One of the best things about doing these monthly colourway sets is that they take me back to what first captivated me about colour, way back in the early days of the blog, before I ever thought of dyeing yarn: analysing the colourways of a natural phenomenon and using them to create a charted design. The practice contains an element of what intrigues me in the work of artists like Andy Goldsworthy - a sense of collaboration with nature, taking "found" hues from my surroundings and reassembling them into something personally expressive.
The days of late have been dark with downpour and drizzle - hardly what one hopes for at this time of year in a mountain resort. The light is dim, the snow is rutted and dirty, and it is easy to feel that all the colour has gone out of the world.
The woods are defined primarily by the bare skeletons of trees, slick with damp and waiting patiently for the ice at their feet to thaw. But it turns out (as it always does), that when you look closely and mindfully at your surroundings, there is beauty and diversity... and colour.
Having finally taken the financial plunge with Adobe, I've been playing about with Photoshop's mosaic effects:
These muted grey-blue-purples and pink-tinged browns became the first colourway: Winterbark Purples.
Brown is, of course, what immediately comes to mind when thinking of bark, but there is such diversity and possibility:
Everything from dark chocolate to terracotta, ruddy hues and nearly-greys.
Lichen, in its various forms, provides a brighter contrast in the dark woods - a subtle grey-green with wee splashes of sunshine:
The fifth colourway, I freely admit, was not found in the forest. I wanted to express not just the muted subtleties of this grey season, but also the hope and passion that are celebrated in February: the imminence of spring, the fierceness of Brigid, the romance of Valentine's, and the flaming crimson that is synonymous with Chinese New Year's.
The February colourways are presently available in Summit Sock, but more yarn bases will be forthcoming, and once Rob has a chance to do up a set of Quintets, I'll get on with pulling the colourwork out of my brain and onto the needles.
(Full details of this week's update, which included restocks of Beary Surprise, may be found, as always, in the newsletter.)
It started early this fall, with a few peanuts on the patio table, and an enthusiastic Steller's Jay. (We haven't put up bird feeders, as they are bear magnets, but tossing out just as much as the birds will eat in a few minutes seems harmless enough.)
Soon there were two, growing plump and fending off the crows, squirrels, and other jays who had an eye on their good thing. They began to lurk on the patio railing, hopping up and down to catch our attention and making sad puppy dog eyes when we looked their way.
Some mornings they perch right on the windowsill, trying to peek between the blinds to see if we're up yet.
I couldn't resist that lovely plumage:
But I wanted something more semisolid, so I took a little artistic licence and layered the brilliant blues over top of the glossy black:
And since the final result is also not unlike the night sky, I am claiming that as rationale for further artistic licence with the spelling.
The initial dyelot includes Summit Sock, Blissful Sock, Mere Sock, Bluefaced Bliss (fingering), and Merino Silk. I've developed a serious craving for a sweater in this colour, which means there will be some BFL worsted in the near future (there'll be room for a couple of other yarns in that dye batch, so if you've got a hankering for something specific, now would be the time to mention it.)
This guy feels quite free to discuss his preferences....
We're crying uncle here. Rob is still seriously functionally restricted by his back injury, I've come down with some sort of a thingy consisting of exhaustion and a splitting headache, and we decided conceded that it might be best to just postpone the yarn update to next week.
Thankfully, I'm still able to do quiet things like knitting and computer work.... and took the opportunity to give the blog a long overdue update and decluttering. What do you think?
The surviving tulips are finally blooming:
I feel a red phase coming on. You've been warned.
This is even better, though - just look at the stunning display of three part symmetry:
It is tempting to say it expands to six parts, but when you really look closely, it's three all the way.
Above: golden fingertips of a cedar bough, the waxy overlapping scales giving it a bit of a reptilian look.
Below: lime wedges in beer, which was an excellent accompaniment to fish tacos.
As for the geometry of plants, the leads were great - thanks everyone. I am cautiously giving my curious brain a bit of leash to run amok, so I hope you don't mind coming along for the ride. I'll try not to fall too far down the rabbit hole - the time is long gone that I could forget to eat, sleep and dress for days in a white heat of inspiration. Sometimes I miss that freedom, though I wouldn't trade my family for anything.
By the way, the store update will be a wee bit late this week - it has been very humid and the yarn isn't quite dry. (Really - I wasn't just goofing off googling phyllotaxis.) Should be Saturday morning at the latest (we've still got to do all the reskeining.)
Below: the lid on a jar of no-additive organic peanut butter, the wonder food of Mr. Fussy Eater. He's a little stuck for school lunches though, what with the allergy-driven school peanut ban. If only the oceans weren't contaminated with mercury, he could have his other protein source, tuna (only the best stuff, packed in extra virgin olive oil) a little more often.
Above: a tulip bud. Molli, a Waldorf teacher, wrote to remind me of the 3 part symmetry of bananas after my first Meditation post, and I couldn't help noticing the same in the tulip. Which rekindled my math geek interest in stuff like this, a burning desire to find more natural geometry with the camera and the urgent need to dig up some quality literature on the subject (as opposed to fuzzy New Age conjecture.) Suggestions? I know there are math people out there reading the blog!
Knit to my daughter's exacting specifications and pronounced (by her) to be "way better than I ever imagined," these are basic knit-to-fit stockinette gloves garnished with a smidge of inexpert embroidery and two all-important pom poms.
"Knit-to-fit" in this case, incurred a certain degree of whinging about the four zillion fittings required to get the fingers of the first glove exactly right.
I don't think I'll win any prizes for embroidery, but you can make out a general petal-ish impression, right?
Not entirely unlike a Coneflower?
The recipient is thrilled, which in the end, is what really matters.
The yarn was a tragically knot-containing skein of Blissful Sock in Echinacea. (There were actually two more, each with a single knot, that I kept back - I suppose if anyone is so inclined, I could knock off a buck or so for the knot and let them go....) I have to say, I really loved working with this sock yarn - the superwash treatment has done nothing at all to diminish the sheen and wooly softness characteristic of BFL. Sheer pleasure to knit up.
Every so often a moment of sunshine interrupts October's perpetual rain:
Which got me wondering: what would happen if I took a closer look at a photographed rainbow? I tend not to pay them much attention as a colour subject - they seem something of a cliche, shorthand for "stripes of everything".
Try as I might, I could only find very desaturated hues. Perhaps the eye interprets a brilliance that isn't technically present? So I boosted the colour saturation with the photoeditor:
Interesting - the cool end of the spectrum comes up vividly, but the warm hues remain muted. Look at the palette all together, though:
It is almost an exact replica of the heathery hues in my stash of Jamieson & Smith 2 ply. I'm quite sure this is not a coincidence. I wonder if tropical rainbows are more intense, or perhaps it is simply the brilliance of the light and the surrounding flora that inspires the saturated colour sensibility of sunnier climes.
Today's pattern is derived from one of my favorite high alpine photos of the past summer:
The intense mountain top light seems to suffuse everything it touches with an otherworldly radiance. I was particularly taken with the shades of red and pink juxtaposed against the glowing leaves.
The chosen palette of colours:
The idea of otherworldly radiance set off a train of thought about labyrinths and moving toward the light, and this is what I came up with:
It's a 24x24 stitch repeat. The first or second set of 12 rows would make a splendid border for a deep olive or dark cherry red cardigan. For a bolder effect, the pattern is fully repeatable and on a grander scale, looks like this :