Monday, February 19, 2007

The color purple

I've been thinking a lot about color recently, mostly due to the start of Project Spectrum this month. I'm a big fan of neutral colors (including blacks and grays) in the things that I buy for outerwear. I feel like these are safe choices and go with the other things in my wardrobe more easily. I just have to match the warms with the warms and the cools with the cools. I have even purchased more neutral colors for future "big" projects, like Rogue and Eris. However, there is something that I am learning about myself. It is color that makes me want to knit something. I love charcoal grey and it is an obvious choice for a knitting project for me. However, I knit orange or purple or teal. More than I love good practical knits, I love color and I reach for color out of my stash time and time again.

I had purposefully been stashing more basic colors...things that I wanted to make more of thinking they would be worn more. And although I still find my stash inspiring...color pulls me in. Often times when I see good color, I think of a certain project: Under the Hoodie from the first Stitch 'n Bitch. (You can see a finished one here.) And when I saw Elsebeth Lavold Angora in Peacock Blue and Lime Green, I knew these would be perfect for that project. I knew that the blue was going to be the main body and the green would be the center stripe and sleeves. But what for the accent stripes around the green?

It had to be a color that would complement both colors since it would sit next to both and be of the same saturation level. I've had good luck choosing color based on this method lately. It allows you to make more interesting color combinations than traditional complimentary colors on the color wheel. I call it the "Cora Color Method" as she's helped both Knitzalot and I with numerous color choices this way. It is what is going to let me put purple, orange, blue, lime green and red all together for my Four Seasons throw. It's not what the color is, it's how similar their brightness and saturation levels are.

In trying to implement this method, I picked out to complementary colors for my hoodie. The first Purple:

The second Magenta:

I initially brought the purple home with me, but I couldn't help but think it didn't match the saturations levels the same way the pink did. In the photos above, you can see how although both combinations are lovely, the set with the pink is electric. All three colors in that set are equally vibrant and pop-ish. The purple is less saturated and more muted than its counterparts. So, on Saturday, I picked up the pink at the Grove's sale and was ecstatic. I couldn't wait to see how the colors where going to look knitted up. So I knitted like a mad woman this weekend much to the protests of my mending hand. By Saturday night, I made it all the way to the pink color stripe and into the green. It was so much fun! I loved the way it looked.

However, the next morning while I was drinking my tea and reading my book, I kept sneaking glances at my handiwork. Hmmm. Those colors are great. But, they're very childlike. And while I like color and vibrancy, I also want to be able to wear the hoodie...a lot. I started to think about the reality of having a hoodie in all electric colors, and decided that maybe a more toned down color combination would actually serve me better for this project.

So, I ripped out the stripes and started over with the purple. And I LOVE it. It's fun, but not crazy bright. The problem now is that I just can't knit it fast enough! I had to reluctantly put it down last night for fear that I would undo all the healing my hands and wrists had been doing.

Now the other thing that is going to be fun/interesting/heart-pounding/anxiety-inducing about this project is that I don't know if I have enough yarn. I don't if you go by requirements alone. But as we all know, how often do we actually use everything that is required? Not only that, I still need to add my obligatory arm and torso lengthening to the sweater. The place I am most likely to run out of yarn is with the blue. The pattern calls for 750 yards and I have 637. I realized that the easiest way to lengthen the sweater without using any of the precious blue was to make the stripes longer. The purple stripes will each be a row longer (not much, but something), and I plan to add a full inch to the green stripe. As for the arms, I added the purple stripes. They pretty much add the extra inch by themselves. Also by using the purple in the ribbed section and saving the green for the stockinette portion only, that extra yardage is saved. The plan is to work the sleeves, so that I will know precisely how much green will be available for the lengthening of the stripe. I think I'm going to have enough green...but it will be a squeaker!

P.S. Happy Presidents' Day to all those who don't have to work today! Yay!
P.S.S. It is actually raining in San Diego this morning. What a great way to spend a day off! Maybe I'll wear my pajamas all day :-)


knitzalot said...

Those colors look awesome! I can't wait to see it in person!

Jennifer said...

Those colors are gorgeous together!!

I'm getting so excited for Stitches!

Cora said...

I love the purple combo! Can't wait to see it!

Anonymous said...

I love the colors you chose. Can't wait to see it all in person! Look at us, all branching out into new colors!

Hilari said...

Great colors! My all-time favorite color combo, so as far as I'm concerned, you can't go wrong. And wasn't that rain wonderful!

Theresa said...

I agree - the purple is much more grown-up. Enjoy!