I'm back. Slightly leery of jinxing myself with that declaration, but I feel clear-headed and capable for the first time in weeks - and not a moment too soon. Oddly enough, I don't think it was wasted time. I did a great deal of knitting and acheived large swaths of dreaming, making a conscious choice to let my mind drift free of the organizational obligations imposed by a healthy body and wander aimlessly into the turbulent mists of the right brain. There was some really interesting stuff over there - nothing that's ready to show up in print just yet, but I feel creatively and energetically... reconnected. More so than I have in a long long time.
One of the things I knit while sick was the first February mitten:
No, that's not a trick of perspective that makes the top half of the mitten look a lot narrower than the bottom. The worse I felt, the more tightly I knit, morphing from 8 st and 10 rows to the inch to 9 and 13 by the end. It doesn't fit in the slightest, and will need to be redone.
Nevertheless, I count it a complete success from a colour perspective, particularly in terms of achieving my goals in dyeing for value and contrast. One of the key factors in Fair Isle is the collection of colours of similar value to be juxtaposed with another set of contrasting colours, and it can be quite the challenge to achieve the requisite matches and balances. It occured to me that I have the ability to precisely control both value and saturation at the most elemental level - beginning with the formulations I choose for the the dye pot.
The three Winterbark colourways were created to be distinct and separate colourways, yet match precisely in value and saturation, so that they would flow seamlessly from one to the other, and provide a consistent background for patterning. Here they are in sequence, contrasted with Lichen in corrugated ribbing:
And converted to greyscale, in order to illustrate their value:
All three have some variegation, but I think they are quite indistinguishable in terms of overall value.
Value isn't the only factor in contrast - saturation and hue also come into play. Jewel tones are more "forward" than neutrals, and warm colours more so than cool. Have a look at the body of the mitten - I created Lichen to be considerably lighter than the Winterbarks, and added subtle splashes of sunny yellow for added insurance. Firecracker is considerably closer in value to the Winterbarks, but is both hot and intensely saturated, thus providing a level of contrast that visually balances that of the Lichen.
As for the motifs - I chose to keep them bold and earthy, in keeping with the colour themes. The undulating lines of the Lichen reflect the ruffled surface of its namesake, and I felt the Firecracker red needed to be either a heart or a flower. Being more inclined to the botanical than the saccharine, I chose a traditional floral-ish oval.
Come to think of it, I'm not at all sure that I wouldn't actually prefer a hat in this design. What do you think - mittens every month, or... whatever strikes the muse?
PS. There was an update today, which included the very sweater-worthy Grey Day and Twilight in BFL Sport. Plus seconds. And other stuff. Details in the newsletter.