Continuing the colour-related theme, here is a tank I made quite a while ago, as a sort of exercise in shading. At Woolfest last year, I bought four colours of some lovely Artisan Threads BFL. One was a soft rose, and the other three were slightly different shades of green/grey.

As you can see, the three green/grey shades seem quite tonally close. . . it is only when you examine the skeins and their slight variations that you see how different the colours are. For example, at a distance, the unwound skein on the far left, looks very similar to the one second from right, but their composition is not the same at all. Here, in two photos that are true to their actual colours, is second-from-right:

and here is far-left:

Close up, you can see that second-from-right is more greyish, with lots of brown and yellow tones, while far-left is much more determinedly green, with pinkish-purplish hints running through it. I suppose it is the use of the same natural dyes in different combinations, as much as the variegations from the dyeing method, that make these skeins so complex . . . and this stuff must be what dyers think about all the time. . . anyway, I loved both the proximity and the distance of the colours in these skeins, and wanted to knit something to show them off. So I worked a few swatches, developed a shaded-stripe sequence from my four colours, and then knit a tank following Wendy Bernard’s great top-down instructions in Custom Knits. This is an interesting method: you begin provisionally; start knitting flat at the back underarms; work up and over the shoulders, then down the front, before joining back to front at the underarms, and working down to the bottom edging. This was the first time I’d tried this construction, and I rather liked it. But I am such a sucker for the speed and rhythm of stockinette in the round that I would be tempted to work bottom-up and steek the armholes, simply to avoid the purls . . . (I seem to be in a strange phase in which I only want to knit tubes of varying dimensions).

To avoid a gazillion ends, I just carried the four colours up the side, weaving them in as I went. Once I had the basic tank, I decided to try some more shaded effects on the ribbed edgings, with four colours of kidsilk haze that were reasonably close to the four artisan thread shades. I knit two strands of the KSH together, which helped to blend and soften the colour transitions:

I don’t much like knitting with KSH, but it is good for this sort of thing.

I find BFL a very curious fibre: it is obviously woolly, but it is so smooth, that when working with it it, one sometimes feels like one is knitting with cotton. The fabric it has produced here is so flat and matt and neat that it almost looks machine knit (in comparison to my usual hand-knitted surfaces, anyway). I love the depth of colour in the muted stripes I ended up with:

Anyway, the end result was a simple, close-fitting tank which shaded the colours quite nicely, and which was softened around the edges with a fuzzy mohair halo. It could be the stripes, the colours, or just the basic nature of the garment, but I think that the tank has a worn, old-Boden feel to it, if you know what I mean.

Perhaps you are wondering why I’ve not mentioned the shaded tank before. The truth is that I conceived a peculiar dislike to it, and it has been buried at the back of my wardrobe for several months. I finished it on January 31st, and on that day, wore it for the first time. The following day, I got up and had a stroke. That event was, of course, nothing to do with this garment, and I’m not even sure myself why it gives me the heebies, (because it was the last thing I knitted or something?) Anyway, I have decided that this is mere foolishness, and that the shaded tank needs to come out into the open. It is perfect for these lovely late summer days, which I am spending outside in our tiny strip of shared garden. Yes, you can see mead mountain from the back of our flat – the sight of it always makes me happy.

I saw The Illusionist yesterday, and thought that Arthur’s Seat, and, indeed, Edinburgh as a whole really looked stunning. Chomet captured the light and distinctive vistas of the city amazingly well, and there was something quite curious about seeing the very cinema I was sitting in appear in animated form in front of me on the screen…The film is terribly sentimental, of course, and though the animation is beautiful and unique and knocks the socks off CGI, I’m not sure how good it is at suggesting the fundamentally physical humour of Tati… but like Chomet’s other work, the best thing about it is how absorbingly his aesthetic is used to create a feeling. The feeling of this film was of something about to end, and it captured that very well indeed.

Oh yes, I mustn’t forget to mention that I called this tank Tey, as when I was knitting it, I was also re-reading a stack of Josephine Tey novels. It is ravelled here.

Also…I returned to the colours of the hedgerow for the tortoise and hare gloves. Swatch success at last! More soon. . .