Saturday, November 18, 2006

Bear Knitted

We had a visitor to the garden the other day - read more....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I nearly faltered this week in my resolve to find colour projects in my present natural surroundings. It has been dumping rain for a week now, you can't see past the tops of the trees or across the street, and the foliage is mostly on the ground in sodden heaps. Like this:

Chocolate, lavender, and a touch of cream - who knew soggy decay was so delectable?

And the pattern:

The Colour of Water

The dominant impression of autumn invariably seems to be the brilliant oranges and reds of the foliage, but there are also subtler hues hidden in the rainy shadows. Last weekend we took a little family hike:

lost lake

On the way, we crossed one of the glacial creeks that feed Lost Lake:


I was struck by the contrast between the turbulent bits and the silty gray-green of the still water.

fall creek


fall creek pixellated

The palette:

fall stream palette

And the pattern:

fall stream pattern

The geometric pattern is adapted from an authentic Kurdish sock found in Anna Zilboorg's book. (I've been spending a great deal of time in that book while designing the scarf, and though this pattern won't fit in that project, it's one I've always admired.) I tried not to overthink the arrangement of the colours - I find I can easily get carried away with the mathematics of sequence and contrast.


While the autumn foliage has been spectacular, I've just been spending a little too much time with Tomato Red and Carroty Orange of late. I'm in the mood for something quieter, more subtle, soothing, even hopeful - and what could be more hopeful than the glowing dawn of a new day?

I have always been fascinated by the colour progression of sunrise:

The subtly graduated palette:

I am disinclined in this case to superimpose a "pattern" - I think I would let the colours speak for themselves in a progression of blended stripes or waves. (Though perhaps not in a sweater - seeing as the most vivid hues would highlight the midriff....) It could however, make a stunning scarf or shawl.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pink Daisies

One of the outcomes of this project of looking intently at the natural world has been a new appreciation for wildflowers. The flashy blooms resulting from commercial breeding are striking, but they lack the subtle range of hues found in their wild cousins. Nevertheless, sometimes it's fun just to play with crayons....

This is photo from my parents' yard, which they sent the other day:

cropped to 400

It's an extraordinarily lovely picture, but the colour range is really only this:

daisy palette

The most striking pattern feature is those sunny yellow polka dots on a cotton candy pink ground - not something I'd wear, but perfect for a little girl's spring cardigan. Intarsia is (still) not my thing, however, back when my son was born, I played for a while with a modular garter stitch garment in brightly coloured cotton. He outgrew that particular yarn supply before I got anywhere with it, but I loved the way the cotton behaved in a multidirectional garter stitch.

Perhaps something along these lines:


Harmony Lake

Upper Harmony Lake, at the top of Whistler mountain:

mountain lake 400 size

Pixellated to tease out the colours:

pixellated mountain lake

The chosen palette:

mountain lake pallette

The pattern:

mountain lake pattern

Cedar: Part 1

Cedar is one of those plants that has become so ubiquitous in landscaping as to be scarcely noticed for its own beauty. Here on the west coast, of course, it is inextricably linked with First Nations art and tradition, and the few old growth giants passed over by the logging companies are awe-inspiring monuments of strength and history.

A close look reveals a branching pattern which would be lovely interpreted in twisted stitches (a future project):

cedar branching pattern

What looks at a glance like a monochromatic dull green, is in fact, a whole range of hues:

cedar close

The "squinty view":

cedar pixellated

reveals both a blue-green and a yellow-green range of hues.

Since a core principle of Fair Isle is the maintenance of consistent contrast between saturation levels, I tried playing with the saturation setting in the photoeditor. On the top is the blue-green palette, with the identical set of hues in saturated (left) and desaturated (right) form. On the bottom is the yellow-green palette with the desaturated version on the left, and saturated on the right.

cedar palette all four

I created a simple interlocking pattern of branches in order to play with the colour combinations.

Here is the saturated version of the yellow-green range set against desaturated blue-greens:

cedar colour pattern sat yellow

Saturated blue-greens against desaturated yellow-greens:

cedar colour pattern blue sat

Both ranges equally saturated - note in this case how the middle hues don't really contrast sufficiently:

cedar colour pattern both sat

If a uniformly saturated palette were imperative, one could experiment with eliminating the middle hue range, or toss in a complementary colour for extra spark - perhaps the reddish brown of cedar bark? There's infinite scope for play.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Tree Bark With Lichens

The inspiration:

I pulled out quite a wide range of colours:
A 30 x 22 stitch repeat:Carefully plotted so that all four sides line up thus:
I envision pulling colours from the palette above, and arranging them in random stripes , with the pattern in a deep chocolate brown or even a charcoal gray. Then again, a suitably hued handpaint would also make a lovely background. In the original photo, I love the way the little bits of buttery yellow lichen on the bark make the rest of the colour scheme pop - I would be tempted to duplicate stitch a few spots here and there for effect.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Leaves In a Stormy Sky

The inspiration:

The pattern:

Sunday, July 23, 2006


The inspiration:

The pattern:

Designed for solid yarn on a handpainted backdrop.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


The inspiration:

The pattern: