Monday, 28 June 2010

I experiment with colours and discover my inner Anti-Yarn-Snob

I normally have a very effective method of choosing fabric. I go to a shop/ website/ charity shop and I find the loudest, brightest fabric I can, then I bring it home and I dig something even louder and brighter out of my stash to match it, and I am happy. I like the kind of print that threatens to bring on a migraine. This is my idea of subtle:

Fabric gets bonus points if there are people gathered round it pointing, saying, who on earth would buy that. I would! I love bright colours. Like many things it is all my mother’s fault, as she has taste and likes beige things, and was quite determined when I was growing up that I would share this aesthetic. Indeed I remember us once almost coming to blows in Jessops in Sheffield over what duvet cover I might be permitted to buy, during which argument it became quite apparent that our tastes were not aligned. My mother thinks my love of prints has skipped a generation as my grandmother was the same. This is my grandmother’s idea of subtle: (this is her apron).

However. I am trying to develop my colour sense in new and less lively directions. I’m fighting a lingering feeling that this is doomed to failure, but I’m trying. So, I’m going to make this dress (not a problematic and potentially unflattering choice at all for someone who is 36D, I’m sure you’ll agree) in these fabrics.

I believe you call this ‘a muted colour palette’. I will not lie: I am not sure I like it. However, I will make the dress and see how I feel about it when it is made. Because one of the things I love about patchwork is how you can put all sorts of odd things together and it somehow comes out coherent. We will see, anyway.

I was in a yarn shop last weekend (not the one in Cambridge, I was somewhere else), and in the 20 minutes I was in there, the assistant: implied that crochet was a rather strange thing to do: told a woman she ought to crochet a throw out of wool that was £8 a ball and should definitely not use cotton: and said that the shop ‘only stocked natural fibres’ in a tone of voice that implied stocking an acrylic mix would essentially be the same as putting a dog turd on the shelf next to the Malabrigo. It was like Yarn Shop Bingo. I didn’t rush to Ravelry and start a thread though, because I’m waiting till I buy some Noro and get a knot in it to do that. However, I did have a quite visceral reaction; I put down the wool I was holding and I walked out. It made me wonder quite why I was so irritated. Because obviously I do like nice yarns occasionally, and I don’t think there’s anything intrinsically wrong at all in charging a lot for yarn, especially if it’s ethically produced/ by a small producer or something like that. In fact, I think we would generally be better paying more for fewer possessions. I also think, though, that in general I like the kind of knitting where you make things people actually use, and where it’s a natural part of life. And that involves acrylic as well as cashmere (at least, it does for me). I don’t like when craft becomes something else that makes you buy expensive things: expensive materials don’t make for better crafts.

And yes, I am looking at all my fabric guiltily as I type that!


lalheg said...

I love grandma's apron fabric!

I think your dress will look cool and classy. As for yarn snobs - don't get me started!

Susie said...

Thank you! :-)

Absinthe Fairy said...

The dress pattern looks fantastic. Try the muted palette you may find you like it, if not, you can always save the dress for winter and wear it with an orange or cerise bright knit!

PS Love your grandmother's apron fabric.

Susie said...

You're right, it would look nice with a bright knit. I hadn't thought of that. (Wanders off to look at patterns)

Anonymous said...

having now got into the business of actually selling yarn (wool) starting with a sheep.. it becomes clear how many hours go into each skein!
but my house has acrylic yarn in it too - eg the jumpers I make for my lad - which he throws ruthlessly into the washing machine, selecting random temperatures as he goes.. for that I select the econmony yarn,
I've also regularly buy jumpers from charity shops and unwind them...

Susie said...

Yes I can believe that (especially starting right from the sheep!). I think your wool looks lovely.

Unwinding charity shop jumpers is an excellent idea.