I’ve been thinking a lot about grey recently. I guess it’s the time of year.
It’s a particularly evocative colour, used repeatedly as a motif in literature and movies. Even saying “grey” out loud is difficult to do without loading it with context. “What a grey day.”, or “It’s just a bit grey…”. F. Scott Fitzgerald discussed The Great Gatsby as; “the loss of those illusions that give such color to the world so that you don’t care whether things are true or false as long as they partake of the magical glory”
This loss of colourful illusion manifests itself as “gray” throughout the novel, where motifs such as wealthy but unhappy Jordan Baker’s eyes are repeatedly described as “gray”. Grey is used to describe the contrast between the rich and the poor, who are silver and grey respectively.
“Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight.”
I struggle to see grey like this, as a lack or loss of colour, as a flat dull surface.
Maybe it’s living in Scotland, where grey is hard to escape from day to day, but I see it as being so versatile and multi faceted. Grey sky can mean a whole range of colours, shapes and weathers.
Grey has depth and tone that is extremely difficult to achieve with another colour without changing the hue.
It is a perfect vessel for texture, highlighting surface character, edges, curves, corners and wrinkles. Grey is a generous colour, giving life and vibrancy, lending drama and excitement to a simple or flat tone; creating economy and minimalism.
At Uist Wool we don’t dye our yarns; we don’t have the facilities to. Instead, we make use of the natural shading that comes from the variety of sheep breeds that we handle. The deep dark browns of the Hebridean and Zwartbles sheep forms the colour of most of our greys, where the variety comes in the proportion to white (mostly from Cheviot) in the blending stages.
The result is a range of yarns that mirror the Hebridean landscape, showing tone and variety that lend themselves to make stunning garments. The differences in the yarns may seem subtle, but we know them intimately, from the rich bronze of Phaibeil, to the stoney blue of Sìth, the beauty is in the detail.