What was originally an in-betweeny project using up odds and ends has become something altogether more exciting and with a deadline attached. I won’t say much more now as, apart from anything else, every spare moment is being spent knitting and I have the stiff fingers and blurry eyes to prove it. Best get back to it…
Despite being in the midst of decorating our bedroom, which will take a hideous combination of eye-hurting yellow, mushroom brown and sickly pink back to a much more muted and soft pallette, bright colour is still very much my inspiration in other areas.
I’m currently working on a design for a snood, rather like the one I made for my sister a couple of years ago. That one got a lot of love on Ravelry, but I couldn’t release the design as I lifted the cabling patterns more or less straight from a Rowan magazine design. This one is more my own work, resulting in rather a lot of redesigns (I think we’re on attempt number four now, which is lookin good thankfully). The yarn is Artesano Aran, which I got on sale price at the gorgeous Meadow Yarn. The colour is described as petrol blue, but in real life it’s more of a deep, vivid purple, rather like the colour of a certain much-loved chocolate brand wrapper… As you can see, photographs show it differently depending on the light and the shot, but however you see it, it’s bright and beautiful.
>…and the world’s grumpiest knitwear model!
This sweater has had several incarnations before I finally got to this version, however the inspiration has remained the same- Coniston Water, for which it is named. It’s a place we like to go in all weathers, within easy reach of our house, but with less of the tourist crowds and Beatrix Potter/fleece jacket and walking boots/William Wordsworth overload of Windermere (where these pictures were actually shot- it’s not as appropriate I know, but sometimes you have to grab an opportunity).
Sometimes when we drive up the lake road the water is so still that the fells are perfectly reflected in it like a mirror. It’s so strikingly beautiful there have been times I’ve had to remind myself to drive the car instead of being mesmerised by the view. Those reflections, of steely grey clouds, of rocks that shoulder their way through the turf at the side of the road, of slate drystone walls, of moss and dark green forests are all there in the converging, alternately smooth and textured stripes of Rowan Renew- the shade colours are, appropriately enough for my boy, ‘Digger’ and ‘Truck’.
The still flatness of Coniston is also the reason it was where Donald Campbell set the world water speed records that eventually ended in tragedy. Speed on the water is a lot more restricted now, but I thought that it was fitting that the stripes on the sweater also reminded me of those found on diagrams of the Doppler Effect, where the lines showing sound waves get closer together as an object moves past at speed. By the way, I’m not that much of geek (at least not when it comes to Physics!) but fellow Big Bang Theory fans might recognise this episode.
Theories and inspirations aside, the sweater is mainly meant to be a warm, comfortable layer for days out exploring the beauty of the outside world. My model is a very discerning customer and it says quite a lot that the sweater even stayed on him long enough for these shots to be taken- if he really hated it, it would have been dragged off over his head without a thought for all those hours of loving mama-making. No, the grumpiness was down to the fact that it was far too hot for a sweater, as far as my little fashionista was concerned, and that the only bribe I had on me for this brief episode of cooperation was a rice-cake. A favourite snack, granted, but not really what counts as a ‘treat’…
I only grabbed these pictures so that I could get on with getting this pattern tested, as all being well this is going to be an early venture into selling my designs. On that front, I’ve had some very exciting news recently regarding another project, but I’ll have to wait to share it. In the meantime, I’m going to wait until the inevitable turning of the year and the cooler weather that might just make this reluctant wearer a little bit more appreciative.
This scarf was a charity shop find that attracted me because of its bright colours. I thought I might chop it up to make something, but it somehow didn’t seem suitable for that, so I thought I might wear it, but it just didn’t quite work somehow.
Then on a trip to Anthropologie I saw a beautiful scarf that was edged in bobble trim. It was out of my price range but gave me an idea. A quick trip to MacCulloch & Wallis (intimidating shop staff, great range of products- less scary to shop online!!) and I picked up this vivid blue trim.
After an evening of hand-sewing I now have another colourful wardrobe addition- it almost makes me want the weather to get cooler!
>Last weekend I went away, without children or husband, to visit my sister in London. It was an unfamiliar rush of freedom, tempered of course with missing them all and thankfully I seemed to have retained enough of my old ‘London head’ to cope with the crowds, even if the swiss cheese effect of motherhood has left large gaps in my memory of Tube lines and street names.
There was inspiration to be had in a completely contrasting landscape and ‘peoplescape’ to the one I’m now used to and overwhelmingly the heat and sun drenched weekend seemed to be saturated with colour, whether flashes amongst the city greys…
Making a long awaited pilgrimage to the Victoria and Albert Museum I was so disappointed that all of the fashion, textiles and tapestry rooms are closed for refurbishment, but you can never complain of not finding treasure there. Once again, colour caught my eye, on this amazing French bed-hanging, which had far more detail of delicately sewn on pieces of fabric and threads than this picture can show…
…to the intense blue background of this tile- although I have to admit that it was the impressive beard that first caught my eye!
The energy of all this colour has become inseparable in my head from the energy and rejuvenation of having this break in the city so I’ve decided that I need major, bright and clashing colour around me to carry me into the greyer months that I know are inevitably round the corner, even if our summer holidays are by no means over yet.
Maybe that explains my choice of present for M from the Tate Modern gift shop: Peep Through Shapes by James Brown:
It definitely has something to do with my choice of cobalt blue for some new jeans I bought (part of the reason for the weekend was to update my wardrobe with some clothes that fit my slimmer, post-baby figure and are not falling apart from old age) and my renewed enthusiasm for working on my grown up ‘Queen Bess’ sweater in heavenly pillar-box red…
More colour scheming coming up soon…