Saturday, March 31, 2012

Colour by numbers.

I’m afraid my knitting has reached a kind of plateau recently, I’m still slogging away at the socks mentioned previously, and I’m due to start knitting some tension swatches for my mum who needs them for a show.
So instead I shall blog not about knitting, but about one of my favourite things about knitting: colour. Beware; I have a tendency to get a wee bit sentimental.
A cheerful selection of HandKnit Cotton.

Colour theory has been top of my list of things I want to learn about for ages. I find the whole business fascinating, and am often inspired by colour more than anything else. I love the fact that there are what I call ‘untranslatable colours’ those which cannot exist outside of their specificity. Things like the precise orange of a sunset, the colour of winter light. I find these things endlessly exciting and inspiring, and with a mother who is an indie dyer, I find myself being more and more drawn into the world of colour. 

Since working in a knitting shop, I’ve been amazed at the wide selection of colours on offer. I guess it’s something I never really encountered before becoming a knitter. I paint, but often the colours have to be the same shades – cobalt, burnt umber, Payne’s grey etc. 

The most bizarre thing is the names. I love thinking about whose job it is to come up with accurate names for the newest shades, and it’s surprising how much companies can repeat themselves! It’s really satisfying when a name of a shade really encapsulates the colour it is in reality – the one that sticks in my head is a Knit Picks yarn, ‘Masala’.  It’s such a great name for such a rich, warm, inviting colour. 

I also love Debbie Bliss’ Apple Green – it’s an ideal spring hue and perfectly named in my opinion. I also admire and appreciate the really bright colours, Knit Picks are really great at this too, their Macaw, Canary and Cyan shades always cheer me up if it's a grey day, and I always jump for joy any time anyone buys any. Recently, we’ve gotten in some Amy Butler Rowan yarns, and the colours are all so perfectly complimentary that I’m over protective of the display!
Amy Butler Shades for Rowan
I loved doing the colour workshop because it allowed some specific time to be put aside to think about colours, and when I think about knitting, I’m spend far more time considering colours than I do debating over particular patterns.

It’s been said that your favourite colour says a lot about you, and it’s been really interesting looking up what colours may mean. Obviously colours have a long history of symbolism that predates all this psychology malarchy, but nevertheless, it’s been really interesting looking at ‘What my favourite colour says about me’.
For the record, my favourite's green:

 The color of harmony and balance, Green symbolizes hope, renewal and peace, and is usually liked by the gentle and sincere. Greens are generally frank, community-minded people, fairly sociable but preferring peace at any price. Green people can be too self-effacing, modest and patient, so they may get exploited by others. They are usually refined, civilized and reputable.

Though I refuse to make a comment on the accuracy of this assessment, it’s still a pretty interesting exercise.
So, what’s your favourite colour, and what does it say about you?


  1. Hmm, mine's red. Bold, beautiful cherry red. I'm not sure all of what it said is true but some of it is :)

    What a fun post! I am so jealous that you get to work in a yarn shop. I think I would spend my whole paycheck before I even got home :)

    1. It is a constant temptation.

      I do like having a cheeky smell of all the sheep's wool though - it smells great!

  2. Lol, mine is green as well, I like that analysis!

    1. Here's how terrible my generation is... I just looked for a like button for this.

      I hate myself.