Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mountain Colors Yarn Visit

Under the Bigtop Hat
My affection for Mountain Colors Yarn is well publicized.  (see the first 4 pics for original patterns with their yarns)  I was lucky enough to have another visit to their studios and showroom last week during my Montana vacation.  What makes me love a small yarn dyer in a place that's tough to reach?  A company who exclusively dyes variegated yarns, which I am reported to have a very fickle relationship with?

Elk Mittens

Well, it's not complicated.  I don't know who their yarn suppliers are, but Mountain Colors is very particular about only dying extremely high quality yarns which are a pleasure to use.  I've used them for a number of projects, and used them as featured yarn for classes.  And the colors are outstanding, each painstakingly composed by the two owners, Leslie Taylor and Diana McKay.  These two women have a remarkable color sense, building each variegation from 9 colors and blends.  They hand-dye in small batches for color and quality control.  And the majority of their colorways are inspired by their surroundings.

Snuggly Socks
Ruffles for Lisa
As it turns out, the surrounding of Western Montana is a particularly beautiful and volatile one.  Wildflowers, wildlife and wildfires, Cascade Mountains and cascading streams, and four seasons of weather to create even more colors and drama.

Lolo Pass Fire 2013
They are located in the Bitterroot Valley, in a little town called Corvallis.  On this visit, the valley was socked in with smoke from a huge wildfire just over the ridge.  At first I was disappointed, worrying about the loss of wilderness and property.  (I'm from the East Coast, and this was my first wildfire!  Yikes!)  But it was painstakingly explained to me that letting the fires burn is better for the environment in the long run, and that the people and livestock were being well protected.  So I spent a little time looking at the contrast of the fire plume over the mountains, against the sky, against the lodge pole pines.  The colors were unique and amazing.

This is already running a little long, so I'll talk about the cool yarn I collected for new designs in the next post.

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