Gardening in February?

Well, uh… yes! If you happen to live in northern California, gardening is pretty much a year-round pursuit. Besides the cool weather veggies we grow (that would be Kale, lettuce, radishes, sugar snap peas, and chard), there are the flowers. They actually require little effort from me other than twining the occasional rose cane around its fence support. Mostly, what they seem to enjoy is my appreciation… lots of oohing and aahing at their reliable show of color, scent, and ability to perform on command.

What I realize is that many of these winter bloomers are the colors of my favorite yarns as well. For years it was nearly impossible to find a really “good” yellow. Yellow seemed to be out of favor, and the yarn shops were limited only to insipid “baby blanket” shades or – at the opposite end of the spectrum – truly obnoxious, day-glo yellow that was more reminiscent of a traffic sign than of anything one would care to knit up into a garment (unless you happened to be a school crossing guard, for example). But for a while now, yellow has been having a moment. There is every tint out there from palest buttercream to squash blossom to sunflower to mustard, and every shade in between, and they are all perfectly smashing. Forthwith, I give you Crocuses:

Back in the 1980’s, a very popular color scheme in interior design combined two revolting, putrid, thoroughly appalling shades of mauve and gray. Fortunately, knitting had not yet undergone its renaissance in popular culture (which meant the craft was far less tied to the fashion world and to current color trends than it is today), and thus we knitters were mercifully not subjected to yarn-y incarnations of these heinous colors. Now, though, when one sees gray yarn, it may be anywhere in the spectrum from fog to thundercloud, and every skein is gorgeous. But the color family that includes “mauve” has stepped far more dramatically into the 21st century. From the most delicate shell pink to the richest, most saturated cabernet, mauve is enjoying its turn in the limelight. My own preferred version includes, not surprisingly, Hellebores:

For the last year I’ve been perplexed to detect in myself a growing fondness for the color purple. And I’m someone who NEVER liked purple. I absolutely did not wear amethyst jewelry, would not deign to own a single item of clothing that could be called ‘purple’, and would turn up my nose at any and all yarns that included a single, even vaguely purple strand. But suddenly (and maybe this is attributable to hormones, like every other unexplainable thing that has happened to me for the last two or three years), I LOVE purple. I adore lilac (oh, swoon – those slightly dirty, grayed-down lavendars are divine, are they not?), and can’t get enough yarn in the color range I refer to as ‘orchid.’ I must accept that deep, mysterious eggplant tones now monopolize an obscene amount of shelf space in my yarn stash. But let us not forget my favorites, the sweetest of all, the Violets:

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