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Mama, wife, knitter, blogger, spinner, wannabe something or other. That's enough, right?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Third Annual Knit & Crochet Blog Week: Day 1 - MONDAY

I am participating in the Third Annual Knit & Crochet Blog Week (my second year). This week, each day will have a topic and those of us that are participating will write about said topic. The higher powers that be (i.e., the organizers) have thrown in a "Wildcard" topic, just in case there's a topic that just doesn't appeal to our tastes.  So, without further adieu........

Monday, April 23, 2012: Color Lovers
Color is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colors you buy and crochet or knit with? Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one color. Do the same with your finished projects - do they match? Do you love a rainbow of bright hues, or more subdued tones. How much attention do you pay to the original color that a garment is knit in when you see a pattern? Tell readers about your love or confusion over color.

Oh color.......I love color. Sometimes. Color and I are generally friends.....there are some colors that are less my friends than others but, in general, we get along. So, let's talk about color...

Those of you that are familiar with my blog, know me in "real" life, or have just perused my stash on Ravelry...well, you're aware that my favorite color is probably green. I say "probably" only because I have an awful lot of blues, purples, and greys in my aforementioned stash. But, really, my favorite color is green. I'm kind of picky about that, though. For instance, while I don't necessarily mind olive green, it's not my favorite. If I had a choice between olive green and kelly green, I'd be on that kelly green so fast your head would spin (and you'd probably break your neck, too). It also depends on what said fiber grows up to become.

Basic Socks
For example, those socks...yes, those NEON GREEN socks that you see above. Those are my second pair of socks that I ever made (and they're a little big on me).

Pattern: Basic Socks from Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Sock Book
Yarn: Sami Merino by Creatively Dyed Yarn in Dark (yes, "Dark" was the name of the colorway)

Now, these are socks (obviously)...I will wear neon green handknit socks. If I were to find this color in say.....worsted weight....(or bulky, or perhaps even in DK weight) and enough of it to make a sweater, would I make a neon green sweater? No. That's just too much for me. Neon green socks are fine; neon green sweaters are not fine...for me. For others, more power to you. I can't pull off a neon green sweater.

Now, does that mean that bright greens are completely out of my wardrobe if they're not on my feet?

Snail Hat (as modeled by Little Man)
Obviously not.

Pattern: Snail Hat by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Sprout by Classic Elite Yarns in Galapagos Green

While this hat was originally intended for Little Man (shown modeling it), it's a little too big for fact, this hat fits me. And I will wear it...though he does look rather cute wearing it (no, that is not up for discussion: he looks cute, get over it).

So, with that said, I am obviously not opposed to using bright greens for accessories: socks, hats, mittens, scarves, maybe as an accent color on a sweater or shawl, etc. But there are so many other greens......bright greens, dark greens, greens plied with other colors, variegated with other shades of green, variegated with other colors....

Let's look at some more green things...

Lothlorien Hat

Pattern: Lothlorien Hat by Kasia Fiszer (not yet available) - this was a test knit
Yarn: Babyboo by Knit One Crochet Too in Olive

This was one instance where olive green works. And I like this hat very much....I might have to make another one. Just sayin'.

Little Man's Giraffe
Pattern: Giraffe by Susan B. Anderson (from Itty-Bitty Toys) - this is still a WIP
Yarn: 220 Superwash by Cascade Yarns in Christmas Green (the dark green) and Citron (the light green)

Let's just say: I like green........and move on.

There are so many other colors out there...with different hues and saturation levels and I could get all artsy fartsy on you but let's just go with the idea that there are a lot of different colors in the world.......some of them are for me and some of them are not.

We've already talked about green and my love and admiration for it...but let's start at the "beginning," if you will, with RED.

Now, red is one of those colors that I'm not entirely opposed to but I don't know that I would make a fire engine red sweater. I might look good in a fire engine red sweater...but it's not among my favorite colors. I think it has to do, in part, with how red my face normally is...the rosiness of my cheeks, if you will (particularly when I've imbibed alcohol). Translation: I'm red enough in the face, why exacerbate it by wearing a red sweater?

I do have some red in my stash. I have a couple skeins or solid red here and there...enough to make a scarf or hat or mittens (or accessories, in general). I do have a sweater quantity's worth of a variegated yarn (Hand Paint Worsted by Misti Alpaca) that contains a good amount of a brick red.......not quite sure what to do with that much yarn but it reminded me of Harry Potter (Gryffindor colors) and anything that reminds me of Harry Potter is a good thing.

For the most part, red is not part of my stash unless I need it for something specific......or if it reminds me of Harry Potter (or is hand dyed yarn inspired by Harry Potter).

Along with red, we have a lighter shade...commonly known as PINK. Let's be honest: I hate pink. I associate it so much with those damn Disney Princesses (specifically Cinderella, Rose/Sleeping Beauty, and Ariel) makes me really dislike pink. I keep thinking of those damn princesses and the bratty little girls that go along with that nonsense..................and then I get stupid angry and want to slap people. That and I just don't look good in pink (see the part above about the general color of my face).

With that said...I still have some pink in my stash. There. I said it. I have pink in my stash. A lot of it is variegated sock yarn (and one of them has been delegated to a project for Sweet Girl - Husband's niece)...and it's only a skein here and there...but there are bits of pink in my stash.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Renee, you just said you hated pink; why do you have it in your stash if you hate it so much?" The answer is quite simple: color is color and I don't like to rule out something without trying it. If I try it and I hate it then I've learned a lesson and I'll know better next time. So, yes, I have pink in my stash.

Anyway, moving on........we've talked about Green, Red, and Pink. Next on the list is ORANGE, if we're following the rainbow. Admittedly, I don't have a lot of orange in my stash. I feel about orange the same way I feel about pink. I don't really care for it. I'd probably be more inclined to wear an orange sweater than a pink one, however. I have discovered that I don't look horrible in orange if it's the "right" orange. I used to have an orange sweater......I wonder where that went...

Most of the orange I do have in my stash is in variegated form...

Mama's Simple Skyp Socks
See those socks............see the orange (and pink and yellow and red)? Variegated form. That's how I roll my oranges. Oh yes, I went there.

Pattern: Simple Skyp Socks by Adrienne Ku
Yarn: Socks That Rock - Mediumweight by Blue Moon Fiber Arts in Chickabiddy

I've already admitted my dislike for pink and orange and my somewhat neutral feelings about red. I'm also not a huge fan of YELLOW, our next color on the list. I actually have more pink than yellow in my stash...though I think I have the least amount of orange. With that said, let's talk about the socks pictured above.

They're red, pink, orange, and yellow. How the hell did I wind up with such a crazy color combination in my stash?

I fully blame IrishGirlieKnits for this one. She loves Socks That Rock and uses it quite a bit for her designs. She also has quite a bit of it in her stash. Well.......Blue Moon Fiber Arts anything is difficult to find where I live (I'd have to order it online or visit booths at Stitches Midwest......yeah, let's not talk about how many skeins of Blue Moon Fiber Arts came home with me that day) and I noticed that Carrie was destashing some Socks That Rock and I decided that if I was going to buy it, I needed something completely out of my box. Enter the Chickabiddy color. So, I inquired, we worked out an arrangement and lo and behold: I was the proud owner of Socks That a colorway that was so totally out of my box I wasn't sure I'd ever use it. The yarn lingered in my stash for a couple months. I'd take it out every so often and pet it.......I was trying to let her speak to me (yes, this yarn is totally a "her"). She told me she wanted to be socks when she grew up...but she wasn't sure what kind of socks. Then one day, while I was perusing patterns in my queue, I could hear her screaming from the other room, "THAT ONE! SKYP SOCKS! MEMEMEMEMEMEMEME, THOSE ARE MINE!"

Thus, my Skyp Socks came to be. And yes, I wear them. Often.

Anyway, back to yellow. We were in the middle of discussing yellow......not a huge fan. Yellow is like acrylic yarn: it has a place; just not in my stash for the most part (sorry to all those acrylic-loving types out there; I have some, just not in any significant amount but I swear I'm not a yarn snob! Okay maybe I'm a little bit of a yarn snob...).

Moving on..........

We've talked about Green, Red, Pink, Orange, and Yellow. Next on the list is BLUE. I have a significant amount of blue in my stash. I tend to go for the darker end of the blue spectrum. I don't need bright blues (although they do work well with my red face). I know I have a couple sweater quantity's worth of blues...and sock yarns, and everything in between. I like blue. It's not my favorite but, let's be honest, I look good in blue (again, it has to do with that red face of mine).

I have some "blue" FOs/WIPs to show you, just for shits and grins...........

Don't Blink

Mama's Vanilla Socks - sadly, these have been frogged as of last night (they were too small)

Boater Bob Inspired Ribbed Hat (as modeled by Little Man)

Madison for Carol

Hermione's Everyday Socks - currently a WIP

Baby Traveling Vines Socks - pattern not yet available (I'm working on it!)

Looking at my project page on Ravelry, I've noticed that approximately 1/3 of my projects are predominantly blue..........oh well. I like blue. I like green more but I still like blue.

Our last color is PURPLE. Purple is another one of those colors that I seem to like. I have a couple projects with purple and I know I have a fair amount in my stash (mostly variegated). I wish I could say I have as much purple as I do blue or green but it'd be a lie. I suppose most of my stash is greens, blues, and neutrals (browns, whites, creams, greys, and blacks) but I swear, I have purple!

We could talk about the absence of color (white) or the total saturation of every color (black) but I think those are best left to professionals.........let's just say that I have blacks, whites, greys, and browns in my stash, too.

Stitches Midwest 2011 Hoard........don't judge me!

That isn't my entire stash. Sorry. That's just my Stitches Midwest 2011 yarn hoard. Don't judge!

So, how do I go about picking colors for projects and how important is it for me to use the same color yarn that is shown in the example?

This is an important question to ask yourself once in awhile: How do you pick a color for a project?

For me, there are a lot of factors that go into knitting/crocheting something. Color is usually the least of my worries. The first question I ask myself is, "Do I have yarn for this in my stash?" The answer is almost always, "Yes, I have yarn for this in my stash." The next question is something people don't always think about when they're shopping from their stash: Do I have enough yarn for this in my stash? This is important. If I'm making a hat and I only have 95 yards, that just isn't going to cut it (unless it's bulky yarn and the hat is for me, or if it's worsted and it's for Little Man). So, while shopping from the stash is a good idea, sometimes it's impractical if I don't have enough of something. This has often led to trying to find some alternatives such as stripes with another color. Sometimes this works, sometimes not.

The next thing I look at when deciding which yarn to use with a pattern is the purpose of the item in the pattern. If I'm making socks, I don't want to deal with handwashing I'm going to want something that is, at the very least, machine washable. If I'm making a shawl, I'm okay with handwashing because it's probably going to need to be blocked back into shape I don't necessarily want acrylic. Hats and scarves only get washed every so often (unless they get a lot of wear and tear - which is quite possible with Wisconsin winters) so they don't necessarily need to be machine washable either. But, what about items for kids? First of all, kids are hard on everything they touch. If I'm making a toy for a child (see Little Man's giraffe above), it's going to be out of material that can be washed in a washing machine. Now, am I going to be throwing said giraffe into the washer? Probably not...but if it gets to that point, I have the ability to do that and not worry about totally ruining it. Items that I make for children and babies (sans my own) are going to be machine washable (and probably dryer-safe, too). It's just how it is.

So, let's say I have figured out what fibers my yarn needs to contain to achieve maximum success with the project and I have several options in my stash. Now I have several color options to chose from (and we'll stick with sock yarn for my purposes because that generally comes with enough yarn in one skein to make at least one pair of adult-sized socks and lord knows there's enough of it in my stash) do I choose what color to make them?

Sometimes, as in the case of my Skyp Socks, the yarn starts yelling at me, telling me, "Yes, that's me! Make that with MEMEMEME!" or "Ew, no. As if!" Other times, I have a certain type of yarn in mind or a certain company in mind, as with my Hermione's Everyday Socks; in this case, I'm using yarn from Sun Valley Fibers because it's for a Sun Valley Fibers KAL.

But, again, the question: How do you choose the color? It all depends...then Socks That Rock yelled at me from the other room when I decided on the pattern. When I pulled out my options for the Sun Valley Fibers KAL (which was in accordance with my Self-Imposed Year of Projects list) and knowing that I wanted to make socks or something for a baby, I went through my Year of Projects list, cross-referenced with their pattern pages on Ravelry, checked notes on color and fiber options (solid, semi-solid, variegated, superwash, handwash, etc.), I was left with only a couple of options: the Emerald (which is what I chose) and a deep, dark, purpleish black. Both options would be wonderful but knowing that my knitting time is usually late at night, I decided to go with something I could see a bit better in the yellow light of the living room at 11pm. Sometimes, when I see a pattern, the pattern tells me that it wants to be done in _____(insert color)____ instead of whatever color the example is shown with. Sometimes, I want something green or blue or purple. Sometimes, I need to go outside the with my Skyp Socks.

Color is color. We're friends.



  1. Fabulous KCBW post! You've made sucha great variety of projects. LOL - love your Stitches Midwest loot! I have to make it to a Stitches convention in the future.

  2. I do love how you focus on a green as a fav color but find pretty much every other color somewhere in your stash or projects :) Makes for a well-rounded stash, right? Haha!

  3. Green totally rocks! I love how you're so detailed.