Behind the Scenes: Creating Hawthorne

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been drooling over our new Hawthorne yarn colors. I cannot wait to spend many happy evenings knitting colorful scarves and baby sweaters with the delicious new Multi colors and Tonal line.

Knit Picks Hawthorne Yarn

I feel an extra smidge of joy when I use Hawthorne, because I am the lucky gal at KnitPicks who gets to pick the yarn colors! It all starts on Pinterest (don’t most things these days?), where I keep an ever-growing board of yarn color inspiration. It’s full of numerous Design Seed palettes, along with naturescapes, food scenes, and more.

creating yarn colors - Hawthorne yarn development

Once I have a good amount of color ideas, I bring them into Illustrator, creating a grid from the colors, along with their corresponding inspiration photo. I then print them out and the entire Knit Picks team goes at them with Sharpies. The ones with the most initials make it to the second round, and then we choose usually 10-12 winners for the final round. It’s like a yarny Americon Idol! Hawthorne yarn color development

For the factory, I create a file like the one below. For each color, I include the color palette, inspiration photo, and dye effect. Hawthorne yarn color development

For extra clarity, I will sometimes take a photo of an existing skein and note which the effects we want replicated for the new colors. Hawthorne yarn color development

Then we cross our fingers and wait. It’s always a bit of a gamble how the colors will turn out – there are many fun surprises, sprinkled with the occasional not-so-fun ones. The translation from screen to dye is beautifully erratic and unpredictable, much like watercolor painting.

Which of the new Hawthorne colors are your favorite? We would also love to hear what colors you would like to see more of!




1 comment

  1. Jeanett / August 23, 2017

    Hey so what happens to the “not so fun” ones? Are there ever “seconds” or “oopsies” available? You know what they say about one man’s junk being another man’s treasure!