In Praise of Grey


This month's post is a bit different from my usual as I have decide to include a short "lesson" on grey....I hope that you like it.


I'm a big fan of bright saturated colours and I love working with them. My wardrobe, however, is predominately black with some grey, the brights are mostly relegated to accessories. Despite what my wardrobe might indicate I'm totally fascinated by colour. This had led me to research and write articles on colour for Twist Collective: Red, Green, Purple, Yellow, Blue. But seeing as January is probably the greyest month of the year I want to take a little look at the colour grey this time.



To many people grey is thought of as dreary or drab...but I disagree. I find it full of nuance and hidden depths.

One of the reasons that I'm enamoured with grey is because of its ability to morph and change. It's like a chameleon, the same shade can appear quite different depending on the light (true of many colours) and also what other colours it is surrounded by. 



If we look at how grey fits into colour theory we find that it is actually fundamentally important. The relative lightness or darkness of a particular colour is described as tonal value which is evaluated on a scale of greys. Being able to determine the tonal value of the colours that you are working with is very important when it comes to Fair Isle pattering. Two colours can look very different from each other, red & green for example, but at the same time they could both be the same tonal value. This means that any patterning worked in that combo will be indistinct or subtle - which may not be what you are hoping for. To make the patterning stand out colours have to be far apart in terms of their tonal values.



To delve a little deeper into tonal value, let's look at tints, tones & shades. We often use those words when describing colour, often without paying particular attention to how these terms are defined in colour theory...I'm sure I'm guilty of that even within this piece. 

According to theory a tint is the pure colour mixed with white, a tone - pure colour plus grey and a shade - pure colour plus black. So in choosing a high contrast tonal value combination we should look for colours that are, tints, tones & shades. This with automatically give you lights & darks and make the patterning stand out.



One of the ways we describe colours is by the temperature; red being warm, blue cool. Grey is different from many other parts of the spectrum because it can be either warm or cool. This means that it can be worn by people with widely varied personal colourations - we just need to select the correct temperature for our complexion. I happen to especially like hand-dyes yarns that combine the two in the same yarn.



So if you still don't have the hots for grey how about considering it's effect on bright or saturated colours. When you throw grey into the mix colours become less attention grabbing, more complex looking, maybe even more serious. Sometimes this can even be described as adding sophistication to the hue; think of a bright and how you might wear it for sports wear for example, but a greyed down version become more suitable for the office.



So with apologies to Julie Andrews, these are a few of my favourite [grey] things: grey flannel, storm clouds, shadows, concrete ( when mixed with warmer items like wood), stone, & metal.


I hope that you find some of this information useful, and that even though we might still be hankering for sunshine and the burst of colour that spring brings it has helped you to see grey in a more positive light.

                                         unleash the power of inspiration...

                                         unleash the power of inspiration...

On-line, On-nine
Monthly post on the 9th of each month! 
On-line, On-nine  Jan 9th 2017

Thanks for reading...I hope that you enjoy the photos! 

A few of favourite grey things.


Please check back next month / year to find out what my latest fascination is.

See you next month      
Fiona xxxx