Thursday, 3 December 2015

Soft, Cosy, Low Key-That's Me

Lately I have been knitting while I listen to the sounds of the storm outside.  As much as I love hats, I am often too hot headed to tolerate really thick, warm hats and winters here don't get that cold.  On the other hand, having exposed ears with my short hair, and the fact that winter does often bring wind, means I need something on my ears.

I had some scrap yarn, it was already rolled in a ball but clearly not a full skein, not enough for a hat or a scarf, so I decided to knit a headband that would go over my ears for warmth but not cover my whole head.

I used 6.5mm needles and cast on 60 stitches.  Using a knit1/purl1 stitch I made four rows.  Then I knit a stocking stitch for five rows, which just seemed like the right width for my own head and preference.  I returned to the rib stitch and knit four more rows of K1/P1 and then bound off, leaving a long tail when I cut the wool.  With a large darning needle I used the tail to stitch together the ends and close the headband.

Easy and quick!  I could churn out lots of these.  I will put the no makeup picture of myself as far away as I can from the beautiful celebrities and models at the bottom of this post.

If you know me, you know I am obsessed with colour.  I love colour, I love colour theory, I think about, study and play with colour constantly.  I certainly have favourites, but they outnumber the colours I don't really like and I find that even colours I don't care for on their own can suddenly look stunning to me in the right combinations.  I see undertones, I see warmth and coolness, I know that if you are choosing a paint for your walls there are more variations on off white than any other colour and that getting just the right off white (lighting and surrounding colours will influence it) takes time and careful consideration.

If you read my blog you might be absolutely OVER my obsession with colour.  If you can tolerate it, a large quantity of images and words occur below.


For me, colour is a very situation specific sort of thing.  For instance, colours that appeal to me in flowers may not appeal as a colour for my bathroom walls.  Colours that look great on my friend are appealing when she wears them but do not work for me.  There are many colours I find breathtakingly beautiful and yet they are too overwhelming, too stimulating, too intense for me to live with constantly, either wearing them or surrounded by them.  I am also currently working on a long term knitting project, making a very colourful blanket.  I am enjoying it while I work on it but need to take frequent breaks from it and I won't be able to live with it when it's finished.  I will need to give it away.

Ever since I began this blog I have written about my love of rich saturated jewel tones as well as my ceaseless passion for mud-colours.  Within this seeming contradiction I set out to figure out which colours I wanted to wear, which would suit me and flatter me best and some of the things I learned about myself are that  I like analagous and monochromatic colour schemes best in low to medium contrast combinations.  While there are patterns I like, I rarely find them in a clothing item that combines them with the fabric, style and colours of my preference so most of my clothing is in solids.  I like texture and prefer the subtle variation of textures to a riot of colours.

Increasingly I am falling in love with neutrals.  For me, this means soft, muted, cool toned neutrals and I cannot deny that I am crazy about grey and taupe.  I cannot get enough of them and it's all I want to wear.  I will combine them with denim, and since I have to wear something and I happen to own pants in both black and navy, I will combine them with those.  I also like brown, cooler browns, with a grey or even rose tone to them are best.  Tans and cognacs sneak in a little, particularly in bags and shoes.  I keep black to a minimum but have one pair of pants, a pair of shoes, boots and a bag in black.

The colours of myself are the colours I like to wear, and the colours of me are soft rose-mauve, greyed blue, greyed, green, grey, cool brown, ivory and taupe.  If you think of those colours and then impose a bright pure hue on them you might be able to imagine how it does not really work.  I was worried about being boring.  I took to heart when people said things like life is to short to wear beige.  I understand that is a reactionary statement made by people who feel defensive about wearing bright colours.  Women are used to being criticised for how they look, told they are too loud, too bold, but also, sometimes, they are told they are too mousey, too boring.  We must be ourselves unashamedly and support each other in doing so.  I know I am not boring, but I no longer care if someone else thinks I am.  It would be rather exhausting to have a long lineup of people who find me interesting.  I might have to entertain and amuse them all.

I have not got digital collage making skills or software, so I will simply put a sequence of images here.  I collect many images on my Pinterest Boards, some publicly and some privately.  My private self has gathered many taupe and grey images.  My public self shows off the jewel tones.  The psychology of that intrigues me somewhat so I recently made one of my neutral tones Pinterest Boards a public one.  I am coming out of the clothes closet and saying hey everybody I like grey and taupe! And nobody notices, and nobody cares, and that's how I like it.

These images literally make me catch my breath, stare, return to look.  To me they feel safe, soft, familiar and comforting.  They feel like me.  To you they may be boring.  Or they may not.  It doesn't matter.  Sophie, whom I miss greatly but hope deeply is much happier somewhere else, and Matty, who is a dear companion and happy and healthy now living with me, are both perfect examples of my grey and taupe passion.  Sophie, a tabby, combines various tones of grey, with some taupe that shows up in sunlight and soft blue-grey eyes. Matty is a subtle and more blended mix of grey tones, with soft gold eyes, and also in the sunlight, has taupe tones in her fur.  I find both cats stunningly beautiful.

                                    Sophie as a Kitten


I might not wear these clothing items exactly, though jeans and sweaters are a favourite daily uniform, but these colours are the ones I cannot get enough of.
Grey, taupe, smokey brown, ivory, denim blue and especially so in winter.  When the summer sun is more intense, I move towards more colour.



      This vanished from my Pinterest just as I was looking up the source.  That generally means it's a suspicious link so I cannot find the source credit for it.


I just have to google search the word "taupe" and I'm in visual heaven. Although this is mainly about my obsession with taupe and grey, there is that particular greyed blue I love-often it's a denim blue and I've seen it called petrol.


Consistent with my attraction to these soft tones, it is not only clothing images I pin.  Here are some others that are on my  soft, cool neutrals inspiration board.



                                         Source: Flckr

And finally, images of models and celebrities which strike me as beautiful also fit this theme.  Not only am I drawn to black and white and sepia toned photos, i am drawn to images of women with a colouring not unlike my own, wearing these soft, cool neutrals I love.  Perhaps I have been trying to convince myself that this is beautiful and not boring.  While I cannot honestly say I think that I have the beauty of these women, I see something familiar there and none of them look boring to me. 



                                                      Source: Vogue Australia


I usually provide links to my image sources.  All of these images, except of myself and of my two cats, were found on Pinterest and I have attempted to credit the source from which I pinned them though at the time Pinterest was behaving badly and I could not create links. 


  1. Hey Shawna ... Love the head band ~ Such a clever idea for the not so cold winters.

    Have a wonderful weekend ... I am off for a weekend of scrapbooking with my girls.

  2. I adore beige, taupe, all "mud" colours as you say! I love your headband, very gamine! :-) I can do cool neutral or warm beige, no greeny or too pale beiges though (there are honestly so many versions of beige, I agree it is underrated!).

  3. I too have this dichotomy, but in reverse. I am totally obsessed with neutrals and greys but can't wear too many of them, they wash me out. I look better in jewel tones.
    I adore rooms in neutrals but can not for the life of me make my house fit. Colour always busts out! I feel flat and bored in midrange tones and no contrast. Sometimes the colours are too much for me and I need to cover them, but mostly I enjoy them. However watch this space because it is an area in flux for never know!
    Lovely knitting and I can feel the cosy ears from here! Xo Jazzy Jack

  4. Thanks for sharing the details for your cold weather headband. It might just give one of these a try. Like you, hats are often too warm for me in our comparatively temperate climate.

    I also enjoyed reading your thoughts about colour, and in particular, taupe. You know I love colour, but I also love quite a few neutral shades...winter whites are a favourite with taupe accessories.

  5. A clever friend knitted me a similar head band with a cut out just big enough to allow my bun to peek out. Needless to say it was canary yellow and trimmed with pom poms (she knows me well).
    Gorgeous cats, fab knitting. xxx

  6. I love your headband and I love the instructions you gave for it too - they were not scary and indecipherable. That's a beautiful photo. I like to dive into neutrals sometimes for warmth, security, calm - especially when it's cold and the neutrals are fluffy and thick like that first oversized sweater. They remind me also of expensively decorated modern homes. Heh. Great post. It takes more energy for me to put on colour but often after I get it on, it also gives me more energy. Weird, right?

  7. You look cute and cozy in your new headband, Shawna, just the right amount of warmth for many mild winter days around here, in our cloudy climate. Knitting a colorful blanket sounds like a wonderful job - it's like knitting a story, really. I can't wait to see what you'll come up with! All the photos are beautiful, but Sophie's portrait is just so precious. :)


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