4. Horseback Brown

Today we meet the rich toasty tones of Horseback Brown.

Horeback Brown and coffee grounds

So close in colour to the rich deep roast of my morning coffee…

Rich roasted brown coffee

…or the thick canvas tunic I’ve taken to wearing with such joy every day. The winter 2023 uniform for Felix.

Skein of brown yarn on thick cotton canvas fabric of the same hue

It’s the greenish brown of leaves and leaf mould; of seaweed and peat bogs; of chocolate and coffee; of molasses and stout.
The colour of dark tannins in the water. This brown gives me a kind of life, a kind of thrill.
It makes me want to dig my hands into mud and smell that good clean smell.

Horseback brown and leaves

Horseback brown and leaves

Horseback brown and leaves

Horseback brown and leaves

Horseback brown and leaves

Horseback brown and leaves

The darkest wooden parts of my most well-used spoons, and a smudge of darkness in a special spoon made from the heartwood of our walnut tree in Reading are the colour of Horseback brown.

wooden spoons and horseback brown

I see Horseback brown in the darkened tips of teasels…

Horseback brown and teasels

Horseback brown and teasels

…and in certain mossy patches, seen in Devon on damp summery walks taken there in 2021.

Mossy patch in Dartmoor, the colour of Horseback brown

On cold wintry days in Reading, where the sun hangs hard and low in the sky, I remember finding the world rich and restorative with Horseback brown. There can seem to be a lot less colour around in the UK in winter, but if you tune into the pleasures of the browns, there are caramel mocha bulrush wet leaf feather brown rainbows to be savoured.

Horseback brown waters filled with bulrushes

Horseback brown waters filled with bulrushes

Brown bulrushes against the winter light

tiny brown gosling on rich brown Earth

In the blue waters of the lake at the Reading University Gardens, you’ll find Horseback brown branches reflected there like gleaming precious metals, shimmering on the surface.

Horseback brown branches reflected on the water

…And on some beaches in Shetland, you’ll find the blue sky gleaming on the sand beside long strands of Horseback brown seaweed.

Beach on Shetland with seaweed and seabirds

I know it’s Horseback brown and not Sheepback brown… but doesn’t the colour also remind you of this handsome fellow? Spotted at the Shetland ram sale up at the marts, in 2015.

Horseback brown coloured ram

Not just sheep, but also sheep bells; this one from Dartmoor, held in the collection of the Museum of English Rural Life.

brown sheep bell in the colour of Horseback brown

Horseback brown strikes me as such an emphatic colour. Of metal and wood, of earth and leaves, of seaweed and coffee.
For me it is warmth in winter, cosy pockets and strong wood.

Horseback brown yarn shade photographed beside a lovely old wooden barrel

Horseback brown and barrel

Where does Horseback brown take you?

These posts coincide with the KDD & Co. Colour Compass advent calendars. Each day, throughout December I’ll be opening my calendar beside you, and exploring the yarn shade that is revealed for that day. Read more about these posts here, and prepare for a few weeks of polychromatic fun as we discover the shades together and revel in their suggestive associations and creative possibilities together! Even if you don’t have a calendar, I hope you’ll love exploring colours with me, and thinking about each shade as it appears, and how it is connected with the everyday colours of your life.

12 thoughts on “4. Horseback Brown

  1. Whoa, lady! If there’s an award for Best Promotion of Yarn, you win it hands down. This is the most beautiful series you’ve done yet! Thank you!

  2. I opened this days yarn package with such glee! I see this color on my daily walks in my woods, in the rich loom that carries me. I see it too in my daily ritual of coffee making! It too reminds me of cozy times by the fire, sipping hot cocoa and maybe savoring a rich dark chocolate tart!

    1. Oh my gosh, Felix, I just love you!
      Your descriptions of Kate’s yarn these last 4 days is so wonderful and your photographs are fabulous. I can’t begin to tell you how much your writing has pulled me out of a dark hole I have recently been dwelling in. You find such joy in the world and it really helps me to see it, too.
      I am so grateful for so much of what you do and say and you express it.
      Thank you, Felix

      1. Aw thanks Diane, I am so happy if my writing and my pictures have helped in any way – working on these posts has been positive for me as well. Thanks for your lovely comment, you’ve really made my day <3

  3. I walk through the gardens at the University of Reading most weeks. I will tune in to the “caramel mocha bullrush wet leaf feather brown rainbows”. Sounds positively scrumptious.

    1. YES! Look out for this – the light needs to be right, but it’s so good when things align and the browns + bright sunlight bring this beauty into being!!!

  4. The Horseback brown reminds of a beautiful deep loam, that is so rich and perfect for nurturing little seeds to expand and grow when the time is right.

  5. I love your views on the different colours and admit that brown has never been and will never be one of my favorites. But your pictures and words really opened my eyes and I can see Horseback Brown completely different now.

  6. It’s a lovely colour and really rich and warm. Although I haven’t the yarn in my hands, with your subscription and photos I can see what the yarn can do. Chapeau

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