FO: Wazz’s Woollen Winter Walking Outfit and Turn a Square pattern mashup

Two of my favourite patterns; Wazz’s Woollen Winter Walking Outfit #1 and Jared Flood’s Turn a Square pattern, mashed up into one happy hat of joy, to be given as a gift to my Grandad – who I hope does not know about my blog. If you *do* read this, Grand Pappy Wilf, Happy Birthday! This will go in the post to you as soon as I sort out a brim and weave in the ends.

Keen-eyed spotters will notice the slightly unpleasing maths that I have applied here, for there are 5 pattern repeats in the lovely colourwork and 4 decrease points for the hat shaping… however I have forgiven myself for this asymmetry, since it was very nice to do something spontaneous and organic and to allow this lovely piece of knitting to flow from the needles without getting too hung up on the numbers – which have been something of an obsession recently.

It is proving very difficult to show you in these photographs just how well the Alice Starmore yarns work together. In the spirit of thrifting, I decided to use the Starmore yarns already in my stash rather than acquiring the exact shades detailed in Kate’s original pattern. There are pros and cons to this approach; I like to see the different effects caused by working up the pattern in different colours, and it is good I think to contribute another variation in shades and colours to the Ravelry projects gallery. However on the other hand, the bits of the design that I was able to execute in the shades specified by Kate were so pleasing that I would like to at some stage repeat my wwwwo#1 pattern with the original colours.

For instance, working the middle sections in pebble beach (an intriguing golden/orange/blueish/pinkish grey) and solan goose (a creamy/blue/golden/white) I was struck by how the heathery qualities of these shades helped them to work together. I love these two colours side by side and the way they blend into one another via their shared tones. The blending of one shade into another is helped by a kind of mutual or shared quality, so that the colours don’t jump suddenly from one to another, but rather move through subtle grades through from one to another. You’ll see that I decided to work the middle sections of the star motif in bogbean (a sort of bright, emerald green) to make it pop and lighten in the middle, as well as in the background. I think there is more affinity between the pinking oranges of the pebble beach and some of the subtle undertones in the machair colourway that Kate used, however I like the jumping effect of the blue that I used and the way the oranges in the pebble beach colourway contrast directly against it. The whole experience taught me a lot about the lovely Starmore Yarns, and the way the colours all work together, and it adds to something I was thinking about during the last meeting at the Oxford Guild of Weavers, Dyers and Spinners concerning natural dyes and the behaviour of different kinds of pigments and dyestuffs.

A speaker came to talk to us about natural dyes, and he talked about how many plants which produce dyes share certain compounds like tannin, which mean that they reflect colours with an affinity for one another. He reasoned that when there are perhaps a hundred colouring components within a dye plant, one or two of them must be the same as in other plant dyes; therefore there are parts of the colour spectrum which these colours share and because they share these bits of the spectrum, they can sit beside one another harmoniously. On the other hand, artificial dyes and pigments are made to be far more pure. This means that they tend to reflect ONLY the colour they were intended to reflect, and that matching them with other pure colours from completely different areas of the spectrum requires a very careful eye. I think that using heathery blends is a way of mimicking this multi-coloured light-reflecting quality that natural dyes have; this thing we find in nature whereby light and colours are reflected in many different shades which all go together, because they all share parts of the spectrum. You know how the sea sometimes looks blue and sometimes grey and sometimes green, yet it is always essentially sea-coloured? Well to me this is very much like how – with plant dyes I’ve used, anyway, you can get loads of greens and yellows and browns and blues and reds which all share a certain kind of plant-colour. And this is the genius of the Starmore Yarns; they reflect Nature’s multi-chromatic scales of colour, and the way that colours change according to weather, seasons, light and whatever is beside the thing you are looking at, so that sometimes tree bark looks silver, and sometimes it looks brown.

I loved doing this colourwork so much that I already have plans for a second hat, a listening hat, worked for my own head and including a pocket for earplugs for when I want to hear myself think and fuzzy, built in angora windshield properties for those moments when I am walking with binaural microphones in my ears and want to catch the sounds without catching the wind.

Angora lining; the natural windshield for ear-worn microphones!

Pattern mashup Ravelled here.

6 Responses to FO: Wazz’s Woollen Winter Walking Outfit and Turn a Square pattern mashup

  1. JoannaD says:

    The hat looks GREAT – well done! Your thoughts on the colours are really interesting. And I think ‘bogbean’ must be the best name ever for a yarn!

  2. Kate says:

    Love the hat, and the green bogbean – and what is the mid blue shade next to it? It works really well. Pebble beach and solan goose are so mysterious and mercurial….

  3. Felix says:

    I am a bit confused about what the mid blue shade is, but since I can’t find this one ballband and since I distinctly remember having it, I must conclude that it is Storm Petrel.

    I have Witchflower and Strabhann, so it can’t be either of those.

    I find the Starmore yarns an absolute dream to work with. They block so beautifully, melding into a soft, dense fabric full of fuzzy beauty. Thanks so much for introducing me to them!

  4. Felix says:

    PS Bogbean is one of my favourite plants; it is one of the first plants I ‘studied’ in a herbal medicine context. I don’t practice much herbal medicine anymore, preferring the cutting edge science of modern medicine, however I still have agreat affection for plants (where most of our modern medicine derives from) and I very much enjoy flicking through Mrs Grieve’s ‘A Modern Herbal.’

    The plants of the peat bogs in Ireland are similar to some of the plants in remote boggs places in Scotland; I was very excited to see Bogbean, Sundew and Bog Cotton when we did The West Highland Way and I love the way that Starmore writes about these flowers in the colour stories for these yarns.

    http://www.virtualyarns.com/colour/moor.asp

    http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/bogbea63.html

  5. Pingback: The Domestic Soundscape » Blog Archive » HATS!

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