Sunday, October 2, 2016

Of colors, patterns, and happy endings

How do you get inspired? My main inspiration comes from colors and shapes. Some colors almost make me cry, or swoon, or feverishly leaf through knitting books and magazines looking for an appropriate garment to make.
Florida Keys is an especially colorful place. Evenings and mornings here are major events because of sunsets and sunrises. This is not a joke, I am deadly serious. Look at these pictures, for example.

Amazing colors and color combinations, dramatic changes, overwhelming grandiosity, elemental and unfiltered, give an immediate boost to my creativity. I am not sentimental by nature, rather the opposite. Yet, some colors make me feel all gooey and soapy inside.

I had had 3 balls of Knitpick’s Palette in a bright blue-green color for several years without any idea how to use them. Somehow, in Pennsylvania this yarn looked too bright, too loud, and even garish. Here, in Florida, it looks natural. This color basically surrounds me all day long.

So I took a pattern by Jared Flood, Cinder, and used it for a little infinity scarf. The cables look like ocean waves. The yarn is springy and soft, with very good stitch definition. It was very easy to work with, no need for a cable needle to make cables.

Another color very common here on the island is bright green. Avocados, key limes, guacamole, cilantro, jalapeƱos. 

A friend of mine asked me for a green scarf before I left for Florida. But I already made her a green scarf that she’s been wearing quite often. So, instead of a scarf, I decided to make this avocado-lime-cilantro green sweater. 
Again, the yarn for it has been in my stash for ages. It was discontinued long ago and I had to find a right pattern to use the yarn well and to come up with a decent garment. Fortunately, I had Roz by Uandiknit in my library, and it happened to be a perfect match.

This pattern is really well written, thoughtful, and clear. It was a pleasure to work with. I usually don’t like top-downs (*End note: It doesn't mean I don't like OTHER people's top-downs, I just don't like MINE **End end note). I made quite a lot of them and eventually unraveled almost all. Why? They don’t fit well. Top-down clothes have a tendency to hug my body in a very unflattering way or to be too big and shapeless, making me look too short and shapeless as well. They look good on Ravelry pictures, usually with young, tall, thin models. Being not young, or tall, or particularly thin, I started avoiding top-down designs. This one is an exception.
It does hug your body, but it doesn’t make you look out of shape. I am probably going to use this pattern again in the future, especially when you need to make something easy and quick. That was a very satisfying knit!
See what you get when you ask me for a scarf? With me, you’ve got to be very careful with what you wish for. I hope my friend likes her sweater (at least as much as I like it) and its colors. More pictures and details on my Ravelry page.
I’ve been using discontinued yarns from my stash lately and it made me  feel partly "discontinued" myself. After all, I was a grown up when I bought this yarn and now it doesn’t exist anymore, like dinosaurs. 
Actually, this issue (discontinued items) has been reemerging all the time lately. Half of the materials we picked only two years ago for our new house have been discontinued. And one day I went to a hairdresser and there was the last blow.  At some point she asked her coworker to pass her “happy endings”.
 -   Oh, happy endings have been discontinued, - answered the other stylist. – Here is the last jar. I was really surprised and asked what they were talking about. It turns out that “happy endings” was a brand name for a sort of special pomade that you put on your hair at the end of blow drying to make it stay in place. And it was discontinued. Like so much of my yarn or the materials for our house. Even happy endings belong to the past. Isn’t it sad? Yet, I managed to finish this little sweater even though I had to use every last bit of the yarn and the result is rather successful. Maybe not everything is lost after all?