project spectrum

browns, purples, and oranges

Stimpy lounging on the bookshelf

One of my favorite pictures with orange and brown.

Before I launch into a post about the current Project Spectrum color triad, I want to expand on something I started to say in a comment on Nova’s recent post. Prioritizing my crafting alongside my other pursuits is something I’ve always thought a lot about. I’ve always been someone who is driven from within. That is, I’m not “competitive” in the sense that others in my family are; I don’t really care what other people are accomplishing and I feel no need to “beat” them, so long as I’m doing (or outdoing) whatever I set out to do. This is as true for me in knitting as it was in running. But what’s also true is that I have really high expectations for myself. And one “good” thing about being sick for this long is that it has helped me lighten up a bit about what I expect from myself, and how I divide my time and set my priorities. Like all y’all, I’m not just a knitter. I’m also a graduate student, a wife, a “mommy” to a pair of kitties, and I have other creative pursuits beyond knitting in my life, as well (particularly playing the violin). Knitting happens to be my favorite quiet way of unwinding (much as I love my violin, it’s not something I can do quietly!), and I just absolutely love the fact that I can create wearable things using only a pair of sticks and a strand of yarn…but I don’t just knit, and I wouldn’t want to, because I would miss out on so many other things that are really important in life (not to mention things with externally-imposed deadlines, like conference paper submissions and such!), since I only have so much energy to spread around, and even less since getting sick. And even within my knitting, I’m trying to prioritize in such a way that I’m spending my time on whatever I find rewarding at the moment. Even before the blog, I didn’t like having loads of unfinished projects lying around, and would work on projects I wasn’t really interested in just to get them done. The blog only amplifies this, because I get to feeling like “oh my goodness, so-and-so is going to notice that I’ve not worked on X project in months!”, which is really pretty silly. So for now I am knitting what makes me happy, even if it does leave me with a string of UFOs, which I’m sure some of y’all have noticed. They’ll get finished eventually. I only have so much energy right now, and if I feel like following a complicated chart for a sweater knit on size 3 needles (as is Ingeborg, which has been set aside for now) is too much, then I’m not going to do it until I feel up to it again. If dealing with a mistake (like the one I made in Tailored Scallops) seems too psychologically draining, then I’m setting aside for now until I’m ready to tackle it. Once I’m healthy again, I’ll probably go back to my old ways a bit, but for now, I think this is a healthier way to look at something which, honestly, is supposed to be a fun hobby, not a source of guilt.

One project that is really fulfilling to me right now is the Sienna Cardigan. I just started knitting it a few days ago, and already have the back and most of the two fronts done:

Sienna Cardigan Progress

I can’t say why, exactly, this project is calling to my hands more than the others. I like the feel of the Cork running through my fingers, especially knit at this firmer-than-called-for gauge, and the fabric it creates just feels really wonderful in my hands. It’s a simple pattern which doesn’t take much energy to follow. And then there’s the color, a nice heathered brown. And with that segue, onto what this post was supposed to be about!

I’ll start with browns. Browns have always been a favorite color of mine. I remember being teased a bit when I mentioned it as a favorite (alongside my usual blues and greens) when I was little, because I think most kids think of brown as “gross”. But I love them, especially rich chocolate browns. These take the place of black in most of my “dress-up” wardrobe (not that I have much of one right now, but I’m working on expanding it so that I can look somewhat like an adult, instead of like a sloppy high schooler, at conferences and such), as I’m very very pale and tend to look quite washed-out and sickly in the more traditional black, plus I just think chocolate brown is a very flattering color on those of us with honey-blonde hair. I’m drawn to these dark browns in everything…sweaters, coats, pants, skirts, shoes, my bookshelf (also pictured at the top of this post) and other wooden furniture. Despite being blonde (with no intention of ever dyeing my hair), I’m really drawn to dark brown hair, as well, and lucky for me, my husband has it! So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I have a fair amount of brown in my yarn stash, some of which will be making appearances throughout the next couple of months in the form of projects, either in-progress or in the planning stages.

Purple, on the other hand, doesn’t show up much in my stash, nor in my clothing. This is strange, because dark purples are another set of colors that I find very flattering, so I really need to work on incorporating more of them into my life. Part of the problem, I think, is that I’m pretty picky about purples…lavender tends to make me look grey and washed out, and I don’t like purples that scream “grape kool-aid!” or “Barney!” or anything like that. I like nice rich eggplant colors, or dark plums. I’m not sure whether or not I’ll be knitting with any purple yarn at all these next couple months, but I will make sure to look for purple all around me.

And finally, orange. Orange is not a color I wear very often. It’s not that I hate it…I actually quite like the darker, rusty/brown-oranges, and if I’m on a bright colors kick, I even enjoy neon orange/pinks quite a bit (especially for things like socks, where I will wear all sorts of crazy colors). But most of the orange clothing that I have comes from high school, where our colors were black and orange (halloween, year round!), and is that atrocious “hunter” orange…and these items only get worn around the house, because trust me, they’re pretty ugly. But orange still plays a big role in my life. I’m a (sometimes-) active participant over at this orange site, and of course, I have my two orange tabby babies (Stimpy is the one pictured at the top of this post) to snuggle every day. I love my big orange boys, and if you want to see more pictures of them (and a few other cats I’ve known and loved), I have a flickr set here.

Well, that sums up my thoughts on the current triad. I’ll try to post from time to time focusing on only one of them at a time, but I don’t want to make any promises about when I’ll do that. Just going with the flow, you know?

6 thoughts on “browns, purples, and oranges”

  1. nice that you are taking some time to re-focus and knit what you want! that is the whole point – why spend all this time on something “just to get it done”?

    browns are a huge favorite of mine as well – I knit my urban aran out of that same color of Cork – love it!

  2. Chocolate brown is one of my favorites too, especially paired with blues and greens. Your Sienna Cardigan is looking great. That’s one that’s been in my queue.

  3. I hope you are feeling better these days.

    I’m amazed at how much your kitty looks like mine. I posted a photo of him this morning, and then I just saw yours. Wow!

    What you wrote about knitting is so true. It’s supposed to be fun. I, like you, tend to slog through things to finish them to the point that sometimes I’m hating the thing the whole time. I’m glad that you have seen the light and will maybe be a good influence on me! Sienna is gorgeous.

  4. Your Sienna looks great! I’m just casting on mine for a Xmas gift for Mom… can I ask what size needles you used? you said you’re going for a tighter guage… a lot of the other blogs out there have indicated that there are guage issues with the pattern so I’m trying to get concensus before I start!

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