DESIGNING MY RANGE OF YARN

THE GENESIS OF THE SOCKMATICIAN EDITION COLOUR RANGE: IDEAS AND IDEALS


The eight colours of the Sockmatician Edition range are inspired initially by the six-stripe, Pride rainbow flag, a symbol of inclusivity and solidarity for the LGBT community, of which, I am a very proud member.

The flag was designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker, and although it originally contained eight stripes, the six-stripe one we are familiar with today (RED, ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, & PURPLE) has been in common use since 1979.

That was the jumping off point. My rainbow is darker than the ones that you will see adorning the windows of shops that are welcoming to LGBT people, or on the flags flying defiantly outside gay bars all over the world.

The journey towards equality has been long, and it's been hard. People have fought and died under that flag, and in many parts of the world, still do. Just because I can now be married to the man I love, in England Scotland and Wales (wake up, Northern Ireland: it's 2018!), doesn't mean that the struggle is over: far from it.

The history of this flag, and the people it represents, is dark and bloody.

The range includes deep, brooding versions of those six colours (MONTAGNIER, CHAPPELL, GARLAND, FEATHERSTONE, BRUTON, & BAKER), along with two neutrals—a light grey called MILK, and a dark, stormy grey called DeLARVERIE.

This range is very personal to me, and I wanted it to have a meaning beyond just "what word does that colour suggest to me?", so I have chosen to give each colour the surname of a prominent LGBT activist throughout history, or a pioneer in the field of HIV: two aspects of my life that are very important to me indeed. To find out the individual story behind each one, visit the appropriate sales page for the colour you want to know about.

The varying tones in the Sockmatician Edition Yarn are there to represent the diversity of the people who all come under the umbrella of the LGBT community. Within each stripe of the rainbow, we are still not all the same. My struggles are not your struggles. Your journey is different from mine. We are different, but we are united under one rainbow flag.

I worked very closely with Maree Buscke and her team of experts at Skeinz, and together we have designed a yarn that is very well suited to the sort of knitting that I am always so keen to promote. As most of the world already knows, I am a keen—some might say "fanatical", and I couldn't blame them!—double-knitter, and try to convert as many people to the wonders of this fascinating technique wherever I go. Double-knitting is a form of colour work, and as such, you don't want to be using a yarn with too much colour variation, as that will work against you, and break up the detail in the pattern that you are so painstakingly crafting into your masterpiece. That's why we've kept the tonal variation in our colours subtle and gentle.

The yarn itself is worsted spun. This means that it has gone through as many as thirteen different blending, carding, gilling processes, all of which align the fibres nicely in the same directions, making it strong, smooth, and shiny. In fact, as much of the fire in this particular yarn has been recycled, it's been through all those processes more than once, and as such, is probably one of the MOST worsted-spun yarns in the world! (Don't quote me on that, and don't write in...)

It is also spun with quite a high twist. This is so that it holds onto its fibres as much as possible—the possum fibre has an incredibly short staple-length, and will do its best to pop free if given the opportunity!—and to reduce the chance of the yarn becoming too fuzzy, or blooming too much. Again, this is all in the interests of protecting the clean edges of the design that you might want to be working into your work.



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