When I was doing shows, often Mom would help me work the booth. (Thanks Mom!!xo) Pretty early on she made a keen observation that a large majority of customers subconsciously bought yarn in colors that would match what they were wearing that day. Even if they spent a significant amount of time debating over skeins, in the end what they bought usually matched or coordinated with what they were wearing. I noticed this to be true as well when I was working in the yarn shop.
To me this always made sense. We often wear clothes that subsonsciously will express what we are feeling that day. Yoga pants for comfort, power suit, or even pearls to clutch. For some it can be colors that help amplify or attract a way we want to feel– black when you want to go unnoticed, red when you are feeling powerful, navy when seeking structure. So it makes sense to me that when selecting yarn that you will be using to make a garment (and tapping into your creativity which sits right next to your subconscious in your right brain) that you are seeking more fuel for emotions or feelings we want to express or attract more of. I think stash woo is also not just about colors, but can also be translated into textures and fiber intent as well.
I think the most accurate way to read your stash is to really sit with it and think about what was going on in your life when you bought those skeins, and think about the core emotions of feelings you have when you look at each skein. Pay special attention to the skeins that you felt were a mistake and the skeins you have mad crazy love for. But today I thought I would share with you a few of my personal observations when it comes to reading the woo of my stash.
There are thousands of online resources that will guide you in the woo and psychology behind every color imaginable. And for the most part it can be dead on. But honestly sometimes a color can mean something totally different psychologically to someone who might have a direct personal experience with a particular color. Take for instance Black. For many it can mean elegance as in the little black dress or black tie attire. But for some it hardens back to something goth, anarchist, counter culture. For me black reminds me of how artist would dress in college and at a graphic design conference I attended in the early 90s. For an artist, technically black is a lack of color altoghether. In clothing it leaves a blank slate for personalities to shine, or it can be a means by which one can feel “invisible”. Here are a few of my own color correlations:
Red: vibrant, confidant, wanting to stand out as powerful
Turquoise: playful, soulful, youthful, deep happy emotional
Cobalt blue: Bold but in a calm grounded way, vibrant yet serene and centered
Navy: Structured, historic, patriotic, conservative
Hot pink: like red, but with a girly younger vibe
Pastel pink: princess, graceful like a ballerina, whispering softly
Light Grey: mysterious, ethereal, peaceful, stillness
White: Potential, holy, like a clean slate, also with out color, meant to amplify other colors.
Orange: creativity, energetic, kinetic, exotic
Purple: mysterious, new age, marching to the beat of a different drum
Golden yellow: wisdom gathered over time, aging gracefully, a life well lived
Bright yellow: youthful, happy, bubbly childlike
Fibers can be such an interesting thing to read. It is not only about drape but how the feel can react with our skin and make us feel. Think of how cranky you can get if a hat is too itchy or how comforted we feel snuggled into a soft blanket. Here are a few common fibers and how they translate for me:
Wool: I think depending on the softnes of the fiber count wool cam mean anything from a soft comforting merino, to a solid reliable Romney. Overall wool is warmth,and protection be it a soft feminine kind or a study masculine kind
Silk: timeless elegance. Strength though perfect structure. And depending on the shine for me shiny is like yang energy, matte finish boil is like yin energy.
Acrylic: oh yes acrylic… Common sense, utility, frugal, overcoming adversity
Cotton: movement, unassuming, strength, adaptability, claiming
Rayons: exotic, sustainable, elegance despit humble means
Sparkle: Attention grabbing, must be noticed, vivacious, outgoing
Mohair: ethereal, angelic, holy, faith, strength through belief
Cashmere: cashmere is interesting. While it logically speaks of luxury and wealth because of the expense, to me it’s extreme softness actually seems to speak of a equally extreme need for top of the line comfort. Absolute and complete self care as priority.
When reading textures of your stash I think often the texures of the actual yarn can read totally different than the textures of a final garment. Mostly because when knitted up, texture can look entirely different than it might have looked in a single strand of yarn. What textures elements that may have attracted you to a particular skein, might very well get lost once knitted up. This is exactly why I find knitters are most often disappointed in projects made from textured yarn than any other kind of yarn. Here are a few of my personal woo observations of texture both as a yarn and knitted up:
Ribbon: As a yarn ribbon represents flow and elegance there are distinctly two sides which also may play into what could be going on. However, knitted up ribbon creates a fabric that looks thicker than it actually is, it is not as it seems.
Bouclé: As a yarn : bubbly playful, sense of rhythm. As a fabric: thick comforting protection.
Art yarn: As a yarn: needing to be heard, as in telling a visual story (every inch is different), the unknown, unpredictable, surprises. As a fabric: unique, one of a kind,
Plied: As a yarn: working together, community, family. As a fabric: everyday ordinary, rhythms and routines that makes life smooth
Singles: As a yarn: stillness, slowing down to notice life and details. As a fabric: finding messages through stillness
Reading the woo of your stash is such a great way to tap into you subsconious. It is a way to see where you are emotionally. But it is also a way to actively translate you work into art.
Applying these elements consciously can create a visual language that of will give a voice to your work that is as unique as your creative mind.
So my question for you is, what is one element of your current WIP (Work In Progress) that is absolutely expressing what you are feeling (or were feeling when you began). I would love to read about it in the comments below or over on the FB page(especially if you would like to post some pictures! You know how I love to see what you are working on right now) I will share mine as well this evening. If you like this post please please please pin it or share it using the social media links above and below this post.