson course that helps you look at your collection from the viewpoint of color and allows you to make choices about what stays and what need to be removed from your collection.
Most makers I know have a stash of one kind or another. It may be beads, fabric, yarn, roving, threads, magazines, papers or all of the above. Yes, I do have a stash. Even though I dye my own yarn all the time, I also buy yarn and roving that calls my name. Very rarely to I think to myself, “Oh I could dye that!” No, I would rather support my fellow maker and treat myself to another beautiful addition. Stash has developed a negative connotation, almost something to be ashamed of. I am changing my own thinking about this and looking at my stash as a collection. I’ve thoughtfully and artfully collected supplies over the years with which to express my colorful side and the creative force that lives within me.
One way to explore your sense of color is to explore your collection. This is how I find inspiration from my collection. This is like being an explorer or an archaeologist.
Want to explore more? Sign up here for my free 3 lesson Heart Your Yarn Collection ecourse. I will led you through this lesson and 2 others that will help you to sort out what you have collected and what additions will really make your collection sing. Four worksheets are included as well. If you have questions, leave a comment here.
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The theme of my blog this year is a celebration of your stash. I want you to get to know what is in your stash. I will also teach you about the types of fibers and what kinds of patterns and projects will match the yarn you have. You will find information about animal fibers, plant fibers, and fiber blends of all kinds. I will be writing about how to most effectively use your hand dyes and semi-solids.
Here is the first installment:
What Kind of Stasher Are You?
What kind of stasher are you? Whether you use yarn, fabric, beads or paper, your art requires supplies. How do you handle your stash?
Type 1—Do you only buy materials for your current project so you don’t have a stash or any UFO’s (unfinished objects)?
Type 2—Do you try to only buy for a current project but look forward to your next project while you’re working on your current one? So you have no stash to speak of and only 1 or 2 UFO’s.
Type 3—Do you only buy materials for current and future projects? You like to get the supplies and pattern together then you know you have everything for the pattern. You have a small to medium stash, some UFO’s. All your materials are matched with a pattern for easy access to the next project
Type 4—Do you buy the materials you like and don’t worry about which pattern it will go with? You know that eventually a project will emerge for the supplies. You have a medium to large stash and some UFO’s that you work on industriously to complete.
Type 5— Do you buy anything and everything that calls to you? The yarn or cloth speaks to you and you listen. You have a large stash that you sometimes feel guilty about. But you also get a lot of creative satisfaction when you visit and pet your yarns, beads, and textiles.
I am a Type 4. I do have a medium stash of beads, quilting fabric AND yarn. I try to just buy for projects but I also buy materials that call my name. Since I’ve founded Flying Goat Farm, I have not bought ANY quilting fabric. I haven’t sewn either. I do hope to get back into my sewing room soon and finish one or two of the 8 unfinished quilting projects. OK….maybe now that I think about it I’m a Type 5!
Leave a comment here or on Facebook to tell me what stash you collect and what type of stasher you are!!
This is the last of my exercises in the Munsell Color book. I have learned a lot doing these exercises. Probably more importantly is that these exercises have trained my color “eye”. There were three exercises, “purple”, “red-purple”, and “blue purple”. You can see from these photos that there are various concentrations of red and blue in these 3 color exercises. Here is what I started with today.
Next,I sorted out the most gray of the chips. These belong on the value scale. Next I matched the color chips to the saturation of the gray chip. Unfortunately, I’m missing one chip….I did look and look, but it vanished….
It’s been awhile since I pulled out my Munsell Student Color Book. There is a green exercise though. So I pulled apart my color chips and pulled out the mounting paper. I have to tell you that I was rusty. I found that when doing these exercises it is easier to compare one or two chips. Does this one have more gray or more pure hue. Then I can place them in the correct place.
The red-yellow cards have so many brown or so called “neutrals” in them. The darker shades of red-yellow go immediately into the brown territory. Mahagony, tan, beige, leathers, tobacco. Also most skin tones are in the red-yellow family.
No doubt! Value is the hardest color dimension to talk about. I have found that seeing the value of color is a learned skill. It is hard to differentiate and so it is very frustrating. Value is the lightness or darkness of the color, it is also is a measure of color purity and saturation. Here is the gray scale that is used to help determine the value of a hue. While it is relatively easy to see the differences in value between white, gray and black, it is not so easy to see the value of colors. The color itself skews our perception of the value. Some hues like yellow are more likely to be at the top end of the scale, while purple is more likely to be at the darker end of the scale.
The human eye can see about 5 steps of this scale. The “pure” white, “pure” black, neutral gray and a step between those 3 values. In the real world, there are many more nuances of value. When I was learning about value, one strategy that helped was to squint or partially closed your eyes and look at the yarn, fabric, or photo and the value would be easier to see. The squinting reduces the number of color sensitive cells (cones) that are activated, while the cells that perceive light (rods) are still activated. Try this with a favorite photograph and see if you can differentiate among the values in that photograph.
There are a couple of “tricks” that we can use today. One is the computer. You can take a photo and change it to a black and white photo. Also you can use red or green plastic ……to see the value differences.
If you are intrigued and would like to learn more, register for my color class on September 6th at 1pm. Go to the fiber class page to register. We will be doing lots of experiments to train our eyes to be better color detectors.
Among the hues on a hue wheel or color wheel, there are primary colors from which all other colors can be made, theoretically. The primary colors are red, yellow and blue. The secondary colors are created by adding 2 primary colors together. Red and yellow make orange, yellow and blue make green and blue and red make purple. Lastly there are tertiary colors. These are made by adding a primary color to the secondary color. So add red to orange and you get red-orange. Or add yellow to orange and you get yellow-orange. I hear some of you saying, I know that…I learned it in grade school.
But wait, it isn’t black and white (pun intended). Secondary are not limited to simply orange, purple and green. There are many variations. The same is true of tertiary colors. . The variations depend on the amounts of each hue that is added to another. That’s where the fun begins for a dyer like me. In my dye pot, magic can take place. Did you know that teal and purple can make a navy blue? I wouldn’t have guessed it, but I get that hue time and again with one of the dye types I use. Try this experiment: Use your child’s watercolor set and play with the colors. Make the secondary colors with only red, blue and yellow. Can you make more than one orange hue? Or purple hue? Or green hue? Add a comment and share what you found out.
Where to find us
We are located in Frederick MD. You can shop in person with a mask and lots of social distance! Or buy online and stop by to pick up…I’ll run your purchases out to you in your car.
If you are coming here, please enter Flying Goat Farm into WAZE. That app will reliably get you to our farm. Google Maps DOES NOT work!