Posts Tagged ‘wildflowers’

Yellow Around the House

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

Still working through the unpublished article about the color yellow, this is part 2. The previous post has a list of basic steps for studying a color.

Izzy the cat with fabric and a margarine tub

Awww, Izzy. She was a pretty and sweet cat!

Like many animals we’ve known, she knew how to present herself to her best advantage. The Holstein-patterned fuzzy fabric matched her perfectly and made us wonder “Is it a cat? Is it a cow?” Meow!

The yellow margarine tub happened to be nearby, adding a pop of color to the mysterious scene.

Yellow with black traditionally means danger or caution, in nature and in human environments. Think of bees and some wasps, with their yellow and black abdomens; think of yellow and black striped road signs that alert drivers to bridges or odd intersections.

Yellow, black, and white seed stitch knitted scarf

Yellow and black can be a jarring combination, but I think adding white lifts it from the caution zone into a happy place.

So when I saw Lion Brand’s black and white FunFetti (now discontinued, I’m sad to say), I didn’t even make a study swatch. I combined it with yellow Wool-Ease to make this scarf. It was my first yellow triumph, thanks to Izzy the cat.

Bluebonnets, Winecups, Engleman's Daisies

Around our house, we had wildflowers. In this bouquet we have Texas Bluebonnets, which you probably recognize as lupines; Winecups, which look like brilliant Easter eggs hiding in the grass; and profusely yellow Engleman’s Daisies. They form one of our spring’s most delicious color combinations.

The bouquet inspired me. I wanted to knit the blue, magenta, and yellow.

But wait! Let’s go back to the basic steps above and answer the questions:

What other colors are near the study color (yellow)?

In the garden, I saw blue and magenta near the yellows, but also green.

Are the nearby colors lighter, darker, or similar in tone to your color?

The magenta is darker than the yellow, but they seem to have the same saturation. They’re brilliant. The blue and greens seem paler and recede from the brilliance of the yellow.

Do you see shadows or highlights that enhance the study color?

There are some shadows in the greenery, but to me they don’t enhance the yellow.

What are the proportions of the various colors?

In the bouquet, the proportions of yellow, magenta, blue, and green are roughly the same.

intarsia sample of wildflower colors

Instead of using a pattern with rigidly spaced repeats, I went for randomly colored intarsia squares. I love this sample!

Really, it’s one of my favorite samples and I have wanted to expand this idea into a project for a while—I knitted the sample in 2006. But what would I make?

Within the past year, I think I have settled on a project.

Poet Sandi Horton (read one of her poems here) has written several pieces for my Celebrate Doilies exhibit. She sent me a few as inspiration for a wall hanging. Her poem “Texas Hillside” describes these flowers almost exactly, and someday I’ll make a randomly-colored intarsia check wall hanging about it.

Next time: Consult the Experts.

Inspiration May Be Anywhere!

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

The State Capitol of Texas

What do you do, when you’re visiting Austin, Texas, and you’ve already had breakfast and it’s hours too early to shop or go to the library?

You visit the Texas Capitol, of course! It’s open early and late (hours here).

When your money is limited, the Capitol is a great place to go with friends or a date. If you go at night, you don’t even have to pay for parking, but I have to say that parking the Capitol Visitors’ parking garage is a bargain.

needlepoint chair seat at the Texas State Capitol

We walked all around the building, inside and out, enjoying the cooler morning temperatures and the light of the eastern sun on the pink granite walls.

We climbed as far as we could into the dome (only three floors) and looked down upon the terrazo floor. We marveled at the fancy architecture of this beautiful and beautifully-restored building.

needlepoint chair seat at the Texas Capitol

In our wanderings, we came across a hallway where rows of chairs were stored against the walls. Five of them had needlepoint seats featuring Texas wildflowers. I have to share, because they’re so pretty, and it’s something you don’t normally see in the course of a visit to the Capitol.

needlepoint chair seat at the Texas State Capitol

When I was working on Crochet Bouquet, the wildflowers of Texas were a great inspiration to me. The “Fire Wheel” (pp. 83-84) is a Texas roadside flower that I always knew as “Indian Blanket.”

Have a look at the last picture of this post, and see how the needlepoint designer interpreted the Fire Wheel. Three Fire Wheels are close to the lower edge, barely to the right of center, one on top of the other–round, red flowers with yellow tips on the petals.

needlepoint chair seat at the Texas State Capitol

Decorative arts inspired me as well: embroidery, flowery chinaware, tin boxes with flowers on them, carvings, even wrapping paper. I love to see how other designers translate the essence of the flower to wood or stone, or to the flat surfaces of fabric, metal, or porcelain.

So there you have it. Inspiration may be anywhere—even, apparently, under the bottoms-of-state!

needlepoint chair seat at the Texas State Capitol