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22.1.15

53 The Colour Collaborative: January: Home

A black and white photograph of opened paint cans, from above.

I'm leaving the colours in those paint cans to your imagination. What colours would they be if they were yours?

White, taupe, and neutral grey greens, that would be my answer. Or, more exotically, Dover Cliffs, Stony Ground, English Plaster, Swedish Grey, and English Pear*.

My first memory of a paint colour name is Magnolia. My mother wanted to paint the living room walls Magnolia and my father disagreed. I pitched in on my mother's side because I thought it sounded pretty. Until that day it simply hadn't occurred to me that the paint on the walls had a name.

At the time the entire house was being given 'a lick of something' and a few days later I was handed a paint chart and allowed to choose a colour for my bedroom. Almond Pink came into my life, and Lilac Mist, and I agonised for days over which of the two I should pick. And now I collect paint colour cards ... I have a drawer stuffed full of them. Take heed, dear reader, this is what happens to a child whose parents argue over matt emulsion*.




I attempted a paint card cull and found it unexpectedly hard to bin those bits of the history of our home. But I did keep the Dulux paint chart with the soft yellow circled in blue biro ... I was pregnant with our eldest when I scribbled 'Nursery' underneath. And I've kept everything from Farrow and Ball... F&B will mix archived colours for you, but in order to ask them to do that you first need to know what they were called.

If I'm honest the drawer's still fairly full, the culling fizzled out pronto, I got sidetracked by the colour names. Some of Fired Earth's are great fun ... Aunty Maud, Elizabeth's Parrot, Mad King George, Gin and Tonic. Please tell me I'm not alone in having paint names I could live with and paint names I most definitely could not. 'What colour did you paint the kitchen Annie?', 'Silt' ... that is absolutely not a conversation I am ever going to have. And Dead Salmon? No way Farrow & Ball!

What have the colours on the walls contributed to your memories of home I wonder, and do they influence your attachment to it? Do you have any paint colour stories to share?

As always, there are no sponsored links in this post.

*And whose paternal grandfather was a painter and decorator in his later years.



Don't forget to visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below ...


Sandra at Cherry Heart       Gillian at Tales from a Happy House

CJ at Above the River       Jennifer at Thistlebear     

And January's guest poster ...
Bee at The Linen Cloud


What is The Colour Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.


20.1.15

79 Rash promises


I promised you a Women's Work readalong, but then my good friend Lal gave me Philip Walling's Counting Sheep for Christmas, I set Women's Work aside, and I haven't been back to it since. Counting Sheep is less worthy, more fun, and much better suited to my current mood. All you need to know is in the subtitle - A Celebration of the Pastoral Heritage of Britain - and in the blurb on the back ...
There is a parallel world at work in Britain which most people, even those who live close to it, hardly ever notice - and even when they do, know little or nothing about. It's a world that has existed time out of mind, and so it continues, keeping faith with the passing seasons, obeying its own imperatives, and adapting to survive. This is the world of sheep husbandry.
Okay, the last bit sounds less poetic, but Walling's book is not all fly-strike and foggage* ... there's a woolly wedding dress, a blood sacrifice, a collie called Carlo ... read it, every knitter should!

Dorset's sheep share a chapter with the Welsh Llanwenog, my first choice breed, were I ever to farm sheep. Poll Dorsets would be my second choice. (Philip Walling has coupled them, I believe, because both breeds are particularly fecund. I just like their characters). Poll Dorset yarn is white, bouncy, reluctant to felt - making it perfect for dyeing - and I came by over a kilogram of it recently. The skein above has been dipped in weld and woad and is on it's way to becoming a (grand)baby vest. Happy days!




I made another promise here that I fear I can't keep (I seem to be a dab hand at setting myself up to fail). My oft mentioned dodgy shoulder, and the arthritis and fibromyalgia ... I'm far too blooming Pollyannaish about all that. Truth is I keep dropping dye pots, and risk being scalded in the process. No, that won't do, denial again ... I have been scalded in the process, more than once. I'd be safer if I worked on a much smaller scale, or switched to solar dyeing or fermentation dyeing in skein sized jars, so no seasonal dye posts until I've sorted things out - sorry - although I will still have other dye posts to share.

How about you? Any promises broken lately? Any rash promises made?




* Foggage is the regrowth of grass after hay has been cut. And fly-strike involves maggots ... I shall say no more.

Linking with Ginny's Yarn Along

18.1.15

111 Cabbages and Marmalade

Close up of a cabbage bejewelled with dew.

Yes, it's a cabbage. In a field with a lot of other cabbages. Row upon row of them, thick with dew and all a-dazzle in the slanting morning sun. This one was close enough to the gate for me to get a good sharp shot from the lane. I guess you could call it street photography, but cabbages are about as gritty as it gets around here.

We're quite partial to the brassica/cole family cousins*, the mister and me. Colcannon is a favourite - served with poached eggs - and likewise Darina Allen's Spiced Cabbage Soup (if you follow the link you'll need to scroll down for the recipe). And then there's sauerkraut. 'Make my own sauerkraut' is one of my 15 in 15, but I shall be buying a proper fermentation crock first because my Polish mother-in-law insists it's essential. Any sauerkraut making tips you'd care to share with me.

And what is this '15 in 15', I hear you cry. It's a tally of anticipated highlights, or they should be if my often shitty health** doesn't interfere.

15 in '15

Books: Landmarks by Robert MacFarlane (the link is to a review), 'an exploration of the relationship between landscape and language', due in March. (I'm currently finishing Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk, a leftover from my 14 in '14 list, which wasn't blogged.)

Music: The Decemberists have a new album out and they're touring the UK in February ... I just need to persuade the mister to be my gig buddy. And Holy Moly and the Crackers will be hitting the road in the summer (dates and venues to be confirmed).

Film: something that was promised for 2015 but that I'm struggling to find updates on, The Sanctity of Space, by Renan Ozturk. It's about 'the alchemy of landscape and people amidst the mountains of Alaska', and no that's not animation, the featured sequence was all shot from a helicopter.


(14 in '14's The Grand Budapest Hotel may possibly be my all time favourite film.)

Exhibitions: there are three not too terribly far from here that have particularly caught my eye ... William Morris, Lucienne Day and Others: Historic and Contemporary Textiles with an Environmental Edge, at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, from February to March; The Arts and Crafts House: Then and Now, at Compton Verney, Warwickshire, from June to September; and Maya: The Revelation of an Endless Time, at the World Museum, Liverpool, from June to October

Visits: The Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March, fingers crossed well that aspiration was long lived, not ... it'll have to be Wonderwool, Woolfest and/or Yarndale instead, and next time I'm planning a weekend away I must remember to check all of our diaries first; Gawthorpe Hall, Burnley, to take another gander at the Shuttleworth textiles; and hopefully a trip or two to the Bradford College Textile Archive (see Natural Dyeing below).

Food: make orangdow come the autumn, an early form of 'marmelade' which combines oranges and quince (originally marmalade was made only with marmelo, the Portuguese name for quince, orange marmalade as we know it was an eighteenth century invention); and get to grips with lacto-fermentation, starting with sauerkraut.

Stitching: I've been thinking for a while that I'd like to piece a tied quilt ... something big enough to snuggle under on the sofa, possibly using fabrics from my 'dyed by me' stash. Of course it could all end in potholders. A quick edit: a good friend has suggested I'm being over ambitious here ... snuggle-sized and my dodgy shoulder are probably mutually exclusive. I may have to rethink this one.

Knitting: more stranded colourwork ... Caller Herrin, by Kate Davies - maybe using yarn I've dyed - and perhaps some matching mitts.

Natural Dyeing: continue to explore the colours that can be coaxed from the plants that grow locally and establish a colour palette that's representative of my home ground.

There, that's me. How about you, what good things are you thinking ahead to? Do tell.

* Cole crops include cabbages, cauliflowers, kale, kholrabi, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

** In my thirties I was diagnosed with ME/CFS and fibromyalgia, and in my forties with rheumatoid arthritis. Now in my early fities I've learnt to take each day as it comes.

(As always, there are no sponsored links in this post.)

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