Win Gail Callahan's Original Colorgrid!

[This contest is now closed and congratulations to all our winners!] It's interesting how people make connections. I first heard Gail Callahan's name in, of all places, the dentist's chair. When I told my dentist that I was working on a crochet book, she said, "A friend of mine's mother-in-law does something with yarn. I think she dyes it." Dr. Lee forwarded Gail's information to me later that day, and we've worked together several times since then! I used Gail's Kangaroo Dyer yarn for the Loop-de-loop, Furry Fun, and Honeycomb Bolster pillows in my Crochet Pillows book; two of the scarves in my new book, Crochet Scarves (coming in June!), Sea Splash and Grecian Ladders, feature Gail's yarn. (See how important it is to get those regular dental checkups?)

I've been very impressed with her colorways, which is why I was delighted to learn about her new product, Gail Callahan's Original Colorgrid. Gail, the author of Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece, explains her inspiration for the product:

"I was challenged to write a chapter on color," she says. "In doing research I observed that every book on color had a color wheel in some shape or form. For me, the color wheel was `The dreaded color wheel!' because I never understood it. Why did my box of crayons have brown and black but the color wheel did not? I told my editor, Gwen Steege, that I did not want a color wheel in our book because it did not work for me.

"That got me thinking about how to talk about color. I placed three buckets of color on a shelf: blue, yellow, and red, all in a row. I envisioned the blue and yellow buckets pouring in droplets between each other, and watching them mix so you could see all the variations of these colors beneath them. Thus, the colors mixing, and the boxes of color. The same for the other mixes. This is how the grid developed. After playing around with the Colorgrid, I discovered that if you jump a certain amount of squares, you get combinations that work."

The grid itself is a shiny trifold with a detachable template. Open the grid to reveal 14 squares across by 11 vertically. The template has open circles, 3 x 3 with the center one a bit larger than the surrounding ones, and a rectangular slit. Simply position the large circle over the color you like--that's your Base Color. The colors in the surrounding circles are "close relatives" that Gail says you can use with confidence. Look in the slit for the Spark that will punch up your color selection. That's all there is to it! Position the template horizontally or vertically, with the holes at the bottom or the top, it works in any orientation. Just lay the template down and voila!

Gail suggests using the Base and Spark colors in a 9:1 proportion for the most harmonious results.

Yarnies will love the Colorgrid, but it's not just for fiber artists. Gail says, "The most exciting customer so far is a man who owns several tattoo shops. He wanted the Colorgrid for his workers to find the spark in their color combinations!" The Colorgrid is helpful for gardening (maybe my floral palette will finally work this year!), quilting, beading, home decorating, even arranging food on a plate.

My only niggle with the product is that the folds run right through the middle of squares, rather than between columns of squares. I don't like the seam showing through the holes. This is a minor flaw and does not detract from my excitement for the Colorgrid.

"I want to empower people to use color with confidence," Gail says, "and to explore what they like and get excited about it."

Gail, who lives in Greenfield, MA and is the house dyer for WEBS (wow!), hopes to do a Colorgrid in neutrals. Much like a field of prairie grass that looks monochromatic at first glance but is full of subtle, beautiful color on further inspection, neutrals are not devoid of color.

Gail Callahan's Original Colorgrid retails for $7.95 and is available through WEBS and on Amazon, among other places. The product is produced by Storey Publishing. Keep up with Gail at her Kangaroo Dyer blog.


Gail has generously offered to send a Colorgrid to five lucky winners! Here's how it works: Post a comment on this blog before 11:59 p.m. EDT Tuesday, May 1, 2012. Each commenter will be entered in a random drawing (one per person, no matter how many comments you post). The winners will be announced here on Wednesday, May 2, along with instructions on how to get your mailing address to Gail so she can send out your prize. Make sure you check back to see if you've won. Good luck!