Thursday, 1 September 2016

Colour: a Strange and Wonderful Thing

Colour can be a strange and wonderful thing.

It was a colour adventure during the creation of the Woodland scarf.

Central section of the Woodland scarf. Laid horizontally, wavy stripes along the length of the scarf alternate in colours of green/beige and browns,
Woodland Scarf
designed & crocheted by Jodiebodie, May 2016

I was happily working away until I panicked to find no suitable colour partner in my yarn stash for the beige/green yarn in my hands.   On a strict budget, I would allow myself to purchase only one new colour so it needed to be versatile.

This was serious shopping.

Alchemy "Haiku" silk mohair blend
Colour: "Paper Crane"

Looking for a yarn to go with the 'Paper Crane' in my stash, I thought I had found the right one. As I reached for the 'Dark Star', the shop assistant said, "Hmmmm".  

Her tone revealed her doubt about my decision and it became plain that she could not see what I could see.  I considered other choices but came back to the 'Dark Star'.  The shop assistant didn't think the colour matched at all.


Before I became disheartened, I remembered that she was doubtful about my colour ideas during a previous purchase and yet those combinations have been most loved of any I've made (loved by myself and others); so I bought the 'Dark Star' anyway secure in my colour decision.

Placing the two hanks of colour together, they looked very compatible. I wound the hanks into convenient balls and set them side by side and felt that, "Yes, that combination will definitely work" but then …

Scarf is laid out as flat as possible to clearly show the wavy patterns.
Woodland Scarf
The wavy stripe pattern
can be seen clearly.

Eventually, the day came to crochet.
I worked the 'Dark Star' into the 'Paper Crane
'. I got 10 cm across the row–far enough along to see how the colour variations will play out–and suddenly felt 'not so sure': the desired contrast was definitely there but as the accent colours revealed themselves along the row, I saw the potential for an unanticipated clash–a muddy mess of colours that may not work at all!

It didn't look as exciting a combination as hoped. I was just about ready to change my mind and undo it after seriously considering a swap to another colour; there would be no clashes but little contrast; not an ideal option as I wanted a contrast to show off the wavy lines in the pattern.  

The thought of frogging a row of mohair yarn filled me with dismay. I heard the shop assistant's "Hmmmm" again in my head.

"I'm committed now," I thought, "this is only a tiny sample; let's see what happens when I go a little further."


Woodland Scarf
Example of drape.
Trusting my first colour instincts, and with a deep breath, I continued.  The colours didn't look bad, just not with the effect I had imagined. 

I took a break to flip through some crochet magazines and patterns and considered their colour combinations. There! There's a picture with similar contrasts! What a relief to know that my choices had once been acceptable to someone else.

With renewed determination, trusting my hunch, I crocheted on until I had a better balance of the two colours. My daughter saw it and gave me her unsolicited opinion that the colours looked "really good together."

I crocheted on.

The hank of Alchemy's silk mohair "Dark Star" in a hand-wound ball.
Alchemy "Haiku" silk mohair blend
Colour: "Dark Star"
hand-wound from hank

At last, I had three stripes worked–the old colour sandwiched between the new and this time I saw a restful contrast of colour, not a muddy mess. 

The dark made the light brighter and more vivid while the light gave the darker one deep mysterious shadows, seemingly much darker than the darkest colour in the ball.


This liveliness is what I seek with every colour combination.  As I laid the work onto the table, I saw it in a new light. It felt familiar and friendly.

Suddenly, an image leapt into my conciousness from the depths of my memory–the cosy couch from my mother's lounge room when I was 8 years old. The scarf had a lovely 'retro' colour combination with all the nostalgia of my childhood.

Yes, I am back in love with my colours.

Close up of scarf ends. The widest parts of the stripe end in a curved scallop shape and the thinnest parts end with a single stitch.
Curved ends on the stripes create scallop shapes along the edge.

What feelings do these colours evoke in you?

What colours spark reminiscence for you?


Alchemy Yarns of Transformation:

Lupey Loops, "Silk Mohair Scarves 2016", blog post, 18 August 2016:


  1. It definitely reminds me of the woods, a walk in nature, collecting leaves and twigs. Very pretty!

    1. Thanks, Tammy. It seems I have named the scarf well then!

      I love to explore colour associations and compare notes with others. It is so fascinating to me that colours can evoke similar or different ideas depending on the viewer. Perhaps it does relate to previous experiences in life, the memories of which could be conscious or subconscious. I imagine that you would enjoy a walk in nature, judging by your positive reaction.

      Your response is appreciated very much. Thanks again. :-)

  2. It looks beautiful, Jodi, actually has an Aboriginal feel!

    1. That is interesting that you say that - I went to an art exhibition inspired by modern indigenous art techniques a couple of months ago but I can't say that my scarf was consciously influenced by that. I'm glad you like the colours, Stel, and am pleased to receive your feedback. Wishing you well always. xxx