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One of the most fun things I get to do as a dyer is to design new colours. I often like to help guide development by choosing a theme, and so this winter I looked around at the coming trends and chose one that is near and dear to my heart: denim!
Denim brings up fond memories of some of the best moments in my life. When I was a girl, my father was reluctant to let his daughters wear denim because he worried it would indicate he wasn’t providing well for us – as an immigrant to Canada whose family had lost everything in the war, he wanted to give his children the very best! However, his ideas of the very best and our ideas did NOT match. The day we won the war and were allowed to wear jeans to school is one I will never forget – no more orange satin pants (spot the child of the 70’s here)! Denim has taken me all over the world: fabulous hikes, wonderful restaurants, and adventures of all sorts.
Denim also has a long and illustrious history, as we have been wearing it for well over 100 years – starting as a humble but strong fabric that clothed gold miners, and moving to the pinnacle of the heights of fashion, clothing stars of screen, stage, and music. Its versatility continues to amaze me!
I chose to do a full tribute to this wonderful fabric and its lovely shades of blue by doing something a little different for us. I developed not one but THREE denim tone on tone gradient sets, commemorating three different indigo blue shades we see in our beloved jeans. I also developed six variegated colours that can be combined in all sorts of ways with the gradient shades. These colours tie into the gradients sets because they use the same blue hues.
Not Your Mama’s Blue Jeans is the gorgeous indigo blue of so many lovely denim materials. The name plays on the constant rebranding of the styling of blue jeans, which always remain true to their indigo roots no matter how they change in style.
Classic Denim is a gradient set that I developed to match those deep dark jeans we see at times in the store and just cannot resist. This is a colour we often see in the very oldest pairs of jeans. I first owned jeans this colour as a teenager and I loved them! It is a rich steely blue, fading as the material ages to a steel grey with that lovely undertone of blue. It has depth and intensity and an element of timelessness about it.
Lookin’ Fine in my New Blue Jeans is a gradient based on that fabulous look of a brand new pair of jeans. It’s little warmer than Not Your Mama’s Blue Jeans – think of the rich denim hues of jeans that haven’t yet faded with wear or washing. No one can resist a pair of jeans in this warm shade!
Forever in Blue Jeans is the first denim colour I developed when I was starting out as an indie dyer. It’s a classic and is based on the acid wash jeans of the 80’s – a great variegated colourway that will not pool when knit!
Blue Jeans Blues is a fun colourway that is meant to do a small amount of patterning but never streak! It has sections of white interspersed with sections of blues of all shades of denim. The end result means that you can get some diagonal striping of the white when knitting socks, but it will not overwhelm a design overall. In shawls or larger garments, there will be no strong pooling or blotches because the colour sections are short and the blues are randomly painted.
Raindrops is a fun colourway that is stippled with all sorts of shades of denim blues from all three gradient sets! It’s a fun way to get a light coloured garment that will tone beautifully with your denim. The inspiration came from a road trip on a rainy day, when I was looking at the rain running down the car window. Reflected in the drops were all the shades of blues one could imagine from the jeans I was wearing!
T-Shirt and Jeans is a fun colour that is dyed with half the skein white, and half the skein blue. It can be used to do all sorts of interesting projects where you want the yarn to streak or pool! Knit into a sock or shawl you will get thin zebra stripes. Choose a pattern like Inspired to take full advantage of its pooling properties!
Icehouse is inspired by the magnificent ice castle that is built every year on the ice of Lake Louise in Alberta. The ice itself contains all sorts of gorgeous shades of blues, but in the evening when one goes skating out on the lake (right around the ice castle), one is grateful for the jeans that protect you from falling! The castle reflects those gorgeous deep blues right back at you almost like a mirror. This colour uses a classic dark denim blue glazed onto the yarn for a random effect when knit.
Pull Up Your Socks is a fun colour that is meant to pattern when knit. It is dyed in quarters, with two quarters done in the lightest shade of the Lookin’ Fine gradient, and two quarters dyed in the darker shade of this gradient. When knit into socks it will stack in diagonal stripes whose thickness vary depending on stitch count. It is also ideal for patterns like Inspired, where colour pooling is used to its fullest.