24.4.14

15 The Colour Collaborative: April: Tradition


Whenever I mention the possibility of change, as I did in my last post, I receive a whole bunch of emails from sweet folk who tell me that they love what I do, and who ask me please not to change a thing. And when that happens I'm both tremendously flattered but also kinda flummoxed ... knitsofacto meets Groundhog Day? ... it wouldn't be pretty!

But that 'knit', it's something of a misdirect, don't you think? Although ask this knitter to pin down her true focus as a blogger and she struggles a bit. The made not the manufactured? Old skills? Country ways? The obscure and the oft overlooked? Textiles for sure, but other stuff too. Which is why, when we colour collaborators chose 'Tradition' as our April theme my first thoughts, of Shetland wool and the time-honoured names of its natural shades* - emsket, musket, shaela, moorit, mioget - were rejected in favour of my second thoughts ... fairground art, and specifically fairground sign writing, coach painting and lining.

As part of the big knitsofacto rethink I've been playing with epithets, some of them totally out-there and none of them more than prompts, but one, 'the 21st century Victorian', turned up this ...




If you only have time to read on or watch the video, please do the latter, Joby Carter is someone you all should 'meet'. The son of John and Anna Carter of Carter's Steam Fair fame, Joby's been fascinated since childhood by the paintwork on the vintage rides and showmen's engines he saw around him, and determined to learn to reproduce it. His passion for his craft is palpable, but so is the danger that this is an art that will die.

Fascinated myself by all those paint cans in Joby's studio, and by the rainbow of deeply saturated hues he works with, I dug a little deeper and discovered specialist suppliers of traditional sign and coach painting colours with names like Kingsway Red, Holborn Cream, Burrell Plum, Garrett Green, and Pocket Yellow. A different kind of poetry to those Shetland dialect names for wool, but a poetry I find equally satisfying. How about you?

* A post for another day perhaps.

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Don't forget to visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below ...


Sandra at Cherry Heart       Gillian at Tales from a Happy House

CJ at Above the River       Jennifer at Thistlebear     


What is The Colour Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.

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20.4.14

73 Ten random things ...


1. Sometimes when days pass with no posts it's not because I have nothing to say but too much.

2. I have film for my snazziest old Polaroid camera, a rare event. As soon as the sun comes out, which won't be before Thursday if the weatherman's to be believed, me and my 680 SLR get to play*.

3. Late to the party I may be, but I've fallen in love with indoor succulents this week and have been reading up on terrariums.

4. I was once woken by an escapee hamster standing on my face. To this day I don't know how I didn't freak out. On another occasion, while camping, I was pecked awake by a peacock.

5. I'm highly sensitive to the tannins in black tea, so espresso based coffees brewed too quickly for any tannins to be released are my hot drink of choice. For similar reasons I can't drink wine or beer but I'm fine with cider.

6. My favourite vase is a vintage octagonal jam jar that I've been using for years. Just now it's standing on the oak mantel above the fire and is filled with white narcissi and Herb Robert.

7. Fourteen tiny oak trees have grown from the acorns I planted and I haven't a clue what to do with them all.

8. One of my maternal great, great, great grandfathers drove Queen Victoria's royal train.

9. I initially mistyped the title of this post, 'Tend random things' ... I like that, it reminds me that what's most obviously important isn't always what's most important.

10. I'm planning a move to another blogging platform, and probably a new blog name. Scary, crazy stuff, but it's a change I need to make. I'll tell you more when it's imminent.

Want to play along? Leave me a comment telling me a random thing or two about you. Or, if you're a blogger, why not post your own list of ten.

With thanks to Erin for the reminder that 'random things' posts are fun. And with apologies for the reused image ... I've nothing new in the camera after a long weekend spent blitzing Knitso Towers. Random fact eleven, I love a good sort out!

* Polaroids generally don't do well in low light, although my 680 SLR (not pictured) does cope better than my other Polaroid cameras.


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17.4.14

52 Willow (& wool)


Crack willow, Salix fragilis, cut from a riverbank tree this afternoon - its hairless leaves distinguish it from the white willow, which is also abundant here.

Easter at Knitso Towers is almost a non-event now that the children have mostly flown the nest, but bringing willow stems into the house is too long-standing an Easter tradition to forego. This year they're in full flower but often they are barely in bud.

In the dye pot willow bark yields a pale rose-tan on wool, similar to the shades you see here, and a beautiful slate grey with the addition of an iron modifier. There'll be bark to be had from fallen branches come the next storm, and yarn in these colours soon afterwards, but more on that when it happens.

The yarn I've photographed wasn't dyed by me, it's the Quince & Co Finch I was knitting into a Paravel hat, now frogged! My decision to modify the lace panels backfired and the perfectionist I endeavour not to be won the day. When I've steamed out those crinkles I'll try again!

Meanwhile, after a long weekend away with plenty of time to think my head is buzzing with new ideas for this space. All I need now is the time to implement them!

Are you struggling to find time for all that you want to do? Are you a perfectionist? A serial frogger?* How do you decorate your home for Easter? And will you be eating too much chocolate in the next few days? Me? Of course I will!

*For the non-knitters that means 'do you make a habit of unravelling knitting projects you're not happy with?'.


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