What's your Colour? February 7, 2013 – Posted in: Thursday This and That

(I fear you are going to read the word ‘colour’ a lot in this one! Bear with me.)
Colours make me happy. One of the best things about starting a new project is choosing the colour. I like colour. Anyone who has met me in the store can attest to the fact that I am not afraid of bright hues.

IMG_8347Yup. That’s me in a (coloured) nutshell.

Pretty much everyone I know has their preferred variety of colours to wear, I do too. To me they are the security blanket we bring with us when facing the world. So much so that when it is time to buy a new winter coat I do dread it. Why? Because mostly I cannot find the colour I really want, they are usually drab and dark. Anyway, what I want to say is that COLOUR is personal, very personal.
At the store we can help a lot when people are looking for ideas for a new project, we find the matching yarns and and we rave about the jewel tones or wax lyrical about the neutral shades. We try to cover every colour a person could want, we even order yellow (working for a yarn company I was always told that “yellow does not sell”) if it is available in order to make the selection as appealing as possible.
Now to the personal part. Few customers stray from their norm, meaning they know what they like and pick their colour accordingly. It is funny to see how many people actually choose a colour in the same family they are wearing. Which I perfectly understand as I am just as predictable as anyone and, guess what, I do this too.
What I have a terrible time with is being asked by a customer to make the choice. That I can, and will not, do. It is not for me to say if the red I prefer is the right choice for a sweater someone else wants to knit – and wear. However, I am ready to offer my opinion – if I think one tone of green is more flattering than the other or think a shade makes you look yellow. That I can do. Which is no reflection on the actual choice that you still have to make. My opinion might help, but then again it could convince you that I never should do any ‘colour me beautiful’ sessions EVER.
You have to understand that it is not refusal to offer service, a choice of colour is just so personal that I am reluctant to intrude upon that space. I have watched customers agonize over two shades of blue for half an hour just because they were not sure which one they liked best. I have watched people look at 10 different shades of red only to decide that the one they really wanted was not there. I have been asked for yarn in the colour ‘periwinkle’ only to find out that I have a totally different understanding of what periwinkle is supposed to look like than the customer. On the other hand, when it comes to colour combinations, be it for stripes or other colourwork, I love to pick out options for you to choose from. You might think at some point that I have gone daft and how could one put this grey with that brown – then again, doors to endless, wonderful colourful possibilities might be opened!
Some advice I can offer, though. If you want to branch out and try colours that appeal to you but that you ‘never wear’ – take baby steps. Don’t knit a whole sweater, make something small, or use it as a contrast colour. If you have never worn it before, the chance that you will start wearing it and loving it now is slim to none. Ask me how I know. If you wear a colour that you usually do not wear, and every time you look in the mirror all you see is that colour and not really yourself – chances are the colour is not right for you.
People often tell me “I always wear the same colours”. So do I. Some of them are colours that make me look good on a bad day (at least I like to think so) and others make me smile, forgetting that I was in a bad mood before, just because they are so bright and happy. It is all about the colours we feel comfortable in, what makes us feel good – and what we love.
Happy knitting, as ever!
– Mona