Last night, I went round to a friend’s house and she showed me her knitting. The pattern is simple — just a stockinette cardigan — but the colour is spectacular. She has chosen a blue so deep, so intense, that I almost felt I was falling into it headlong. I felt energised just looking at it …just being near it, in fact.
As adults, we shy away from colour. I first became conscious of this when my daughters were born. The clothes that they were given by friends and loved ones were full of colour: brimming over with wild, riotous combinations of shades that I would never (at the time) have had the courage to put together myself. Colours full of life, calling out with joy.
Shades of… Blah
By contrast, when I looked at my own wardrobe, it was made up entirely of drab. Sensible colours (yawn), muted colours (yaaaawn), black, brown, grey, beige (zzzzzzzz….). And I wasn’t alone — everyone around me dressed (dresses) this way. You know it’s true — and, next time you’re in a crowd, look at the colours you see on the people around you. Sure, there will be one or two red jackets, but that’s it — the rest will be a mass of greys, blacks, browns, and blahs that all merge into one big drab blob of blending-in. We all blend in.
We dress our children in glorious colour (and we are jealous of them), and then we dress ourselves to blend in …to disappear. If colour is primal, if it is the food that nourishes our visual souls, then we are all malnourished.
I’ve always considered the biggest appeal of knitting or crocheting was the zen-thing — that wave of calm that washes over as you fall into the moving meditation of stitch upon stitch. And then, of course, there is that wonderful rush of having created something — a garment, a pattern, a new stitch combination — from our own ingenuity and with our own two hands. Powerful stuff. But more and more, I’m coming to realise how much the fiber arts also set us free to embrace the glorious colours that we otherwise deny ourselves. Yeah, there are lovely yarns in neutral/natural shades and they can be formed into beautiful garments. But it’s rare for a knitter to walk into a yarn shop and choose black. We are called by the colour. It sings to us and we are drawn to it.
And so here is the other great appeal of the fiber arts: in our knitting, in our crocheting (our spinning, our felting…), we are suddenly free to dive into the colour that our hearts desire, but which we so often deny ourselves. With the yarn in our hands, colours running through our fingers, we can envelope ourselves in the glorious colours that wake our senses, that make us feel alive and giddy with excitement.
…That let us escape from the blah of blending in.
Challenge: To Be Aware
So here is my challenge to you: let yourself become more aware of the colours around you — of the colours that nature presents to you each morning, of the colours that you see through the day, of the colours that call out to you. And more than that, become aware of the colours that you knit or crochet with, and of the colours that you wear. Do they match up? Do you adorn yourself (your home, your life) in the colours that you truly love? Or do you shy away? And if you do shy away, why? Or… perhaps more importantly, why not?
Because colour is primal, colour does feed the soul. And there is an absolute feast of colour out there, just waiting for you…
Members of the Interstellar Yarn Alliance: be ready for your feast…!