Monday, April 28, 2014

Handknit hats: colour matters

Picture this: dark-haired girl + tangerine handknit chevron texture hat in a crunchy farm-type wool.  Sigh.

I'm sorry I'm making you do that work instead of showing you a photograph but I couldn't randomly whip out my camera as she walked past me one day this past winter - I was too busy restraining myself from taking that hat off her head to examine the stitch.  The combination of colour, texture, and yarn was so flawless, I can recall it perfectly even now.

Anyway the image isn't as important as this insight: if you're going to knit a hat, make the most of the opportunity and pick a colour that is fabulous for you.

handknit hat color choice
Fabulous colour, slightly itchy yarn: the not quite perfect hat
Or for whoever is going to be wearing it, of course - shouldn't assume you're like me and knit for yourself all the time, heh.

My Former, Illogical Hat Philosophy

There are so many schools of thought on how to accessorize an outfit, and I've never been able to master even one of them completely.  Matching your purse and your shoes - that's a rule-to-be-broken that I understand but haven't got the closet storage space to serve, beyond sticking to black shoes and black purses for safety.

When it comes to hats and scarves though, it's always seemed easy.  You either match something in your coat with a solid colour, if the coat is a print or a tweed or something, or you contrast it with a different colour or a stripe or print if the coat is a solid colour.  Or if the coat has some big design feature like contrasting buttons, you can match those.

The Trouble With Simplicity

By this logic, I have for many years worn a black coat so that I could do whatever I wanted with my hats.  I worry about whether the hat is a nice shape, and whether it's warm enough, and that's about all.  But this past winter, I started getting compliments on that crazy huge handspun hat I wore to survive the cold.  I almost never get compliments on my hats, no matter how many I knit, and this particular hat, as I've mentioned more than a few times, looks like a partially deflated Yorkshire pudding.  I couldn't understand it.

And then I looked at myself in the mirror one day and all was revealed.

It's the colour.  The crazy big hat is green, and so are my eyes, not to mention the frames of my glasses.  I'd gotten so used to the green hat I hadn't noticed, but the day before I'd been in front of a different mirror wearing my favourite grey cashmere floppy hat.

And I looked awful.

Even though it's a stunningly beautiful Viola yarn with hits of brown in it, they don't show at the front.  It's just kinda grey and white.  So instead of looking subtle and lovely, the grey clashes with my hair, which (in spite of encroaching grey there too) is still mostly brown with bits of copper in it.  It didn't do anything for my glasses either, which in addition to the green have arms of that same coppery shade.  My skin tone is more pink than anything, and the grey just washed it out.  Bleah.


Back in the day, everybody I knew was having their colours done, and afterward they chose accessories with aplomb.  Maybe it's worth doing that, and buying (or spinning!) hat knitting yarn in the best possible shades?

Or maybe it's enough to pick up your eye colour, or favourite lipstick colour, or maybe even whatever you picked for your glasses, assuming they're not just silver metal.


I love my grey hat, but I have a feeling I'm going to be waiting for the rest of my brown hair to turn white before I go wearing it again.  Which, with luck, will not happen in time for the next round of cold weather.  And you know what that means: it's time to knit more - and more colourful - hats.

Like... oh, I don't know... tangerine ones?

Maybe when this round of crazy schedule is done.  For now: this is enough colour talk from me on a Monday morning.  Go have a lovely day knitting something gorgeous and flattering, and I'll see you back here again on Wednesday!

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