I have been studying Latvian Mittens by Lizbeth Upitis.
Now, I admire the folk women and their imagination very much, but some of the color combinations they have used in these mittens are... well... the nicest way to describe these ladies' sense of color is... not to describe it at all.
It looks like they have chosen their colors from the give away for free bin from the cheapest yarn store in town, you know the one with acrylic yarns from 70's and 80's - a disgusting combination of puke greens and browns with shocking bright aniline lilacs, pinks and yellows... In a mitten otherwise very pretty they manage to push in one or two threads of fugly spoiling the whole impression... like for example, on a black mitten decorated with red and green flowers and leaves, they add dirty yellow and green stripes and pink (YES, PINK!!!) and grey edge... Or they knit a mitten in black and white - and add brown. And these are not colors straight from sheep either, it's pure white, pure black and pure brown... Brrr. Or the ugly old rose/lavender purple with sheep black and beige. Add a little lemon yellow and apple green and a dash och sheep white, and you have a mitten not even your mother would wear. Or on black peagreen, raspberry pink and mauve.
I start to understand why the Finns don't have this kind of sock and mitten knitting history, though we do have a very nice sock and mitten knitting history of our own. (and here I paused, because my eyes fell on an especially awful pair of mittens on the cover of the book... wine, dirty and pale Neapolitan yellow and apple green... Yikes. Interestingly just the next pair could be Finnish or Estonian... mainly blue and white with pretty white, red, gray and black border. On the other side of the ugly mitten is another ugly mitten: on black dirty greenish yellow and bright green. Above it is a pretty blue-grey and white with black and dark red used to accentuate the pattern. Very pretty.)
Sure, it is quite possible that the color have changed during the time, and that the people knitting the mittens didn't have anything else but just the ugly colors - these Latvian mittens are all very nicely done. Then there are some wonderful color combinations I would never have thought but that look just amazing... like Payne's gray, golden brown and wine or red, purple and yellow with just a dash of apple green.
The worst part of this, I think, is that I know people who think these color combinations are wonderful. I had a class mate who made everything in this kind of combinations... And the people producing the hard acrylics still make them in the worst colors of 70's and 80's and there are people who keep buying them and combining them. "Doesn't this pink make this baby poop (pea mush) green, beige, bright orange and brown look absolutely adorable?" No, it doesn't. NOTHING can make those colors look adorable. Not even a Latvian mitten.
Today's free links: Amigurumi List and Crafty Crow