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When I was trying to decide what to make as a gift for King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, I knew the colorways could not be inspired by any of the following things:

1. Meatloaf

2. Football

3. Sauerkraut

4. Sports of any kind

5. Especially football

I finally settled on the places and seasons that make the city of Duluth unique.

I hope they'll like them. If they don't, well, at least I'll be able to hold my head up knowing that my yarn was not inspired by sports or disgusting food.

I started with our current season. (Autumn, in case you were wondering. No, it doesn't snow here 365 days a year. No, we don't travel by dogsled [much].)

We've had a glorious fall. Bright colors, mild temperatures, brilliant blue skies and water.  I wanted to capture that in a colorway.

Hawk Ridge is an overlook in northeast Duluth that hugs the Lake Superior shoreline.

In the fall, tens of thousands of hawks and eagles use this corridor in their migration pattern, leaving Canada and heading for warmer climates. Lake Superior is too large a body of water for them to cross without food, so they instinctively know to stay near shore.

You can read more about Hawk Ridge observatory here.

The view of the lake and the horizon from Hawk Ridge is especially beautiful in the fall, so I used blues and mixed in spruce green, orange, brown, yellow, and red.

I have a confession. I don't really care much for autumn-themed colorways. I don't know why -- maybe they seem a little too cliche, too formulaic, with their analogous color grouping of red, orange, and yellow?

So I had to create something that would make someone like me stop to look, and I'm now totally in love with this one.

I thought long and hard about what made this area special in the winter. Yes, we have snow and cold and frozen water, but visually, it's hard to make an exciting colorway from white, gray, and pale blue.

Then I remembered being twelve. I had a paper route, and had to deliver the paper even on Christmas, even when the temperatures were cold enough to freeze the inside of my nose the second I stepped outside.

The Christmas morning papers are thick and heavy, and we had just gotten fresh snow, so I brought a sled and pulled my bundle of papers behind me.

As I started walking my route in the pre-dawn hours, I noticed how still and quiet everything was -- not a creature was stirring. As if queued by the director of a made-for-TV home-for-the-holidays movie, the sky lit up with an amazing northern lights display.

I stopped to watch -- I'd seen the lights from a window before, but only briefly, and my view had always been obscured by neighboring houses and trees.

There was nothing obstructing the sky over Lake Superior that morning, and I still remember the goosebumps I felt knowing that I was probably one of the few people in the world awake and watching the display.

Goosebumps makes for good yarn, methinks.

Skyline Parkway is a 25-mile long scenic byway that traverses the city's highest points and affords amazing views of the lake. You can read more about it here.

In the spring, lilacs grow profusely throughout private yards and public parks. Lilac bushes love the cold winters and sunny days, and grow with abandon.

They seem to especially love the longest freshwater sandbar in the world, a portion of which is seen here.

(Yes, we have a beach here. Yes, the water is cold. Yes, it does warm up enough to swim a little in the summer. Yes, Lake Superior is delightfully salt and shark free. Can you see how shallow the water is on the right side of the picture? It's great for kids.)

We had lilacs in my yard growing up, and I don't recall my parents ever doing anything to them, other than give them an occasional pruning when the branches got too close to the windows. No fertilizing, no watering.

Lilacs know how to bloom where they're planted, a lesson many of us could stand to learn.

This colorway has several shades of purple and pink for the lilac flowers themselves, married with verdant greens and browns for the woody stems and leaves evident after the flowers have faded.

My mother lives and dies by the phrase Cooler by the Lake.  She hates hot weather so much that she could not consider moving even ten miles further inland, where the summer temps are routinely 5-10 degrees warmer. Except in the winter, where the opposite is true. Lake Superior has a moderating effect on temperature.)

(Yes, the snow melts in the summer. No, we don't have permafrost. Yes, it gets to be in the 80s Fahrenheit, and sometimes even in the 90s. Yes, my mother wrote to her favorite weather man the week before my wedding begging for good news about the temperatures. It was still hot in the church in August, despite her request.)

The centerpiece of Duluth is its harbor and the surrounding neighborhood, Canal Park. Chances are good that if you've eaten grain, driven a car, or used electricity, you've used products shipped out of Duluth on one of these boats.

(For the curious, much of the midwest's grain destined for the eastern US or for foreign markets is shipped via railcar to Duluth.)

Perhaps I have mentioned the Aerial Lift Bridge a view times? Perhaps.

It lifts up and down to let the huge boats into the port, where they fill up with cargo and head to the far reaches of the globe. You can see more pictures of the bridge in action in this post.

Cooler by the Lake has the grays of our beautiful bridge, the blue of the water, the rust and white of the boats, and the browns of the rocky shore.

And finally, the reason for the Norwegian royal visit in the first place. The rededication of Enger Tower.

Situated more than 500 feet above Lake Superior on Observation Hill, the tower is a quaint stone structure with a green beacon perched atop it.

The colorway has the grays and reddish browns of the tower, and of course, it wouldn't be complete without a few touches of green.

You can read more about Enger Tower here.

I decided to let y'all in on the fun and make these special colorways available for a short period of time on our site. You can see more pictures and read more about them here.

They'll be up until October 22nd, at which point they'll head back into my vault until the next time Norwegian royalty comes to town.

I'd also love to see you this weekend (October 15th and 16th) at Amazing Threads in Maple Grove, MN. I'm teaching three workshops and will be hosting a trunk show all weekend.

You can read more about the workshops and trunk shows here.

I hope to see you!

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Reader Comments (22)

Love no simply adore the Hawk Ridge colorway. It captures all that are my favorites...October (both the month and the colors), the crisp blue sky, and the majestic hawks and eagles. Love. May I have some please?

October 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEllen

Of course, I would love to send you some, Ellen! I'm glad you like it. :)

October 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYarnista

WOW! Every single colorway is stunning. Please don't lock them away in your vault! I am totally blown away.....

October 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

I love these and am tempted by them all. Is there a list somewhere that shows which base you used for each of the samples? I know fiber affects the way dyes set and I figure if I love how they look on these bases, I don't want to mess with perfection when I order! Thanks! :)

October 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRichelleCK

They are all so beautiful! It is going to be so hard to choose! If only these kids didn't insist on eating so often ....;)

October 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNadia

These are so beautiful. I love hearing about the inspiration behind the different colorways. It makes me want to go up there for a visit. Hopefully, before the snow flys. I am sure that the Queen will love the yarn. I can not wait until I get my shipment. :)

I will see you on Sat.

October 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeatherg772

Richelle, here you are!
Hawk Ridge: Wexford Merino Silk
Everything else: Springvale Worsted

I don't think you can go wrong with Adorn, Kells, Springvale Worsted or Bulky, or Wexford for any of these!

October 13, 2011 | Registered CommenterYarnista

Wow, these colourways are all so stunning! Love the inspiration behind each too...

October 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternina


October 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEllen

I have visited your part of the US a few times and I find it a stunning place, oh so beautiful. A far cry from Oklahoma. These colors and the way they came to you are fantastic. I think I might order a few. My favorite is Hawk Ridge. Thanks for the inspiration! PattiO

October 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPatti O'Donnell

Thanks, Sharon!!! The info helped a lot! I could only splurge a little, so I got Skyline on Adorn, since I knew I wanted socks from it, and Observation Hill on Springvale Bulky to make a Betula Ring. :) Thank you again!

October 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRichelleCK

De-lurking to just let you know how gorgeous these colorways are! I'm in awe of them all, but Skyline Parkway literally took my breath away. I'm already considering how to scrounge up enough moolah to procure myself a skein or two without anyone noticing... :)

October 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

Have you ever been driving on the bridge when all of a sudden you start going up in the air? Kind of like if you are accidentally hiding in the back seat of your car when you take it to your mechanic and they start to raise you up on the lift. JK GORGEOUS! All of them!!!

October 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy A

No, they are very careful about that, Amy. But I used to wish I could be in the booth that controlled the bridge. That seemed fun as a kid. :)

October 14, 2011 | Registered CommenterYarnista

Oh my gosh....they are all SO BEAUTIFUL! How could anyone chose one? We lived in PA for 12 years. The last 5 or so we lived in this lovely old turn of the century house. At the back of the nice big lot, were this row of lilac bushes that were as old as the house. They were AWESOME! It killed me to leave them.....killed me even more the first tim we went back and they had subdivided the lot, built an alley in the back, and yes, removed all those beautiful antique fabulous lilac bushes....years later and I am still crying about that.

October 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdanielle

They are all absolutely gorgeous. I think Hawk Ridge is calling my name. You have captured autumn beautifully.

October 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

I've lived here (in the Twin Ports) a long time - 45 years. These colorways absolutely capture the spirit of our Northland. I kept finding myself saying "I have to have that" or "I need that" as I looked at your post. Even though those spectacular colors, and what they represent, are right outside my window, being able to have them, and hold on to them, is something new and unattainable before now. The fact that these were created for the royalty of Norway, my heritage, makes them even more special. Thank you.

October 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

I am just so thrilled that I was able to scrounge enough money to get a couple of these - a real accomplishment considering I blew a hole in my budget earlier this month buying up club and discontinued yarns from you! The moment I saw Hawk Ridge I knew it had to be mine! I also suspect that I may just have a tug of war on my hands when my DD sees my skein of Skyline Parkway, and the more I look at that colorway, the more I love it to the point where I am (a bit) sad I couldn't order a sweater's worth. I was only able to swing an order of one each (instead, perhaps, of one each of all five with multiples of these two) but I'm grateful that I could. I can hardly wait to begin seeing all these wonderful colorways worked up into spectacular projects, and your description of their inspiration makes me want to travel to the 3IG "Mecca" (aka Duluth) soon!

October 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergoldi

Very nice article in your hometown paper. I'm really not stalking you, I clicked the link on the Knitty blog.

October 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

Thank you for these beautiful colors! I grew up in Piedmont so I had to order Skyline Parkway and Observation Hill. Enger Tower was a favorite destination when "bike riding". Thank you for bringing a little bit of "home" to St. Paul!

October 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJean Lentsch

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