Ganseys and Color Classes

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Introducing…the mini gansey that I knitted up over the course of the 2 day class with Beth Brown-Reinsel. Barely, that is. I booked at the end in order to say that I finished during the class. I had 15 minutes remaining when I casted off the neck. And it was not the cast off that I would have chosen, if this was a real sweater. I used the regular knit bind off instead of the sewn bind off. Then it was a leisurely finish to weave in all the ends. Oh-my-gawd! There were a lot of ends. At the end if each section, the instructions said “break yarn.” In that bitsy sweater, it was really obvious. I don’t think it would have been quite noticeable when working a larger sweater.

I swatched the moorit that I intended for a fisherman’s gansey on US #3 (3.25mm). It came to about 5.5 sts per inch. And it’s not showing off the textures as well as I’d like. I think both Ruth and Judith were correct. I need a minimum of 3 ply to make this work. And I had spun it semi-worsted, which didn’t help. I think worsted would be best. In any case, I’ll go down a needle size or 2 on my swatch to see how that works. If it shows it off “well enough” I might go ahead and make a gansey for myself, and get started on spinning the 3 ply worsted for a gansey for Martin. It won’t be an anniversary present, but a birthday one. Oh well. We are headed into the hot season in California. He wouldn’t be able wear it until at least October anyway.

I’ve been mulling over the stuff I learned in Michele Wipplinger’s 3 day Color Institute workshop and the 1 day Deb Menz workshop.

It’s a really hard comparison because Deb also has a 3 day and a 5 day workshop, just on color. Michele’s workshop was only the first in a 3 part series of 3 day workshops. There was a lot of overlap between the 2 workshops that I attended. Both instructors have very different styles. I would highly recommend either one.

Simiarities: in both classes we spent a lot of time playing with ColorAid chips and paints (gouache for Deb, watercolor for Michele). We worked through the basics of the color wheel, hue, saturation, tint, value, etc. We worked on color transitions in both classes.

Both had painting sections, but Deb worked more on color transitions. Take a base color, and slowly add white, black, and grey to it. Then take 2 complements, and slowly add one to the other and vice versa to approach a neutral. That was pretty much all we had time for.

Michele uses pure pigments. She didn’t allow us to use black or white during our painting section. White is merely a lack of color. With water color and with fiber, you just use less pigment. No need to add “white” since there is no white pigment. Nor is there a black pigment. She contends that there is no true black in nature. If you study what is perceived as black, there is always a dominant hue. So, I learned to make blacks and neutral, with just what was in my watercolor pan.

We worked on color transitions with color chips in Michele’s workshop. We weren’t restricted to the ColorAid chips. We had access to paint chips and yarn chips too. Yarn chips? They are just little cards that had yarn wrapped around it. Hundreds of them. Different colors, fiber content and textures.

She had us take 2 colors and select chips that transitioned from one color to another. The first one I did a standard transition, similar to what Deb did with 2 paints. Slowly migrated from one to the other. That seemed pretty easy.

Then I took on a project of my own. There was a packet of incense on the table. The stick was fuschia. The incense end was bright, bright, green. I chose that as my two anchor colors. I struggled with this for quite a while. I tried the traditional route. It was difficult to transition from a yellow green to a blue red.

Michele's interpretation My interpretation

My interpretation is on the left. Pretty bland, isn’t it? The progression is there, but I lost the zing! of the incense stick. Michele came over, tossed a few things out an brought in a couple of neutrals, and voila! A simple, uncluttered color transition that retained the vibrancy and excitement of the incense sticks.

There were quite a few other things we did in Michele’s workshop. One thing we did was to take the NCS color test. This is where we had 15 minutes to arrange 4 sets of disks of color in progression. Each set had about 20 disks representing each quadrant of the color wheel. I did pretty well on this test. It showed me that I can differentiate the nuances of color. But the color transitions portion showed me that I clearly lack the “knack” of colors — the ability to think outside the box and put the colors together. But that’s what the class is all about.

We worked primarily with the Munsell workbook. She replaced the NCS workbook that she had originally put in for us. That was definitely too advanced for where I am now and would have frustrated me to no end. And that, would have definitely defeated the purpose of “playing with colors.”

One thought on “Ganseys and Color Classes”

  1. Wow, that sounds like some class. both of them. I plan on knitting an aran in the fall, I say fall because I decided it had to be a 3 ply yarn and that I know will take me a while. That color thing sounds amazing. Makes me feel like I need to find more classes around here.

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