Too many colors in the world…

I have been designing a shawl (pattern) which is finally ready for test-knitting.  The general design idea is ‘something Jane Eyre would wear while walking on the moors.’  It will have an old-fashioned lacy motif, maybe multiple lace motifs, and be knit with a rustic singles yarn, Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light.

I simply can’t decide what kind of colors to use.  My yarn bucket has a lot of greeny-bluey stuff, and I do love greeny-bluey stuff, but I knit with it all the time!  I feel like I ought to branch out and knit with some other combo.  Let me know your thoughts.  First of all, do you think these color combos are good, in and of themselves, and second of all, do they seem Jane-Eyre-ish enough, or are they too modern?

Combo 1:

  • Dark greeny-bluey
  • Medium greeny-bluey
  • Light greeny-bluey with pale mocha
  • Pale mocha with cream
  • Cream

Combo 2:

  • Fiery red
  • Bright orange
  • Medium orange-yellow
  • Medium yellow
  • Pale yellow

(That one worries me because I can’t quite see J.E. knitting herself such a vivid, flaming shawl.)

Combo 3:  Dark navy shading to pale blue or even cream

Combo 4:

  • Dark blackish-brown
  • Medium brown
  • Medium orange-brown
  • Light orange-brown
  • Pale orange-brown

Combo 5:  solid pale grey throughout (this does seem very appropriate to the J.E. era, but would be terrifically boring to knit!)  Any other solid colors you think would suit?  The lower edge (last 2 colors) needs to be pale, because the most intense lace work is there, and in a dark yarn it will be obscured.

Combo 6:  Deep plum shading to pale pinkish/lavender or even cream

A color combo has to be interesting enough to hold my attention while I’m working on it, and this project is likely to take 2-3 months, once it’s started.  So…I can tell you right now the solid grey is not going to happen.  Probably the brown/orange combo ditto.

What do you think?  Are any of these glaringly bad?  Any that you love?  I’ve been knitting for 17 years, and have pretty much knit something with every possible color combo, otherwise this shawl would be “knit with some combo I’ve never tried.”  Argh.  Thanks.

(My Ravelry file has 320 projects, and that’s only since 2009.)



Review of Gloss Moderne Haircare

You know I ordinarily don’t write product reviews on this blog, but I felt this was worth a little time and space to help people out.  Gloss Moderne is an expensive brand of haircare available at Sephora.  There are only 4 products in their line (shampoo, conditioner, serum [a leave-in conditioner] and “masque” [deep conditioner]), so I bought the kit that contained full sizes of all of them, so I could try all the combinations and see what worked, if anything.  Sephora does offer returns on opened product, so if it was just bad, I would have returned it.  Gloss Moderne does not make a kit that contains smaller sizes of each.

My kit came in a white “vegan leather” case like a jewelry box, which is very nice, and now that it’s empty, my current knitting project lives in it!  Dressier than the old Dansko shoe box I’d been using.  The kit was the same price with or without the case.  Might as well take the free case, right?

The first thing I noticed is that the bottles are not filled to the very top.  There was about 1″ of space in the shampoo bottle (visible through the bottle) and in the serum.  The conditioner, I can’t tell because the bottle is more opaque, and the jar of masque was completely full.  For this kind of price (the shampoo and conditioner are each $45 for an 8-ounce bottle, if not bought in the kit), I had expected completely full bottles.  It’s possible these bottles are bigger than 8 ounces but contained 8 ounces of product:  after they’re empty, I’ll measure their capacity with a Pyrex measuring jar to find out.

The bottles are of a very hard yet flimsy plastic that feels like it would crack if you squeeze them too hard.  But they do have pump tops, so it’s just a matter of being careful while pumping.  It seems easier to pump if you tip the bottle horizontally.  (I’d started out by resting the bottle on the shelf and trying to pump it, but that didn’t work!)  You could also decant them into a softer, squeezier plastic bottle if you preferred.  We have no more empty bottles after the Great Purge of 2016, so I’m sticking with the original bottles.

All the containers are white plastic with lettering in a plain black fine font.  The shampoo, conditioner and serum bottles are visually identical, and even the labeling is so close as to be indistinguishable to the “naked eye that needs reading glasses.”  (I don’t wear my glasses in the shower.  Hah.)  Instead, I put the shampoo in the shower area and rested the conditioner bottle outside the shower so I wouldn’t accidentally use the conditioner first!  (The serum is on the bathroom countertop.)  Now that my testing is done, I’m going to mark the bottles with Sharpie just to make this easier to figure out without glasses.

I have now completed several tests with different combinations of the products.

Day 1:  Wash with the shampoo, follow with the regular conditioner.  Quite nice!  My hair has always been coarse, but either due to aging or the bad shampoos I’ve been choosing, it’s felt coarser every year.  I always air-dry my hair, and this combo of products left it with my usual volume/style, and feeling softer and looking shiny!  A win.

Day 2:  My routine is also to only wash my hair every other day, not every single day.  This is not a bad thing because most days I don’t even go out in public!  The day after this wash, my hair still looked “normal” (style-wise) and still felt softer than usual.

Day 3:  Wash with the shampoo, follow with the regular conditioner, then use the serum on towel-dried hair.  No go.  Style was okay until the end of the day, but hair felt greasy to me.  Next morning my hair was squashed entirely flat, and greasy-looking/limp, so I washed even though it wasn’t a wash day.

Day 4:  Wash with the shampoo, follow with the serum.  This was stylistically okay – didn’t weigh down the hair at all – and shiny, too, but didn’t feel very soft.  That’s kind of where I’d been with my previous haircare, which was Klorane Shampoo with Citrus Pulp ($20) and no conditioner or serum!

Day 5 was a non-wash day; everything looked and felt as usual.

Day 6 (today):  Wash with the shampoo, follow with the masque.  By the time this had air-dried it still felt vaguely straw-like (or, at least, not as soft as the plain shampoo + conditioner combo).  I put a pump of serum into my dry hair (product does say it can be used on damp or dry hair).  When it dried, it had simply clumped my hair up, not softening, and making it look unwashed.

So, it seems to me after all this that the shampoo + conditioner combo “might” be worth it, but none of the other combos or products are worth it.  Overall my inclination is not to repeat-buy but to go back to something like Sebastian or Redken, which were my old go-to products.  For real luxury I’d go back to Rene Furterer’s Karite line.

I hope this evaluation was useful to someone!


Vacation Plans “Finalized”

Well…we think they are.

After much (MUCH) discussion and waffling, we have come to the conclusion that the original plan, 2-3 weeks in DC next July, will be the best option for family togetherness, good memories, lots of stuff to do, and so on.  (The whole point of the original idea was for all the family members to be together for a big vacation and good memories.)

We would probably book 1 week in the downtown district and one week in a hotel around Reston, because there is so much we want to revisit out that way.

Let us know your thoughts.

More Vacation Suggestions

Mom and Dad report that it’s over 100 today in Reading. We checked the temperature in Boston and that too is insanely high (101).  Various other New England locales are in the 90s and under Serious Heat Advisories.  Chris and I therefore went out for breakfast at the British Pantry and discussed alternate, cooler, locales for next summer, instead of the District and VA.

First idea:  Scotland.  We are fairly certain we can come up with plenty of things for people to do, especially if we stay near Edinburgh.  I didn’t do any more research other than hotels, since we probably don’t need guided tours up there!

Second idea:  Iceland.  For several years the two of us and Alex have been talking about an all-inclusive guided tour of Iceland, and it is a dramatic and interesting location (though mostly for the nature-lovers, not so much city life).  We are looking at this tour.

Lastly, and this is also last on our list because of the possible high temperatures, a Viking river cruise from Amsterdam down to Budapest.  The current weekly temps are slightly cooler than Seattle (highs of mid-70s) and a lot cooler than the east coast!  This cruise is also something that Chris and I have had on our list for a long time.

Chris doesn’t want to go to Canada.

What are your thoughts on these three ideas?  Please post a reply here instead of emailing me, so that everyone concerned can see what thoughts are swirling around.  I have to give Diane a poke because I don’t think she reads my blog.

And of course if we do end up anywhere that doesn’t require Ant and Clare to fly, they might be able to join us!


Next Summer’s Vacation

This is an announcement for everyone who was involved in the discussions about DC.  Given our discomfort in the heat of Hawaii, we are reconsidering whether DC in summer is such a good option.  I mentioned this in an earlier post (Dad replied, so I know he read it), and I think Chris mentioned it to his parents, but not sure whether Mom and Diane got the intel yet.

But we’re limited to summer vacations because of Alex’s school (we want 2-3 weeks for us, and spring break is only 1 week ).  So we’re looking at alternate North American locations that might be less hot and sticky, such as Massachusetts, Lake Placid, or Toronto.  Those are just the three top “quick, what else can we think of?” destinations.  Discussions are ongoing.  Stay tuned.

We know that not everyone will be able to join us for three weeks, so don’t worry about that.  Come when you can.

If any of you have specific places in mind that you’d like to visit, give us a shout.  Thanks.