I realised the other day that I’d failed to share these photos of moss… Along with some other cool photos I’d taken for my blog… So I’ve decided to do a mini-series this week of a few of my favourite textures and colours, along with yarn recommendations if you like what you see. They’re a bit of a clue to forthcoming pattern releases, but in a bit of a tangental way, so don’t read too much into them, just enjoy them!
I generally profess not to like the colour green, but it’s a lie. I gasp at the lush green of a springtime mountain, and the yellow-green of a drying field in the summertime; I even like the blue-green of reindeer moss with its ethereal silver-grey tones and fractal forms. There’s a whole range of green to enjoy without ever once considering emerald or teal:
To begin with, a trio of my favourite type of mossy green, a melange of green, brown, yellow, blue, and grey: ColourMart 3/7.5nm lambswool in Nettle (check out the full range of this yarn here), Holst Garn Supersoft in Heath (shade 021), and Jamieson and Smith 2ply Jumper Weight in FC12. These are all 100% wool yarns that work up into warm, hardwearing fabric, great for garments but not always so great for folk sensitive to the itch-factor. The J&S Jumper Weight is by far the softest, being Shetland wool, and will suit most people able to wear wool, while the ColourMart is closer to an outerwear yarn. Holst is closer to soft than coarse, especially after its first wash, and I love wearing this yarn next-to-skin during the cool winter months.
Moving onto the brown-tones, ColourMart have a range of enticing merino-mohair blends that includes this pale green/reddish brown shade called Pradera (which translates into English as grasslands) and is almost lichen-like in its subtly warm shade. This is a very soft yarn with a gentle mohair halo that can be knitted up at a standard gauge for its thickness or a slightly looser gauge that allows the halo to fill in the gaps. It’s very warm for its weight:
At the yellow end of the spectrum is this stunning shade of yellow-green with plenty of red tones to keep it warm and natural by Brooklyn Tweed. Available in both fingering-weight LOFT and worsted-weight SHELTER, Sap is an unusual shade that I’ve not found successfully duplicated anywhere else, and is worth the price tag to get hold of. I knitted a hat from it, and find it can be worn with a whole range of outfits due to the complexity of its heathered shading:
Returning closer to home is this gem from Trefriw Woollen Mills in Conwy Bay (on the way to Snowdonia from my home in Manchester). Named Ddôl (the Welsh word for meadow), it’s a striking blend of yellow and green (with some white thrown in). I’m planning some socks in the leftovers from my Whiteleaf:
I’m aware that I’ve glossed over the blue-greens a bit, and that’s partly because I’m not usually drawn to them when choosing yarns, but this Gorse from ColourMart probably has just enough blue tones in it to qualify. It’s currently out of stock, but there are plenty of other exciting shades in their 3/12.5nm lambswool range to make me slightly breathless. It’s a 3 ply fingering weight, which makes it a bit unusual amongst the heathered 100% wool yarns (usually 2 plies for this weight), making for a more 3-dimensional fabric. Brilliant for textured stitches!:
Of course, it’s hard to think of mosses without also thinking of their cousins, the lichens, and I wanted to include just one more yarn that is almost the perfect evocation of the moss and lichen partnerships you can find on old stone buildings. It’s Olivia Tweed in ColourMart’s 2/6nm cashmere/silk/viscose/merino blend that is currently out of stock, but will probably be available again fairly soon. It’s a super-soft olive green cash/merino blend with lively nepps in a perfect lichen orange, that wears spectacularly as a result of its silk content. It’s one of my favourite gift-garment yarns for its luxurious fibre content, soft feel, and hardwearing properties, and definitely deserves inclusion in this list:
All of the yarns I’ve just listed are yarns that I use and love. I have bought each one with my hard-earned money, and would buy them all again. For someone who says they don’t like green, that’s a lot of shades of green! And the thread that binds them? Their tonal affinity to this sneaky stuff that finds its way into all the cracks and crevices in town and country:
I think part of the reason I love moss so much is that it has always appeared in some of the places I most enjoy visiting – damp woods, caverns, and valleys – as well as the most banal pavements, tunnels, and walls of my everyday city life. It’s a common theme in my dual existence, blending the lines between horizontal and vertical, yet it always provides a contrast in some way. If not visually, then texturally, or existentially. Soft life on dead, hard materials. Not to mention that I usually love the very things moss grows on: brick, stone, rocks, trees, rich brown earth. Tactile objects steeped in history and mystery.