Posts Tagged ‘color’

Running around the internet this morning and this caught my eye.


Yes, Barbie. Only this time the toy company is releasing more realistic versions of the icon. But what truly got my attention was not the announcement that the doll may have a more realistic figure, but the dress the red haired doll second from the right is wearing. Recognize those colors?

feelin groovy colors

The colors look great on a red head. Who’d have thought?

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I Am Slowing Down

I am slowing down. While it feels strange not racing around, I think a slower pace could lead to a richer experience of life and the things in it. For instance, I am on the border of the First Point of Libra Shawl and I am not racing the knitting experience. By not hurrying the knitting I am able to knit for longer periods and not have the aches and pains in my hands that I get from rushing the knit.

In slowing down I am more present for the knit. I am not obsessing about the next part of the knit or already knitting the next project in my mind. I am focused on what I am doing, which allows me to appreciate the creation of the fabric as it unwinds in front of me.

This slowing is extending into other areas of my life. I am no longer in a rush to get things over and done. The time it takes is the time it takes and I am fully present for the duration. I guess I am learning to be where my feet are instead of being somewhere else in my mind. It’s rather amazing how much less stressful things are when mind and body are in the same place, working on the same things together.

I don’t know whether this change is from the experience I had with the hives or whether I am just getting older or a combination of both those things. But I am tired of race walking through my life.

Now, I’d like to share some photos of knitwear by Thea Sanders, a Nottingham Trent student who won a coveted knitwear fashion award in Britain.

(Photo by David Baird - www.david-baird.co.uk)

(Photo by David Baird – http://www.david-baird.co.uk)

(Photo by David Baird - www.david-baird.co.uk)

(Photo by David Baird – http://www.david-baird.co.uk)

I’d love to see more color work used in hand knitwear design that are not stripes. Ms. Sanders said the inspiration for her collection came from tiles. While her collection is machine knit, more hand knit designs that explore colors and shapes could liven up the knitting scene. Of course color work in hand knits takes time. It’s a slower process. But maybe that’s just what’s needed: everyone take a breath.

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This week’s knitting and crochet images board is here. Lots of color and ways to work with it in both crochet and knitting. I hope you find some inspiration to experiment with your own creations.

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Knitting on the Canyonette Shawl continues and is nearing the end. All in all, it’s been a great project for the knitting break I needed. Now it’s back to the hard work.

I am being haunted by Ming Blue. Though it doesn’t exist in knitted form any longer, I feel I need to justify why it doesn’t. In truth, if I had known I’d feel this bad, I wouldn’t have killed it. Instead I would have folded it up and put it away. Lesson learned.

girl's smock 001

sketch girl's 1960 smock 1

Yes, Ming Blue came out looking very much like what I imagined in my design. Though I changed the cuffs from the initial drawing, I was still liking the overall form. I felt the clean, close line of the knitted cuffs worked well with the shape of the mandarin collar. The gentle blouse shape of the sleeves above the cuffs went well with the A-line body shape. The overall effect was one of an artist’s smock circa 1960s kind of thing. The patch pockets were and integral part of the smock-child-1960s look. So what didn’t I like? Where did the prototype fail?

Color. I have no yarn stores near me, so every yarn I procure is via the internet. In turn, I very much depend on the colors being what they look like on screen. If I had been able to hold the turquoise, lime green, and pink yarn next to each other in my hands, I would have seen that the pink had a bluish cast that when put next to the lime green deadened what should have been a pop, vibrant splash of color.

As one who paints in acrylics, I am used to mixing my own colors to get the right one, so it really bothered me that the bluish cast of the pink killed the vibrancy of the lime green. The pink needed to be more toward the red / yellow area of the color wheel. While the right orange would have been a perfect color triad, I wanted the retro look that a bright pink would bring.

To off-set this problem, I tried to work the checkerboard with turquoise separating the pink from the green. Since a color is greatly affected by those that surround it, the separation made the pink pop and it lost it’s bluish cast. It also made the lime green pop. However, I was not happy overall with the way the checkerboard looked with the turquoise separating the colors. I wanted edgy 1960s, not something off the farm from Iowa. I used a slipped stitch pattern to create the checkerboard with the turquoise separation and I liked the way it looked on the reverse side as opposed to the stranded method I used originally. With the slipped stitch pattern I wouldn’t need to create facings, except perhaps around the neck, because the floats were not too exposed.

The second thing that killed the design was the facings. Knitting a facing and then properly sewing it so it covers the float area but does not affect the drape of the hem, cuff or neck on the right side takes time and patience. I want knitters who buy my patterns to enjoy creating their projects. I want them to like the project as much when they finish it as they did when they started it. Sewing facings is fiddly work. While I don’t mind it, I can see where it would not be a hit with all knitters. I could see them jettison the facings altogether and their end product would not be the nice, neat looking garment inside and out that I had designed it to be. Thus, they would not be happy.

The third thing to kill the design was the buttons and their placement. It had a clown costume feel to me that I just couldn’t get beyond. If I changed the neckline I could have rectified this, but I wasn’t willing to make that change. The more I thought the more I realized the mandarin collar had become the main point for me around which I was designing and not the 1960s look that I first zeroed in on.

And so there will be two sweaters coming out of this attempt. There will be a 1960s child’s smock and there will be a mandarin collared garment with clean lines and frog closure. The latter garment will be named Ming Blue Too.

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Sometimes I wish I didn’t design knitwear. I wish I didn’t have the need to sketch, draw, and ultimately translate feelings and moods into knitted socks and sweaters. Why? It’s a whole lot of work, time, effort, thinking, planning, knitting, ripping, knitting again, altering, researching, sweating over large and small details and decisions, decisions, decisions. All with no guarantee that the end product will be successful. Successful meaning I might make back at least the amount of money I put into the pattern.

This is the background, the stage set, against which the creation and realization of a knitting pattern takes place. It’s not often talked about in knitting blogs. Instead most blogs let the reader in when the pattern is in final form and ready for sale. In other words, break out the champagne and let’s celebrate the launching of yet another knit pattern moment. All the sturm und drang happens off stage. Rarely shared, hardly mentioned.

But it’s the off stage struggle that interests me. How did the designer get from holding two needles and a ball of yarn to creating this piece of knitwear? What was he / she thinking? What were the influences? What did the initial sketches look like? What did the final sketch look like? Why this knit stitch pattern and not that knit stitch pattern? What did you want to say with this piece? What moods and feelings were you going for? How many times did you knit and reknit before the swatch mirrored what you wanted? What characteristics were you looking for in a yarn? How many did you sift through until you decided on this particular yarn? Did the creation of the piece travel in a straight line from A to Z or do you create by meandering?

I thought it might be interesting to let people in on the off stage happenings. This next monster piece I am creating is a girl’s smock. The idea for the smock was a famous 1960’s model called Twiggy.


One day I woke up and I couldn’t stop thinking about Twiggy and Carnaby Street fashions of the 1960s. Words like colorful, playful, happy, carefree, and mod kept flitting around my mind. So I decided to create a mood board regarding what I was thinking. The mood board is here. In my mood board I was looking for pictures to represent those words but in specific ways. For example, colorful led me to wondering what were some of the fashion colors of the era and how were these colors grouped together. What feelings did these color groupings create in me? What moods did they create? So I started to edit my color group choices so they would represent playful and happy. After all, it is a child’s smock. Through out all the color gathering, I kept coming back to the turquoise bedroom with the lime green and hot pink and to the 1960 oil painting called Into a Clearing by Wolf Kahn that is also on my board.

The next question I asked myself was did I want “hot” versions of the colors like in the turquoise room or did I want the more muted colors as shown in the Kahn oil painting. Could I find these colors in all one brand of yarn? I didn’t want to have to mix yarn brands to achieve the effect. So I started collecting pictures of yarn by colors, including only those brands that came closest to the “hot” and muted versions of the colors.

While I was busy playing with colors I still hadn’t decided on the shape or look of the sweater. I’ll explain how that came about in my next post. Till then….

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I’ve been knitting. To be precise, I’ve been knitting the same 22 rows for 2 days now. I am starting to feel like that woman who slowly goes mad in the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” as she covers the same ground over and over again.

The yarn arrived. All of it.

Could it be any less nautical in theme?

Could it be any less nautical in theme?

I started the sweater. It’s a three color sweater. The main color and two contrast colors to make up the stripes. It takes 22 rows of knitting before I get a good look at how the colors are working. After the twenty-two rows I ripped it all out. I didn’t like the way the colors looked together. I gathered the yarns, moved them around, came up with another combination.

I started the sweater again. Twenty-two rows and I ripped it all out. I didn’t like the way the colors looked together. I gathered the yarns for another group session and came up with another combination of colors.

I started the sweater again. Twenty-two rows and I ripped it all out. I didn’t like the way the colors looked together. I gathered the yarns, the group session was a little tense this time, but I came up with another way of mixing the colors.

I started the sweater again. Twenty-two rows later…. Yes, I could have a finished sweater by now if not for the ripping.

When these “snags” happens not only do I have to attend to my own growing frustration, I need to keep The Skipper calm too. He hates when I knit and rip. Each time I rip a piece of knitting the hair on his head stands up and his jaws tighten. I was into the fourth straight hour of knitting and ripping when he said, “Do you have to do that?” At the time, neither of us knew I’d be knitting and ripping for two entire nights. I find great solace in not being able to foresee the future because often the present is just about all I can handle.

Yarn Rascal, on the other hand, made every ripping session a winning situation for himself. He sat patiently on the floor watching until the ripping was done. When the entire 22 rows of yarn lay in my lap, up he’d come pretending he wanted to be loved, all the while rooting around in the yarn, some of which just happened to find its way into his mouth.

The final group session with the yarns was held last night. Staring at them, wondering how they wanted to go together that would be pleasing to me and to them, my brain said, “Think fresh.” Fresh? When I think fresh I think of bright fruity colors, the only ones that came anywhere near that was the orange (it said it was russet but it clearly is orange) and the light green that when put next to the orange makes my eyes want to pop out of my head. That left me with dark brown, dark green, and light brown.

I eyed the light brown. My brain said, “It’s the color bananas turn when they’re ripening.” Does that qualify it as a fruity color? I hope so. I really want to get past 22 rows.

Have a good weekend.

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I’ve gotten myself into a bit of a jam. The next project is a girl’s sweater. The pattern isn’t something I would freely choose, though I can appreciate that others would absolutely love it. At the same time (this sounds like a knitting pattern) I need to knit a boy’s hoodie. The yarn I must use for both projects is totally new to me and comes from Europe. With such a long period of travel, customs, and what not before I have it in my hands I placed both orders together.

Such a long transport time should have raised a red flag warning in my brain that said choose your color selection carefully for the sweater you don’t love. This is no time to “experiment” with color combinations. Unfortunately that red flag didn’t go up. A loose nautical theme ties the children’s wear line together this year. Colors for the boy’s hoodie had been set from the start, which was great because I couldn’t make a mistake. Would that the girl’s colors had been so set.

Instead of getting out my trusty color wheel and reviewing my notes on color theory, on a whim I decided I wanted the girl’s sweater to be done “in earthy colors”. That’s the exact phrase my mind used: “earthy colors”. Immediately the sane part of my brain (and here I am assuming that I still have a sane part) should have responded “wait a moment, nautical is not earthy”. But that didn’t happen. This malfunction is only made worse by the fact that the girl’s sweater has stripes. Stripes and nautical go together like peanut butter and jelly. Seriously, how could I have missed this?

When the yarn finally arrived I opened the package to find a grouping of nautical colors and another of “earthy” colors. That’s when my whole brain went “uh…..I don’t know about this” as if it had nothing to do with the bad decision that was in my hands.

Let me be more specific about the “earthy” colors my brain chose. They are so earthy that they would look fantastic as a military uniform for a land invasion in a forest environment.

Maybe, my brain says, the colors will look different once they are knitted in stripes.

They look even more like military camouflage than they did in separate skeins.

I ended up ordering more yarn. No, not completely different colors for the girl’s sweater. That would be the sane thing to do. My brain wants to stick with the moss green and light green. The color it selected this time to punch up the greens is russet. Yes, nothing says nautical like dark green, light green and russet.

Sometimes, I am hopeless.

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