Maybe you don’t remember, but I do. Last fall, I wanted a Color Affection shawl in the warm swirling colors of autumn. I wanted to fling a swath of color around my shoulders that would look like maple leaves tumbling to the ground. I wanted to wrap myself in rich brilliance. I chose a light orange and a warm red, just the colors of maple leaves. Really. I got some maple leaves and held them up to the yarn and I’ll be darned if they weren’t exactly the same color. Then I chose a warm brown, the color of the deep leaf bed and soil of a forest floor for contrast, hoping it would lend richness.
Okay. I know the lighting is not great, but believe me, it’s better this way. With proper lighting, it looks even more awful. Even here, it reminds me of a bad 1950’s reproduction of a pseudo Mexican “traditional” costume featured in some completely inappropriate tacky tourist-trap gift shop. Now don’t get me wrong. I love vintage kitsch as much as the next Ebay addict. I can also appreciate the fine brilliant color of authentic Mexican dancing costumes. But this was not that. Anyone ever drive south to Florida? Ever actually stopped at Pedro’s South Of the Border? If it were ironic, it would be high kitsch. It’s not ironic.
See what I mean? Same palette. I seemed to have captured that same weird, garish yet sepia toned quality. And could you really say there is any affection between those colors? It was certainly not my fine swirl of autumn leaves. *sigh* What went wrong?
I’ll tell you what went wrong. Yes, I matched the colors to real life objects I wanted to imitate. But real leaves have more than two colors in them, and the subtle blending of one color to the next makes harmony and unity out of disparate elements. If I truly wanted to capture the essence of a fall of maple leaves, I should have gone to hand painting a skein or three. With four or five shades of red ranging from a light pinky tone to a rich cranberry, six or seven shades of yellow from a pale butter through lemon to a subtle brownish gold, sparked here and there with palest green and tiny bits of blue to add depth to it all, maybe I could have caught the mood I was after.
But, Color Affection is not about blending. Those stripes are stark and strict. The affection comes from how they reflect and contrast across the borders. What happens when you put yellow next to blue without feathering or blurring the edges? What do any two…or three, in the case of Color Affection…have in common? How are they different? How can you point up those commonalities or differences? Color Affection will help you find out. This is closer to what I wanted…
(Thank you Julie Blagojevich)
This is what I got…
See? I told you better light would not make it prettier.
I know there are going to be some of you who like the combination. That’s okay; we can still be friends. It just didn’t look how I wanted it to look, and I am the boss of my knitting…sometimes. So, I put my first Color Affection in a drawer without even frogging it. Life is too short to knit ugly, and I couldn’t stand to look at it any more. I figured I would be the only knitter in America who didn’t knit a Color Affection shawl, and that was going to have to be okay with me.
It’s a little pricey, so we only got in three colors, but, holy Bombyx mori, are they beautiful. Look at the bright sheen. Look at the subtle play of the tonal colorways. And you should really feel the slinky softness. Be still, my beating heart.
I thought we should have a sample, so I decided to take these babies out for a spin to see how they perform. But what to knit that would show them off to best advantage? Hmmm. The lighter pink is a frosty, reserved kind of colorway with hints of cold steel gray and barely-there peach. The darker mauve had a bronze component and some complex, nearly indefinable greenish/purple transitions. The yellow runs the gamut from dandelion through copper. All exquisite. What could possibly incorporate all three colors? Hmm. Three colors? Maybe a Color Affection?
I started with the light pink to show off its subtlety. The shimmer is perfect, and the gray keeps the pink from becoming cloying.
So far so good. However, you can never judge by first dates. Popular opinion around the shop was that the yellow would never work or play well with other. Too bright, they said. But no…
The pink softens and deepens the yellow, and the yellow brings out the peach in the pink it is right next to…without offending the cooler pink at the top. Oh, I was on a roll and I was falling in love. But like with any new relationship, after you’ve been burned, I was not going to totally give my heart away. Not without testing a bit. Not without stretching and pushing to make sure it’s going to last. What would the third color do? How would the balance shift?
I added the third color…
Photos don’t really do it justice. The darker mulberry and mauve tones of the third color coincide nicely with the grayer tones of the frosty pink and both together seem to diffuse and spread the golden glow of the yellow. The colors are perfect. Don’t even get me started on the hand, the drape, the warmth and smoothness, and the indescribable paradox of lightness and weight that defines silk. Am I waxing rhapsodic? Can’t help it. If it were legal in this state, I would marry this shawl. I can’t wait to have it wrapped around me.
I’m frogging that old disappointment. This is the real thing. I’m in love.