Friday, 15 July 2011

You call it apple, and I call it pistaccio...

On Tuesday, we had one of those rare sunny days, so I set up my table and chair in our garden, and started going through that box of clothes catalogues I have in the house. One of my neighbours is a very stylish lady who receives heaps of clothes catalogues, which she then passes on to me. I spent a lovely afternoon cutting out items which gave me design and pattern ideas, made notes and later on stuck them in my ‘design book’ for future reference.

I also cut out a lot of the colour charts, because I am always a bit stuck with naming colours, apart from the obvious red, green, blue, turquoise, yellow, purple. When it comes to shades, I struggle. When is a pink a rosé or maybe even an old rose? And what is a rosé for me might be a pale pink or pale rose for somebody else. One catalogue named their green ‘apple’, while I thought it was nearly a pale olive colour. ‘Apple’ for me is a lovely juicy green, but that green was called pistaccio by another catalogue. And since when is ‘geranium’ a reddish shade? I have pink geraniums, and never think of geraniums as other than pink!

You see, it’s tricky. Recently, I was looking for the name of a kind of sandy brown, but more a darkish or grey sandy brown. When I saw ‘fallow’ and looked at the picture on the screen, Eureka! that was the colour of my button. I had never heard of ‘fallow’ in my life, but apparently it is a really old colour name. Fallow! I like the word, and promptly used it in my product description. Because of my button, my very red cloche hat is now to be found amongs pictures of fields and deer when you search ‘fallow’ on Etsy.

Last year, I realised the lilac shade of one of my scarves was actually called ‘wisteria’.  I associate ‘Wisteria’ with the Wisteria Walk mentioned in Harry Potter, and never thought of a colour.

And there are colours like goldenrod, chartreuse, pomegranate, cornflower, periwinkle, fandango, amaranth, Thulian pink, vermilion and porcini, whose names I just find fascinating. There is even a Razzmatazz pink, which is a rich shade of crimson rose.

A year ago, I fell in love with robin’s egg blue, although according to Etsy search, that colour had an extremely wide spectrum – from a very pale blue to a very green blue. Would the real robin’s egg blue please stand up, please stand up, please stand up… !

And is robin’s egg blue the same as duck egg blue?

I love learning new colour names, but the more I know, the more confused I get!

Saturday, 9 July 2011


I’ve not knitted much for my shops, apart from a lacy cloche hat which I recently listed in my Etsy store, but I’ve finally knitted some things for myself! Yes, I was fed up running around like the cobbler’s children, and wanted to wear my own unique colourful knitwear! However, the pieces seem to  have ended up as proto-types for new designs, well, that nearly always happens when you are a knitter and designer!

The Irish summer is unpredictable, and sometimes it can get rather nippy at night or in the morning. So I wanted to make myself a pair of armwarmers for ages, especially since I usually cycle in t-shirt, crocs and no socks in the summer months, but my hands get cold.  A friend of mine gave me some fabulous sock yarn for my birthday, and a talented arts graduate told me, this yarn needs to be seen on the hands and not hidden on the feet.

I have already been told that I should make more of these and sell them, maybe with a hat to match.
If the armwarmers are against the cold or nip, the next item I knitted for myself is to be used against the heat. It may not be very hot here in Belfast, but the sun is quite intense. I blame the ozone hole for this, because I never got sunburnt in Belfast years ago, but now I have to slap on more sunscreen than I ever did before. If I sit outside and knit, or if I am on the bike, I need a head cover, because I do feel the rays pounding on my hair. Hats are great, but we also have some gusty winds here even in the summer, so I have been chasing hats more times than I can recall. Therefore, I came up with the idea for a headscarf/bandana which can be tied firmly to the head to prevent escape!

It was supposed to be a simple cotton one, but then I got some sparkly ribbon, found some left over strips from a scarf that was turned into a skirt, and the whole headscarf turned out rather colourful. Furthermore, I decided to be cheeky and sew the label on the outside. Well, flaunt it! I definitely want to make more of these for the shop, because they are rather pretty, fun to wear and also very handy against those rays.

I did spin quite a bit of yarn for two pieces I am working on at the moment, and I had great fun beading threads, finding buttons and ribbons to spin into the yarn. I love this blue lavender colour, and some of it comes from Lindsaycrafts on Etsy. The pink fibre comes from a gorgeous batt by Shunklies on Etsy.

I also knitted a capelet to be displayed at the wool stall of Lighthouse Yarns here on St George’s Market (you’ll find it at the back of the market on Saturday and Sunday). That wool stall is addictive, and also has knitting needles, buttons, pattern books and other knitting accessories. I sometimes just look at the yarns and it makes me happy, and I hardly leave without a button purchase at least… I knitted the capelet from yarns I bought from Lighthouse Yarns, and added some of my handspun yarn as well.

I’ve lots of projects on the go (and none for myself now!), and like a true yarn addict keep looking at yarns and fibre, although I wouldn’t need any more yarn for the next few years! But one can never have enough (read: I can never get enough…) So there will be more new pieces in my shops shortly.