Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tangerine Tango is the new beige...

Gentle knitters, I've been thinking about colors and why some of them are always thrillingly luscious (rosy pink, dark red) or comforting (navy, natural) or safety nets (black, brown), while others make us gag or engender a love-hate relationship. Let's consider, for instance, avocado green or "harvest" gold, which were a big deal in the 1960s and '70s, to the extent that many people actually bought kitchen appliances, shag rugs, drapes, etc. in those colors and regretted their tragically expensive choice within a very short time. Once enveloped by avocado green and harvest gold (a murky yellow-brown evoking ?) those fond feelings simply evaporated, and then where was the love?

Well, it's 2012 and now orange is in--specifically a shade called Tangerine Tango, which is Pantone's Color of the Year. The Knitting Goddess tells me the Color of the Year, flogged in fashion and décor, is an industry-generated ploy. For me, orange is the color equivalent of a scream for attention, since where I live you can't, by law, walk in the woods without wearing orange, else you risk being taken for wild game and shot at by a local yahoo who's out there proving his manliness. In fact, the one orange hand-knitted item in the house is a scarf I made H a while ago, specifically to increase his visibility when we stroll with Lola in nature-land.

Yet rather than feel that Tangerine Tango is a color I might grow to hate in the manner of avocado green and harvest gold, which I truly detest, I think of it as a color I'd grow to ignore because in a way it's so ubiquitous--the outerwear we don to maximize visibility in the woods, strip-mall signage, Halloween clichés, Fanta and Cheetos. Perhaps that's the inevitable fate of any Color of the Year, to become beige-i-fied.

These musings prompted me to inspect the orange yarns in my stash, and to compare them with natural oranges (tangerines, actually, and the last of the carrot harvest). There is a tonal harmony here, but a little orange goes a very long way, and I enjoy it best in combinations.

Here Lola unhappily models my (now) Evolved Sweater (formerly known as the Evolving Sweater), which as you can see features orange in combination with an eclectic assortment of colors and yarns.


  1. Colors are deeply personal too. I could not live in a world without orange! Lola's-- and your!-- sweater looks great. It is lovely to come to the end of a big project!

  2. Here's the thing about any Color of the Year--that title and its attendant overuse basically strip the hue of its obvious virtues through overkill. We live in a many-colored world, so why should the fashion industry promote just one? Remember acid green of a few years ago? I used to like it. Now it's just super-boring to me. Orange accents are fine, but a world of orange seems both overwhelming and limited at the same time.

  3. I agree, Lola's Evolved Sweater is beautiful. Now you are quite ready for the year of Tangerine Tango.
    I find orange very appealing, but I've only ever bought dark versions of it, closer to burnt ombre. What are you planning to do with all that orange yarn?

  4. Thank you for liking the Evolved Sweater. About the only person who hasn't liked it so far is my husband.

    For me, orange is an accent color and probably always will be. I like it in moderation. Otherwise it starts looking ordinary, methinks.