The Culture of Color Trends


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Color Trends

Is it magic? A conspiracy? Ever wonder why you can’t find that perfect shade of “Lipstick Red” in anything from cars to actual lipstick? Chances are it didn’t make the cut over at Pantone, the behemoth responsible for issuing the seasons color trends. Since Spring 2015 Color Trends are entitled “En Plein Air”, I’m afraid you’re outta luck for Lipstick Red, at least for the foreseeable future.

This season, cooler and softer color choices with subtle warm tones follow a minimalistic en plein air theme, taking a cue from nature.

Spring 2015 Color TrendsSo says Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute, of the Spring 2015 color trends with monikers like “Toasted Almond”, “Strawberry Ice”, “Tangerine”, “Custard”, “Glacier Gray”, “Woodbine”, “Sandstone”, “Dusk Blue”and “Lavender Herb”, not to mention the Color of the Year “Marsala”. (Since Pantone is extremely proprietorial about their swatches, you’ll need to click here to see the full version: Spring 2015 Color Trends.)


So who makes this stuff up? Who are the arbiters of the culture of color trends and how are they so pervasive? By developing a color “language”, the Pantone Color Match System, Pantone has become the world’s leading authority on color. This system allows designers to communicate with manufacturers, printers, suppliers and consumers in an unprecedented and seriously accurate way. As such, it’s become the go-to tool for predicting and forecasting color trends. At Pantone, the impressions, opinions, and tastes of designers from all disciplines, fashion, cosmetics, interior designers, architects, costume and set designers, marketing experts, even political pundits are culled constantly to predict and inform the culture of color trends. A partnership with Clariant International, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of dyes and colorants, ensures Pantone’s grip on color trend culture; Clariant makes everything from micro-pigments and textile colorants to the coatings used in road markings.


Minion Yellow PantonePopular culture is beginning to exert influence too. In April of this year, Pantone announced the birth of a brand new color, “Minion Yellow”, named for the little yellow guys in the animated film “Despicable Me”. “Minion Yellow” is the first color ever to be named for a movie character. As fashion writer Vanessa Friedman of the New York Times reported April 21, the very first to pick up on this new color trend was a yarn company, UK based Wool and the Gang.

 I quote an email I got just hours after the Pantone announcement from Wool and the Gang — it is “a perfect, gender-neutral pick for all little princes and princesses.” In other words, it’s royal baby ready! “How A Color Becomes A Trend” NY Times, April 21, 2015 

(Wouldn’t you know knitters would be the first to jump on that one! That’s just how we roll ;)

Though some might detect a whiff of the sinister about Pantone’s hold on color culture, I can see an up side. The color trend forecasts tidy up the color landscape for us, helping us focus on a communal vibe. It has a unifying effect. Though Pantone may be a little guarded about their swatches, they’re certainly not keeping the color trends forecasts a secret! That creates a more level playing field for independent designers of all stripes. We don’t have to guess at what the big boys are doing. And I’m impressed by the way Pantone colors evolve from season to season. There is no chucking of the “out” colors for the “in” colors; this might help fashion stay a little more sustainable. 


And incidentally, Pantone notes a “Color of the Day” in its “Colorstrology” section. Today’s color? Deep Mint: Progressive, hardworking, enterprising. Have some fun and check it out ;)

Color Trends

Fluff & Fold: Love For Hand Knitted Sweaters


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Hand Laundering

I hate to be the one to bring it up, but it’s time to take steps to keep our hand knitted sweaters and socks free from pests like clothes moths. Over the summer, when our pretty hand knitted sweaters and socks aren’t getting much wear, the larvae of the clothes moth nibbles away, destroying our lovely things. Here are a few easy ways to prevent moth damage. (I’m gonna give it to you straight so if you hate “bug stuff” like I do, avert your eyes.)


Moth DamageClothes moths and carpet beetles like to lay their eggs where there is plenty of food like perspiration, dander, food spills, even body care products. Laundering hand knitted sweaters removes food sources and kills the eggs of the clothes moth and carpet beetle. That way, there will be no pesky larvae and they’re the ones that do the damage.

I love Eucalan no-rinse wool wash for hand and machine washing. And the lavender and eucalyptus scents give hand knits an extra layer of protection. You can save a little time by washing hand knitted garments with like colors together in a front loading washer in cold water on the delicate or woolens setting. Front loading washers have no agitators which can cause hand knitting to felt. If you don’t have a front loader at home, take the whole mess to the laundromat and get it done all at once. 

For non-washable items like coats and blankets, your best defense is a simple, old-fashioned airing in the sunlight and a good stiff brushing. Pay careful attention to the seam areas and pockets where clothes moths can hide and lay eggs. Moving air and sunlight are your friends because moths and beetles hate it. And remember, dry cleaning may not kill insect eggs! Shocking, isn’t it?


Hand Knitted SweatersOnce we’re sure our hand knitted sweaters are nice and clean and throughly dry, it’s time to package and store them. The best containers, whether they’re plastic totes or garment bags, are those that allow air flow and permit light to enter. Clothes moths and carpet beetles prefer a still, dark environment. Wrap hand knitted sweaters in tissue paper or lengths of laundered cotton. Should pests get in, they’re more likely to make a nest in the outermost layers.

The jury is out on what to pop into your storage container. Dried lavender and/or lavender oil is the most popular clothes moth deterrent because of the pretty scent it leaves behind. It won’t kill moth eggs, however, nor will cedar. Another option, lesser known but better for those who are scent-sitive is ordinary unscented white soap which has been grated and sprinkled between layers of tissue or cloth. I live out in the country where insects are rampant. I put everything in zipper seal bags with moth balls. Moth balls emit a gas that kills moths, larvae, eggs and all sorts of creatures. It is best used in an enclosed environment such as a plastic tote. Keep kids and pets away. Yup. The big guns.

Moth Damage

This is a Luna Moth, not the kind that ruins your sweaters.


Geez, I hope this never happens. Should you find the eggs of the clothes moth on hand knitted sweaters, socks or accessories, it’s important to kill them before they become larvae. Wrap the item in plastic and put it into your freezer for a month or so. Remove, shake and launder. I’ve heard that a faster way is to microwave the item in a sealed bag that has a hole or two poked in it. Once again, shake out any debris and launder immediately. All of the foregoing works for yarn too.

I know we’d all rather be outdoors gardening or knitting on the patio, but our beautiful hand knitted sweaters deserve some TLC right now to keep pests like clothes moths away. A moment of special care might save those pretty hand knits from moth damage. You’re welcome.


Noro Meets Missoni


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cattrio4me's Missoni Inspired Scarf

Little did Kelly know when she admired Mary Hancock-Richens “Missoni Inspired Scarf” that we’d end up having such a darn good time with it! The pattern is simple, easy to memorize, and produces a lovely, lacy scarf-y shawl-y wrap for summer. We’d just received a big box of Noro Taiyo Lace at the shop, and we thought, as did cattrio4me on Ravelry, that the scarf would be fabulous in Noro Taiyo. I suggested we knit it together and BAM! We had a nice, big KAL going. I don’t think either of us foresaw that the idea would be so popular. Our KAL group, Noro Meets Missoni, has 21 members including an intrepid knitter from LA, at last count!

Kick Off

We had a splendid kick-off at Rosehaven on Sunday, April 26 and had our second meeting last night at Picton Golf Course. What a great, un-sung little bistro this is (I’d love to go back for brunch) and what an extraordinary view of the bay! It’s too bad it didn’t show better in the photo…I knew I should have grabbed a specific shot of the view. 

Picton Golf Club Restaurant

Yarn Barf

Yarn Barf :D

I think we are achieving some stellar results. We are working with 3 different color ways, 57, 2, and 8 (I believe). It is astonishing what different results we’re seeing. These color ways cover an extremely broad color range within each skein which makes each change a surprise. It’s a very exciting yarn to work with, although somewhat frustrating at times. Many knitters are finding that the fluffy bits tend to shatter as mine did during my cast on row. Others are finding the thinnest parts almost cobweb-like and I think all of us have felt some frustration with the yarn twisting back on itself in places where it seems to be over-spun. Because of this, it tends to snag up a little inside the center pull ball producing what Kelly likes to call “Yarn Barf”. Ultimately, I think it requires a very light hand and a quite loose tension. In the end, I think we’re all impressed with the lovely rustic airiness of the fabric.

I can’t wait to see the progress over the next few weeks! Even if you’re not interested in knitting along, please feel free to join our Ravelry group “Noro Meets Missoni” and of course, everyone is welcome at our evenings of Knitting-in-Public. See you there!

A New Pattern!


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Barn Swallow Socks

Ta-da! Finally, I’m able to release my new pattern, Barn Swallow.

I had a wonderful time knitting these socks and I hope many others will enjoy knitting them too. 

Barn Swallow SocksI’d been tempted by the soft, sweet Quince & Co. Tern for quite some time. It was on the very top of the Quince shelf at the shop, just sitting quietly. All four of the colors were beautiful in characteristic Quince fashion, but finally I settled on the lovely Boothbay, a true Yankee blue. Honestly, I expected something quite different. I knew there was a silk component to this yarn but didn’t realize it was Tussah until I started knitting. There is something so tender and rustic about this yarn; it’s honest and pure and I love it. 

The yarn’s muted palette – think vintage painted photographs – results from the way in which the different fibers absorb dye. The wool portion colors thoroughly, but the silk is barely tinted.

It was my idea to make socks inspired by early American quilts, and Tern brought the soft, lovely quality of something having been laundered many, many times. The absence of nylon in a sock yarn is kind of a welcome change. Like many sock knitters, I’d become so accustomed to the presence of nylon that I didn’t really know the scope of its effect. Of course, the durability is welcome but I also noticed that nylon (or polyamide) imparts a stretchy quality to sock yarn too. This is noticeably absent in Tern and makes for a less stretchy and more slouchy sock. (If you’re not a fan of slouchy socks, you might consider making a smaller size). 

Barn Swallow SocksAnyway…hope you like it! I want to do a red pair next ;)



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Toronto Knitter's Frolic

We’re off to Frolic tomorrow! I am very excited, having never been to this particular show before. There are so many booths I want to visit and so many people I feel I know from the internet that I’ll finally get to meet in person…I hope. I’m really hoping to come home with some new yarn, too! I can’t wait to check out Indigodragonfly and Handmaiden.

I’ve put together some new things myself. I’ve made three types of project bags, some large stand-up ones, mid-sized flat ones for socks and some fabric baskets with drawstrings (“Walkers”) as well as some circular needle cases :) I think they’re pretty!

Barn Swallow SocksAND my Barnswallow Sock pattern is done! I’m taking the sample and pattern to Frolic with us. It will also be available on Ravelry as of Saturday morning. I’m actually quite excited to knit them again, this time in the color “Columbine”.

Joan Sharpe of Purlin’ J’s Roving Yarn Co. had set up some shuttles from the Kingston area, but I think they’re sold out now. I believe Joan is still taking names for a waiting list, though.

<sigh> Still so much to do! Better get at it!

Happily Blue


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Chefchaouen, Morocco

About a year or so ago, I heard a female political commentator talking about North American economic recovery. I can’t remember how she was connected to fashion or art or design or anything, but I remember her saying something about the color blue making a huge comeback as the economy recovered and people became more relaxed. “Bosh!” said I. Never happen. I’d been avoiding blue about that time thinking it was pedestrian. I always thought of blue as a sort of ‘default’ color. Like, “What’s your favorite color?” “Blue”. Y’know?

Color of the Day - Blue

Nordlys by Viking of NorwayBut then yesterday when I was photographing a new acquisition, this lovely single ply sock yarn by Viking of Norway, I thought “Wow. Lot of blue lately, isn’t there?” Sure enough! I back tracked through my last few projects and yarn store purchases and found the color balance definitely in favor of blue. In fact, Aquamarine is the leading color for women’s wear this spring, according to the color mavens at Pantone.

Chefchaouen, Morocco is the ‘blue city’ where everything from sidewalks to houses is painted blue. This was done by Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler. The blue symbolizes heaven and earth and is a reminder to live a spiritual life.

There are so many shades of blue, so many nuances, that I am now embarrassed at how shallow I’d been. (I know [blue] puddles deeper than me!) If you’ve never checked out Design Sponge, now’s a good time. A while back, they did the most amazing “Color Of The Day” series using these charming retro color posters. They remind me of my science books from the 4th grade. The historical factoids on each poster are pretty fascinating too. 

Now I think I need some blue fingerless gloves!



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Edwin County Farm Maple Syrup

A beautiful gift from my ‘sweet’ neighbour, John :)

So I guess I’ve been unplugged for about a week! I didn’t do it intentionally, I just got busy and it sort of happened naturally. I didn’t realize it myself until I mentioned it to Elizabeth yesterday. It’s been kind of nice, and I did get rather a lot done which is fortunate because very soon, I’ll be trotting off with Rosehaven to Toronto Knitter’s Frolic.

Toronto Knitter's FrolicI’m very excited about The Frolic. I’ve never been and I understand it’s becoming quite a ‘thing’. There are so many people I’m looking forward to meeting as well as some folks I don’t get a chance to see often enough. There were a number of projects I wanted to have ready before we go and some patterns I wanted to finish writing so that they’ll be available on my (still pathetic) Ravelry page.

Barnswallow Socks

Barnswallow Socks: I finished these during my unplugged week. They’re worked with Quince & Co. Tern in the Boothbay colorway. I’m so happy with them, particularly with the heel :) The pattern is “this” close to being done and should easily be available on Ravelry by show time.

Cockleshell Hat

Cockleshell Hat: We’ve recently got Berroco’s Indigo yarn in the shop and I’ve fallen in love with it. It’s made of recycled denim and I just adore the way it takes dye. Even the neutrals are fascinating. We needed a shop sample and I had an idea for a sweet little spring/summer slouchy hat. Hence, “Cockleshell”. Indigo was really lovely to knit, growing softer with each stitch. Soon as Carl gets home, I’ll get him to photo the hat with my head inside it. I think it’s quite pretty and it was all kinds of fun to make. The pattern will be available by show time.

Kit Camisole by Bristol Ivy

Kit Camisole: I wish I could say I enjoyed making this. I can’t. It’s been on my needles for nearly a year. I pulled it out of its zip-lock bag last week, ripped out the bodice (for the third time) and finished it off. I’ve got one last armhole to bind off and then she can go public. (And leave my workroom for ever and ever.)

Dark & Stormy: I’ve been hitting this one hard in the last 24-36 hours. I really wanted to have it ready to wear in Toronto. I don’t know. (If you see an knitting error in this photo, I don’t want to hear about it.)

Dark & Stormy

Project Bags and Needle Cases: Last but not least, I’ve been sewing! And, boy, have I enjoyed it. I picked up some lovely new Richloom fabs and went to town. There are seven different fabrics in two basic colorways, pink and aqua (plus one token neutral which I love). There are medium sized zip-top project bags with flat bottoms, smaller flat project bags and “walkers” (those handy little bags you loop over your wrist for knitting on the fly, in elevators, while at the gym etc.) Here’s a sneak peak!

Project BagsOkay, gotta go. Keep your stick on the ice!

A Finger on the Pulse


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Blockare Cap

Blockare Cap by Elizabeth Green Musselman

Maybe I’m late to the ball, but lately I’ve really been getting into knitting podcasts. Despite going waaaaay over my data allowance this month, I’ve been gobbling them up like candy. Sometimes, living way out in the country, it can be a little tough to stay in touch with what others are doing. I read lots of blogs and enjoy every minute of it but it’s really great to actually see and hear the people behind the gorgeous knitted items. I feel I’m really getting to know them!

My favorite at present is Elizabeth Green Musselman’s Dark Matter Knits podcast. (Is it my imagination or are a great preponderance of knitters named Elizabeth??) It is relaxed and light in tone, yet well organized and always topical. She has an infectious laugh and a light-hearted approach to the craft. Elizabeth is a talented designer with new patterns emerging regularly. She has some incredible giveaways on the podcast, too. I’ve joined the Ravelry group and anxiously await each episode. 

Tilly's MouseIn a recent post, Elizabeth mentioned a couple of her favorite podcasts, so I checked some of them out. Some I liked, some not so much. My top favorite of her suggestions is Tilly Trout. I am IN LOVE with Tilly :) She podcasts from the UK where she lives in The Broads, Norfolk, England’s largest wetland area. Tilly is just a humble knitter. She has no aspirations except to get better at it. I love Tilly’s bravery when it comes to new techniques and methods, and new activities in general. (She’s recently started singing lessons!) In real life, Tilly is a scientist involved with some sort of arcane genetics research. She’s lovely. Sweet, gentle Tilly will charm your hand knit socks off :D You can find her as Trout Mail on Ravelry.

Another gem among EGM’s suggestions was Yarnder Woman from Perth, Australia. She’s a teacher who has created a very pleasant and well-ordered podcast where she discusses many yarns that are new to me. I love her bright red hair and melodious accent. 

Isn’t it cool that we can follow the antics of knitters half way round the world?




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Red Sugar Shacks

It’s red letter day! Teddy and I are finally able to resume our daily walks in relative comfort. We tried it once a week or two ago. It looked okay but I froze and I think Teddy did too, he being a dog of very little hair. Today was fine, though, all melty and squishy, and Ted had a ball snuffling up all the good smells that had been locked in the snow all these months.

Sugar ShackOur neighbors down the road are sugaring. I could see the column of wood smoke and steam all the way from the church. Steamy, smokey sugar shacks are commonplace here in Prince Edward County. The sound of distant chainsaws and the smell of  woodsmoke is everywhere. Did you know that it takes 40 gallons (or more) of maple sap to make a single gallon of syrup? (Remember that next time you’re grumbling over the price of maple syrup in the grocery store!) Wood fires must be kept burning at a high temperature in order to boil the sap and render the syrup. We hope for chilly nights and days just above freezing for a good sap run. 


Three Dog SugaringSome folks (like our neighbors John and Catherine) get heavy into it, plumbing the trees with plastic tubing and collecting the sap in huge reservoirs, but I prefer the old fashioned way. I love the quaint idea of a bucket hanging from a spigot in a tree like they did when I was a kid. Mind you, I don’t have to tote the buckets through miles of mucky sugarbush. At my favorite vineyard, Three Dog Winery,  they still practice the old ways. In their 35 acre sugarbush, they planned to hang only 50 buckets and bring them in by hand. Over the weekend during our annual maple festival, they had lots of help in the form of tourists and over-zealous school kids. I remember the warm syrup being drizzled over fresh snow as a treat when I was a little girl. I’d have hauled a hundred buckets to get it!

Snow Sugar

Knitting wise, I’m happily busy. I’ve got a very pretty, very homely pair of socks going. I’ll resist the temptation of a photo until they’re done :)

What’s New?


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Robin's Nest by FairyFolk

Fairyfolk on Etsy

What’s new with you? The fun continues here. Yesterday, in combination with a trip to our insurance agent and Home Depot to lay out our (potentially) new deck, I did a little shopping :) 

Is this not the best handbag ever?? I seriously needed an all-season, a-place-for-everything handbag and I’ll admit, I’m picky. It needed to be perfect or I simply would not drop the dough. And, because it was to be my birthday gift from hubby, it needed to be ‘special’ and something I wouldn’t buy for myself otherwise. My birthday was a few weeks ago; I’ve been carefully keeping my eye out. I found this guy right at the beginning of my search but didn’t want to buy the first thing I saw. I’m SO happy it was still there when I went back for it but really, not surprised. After all, how many girls can pull off a Screamin’ Tomato Red bag? ;) The color may come as a bit of a shock to some <ehem, Lesley> because I’m so very much ‘neutral-girl’. I do love those rockin’ hot accessories, though! It’s got a spot for my notebook and a separate compartment for my travel knitting (usually socks). Happy!

Wool on Wellington, Kingston ONWhile in Kingston, I stopped in at the newly revamped “Wool on Wellington” formerly Gwin Gryffion Wine & Wool. She’s made some pretty cool changes! For starters, no more wine making supplies; she’s shifted strictly to yarns for knitting and needlepoint. Best part? Some very nice buttons! I picked up a couple of skeins for upcoming mosaic and brioche projects since that’s what I’ll be teaching at our retreat this year. Nothing extraordinary, the colors just appealed to me.

My Dark & Stormy cardigan is coming along nicely. I’m enjoying it. I need to get it to the separation point before Sunday’s meeting of The Cardigan Project. I’ve only got a couple rows to go.

Dark & Stormy 2

KarbonzAnd last but not least…needles. I ordered these last week and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly they arrived. Usually, WEBS takes much longer with Canadian orders. Too bad I don’t like them. Not that they’re awful or anything. I just like a really fast needle. I was hoping these would eliminate the problem of warping that I have with most sock needles and likely, they will. The tips are lovely, sleek and sharp, but the carbon section in the center is very, very s-l-o-w. Speed wise, I’d put them even with bamboo and with a similar warmth. The second problem (and really, I should have seen this coming) is the ferrule where thin sock yarns tend to get a little hung up. Oh well…live and learn I guess. If anyone in the area would like them, I’d be happy to trade for something. Onward and upward! 

Keep your stick on the ice and happy knitting!


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