Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Autumn colors: Let's take a road trip

Road Trip # 1 scarf / Inspired by autumn colors.

Inspiration comes in all forms, shapes and colors. Sometimes, it comes from an appreciation of our natural world observed while taking a road trip by automobile.

"The leaves had not really started to change to other colors rather having mellowed to old greens as they prepared for true autumn," remembered Babs Ausherman, known throughout the online yarn and fiber community as "Miss Babs".

A year ago, Ausherman was in search of natural surroundings to nurture her creative side as a fiber artist. Her "road trip" by car led her through the scenic and colorful mountains of Tennessee.

"The roadside grasses had gone tan with burgundy/russet seed heads, the sky was clear and blue," Miss Babs observed.

What she chronicled in vivid detail became the inspiration for a lovely, autumn-colored scarf design she created last year. The notes she wrote for the pattern read like a travelogue.

A hard-working, insightful fiber artist, Ausherman is the owner of Miss Babs Hand-Dyed Yarns & Fibers, Inc., an online retailer of hand-dyed yarn and fiber and patterns based in Mountain City, Tenn., the county seat of Johnson County, located in the northeasternmost corner of the Volunteer State. She was raised in a family of creative types and entrepreneurs. Miss Babs believes a good day's work is good for the soul.

I've had the pleasure to renew acquaintances with Miss Babs each of the past several years when she comes to California for Stitches West, an annual yarn and fiber expo held each February in Santa Clara. I've come to appreciate her sharp wit, artistic and creative flair, and thoughtfulness.

As I gazed upon the completed "Road Trip #1" scarf while perusing the Miss Babs booth at Stitches West earlier this year, immediately, I fell in love not only with the beautiful palette of autumn colors, but also with the design and feel of the scarf.

The Road Trip #1 scarf / 
Each section represents
the colors of the land and sky --

and it's a wonderful project
to knit on a road trip.
There are five colors that comprise the "Road Trip #1" scarf: "The original scarf is knit in Moss, Russet, Candied Pecan, Wheaten, and Coos Bay. The scarf takes a full skein of one color, and partial skeins of the other four colors," writes Miss Babs in describing the scarf on Ravelry, an online social media site for knitters and fiber artists.

"The sections represent the colors of the land and sky, but they also seem to be reminiscent of the concrete roads that we sometimes travel on. They make a thumpity-thump rhythmic sound," she adds in describing the scarf's design. "In addition to being inspired by the colors of a road trip, this scarf is a wonderful project to knit on during a road trip, since it is all garter stitch!"

My wife, who has knitted several scarfs for me, respects my taste in knitted arts. So, the "Road Trip #1 scarf seemed a natural fit. Because of its unisex pattern, I hinted that I would love to have one of these "road trip" scarves for my very own. Without hesitation, we purchased a copy of the pattern and picked out the requisite skeins of Heartland Worsted hand-painted 3-ply Merino yarn, much to the delight of Miss Babs.

My very own
Road Trip #1 scarf.
Fast forward through the remainder of winter, spring and summer to a few weeks ago. Just in time for autumn, I now have my completed scarf that's filled with its own autumn colors. During the time my wife knitted this project, it was both interesting and enjoyable to see my very own "Road Trip #1" scarf take shape, color by color and section by section. The finished scarf looks just as beautiful as the pictures that illustrate the easy-to-follow pattern.

Looking ahead, the Stitches West 2014 show is only a few months away, and I'm looking forward to attending so I can show off my "Road Trip #1" scarf for Miss Babs. I'm confident she'll be pleased by how it turned out. Now, if only I can find the time to go on a road trip.

All photographs of the Road Trip #1 scarf by Michael Dickens, copyright 2013.

1 comment:

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