Tag Archives: colour


Decision made. Credit card flexed. Easy.

The once fuschia pink armchairs which have faded to dust are to be reincarnated in  Bute Fabrics‘s Ramshead, a glorious wool designed in collaboration with Glasgow’s Timorous Beasties. Teal blue. Or burnt orange…or that lovely purpley grey? No. It’s teal…(and the colours are more vibrant than these photographs might suggest).

It’s a tricky one to track down but I found it lurking on Liberty’s 4th floor, an unassuming, small book amongst the brash and the embroidered and the glorious, all elbowing for attention. Just there. Quiet. And every colour subtle, perfectly judged, enticing.

There is something deeply comforting about teal blue and petrol and Prussian and cobalt: they are colours which remind me of Arts and Crafts houses, of carefully crafted interiors. They are the sort of house which appears solidly settled in the earth, dependable and constant, an antidote to the boiling repetitive relentlessness of the daily grind, of excess and plate glass.

And fitting then that I shall be making them myself, although for a 1960’s concrete house.

Thanks to Bute Fabrics website for the swatch photographs.



Filed under sewing

Still a Yellow Thing

My garden is a joy, a fizzing sherbet of yellow and acid green and I can’t post photographs because I’m in The North, visiting, and very far away from any kind of technology that would allow me to do so (I’ve cranked up the old pc and have made a coffee and scrubbed the kitchen while it very gently warmed up to lift off…). I planted Euphorbia amygdaloides Robbiae last autumn and have been waiting for its butterfly-bright flowers to open all winter. And they have: tall bracts of yellow-green flowers that remain steadfastly undiminished by pelting rain. The daffodils planted among them have bowed to the weight of Monday’s downpour but not the Euphorbia, it’s strong, upright, defiant.  There’s a metaphor in there somewhere…

The Chaenomeles nivalis has been in bloom for weeks now, if not months. Some flowers have only just burst, others have wilted and browned and become slippery-rotten. It’s been its best year yet and I’m waiting to see how many flowers hatch into small, hard, unprepossessing fruit. Edible and a fine addition to an apple pie but nothing compared to the truly magnificent, pendulous quinces with which I make jelly and which vanishes down the gullets of small children, spoon by quivering rosy spoon.

I travelled with the children on the West Coast main line yesterday along with several thousand other people who had also sharpened their elbows in preparation for the battle for a seat (reservations mean nothing). Conclusion: defibrilators ought to be compulsory kit in every carriage. There’s always an overly red puffing chap, hard bellied and broken veined trying to squeeze a suitcase the size of an elephant into the overhead gap. I fear for him…..

Having announced to the carriage my children’s predilection for throwing up on pendolinos (people flee…we get our seats) we headed north. From the window somewhere in Northamptonshire I saw a field of oilseed rape luminous yellow against a dark slategrey sky. The perfect unblended meeting of colour. Glorious.


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It’s done. The Coat has made it to The Wardrobe. I’m pleased with the seamlessness of this project: no misplaces snips, no unpicking, no unfathomable differences in hem length. Just straightforward, logical, successful dressmaking. I’ve put applied-welt pockets on the front panels (the sort of opening you see on a traditionally tailored jacket. You slash the jacket fabric and attach a piece of cloth to the cut so that it stands above the opening. You sew down the sides of the flap with tiny elf stitches et voila!) and I’ve steamed the seams and hem to within an inch of their lives. Happy lady.

I’ve been thinking about colour. In particular, about how people seem to shy away from colourful clothes just at the time in their lives when they ought to be increasing the colour quotient. We wear colour as children, indeed anything goes, but by the time we hit our late teens, we reject all things vibrant for the safety of black and find it hard to emerge from dark seclusion the older we get. Grey seems adventurous, we might even push it to camel.

I went to the Picasso exhibition at Tate Britain this morning and took a good look around me. Having done a brief and unscientific survey, I concluded that the majority of people at the exhibition were over 50 and that black, grey and beige beige beige were the colours of choice. I’m a huge lover of black but even I realise that my ageing skin hasn’t got the stamina to stand up to it unless the cloth is of fabulous quality (I’m thinking of the sort of sheen that you get from really good cashmere or the depth of colour from a fine wool). And as for beige…..is there anything more likely than beige to make you look like you’re heading for your pension? There was one woman who made my smile with joy. Without being offensively rude and asking her age, I’d say that she had passed 70 but she wore the most beautiful shade of violet: a tweed jacket with wide kimono sleeves and I couldn’t stop looking at her.  I had on bull’s blood red patent brogues and a dark orange scarf and when I stood next to the Lady in Violet, the colours made me shriek with happiness.

Inwardly, clearly…..

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