Hard to believe that the clothes we’re getting ready to pack away once cooler weather hits, were a year and a half in development.
Now, I’ve been thinking about red a lot. It is, after all, a strong classic colour that often shows up in winter collections.
I knew I wanted to make another little Rustica purse from my stash.
My son comes in, takes one look and says, “Cool! All you need is a bit of blue and it’ll be just like Paddington Bear’s host mom’s sweater!”
And sure enough:
It’s not just amazing how good this kid’s memory is, or the fact that I had no clue. Rather, it underlined how creativity works.
Of course I don’t mean to flog a dead horse. But the Greenery dilemma made me very much want to look at how to work with tricky colours in a systematic way, rather than hoping inspiration strikes, and that I’m paying attention when it does.
Beads and pieces has a lovely brief intro, with pictures on how to use a colour wheel.
If we look at the Green segment, we can see various shades of green, all of which would work with Greenery (the darkest, outermost* hue in that segment), in a monochromatic palette.
We could combine our Greenery with the Blue-Green and the Yellow-Green neighbours, for an analogous palette.
We could look at Greenery’s complement on the opposite side of the wheel: mauve pinks (some colour wheels will give you red, but no one wants to look like the Ghost of Christmas Past, so we’ll go with mauve pink for now).
Another alternative would be to look at the split complementary colours. These are the direct neighbours of the complement: pink and mauve (for a red complement, red-violet and red-orange).
Or various tetrads (four colours), here we have Greenery and its complement on both ends, with two neighbours in the middle.
Another tetrad: three analogous colours plus the complement.
So what do you think? Do these combinations make Greenery more wearable? Or knittable?
Palette source: paletton.com
*Please note, apart from the monochromatic palette, I am referring to the colours in the outermost ring of the colourwheel.
Just got through an interesting magazine interview in Der Spiegel with Frank Trentmann (his book “The Empire of Things” has just been translated and released in German). Trentmann is a history professor at Birkbeck College (University of London), says that we’ve been living in a mass-consumption society since around the 17th and 18th centuries.
He talks about consumption in the Renaissance, and late chinese Ming dynasty, about anti-luxury laws in the 15th century, how colonialism and the industrial revolution changed people’s ideas about consumption, to where we are today. Although he’s a bit cautious and sceptical about any bandaid fixes, he does mention several things that we’ve mentioned: repairing, mindful consumption, and political action.
On the other hand, it’s a bit of a consolation and pespective, that we as people didn’t suddenly become frenzied consumers. We’ve been this way since the 15th century.
“We express ourselves through what we buy [and acquire]…” – Frank Trentmann
So, what are we expressing through Stash? A connection to cozy cuddly knits, a tradition of artisanal handcrafting? To the origins of the things we consume? Perhaps all of this, and more.
Once you get started in the big beautiful world of handcrafts, you’ll find yourself eventually in a yarn store staring at different colour yarns. If your Local Yarn Shop (LYS) has the space, there will be at least one wall full. And you can choose whichever colours please you.
You can match your winter coat, or get something to contrast. You can have solids, semi-solids, ombrés (sometimes called ‘degradés here in Germany). You can find handpainted yarns, multicoloured, rainbows. If the shop doesn’t have it, they can order it in.
You can get a skein or a ball, and knit up aome accessories in that ‘new’ trendy colour everyone’s raving about. Or you can do what I do – choose something close to the it-colour but with more blues/saturation/contrast in it to be flattering for me.
If you’re going full on celebration of colour on your needles, phasing in a wardrobe with more neutrals may be for you. That hot pink skinny scarf will pop against black, navy blue, or grey. And really draw all eyes to your handywork.
On the other hand, if you love to wear bright clothes, then handknits in neutral colours will play well with the others. A shawl in white, grey, black, taupe or beige will look understatedly elegant without stealing the spotlight from your fabulous garments.
Which leads me to how wearing what you make (or making what you wear) slows down consumption, and allows us to think about what we wear. It gifts us time that fast fashion steals away without us even noticing. This is craftsman/ artisan’s time, which we used to choose high quality materials, hold them in our hands, decide on the form, and the hours put into creating something truly unique.
If I put hours (pleasurable time, to be sure) into making a rainbow-coloured scarf, then by the time it comes off the needles, I’ve already thought of what I’ll wear it with. And I’m sure to get more than 30 wears out of it.
This a fairly new concept in English. This scandinavian term, hard to fully translate (as words that describe sensual experiences often are), is more or less the winter version of la dolce vita. With the latter, you think of enjoyment of life somewhere summery, sunny, laden lemon trees, jasmine blossoms, and frothy strawberry margaritas by the sea.
Hygge is that same enjoyment of life, but in winter. I envision a fire in an oven, candles casting soft light, a cup of hot chocolate (the kind made with real rich chocolate and the milk of your choice), wrapped up warm in a blanket and knit socks, because you’ve just come in from a snowy winter walk.
You can bring hygge into your wardrobe, by choosing to work with materials that remind you of those warm, snuggly safe moments – a cowl or scarf in a cashmere blend. Or maybe alpaca or mohair yarns with a lovely fluffy halo.
Being a maker makes us better consumers. First off, once you know how hard it is to sew a seam straight, or knit up a cardigan, we know the effort it takes to make a garment.
Secondly, the freedom to make your own, raises your standards. How many times have I put back something in a shop, because I knew I could make it myself? Quite a few, let me tell you. Making means I don’t have to settle for anything kinda alright.
Handknitting slows down the time between when I get an idea and have it in my hand. By the time I’ve decided on the colour, design features, gotten my yarn and cast on, I have had a few chances to change my mind. To reflect: will this piece play well with what I already have in my wardrobe? How often will I wear this?
Additionally, making allows one to turn one’s interest to the materials. Buying yarn puts me one step closer to the producer of that yarn. I might not want to know the name of the sheep (on the other hand, how cool would that be!?), but it’s a good feeling to know that a certain skein is from the region (eg organic merino from the Swabian Alb or linen from Eastern European producers, or Blue-faced Leicester from British farmers) and humanely produced.
My inner consumer gets very upset when I find a hole in a T-shirt that I just bought this year. My inner maker consoles her, because that hole can be mended in about 3 minutes.
Knitting teaches us that sometimes we can get knots in our previously well-ordered yarn. With a little patience and perseverance, we can unravel it all and get back on track.
I’ve been giving some thought to what my wardrobe will look like this autumn. Had a look through a few magazines, and from what I can see, bulky oversized knits will keep us chic and warm. A very relaxed silhouette seems to be the order of the day.
Now, some people seem to think that looking at Colour Reports, is letting a company like Pantone make decisions for us. Not so. Looking at the colours is like having a sneak peek into which colours I’ll be seeing in the shops.
Now, because there are actually two palettes (London is above, and New York is below), there are even more colours to play with. Which just confirms my suspicions that really, just about anything goes. Which is fine, because I am partial to neutrals in navy, wine red and grey. With accents like red, lilac, and that lemon curry. I actually think that shaded spruce (such a lovely name for teal, don’t you think?) is very close to my linen sweater. Well, close enough. I’m curious to see when these colours will ‘land’ in my LYS.
How Pantone chooses colours
Video of The Cut touring Pantone’s Color Factory.
That famous blue sweater scene from The Devil Wears Prada with Meryl Streep.
In my last post, I mentioned the Yarniacs podcast, and I’ve just realized that the Knit-along has started. I need to get my yarn out and cast on!
The Colors of Fall Knitalong, started in its current form in 2013, based on a suggestion from a podcast listener/ group member (with the sweetest screen name Littleredradish). Unlike most KALs, that are dedicated to a specific pattern or yarn, this KAL had a very specific requirement. Your yarn has to contain at least one colour from the Pantone Fashion Color Report for Fall of that year. Cast on is on or after the summer solstice, and ends on the fall equinox, so that the finished object (FO) is ready to be worn in autumn. FO pictures are posted, not by themselves, but as part of an outfit in the Ravelry group (modelled or lain out).
I consider this a conversation between hand knitting and fashion. Slow fashion, if you will. Yes, we knitters also want to be stylish. We want our knits to play well with whichever new garments we acquire and wear in autumn. And because we already start thinking about this in summer, by the time autumn rolls around, we’ve chosen our colours, sourced our yarn, chosen our pattern and created our garment.
I’ve participated the last two years, and both years, I created pieces that I wore over and over again, and that I got compliments on.
This scarf (Ridges by Clare Lee), on which I learned to do picot edging (lovely, but took ages!), was my entry in 2015. I styled it with linen trousers and a store-bought pullover, because who doesn’t hope for summer weather extending into autumn?
Last year, I knit Lisa Hannes’ Walk in the Woods, and learned how to do slipped stitch/ mosaic knitting, which is still having a bit of a moment in the knitting world.
I like thinking about knitting. And this KAL gives me an excuse to focus on not just what I’ll knit, but how I’ll wear it. As a result, I do end up reaching for these pieces more often than not. This shawl is worn as a scarf, and is still in the rotation. It works well with almost everything in my wardrobe becauseIused three shades of blue plus gray. Last year that garter stripe of pink was called ‘dusty rose’, and gives it a great pop of colour.
So, have you thought about which knits you’ll be wearing in autumn?