25 October 2011

swooning, and how to do it...

In an issue of the English periodical The Ladies' Magazine, dated 1764, one happily notes this intriguing advertisement:

FITS just imported from Italy; being a speedy
and efficacious method of procuring the most 
captivating and natural fainting, and will be
found particularly useful in this riotous season, 
when all ladies would be ambitious to appear
in public with a proper delicacy of nerves, which
some, from a too good constitution, have the 
misfortune to want. These Fits are sold sealed up,
in small boxes, five in each, in color and appearance
like a barley-drop, so innocent that a child of two
years old may take them with safety; each drop is 
a sure Fit of ten minutes,at the expiration of which
you are as well, if not better than before taking them;
the operation is immediate. 
To be sold at all perfumers, with printed directions. 
Price 4/- the box or 1/- a single Fit.

Or, perhaps you could just purchase one of these, a Jamieson's of Shetland Color Card, revealing, in its entirety,  the whole rich and exhilarating spectrum of Jamieson's Spindrift ...

 A 2 ply jumper weight yarn, equivalent
to 4 ply.  This yarn is traditionally
used for Fair Isle knitting.
Available in over 220 colours including
21 natural shades.  The range allows
immense design potential.

As well as a case of the vapors,  if you are like me and blessed with an innate tendency to become helplessly spellbound by irresistible color.   Having one of these to gaze at longingly is possibly as exciting as sorting through the many dozens of colors in that colossal box of Crayolas I owned as a child and which was exclusively responsible for introducing into my vocabulary words like, "sepia", "cornflower", "magenta" and "mulberry". 

Do bear in mind that the colors reproduced here bear only the slightest resemblance to  the colors on the chart.  In order to properly appreciate their beauty you need to have the chart or the yarn in hand.  I learned how unreliable internet color reproduction is after receiving my quartet of Spindrift in preparation for my first stranded colorwork project in quite a few years, Kate Davies' superb turnip-inspired Neep Heid tam.  Neep Heid is a thoughtfully designed pattern knit in a beautiful soft grey, heathered green, and exuberant purple colorway.  These are not quite the colors that set my heart aflutter, however,  and since deciding to recreate this tam I have been obsessively trying to work out which of the lovely Jamieson skeins I can be happiest with.  Yes, I did spend many hours staring at the color charts reproduced on three websites and eventually chose colors that surprised me when they arrived.  I decided to order the chart to eliminate any future mistakes, (this is badly put - all the colors are splendid, just not what I envisioned), and now I am completely absorbed by it, not overcome by single or multiple fits but solemnly mesmerized.

My Neep Heid is going to be a Radish Heid or Meacan-Ruadh (red root) Heid.  The colors are as follows: Mooskit, Plum, Granny Smith, Tundra.  They are only adequately reproduced here.

That Plum really is the Magenta from the Crayola box and rather more spicy than I had imagined.  It is, when one compares it with a proper radish, similar but perhaps too exciting.  Granny Smith is a shade of green one would like to call verdant, but that would be silly.  I had originally ordered Chartreuse, but the Granny Smith is more...verdant.  Tundra is a bit too rusty and will probably be replaced with Mocha.  Or Birch.  Or Grouse.

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