Notes on the weight of colour

For me, choosing colour for my knitting projects (and even my home) comes in many forms, from many points of inspiration but always from really looking – I mean really looking, and feeling.  

Colour is a personal development of experience from seeing colour choice mistakes and understanding the mistakes to tweak them to make the piece sing. Colour choice is about experimenting and being excited to try new colour combinations as well as recognition of combinations through the tactile feel of yarn in my hands.

Colour comes from the edge of where sea meets sand or from looking at an old red gate with rusted hinges hanging off, once cared for – inspiration – not just seen but also felt.

Colour is in movement – the movement of the sea, of the eddying mist, the fog that drops like a blind and a flan or flann of wind (A sudden squall of wind blowing from high land over the sea- or in my case, over the hill behind the house, around a corner to find me)  which knocks me sideways. 

Anyone who has taken one of my colour blending workshops will hear what I say.

This is how I work. Colour invades me from different angles like the waves – always undulating, telling a story, many stories of winds and moon and sun affecting the tides. These things touch me. Colours undulate.

Colour also comes from a place of gratitude in seeing the small things – the bigger details of life.

I am always site responsive.  That means, I respond to the purity of a specific moment in a specific place which moves me. I figure out why it moves me enough to write about it, to see it through my eyes to sense the place or moment, to feel it personally  – the nature of a knitted row takes in not only yarn and the movement of my hands but the memory of the event which has moved me. It could be a first sight – such as inspired the Smola set of scarf, mitts and hat, inspired by a red gate, the peat cut by hand from the hills, stacked bagged and burned  on the fires, the smoke taken in on a quiet evening sitting on a bench below the chimney and then there is the movement of the sea. I suppose colour can be sensory for me. I don’t just grab colours for a project – the story and the idea dictate my colour choices.

Here is an extract from the story with the ‘Dear Susan’ Pattern. ‘Outside, I Inhale the heady scent of peat smoke, as a hundred women must have done so before me. Standing on to the hand-hewn flag stone veranda that skirts the front of the house, I take in the heady scent of the previous night’s peat fire smoke lingering in the air.  The grey sky is touching the grey sea beholding all that is in front of me, under my feet and behind me within the stones of this old house.’

And again here:-

I’ve likened this sharp first breath outside to that of when I lived in China. It is the sharp clear smell.  Here, the first air is heavy with last night’s peat smoke scent. In China, when I lived in the hutongs, it was braziers, left out in the lanes, lit in the evenings with charcoals for light and warmth.  There were no street lights there either. It’s the same combination of mixed senses.  Smell of coals, smoke and the biting freezing sharp air, backed by a rising sun. With this combination, I am instantly taken back to China. But I stand here, in frozen Shetland.

Senses enter the knitting and the colour choices.

In my workshops, I say, ‘go out and choose your colours with your heart.’ But now I see that there is something more to it for me and that is to ‘feel’ the elements of colour. Feel the moment.

I develop from mistakes. What I saw to be really interesting 2 years ago, I have developed into a movement of colour.  Below is my development from Shetland Wall Flowers pattern to the Smola colours and pattern.

The Smola Beanie, though my cheapest pattern at £2.50, cheaper than a brief cup of coffee in a café, is my most sophisticated in colour choice embodying light, sea, eddying mist, an old red gate, the scent of peat smoke, a walk where sea meets sand at an ever changing pace and place. It moves from light to dark in more ways than one.  A solitary, singular figure connecting with surroundings and landscapes.

If you would like to join me on a colour blending session which will make you see differently, I have added New online colour blending workshop dates to the website :-

Wednesday 24th November   2-4pm UK time

Wednesday 1st December   2-4pm UK time

Saturday4th December 2-4pm UK time

Sunday 5th December 2-4pm UK time

Smola trio of hat, scarf and gloves are here.

Author: traceydoxeydesigns

Site specific Artist using own created textiles, laser cuts and hand block printed wallpaper to engage with narratives of landscapes, social history and place.

One thought on “Notes on the weight of colour”

  1. Tracey, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your latest post. I took your colour blending workshop in Oct. & learned so much from you. I’ve found myself continuing to learn from all that we talked about. So much of my gift knitting lately now has another layer of meaning which makes the gift even more personal. Thank you for sharing your journey! I hope to take another workshop from you. Brightest Blessings! Kat


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