The reworking of the Falling Leaves cowl is going medium-well, but it’s been temporarily stalled because the orange I was using was just a bit too exuberantly orange (think irradiated mega-pumpkins on steroids), so I’ve ordered an alternative yarn, and am drumming my fingers on the kitchen table, impatient for its arrival.
Chris-the-postman will doubtless deliver it soon, with his usual unnerving ability to know exactly what’s in any given parcel/letter he pushes through the letterbox. “Looks like yet another packet of seeds: reckon you’ll be busy back there in the garden,” or “Car tax notice I think, you’ll be wanting to get this sorted out quickly.” It’s a good thing I’m not in the habit of ordering anything dodgy.
This isn’t even the first post that I’ve written on the subject of the quirks of our postman-du-jour. You may or may not have seen this post, which resulted in a reader realizing that we live in the same village, getting in touch, and thus a wonderful friendship was born because she’s awesomely fabulous.
Orange is a troublesome colour apparently, in both print and yarn. (The shade didn’t even acquire a name in our language until people in the English-speaking world first started eating a fruit known as… the orange.) I had a conversation with Sarah Neal, editor of Let’s Knit magazine on the subject of orange being tricky, years ago. Apparently, the colour is notoriously difficult to reproduce accurately and printers dread it for this very reason. Let’s Knit avoid using it for their cover text because of its willful misbehaviour. Fair enough. Some people say that purple is similarly recalcitrant, but I refuse to hear a single word said against my beloved purple.
It’s a pity that I really like orange. And whilst I’m discussing the colour, did you know that the only reason the carrots we eat are orange is because our Dutch ancestors who bred them wanted to produce a vegetable in their national colour? You can buy seeds for rainbow-coloured carrots, but most people seem to stick resolutely to the orange variety.
The cowl will be re-worked soon, and I’ll plonk the pattern down here, in all its funky but non-nuclear orangeness, OK?
In the meantime, I’ve been getting on with making a serious assault on the contents of the book, because following thorough testing on the matter, it appears that the thing is not going to write itself. Until now, I’ve focused primarily on designing the patterns and writing those up, but now I’m hitting the text. This is fun, because it feels like proper Writing-The-Book activity. I’m just trying not to think too hard about how much Writing-The-Book there is still to be done.
Anyway, today in Writing-The-Book news, I’ve been playing with roosimine. Not heard of it? Well you’re in good company because nor have most people. It’s a traditional Estonian stranded knitting technique, in which floats are brought to the front of the work, to resemble embroidery on the surface of the knitting. A comment on my Instagram photo on the matter got me thinking: I’ve long regarded floats as an inconvenience to be managed and hidden – it’s nice to bring them to centre-stage and celebrate them for a change. Yeah people, let’s rehabilitate those pesky floats!
And of course when I’m procrastinating about all the stuff I should be doing, I’ve been pottering in the garden. I’ve been reading a great deal about the principles of forest gardening (no, you don’t need an actual forest – you could use this method in a single tub on a balcony) and am increasingly adopting its techniques in our little garden: focusing on edible versions of the different layers of vegetation from tree canopy down to ground cover, embracing perennials, and finding tasty annuals that self-seed, like these mustard greens:-
There’s always something to pick and eat, although I am still growing conventional annual vegetables in raised beds too. The outcome of all this is LUNCH.
Increasingly, I can wander outdoors and forage for small quantities of ingredients to enjoy. Look at this stir-fry! (My garden Instagram is here, in case you’re curious.)
So whilst I’m growing/writing/knitting/foraging/oranging, I hope that you are finding creative inspiration all around you. May your knitting/crochet achieve perfection, and may any food that you grow taste almost implausibly delicious.
Until next time, my yarny friends,
Can’t help wondering what the floats on the back of the roosimine look like .. 😀
Your vegies are so HEALTHY, Phil ! – no snail holes or bird chewings. You certainly have green thumbs; so I hope they don’t distract when you’re knitting anything with green in it !
The Twisted Yarn says
I wish I could post a picture within this comment to show you! The contrast colour in roosimine isn’t carried all the way around, so maybe it shouldn’t count as stranded knitting. (There are YouTube videos showing the technique if you’re curious.) Thank you re the veg, but you clearly didn’t notice all the slug-munch-holes in the perpetual spinach!
Tsk ! – shoulda cleaned my specs !
Orange is a good colour, as long as it isn’t fluorescent. I like it a bit more rust coloured. You really should get in touch with Kinitting the stash, she dived deep in Estonian knitting. You two could talk for hours I think, she teaches as a professor in sciencefiction, what made me see the math in her work. She is the sweetest ever. And your garden is abundant, really! Piet Oudolf is a famous gardener of the Dutch wave, He calls this style of gardening weaving and I love it. Thanks for the blog post, dear ;>*
Darn keyboard, knitting the stash is her channel name.
The Twisted Yarn says
And thank you for the generous comments. I’m intrigued by both people you recommend, and am off to have a nosy. Thanks for mentioning them.
The Twisted Yarn says
Also, I’ve just sent you a Facebook friend request. Feel free to report me as a NIGHTMARE SPAMMING WEIRDO-BOT!
I accepted your request, living dangerous is the way to go.
Orange is one of my favorite colors! Probably because I’m an October girl. Always loved it, and currently it’s my the main accent color for my living room, a nice burnt orange. I managed to find a floor rug that has caramel, a sage green, an icy blue, and burnt orange, so my little autumn heart was joyful. I love, that even in the orange blazing heat of summer, autumn orange will soon come to the rescue. Orange has to give way to my top choice, though: purple is my most favorite color, the darker the better. I have a whole Pinterest board of all things purple and surprisingly not much purple yarn in my stash since I’m always thinking, “this would be beautiful in purple.”
The Twisted Yarn says
I think we are seriously on the same page, colourwise. Your living room sounds perfect. 🧡
There is nothing like a deep, plummy purple, except maybe aubergine, or a purple-y wine color, or…
I always crave orange in my knitting, but I don’t often find a way to work it into the mix. It remains a challenge!
Teresa in Michigan says
You certainly know how to stay busy. Any shade of orange is too much. I bought orange yarn to use as an accent on a black sweater. Grandson attends a school whose colors are black and orange and I wanted a sweater for him. Otherwise it can stay at the yarn store. Your cowl is beautiful, even if it has orange.
Our garden is finished. I still have squash to roast and freeze, but no hurries. The grow bags are packed away so I’m as done as need be since winter ugly weather is approaching fast.
Thank you for sharing your latest news.
First, I thought of a different body part when I saw the “tongue” to your printer. Why yes, my mind did go straight to the gutter!
Second, I also love orange. I love it so much that when I repainted my last house, I chose orange for the front door. It was sort of a spiced pumpkin color and I loved it. One delay led to another and we were in France when the painter got up to doing the door. The neighbors wandered over and before the painter knew it, there were a gazillion neighbors insisting that she stop painting immediately because there was no way I would want an orange front door. Luckily, the painter also knew a good friend of mine and got her to come over to the house and convince the assembled masses that I actually did want an orange front door. It was my favorite color scheme of any house I have had.
At first glance I read your description of your orange-gone-wild color as ‘irritated mega-pumpkins on steroids’, which works too! Steroids cause some humans to be easily irritated.
Love your photos of your garden produce; the stir fry looks tasty. I’ve actually grown rainbow carrots but my family just thinks they’re strange.
Looking forward to the cowl.
PortLudlowWA Knitter says
Your cowl is beautiful. I loved that you showed how your floats look. Your floats look neat but loose. They look beautiful and even. I am curious about one comment you said which was that if you were knitting a jumper you would not leave such a long float. Could you explain?
Also, loved the pictures of your produce. It really looks yummy and so fresh and crisp! Hope you are continuing to feel healthy and energetic as your blog conveys.
All the best!
Born To Organize says
You have magic fingers as far as I can tell: knitting magic, garden magic, photography magic, all the while raising twins, working and finding time to run. You’re amazing, Phil. Best of luck with the book.
I thought the postie’s name was Colin?
Love the look of that cowl
The Twisted Yarn says
Colin was our previous postie. Chris does the job now.
You have been blessed with posties of character!! 😁
Well I did not know that about orange! The cowl is going to be glorious and I’m about to go and spend a few (lots) of minutes ogling roosimine on Pinterest x
Orange, though wonderful in all its tones, is a naughty colour. Apparently, you cannot even make a true rhyme with it. Orange and arrange is a cop-out! 😀
In awe of your colour work, as ever. I’m a non-orange person, apart from the fruit, though I do have orange Calendula currently flowering in the veg patch. Rather in awe of your Gardening Skilz too.
On which – I planted four curly kale as young plants. Then spent the next few months trying to keep the White butterflies (Large and Small) off them, squishing eggs and dong the ‘Caterpillar Stomp’! The local wasps tried, I saw some actually chowing down and carrying off the tiny caterpillars, which left me with the Big Ones – so much easier to find, even in Curly Kale!
Did put tall canes among the plants so that the spiders could spin webs, as they do come late summer-autumn – they just didn’t get the idea.
By late October the butterflies had gone, so I could finally finish the remaining caterpillars. Now small snails are chowing down in the folds of the leaves. Think I might have bitten on one in last night’s tea. Cooked! I do wash the greens well first.
I dunno, you try to garden Organically – and end up with everything trying to use your plants as a Nursery and Running Buffet! Just glad the garden is suburban, so we only have visiting cats to try to keep off, no bunnies or Bambi’s.
I’ve never been a big fan of orange but I do like bright colours. Orange has become a colour of Reconciliation here in Canada reminding us of the terrible way settlers treated our First Nations people (and in many ways still do). I’ve recently embraced orange and like it good and bright.
I love your posts! I’m always amazed at the new techniques you are trying. I seriously need to get back to knitting and try some new things.
Orange is one of my favorite colors, especially in summer and fall. Bright to muted I’m a big fan of orange. I didn’t know it’s a hard color to produce but I did know about it not rhyming.
Your garden greens look delicious. We’re growing our 2nd crop of corn. And I still have a few tomato plants producing. That’s the advantage of Southern California weather in fall and winter.
Looking forward to seeing what’s on your needles next and can’t wait for your book!
Veg looks amazing. All the best with the writing-writing
Claire TJ says
I do love a bit of orange but yes it is hard to get the right tone.
But the real question is whether your postie is called Colin or Chris?
The Twisted Yarn says
Previous one was called Colin, this one is Chris.
Love this post, Phil. You are quite the busy lady. I admire the discipline and work involved in writing a book. I hope you are enjoying the process. Is this a first for you? As for the technique with floats in the front, I absolutely love the effect!
Hope you are feeling well and your health continues to be improving.