I love working on new colourways, though it isn't something I do all the time. Especially when it comes to repeatable colourways. Often when I dye for the sake of dyeing or myself I just throw colours together to see what madness comes out of it. This part of my process is very haphazard, but often informs my more structured dyeing. I like to play with colour to see how they combine in a more real way than on a colour palette.
When designing a new colourway I usually have been prompted to think about a Fandom or theme and then I tend to select the first few things that come to mind to take down the research rabbit hole.
So for example when working on the Phat Fiber samples for January with the Theme 'Dragons and Fantasy'. I had originally been thinking about fiery reds browns, colours I don't dye often, but are commonly associated with Dragons and their fire breathing ways. However when it came to dyeing my samples I was suddenly reminded of Eragon by Christopher Paolini and thought it would be nice to play off other colours, so I was guided to his dragon in particular Saphira.
Once I've got a firm inspiration, I start thinking about how to represent this using colour and how the colours should best be distributed across the skein. For Saphira, it was really important that I looked at 3 colours, the slight brown, purple and the rich but kind of dusty blue. To create the colours I was looking for I extended my colour palette, especially as I am dyeing this colourway on Superwash yarn, I can make full use of how dyeing on this type of yarn creates a layered effect.
So with a view to the final blue, I chose an icy blue grey, to add that level of dustiness and also to neutralise the cream/ yellow colour to the undyed yarn. I then chose a warm brown and strong purple. With a final rich blue.
I then decide the strength of each of those colours I am going to use, which will determine where the colours are very deep or pale. In this case I kept the first colour as is and chose to go for paler versions of the brown and purple as they were secondary colours to the blue. The blue I decided to use at half strength.
When it comes to dyeing the skeins I think about how I want each of these colours to be represented on the skein, whether the colour has to be across the entire skein, if I just want flashes of the colour, whether it should be a completely solid colour or if in itself it should be a semi solid. This determines the method of dyeing I use for the colouway.
In this case I chose a semisolid method for both the icy blue grey and the rich blue, and the same resist method of twisting my hanks for the brown and purple to give flashes across the skein in different sections.
The final product on the Space Aran weight base!