Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Creating with Love or Spleen

When I'm dyeing yarn, or creating anything, it's an emotional process. I'm not saying my magical ingredient in our natural dyepots is tears (alright, sometimes...) but I am saying that I put what I'm feeling into the colorways I create. Some of our colorways are named for people, some for memories, places we've been, etc. I try not to ever create in a negative mood; I don't want you wrapping your baby in that. But sometimes, I feel a little like this.

That's my middle child when he was about six years old after his brother tried to take a toy he was playing with. Now they are 12 and 15; the elder is preparing to act in Romeo and Juliet and the younger holds a guitar much more often than a baseball bat. Their arguments are both more and less sophisticated than when this photo was taken, but just as "full of spleen" as Shakespeare used to say. I'll admit I've made some spleen colorways - there's one called "Amparo" because "I'm gonna kill Andres with a spoon" doesn't fit so prettily on a label. Or even "Sedona" which I made on a bad day and have repeatedly vowed to stop making but ya'll keep buying it so I have to keep making it.

"Bleeding Heart" is really "the teenage heartbreak that lasts your whole life" - it's slick fresh blood color has earth undertones and bruised purples. It's old and raw at the same time; and that's how I feel every time I see him.

But then there's Elsiebelle, palest lavender and steely gray. It's named for my daughter who is this tough but fragile girl. She's had a kidney disease since birth which requires us to take her for testing every six months. Liz always tells her doctors she's fine, even when she's sick or in pain.

A long time ago, as I would tell the story to my daughter, there was an optimistic young bride heading out on her honeymoon to the Oregon Coast. She and her new husband drove through Tillamook County on the most beautiful of clear days (mid August is always perfect). There was nothing but blue sky and cow fields. Teenage bride should have read something into that.

Tillamook Sky is that memory, just the breath of the color of the day. Bittersweet.

Today, my hands have touched 168 skeins. I've been singing along with Yo La Tengo, The Roots and Radiohead. Cathy and Sean wandered back with stories. Jesse banged shelving around. The wind from the Columbia gorge blew into the studio. The yarn, headed to Colorado and California, is happy and full of love.


  1. How lovely! Where in California exactly?

  2. Loved reading your perspective on the process, the dance, the vision. Thanks for sharing.