Exercise 4.4: Deconstructing colour as yarn

The aim of this exercise is to select and explore new and appropriate making and deconstructing techniques to make lighter and more transparent qualities into yarns.

The brief of this exercise is to the stripe designs created in Exercise 3.3 to inform material selection and then apply methods of deconstruction and reduction to capture the lightness, colour, energy and particular qualities of the watercolour-painted stripes in a small series of yarn designs and yarn concepts.

For reference the stripe designs from Exercise 3.3 that I found particularly inspiring are shown below

I started by deconstructing a piece of material into its individual components, blending some roving to better colour match the stripe designs. The roving was blended by selecting colours that looked as though they would mix together to get the shade I wanted (including adding white where necessary) and then repeatedly pulling the roving apart gently and recombining until the roving appeared to be a more consistent colour. I also played with applying heat to a polyester voile (this was an idea I had after constructing ribbon leaves for a friend’s bridal bouquet). As can be seen in the photos below, the way the voile reacted to the heat was to concentrate the dye along the edges which was very reminiscent of the way that watercolour often has a stronger pigmentation along the edges.

The yarns that I created inspired by these striped designs are as follows. The first yarn was created using a white roving as the dominant core and I caught strands of cream and green from deconstructed fabrics into the yarn as it was spun.

The second yarn I created was somewhat inspired by one of the yarns created in Exercise 4.3 but I also wove a cream thread from a deconstructed fabric to exaggerate the stripe effect.

For the third yarn I wanted to play with the idea of the transparency of watercolour paint and how the colours change as they are laid over one another as it was inspired by the bleeding sections of the stripe designs.

Inspired by the pooling of pigment by watercolour paint I created the following yarn made from strips of voile, heating the edges to distress and bind each strip to the previous one.

For the final yarn, I wanted to create a more tradition spun yarn with the colouring of the striped design that was reminiscent of candy stripes. The first version I created can be seen here but I felt that it was a bit too dark to capture the stripe accurately. I found that when I spun the yarn together, the dark colours dominated more than I expected.

I decided to try again and created this yarn instead

Both of the two spun yarns inspired by this colour scheme were created by a technique called Navajo plying where a single ply is turned into a three-ply yarn. I found this technique very exciting as it allowed me to create a plied yarn without having to handle multiple balls of spun yarn at once. It also allows you to consolidate colours by spinning the single ply in colour blocks and then plying those sections together. The place where you pass the yarn through to create a new loop isn’t easy to spot but can be seen most clearly in the centre of bottom yarn in the photo below:

[All links accessed on 25/05/19]

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