Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012, Day 1: Colour

The following was originally written as a guest post for RockandPurl’s Blogstars 2012 guest blog series. It’s also my contribution to Day One of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, organized by the adorable Eskimimi. To view ALL the participating posts for today, google 3KCBWDAY1.

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I’m a knitter who loves colour.

Stained glass afghan - seaming complete

My “Stained Glass” mitered-square afghan for my sister and her husband

Like, really loves colour. Deep, rich, dark, intense colour. Not dark as in dingy — what I love is strong, saturated colour. Subtle shifts in tone or hue put me in raptures.

Tokorozawa Shawl

My “Sagano Shawl” made with yarn I hand-dyed at a workshop with Buffy of Shelridge Farm

Colour is what immediately grabs me, before I see yarn labels or pattern stitches. Colour is what keeps certain yarns in my mind and captivates my imagination.

La Cumparsita - Glamour shots!

“La Cumparsita” shawl knit with glowing Estelle Cadenza

The thing is, there was a time when I couldn’t see colours. Not strong, true colours, at least — only hazy, yellow-tinged impersonations of the colours I loved.

I was in my last year of university when I developed cataracts, at the ripe old age of 22. I hadn’t noticed them developing until I was well on my way to being legally blind; I slipped from having near-perfect vision to not being able to read my own lecture notes within what seemed to be a matter of weeks. (The cataracts were probably developing well before that time, but my awareness of them was fairly sudden.)

Briefly, a cataract is when the liquid that fills the lens in your eye crystallises. In diabetic cataracts (like mine) the crystals start forming at the outer circumference, and grow inwards, like bicycle spokes, until they meet in the centre. Until they meet, the centre of your vision can stay relatively clear, but the periphery is hazy and dull. Once the crystals do form over the centre of your eye, it’s rather like looking through a fogged-up window. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking at something immediately outside, or in the distance — it’s going to be blurry, faded, and hard to make out. Not only that, but anything light suddenly has a dense halo that ‘eats’ into any darker space around it. A headlight on an approaching car suddenly obliterates everything else on the street. Even dark type on a white screen or page seems to dissolve into the brightness around it.

[It recently occurred to me that living with cataracts is a little like living life through an Instagram filter — but what may be artistic or interesting for a single snapshot is decidedly not practical for day-to-day living!]

cataract simulation

Here’s a bit of a simulation of how my world changed: on the left, there’s a photo of me (albeit slightly motion-blurred); and on the right, my approximation of what I would have seen through my cataract-blurred eyes. The details are gone (except for bits that are close to the same depth of colour, like my hair against my coat), and the brightness of the snow has completely obscured my face. Colours are muted and faded.

Anyway, I eventually opted for cataract surgery, in which the crystallised lens is removed and an artificial one is inserted into the eye. The surgery was smooth, and I dutifully wore my eye-patch in the days following the operation. Finally, the magical moment arrived when I went back to the opthamologist’s office to have the bandages removed.

Winter Greens handspun yarn

Some of my first handspun, featuring BFL from Lofty Fibres

Magical doesn’t even begin to describe the drive home that August afternoon, my then-fiancé (and now husband of nearly seven years!) at the wheel. Everything was GREEN. Not pale, murky, anemic green, but robust, intense, multi-tonal green, like in the handspun yarn above. And the trees had leaves on them — trees weren’t the vague static shapes I’d been seeing, they were shimmering, moving, dancing, with all these individual leaves shifting in the breeze.

Candle Flame Scarf

Candle Flame Scarf, knit in Lofty Fibres merino yarn

When I say that I love colour, I love it precisely because I know what it is to live without it. I love it in the way that a dog who’s been starved loves food — I can’t get enough of it, ever.

Chunky cowl

Plain black cowl, knit for a friend in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky

I have to admit that even black excites me, though most lovers of colour would be bored to tears by it. It’s just so deep! And there are so many subtleties to it! And! I could keep going, with strings of exclamations, for hours.

So, what’s my favourite colour?

Yes.

All of them.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012, Day 1: Colour

  1. So pretty! Looking forward to seeing more…