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Monday, March 06, 2006

Red and Pink

I decided to join Project Spectrum after seeing mention of it on Jess's blog and the colours for March are red and pink. This gives me the opportunity to show you some better photos of the pink baby shawl that I knitted for my Olympic challenge. I tried first blocking the shawl with damp cloths but wasn't happy with the result so, in the end, I completely immersed it and gave it a proper wet blocking.

I'm really pleased with the baby cashmerino. It's beautifully soft and has a very nice drape, too.

Isn't it a nightmare trying to get decent photos with the weather so dismal a lot of the time? Here's another one showing the shawl laid out flat which, hopefully, shows the detail.

As I'm fascinated with symbolism including the symbolism of colour, Project Spectrum got me thinking again about what colour means to us which can differ between cultures. I have lots of books and notes on symbolism, some of which include colour, so that got me searching through the bookshelves (which we desperately need more of as currently there are books in front of books on most shelves). A lot of the books and notes I was unable to locate (they may be in the attic) but amongst the things I did find was the Luscher Colour Test which was fun and interesting to look at again.

I thought it might be useful to me, if no-one else, just to remind myself of the meaning of the colours as I work with them through the project so, if you're not into this kind of thing, you might want to skip over these bits.

Pink is a colour that women can feel uncomfortable with even though they may like it due to the traditional acceptance that pink was for girls and blue was for boys, etc, but for this project my intention is to reflect on the colours and their meanings non-judgementally.

It's probably no accident that my niece chose the shawl for her soon to be born baby daughter in pink as cotton candy pink is very much associated with little girls. Pink has been described as the sweet side of red; a weaker, more gentle, form of red. Studies have shown that pink in large amounts can have the effect of creating physical weakness in people whereas red has the opposite effect and may stir up passion and action. Language associated with pink includes phrases such as pretty in pink, a vision in pink, and pink to make the boys wink. Sometimes the phrase pink collar is used in a derogatory sense to describe a female office worker. So, traditionally, pink has been considered a feminine, delicate colour.

What about red? At the weekend, I sorted out my stash and most of it is now vacuum packed which is great because it takes up so much less space. As I was going through I took the opportunity of looking for reds (and maybe pinks) that I could use for projects during March.

There are these two cones. The red is a wool/silk mix and the pink is cotton and angora.

The red is just a tad brighter than I expected so I thought I'd use it mixed with other colours in projects like perhaps an afghan incorporating Kaffe Fassett's Persian Poppies pattern or the floral and striped sweater below right. (Although it has no red in it as such and is knitted in chunky yarn, I like the Turkestan coat on the left, too).

I also came across the claret red Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk (below) that I bought at the Knit Tin to make Lara with.

However, I've since found this free lace cropped cardi pattern which I love and which has several interesting aspects to it which make me want to use the red Alpaca Silk for this instead of for Lara.

It's made on a circular needle top down (new technique to learn);

The circular needles are changed in size three times so that the lace pattern is given the effect of becoming more open with progression;

It incorporates two lace stitches, horseshoe lace (for the body) and Milanese lace (for the sleeves) which I haven't tried before;

It has two different bind offs (horseshoe lace bind off and picot bind off) that I haven't tried before;

The pattern needs to be adjusted as one knits to suit one's own measurements which will be another new experience;

It has beads on the points on the bottom and I love beads!

It's knitted in the round so no seams which means no sewing up and that is just fine and dandy by me because I hate sewing up!

Also in the stash was some Silkwood Yarns hand-dyed fine mohair in very fiery shades. It's not only the colours in it that make me think of fire but the way they merge into one another which looks very flame-like. When I bought this yarn I thought I'd do something with it along the lines of "A World Lit Only by Fire" in the Lavish Lace book which is a scarf knitted in the Shetland lace Candlelight pattern which leads me nicely into my reflections on the colour red.

Below is a depiction of a Mappa Mundi (meaning 'map of the world' though not in the conventional sense) which hangs in my study. It is the type of Mappa Mundi that a homoeopath or other holistic practitioner might have and it's a bit like a mandala in that it depicts wholeness.

At the top is the element of fire which is also associated with the colour red. Red is associated with the base chakra and the adrenal glands. It is a hot, strong colour that can be associated with equally strong feelings ranging from love and passion to anger and warfare and, as such, red has been described as both Cupid and the Devil. Valentine's cards are often mainly red coloured showing the link between red and the emotions of love and passion. Red is also about power and dominance. The red carpet is laid out for VIPs. Phrases such as like a red rag to a bull, s/he saw red, and red hot reflect the symbolism behind this colour. In China, the colour red denotes happiness and prosperity and advocates of Feng Shui might have a large round leaved plant in the wealth corner of their living room under which are three coins wrapped in red paper. Here the red is acting as a symbol of wealth and the object is to attract wealth to the home . . . . .

. . . . . Well, now back to the knitting. I've got three projects almost finished and I don't think I'm going to be able to resist casting on for the Fickle Fingers Scarf with the yarn from my secret pal for very long but the claret red cardigan will be my Project Spectrum' work for March.


  • At 6:13 pm, Blogger Daisy said…

    Thanks for all the colour info - there's a lot there to think about.

    Your shawl looks beautiful too (although it appears more purple on my monitor!)

  • At 6:19 pm, Anonymous jess said…

    it is great to see more details on that amazing shalw. And I loved the colour info in your post - lots to think about.

  • At 6:43 pm, Anonymous Mary said…

    The shawl is looking beautiful. Thanks for the link to the lace cardigan - it looks like an interesting project.

  • At 7:07 pm, Blogger Holly @Home said…

    Oh my goodness you have the Turkestani pattern Mum loves so much ..she keeps meaning to knit it as she loves Ikats and has a great book on Central-Asian textiles.The colour stuff was fascinating and your shawl just gorgeous. Holly

  • At 7:48 pm, Anonymous Sharon J said…

    I love that cardigan. Having seen the gorgeous shawl you made (I still can't stop looking at that - it really is one of the prettiest things I've seen for a LONG time), it's obvious that you'd made a fantastic job of the cardi. I can't even think about starting something like that because I've promised Richard I'd use up at least half of my stash before I buy any more yarn. ~Sharon

  • At 8:15 pm, Blogger Marie said…

    I have to say it again: That shawl is just stunning! The second photo showed off the texture particularly well.

  • At 9:10 pm, Blogger Rain said…

    The shawl looks even more fabulous.

    I like the lace cardi choice.

  • At 10:30 am, Blogger Seahorse said…

    That was a really interesting post. I'm still in awe of the shawl!

  • At 1:36 pm, Blogger The Crafty Otter said…

    I loved reading this post - thankyou so much for brightening my lunchbreak! I'm amazed by your Olympian (in every sense of the word!) achievement - I pulled out when it became clear I just wasn't going to enjoy the experience. I look forwards to watching you do the lace cardi in the alpaca silk; what weight are you using? I'm very tempted to do something similar myself, and would love to know how much yarn it ends up using.

  • At 7:53 pm, Blogger KnitYoga said…

    Daisy, it may be the photo rather than your monitor that has made the shawl appear purple (at least in the top photo). The bottom one definitely looks pink on my screen though.

    Crafty Otter, thank you! It's nice to know that I might have brightened up someone's day! The Alpaca Silk I'm using is the aran weight one. It works to the same gauge on 5mm needles as the yarn used in the pattern but there is less yardage to 50g so it will take more balls of the Alpaca Silk than the yarn used in the original pattern. I'll let you all know how much it took when/if (must be optimistic!) I finish it.

  • At 10:55 am, Blogger Tracy said…

    I printed out the cardy pattern a little while ago when I first saw it on Elann. I was so tempted to break my stashalong and order the yarn, but decided it must go in my pile of "must do patterns" (I really am going to have to sort that out, I have enough to keep me going for at least 3 lifetimes!)

  • At 10:20 pm, Blogger Kathleen said…

    Your baby shawl looks absolutely beautiful. Such lovely knitting.

  • At 1:54 pm, Blogger Inglesia said…

    Hiya, just want to say congratilations with your gold medal in the Olympic for knitters! The baby shawl is so pretty! =)

  • At 6:34 am, Anonymous Judith in Oz said…

    The shawl is just stunning! I have already printed off that cropped jacket and have it in mind to knit when it gets a bit cooler and when I can find the right yarn.

  • At 12:19 am, Blogger Beverley said…

    Hazel, the shawl looks absolutely gorgeous. The cardigan you are proposing to make is wonderful, I hadn't seen it before, really nice.

    An interesting post, food for thought!

  • At 8:39 pm, Anonymous Lottie said…

    The baby shawl looks beautiful!

    And thanks for the info about colour - I've joined project spectrum too, it's a great idea.

  • At 1:11 pm, Blogger colin said…

    Hazel - I love the lace top down garment and the baby shawl. Excellent work. Thanks for showing.

  • At 9:54 pm, Anonymous örgü said…

    The shawl is just stunning! I have already printed off that cropped jacket


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