5. Asphodel

Asphodel yarn pictured here with bright orange berries, persimmon, brightly-coloured washi tape and Toft alpaca fluffy pom pom

Today’s shade is Asphodel – maybe after the flower known sometimes as red hot poker; Or after bog asphodel.

Looking through my photos I remember a stand of trees in Reading whose fiery, Asphodel-esque colour in winter was an annual delight…

Bright orange trees against the sky in Reading

Hen with gingery plumage and red hot wattle

…and the plumage of a pedigree hen spotted at the Royal Berkshire agricultural fair several years back. So hot and gingery! So bright! So beaky!
I see Asphodel, too, in the big foghorn attached to the lighthouse at Sumburgh Head…

Foghorn on the lighthouse on Sumburgh Head

…in the mill bobbins at John Arbon Textiles mill…

John Arbon mill bobbins in Asphodel orange

…and in the joyous edging of a beach-hut, near to where we live now.

Beach hut with Asphodel edging

Bringing Asphodel out and about with me, I find a gas canister. Balancing Asphodel against its glowy orange surface, I appreciate how flecks here and there – a touch of blue, a chipped off bit where you can see the grey – speak to the neps and flecks in this ball of yarn. Also, fortuitously, some reaction between weather and paint has marred the surface of the canister with a blur of yellow. Seeing this beside my yarn shows me there’s yellow in there, too.

Looking brings its own chromatic pleasures, things to see I didn’t know were there.
Layers to Asphodel, revealed by the surface of a gas canister in the winter sun.

Asphodel and the gas canister - layers to the oranger

Asphodel and the gas canister - layers to the oranger

Asphodel and the gas canister - layers to the oranger

Asphodel and the gas canister - layers to the oranger

From my kitchen window I see stinking iris berries around the edges of our garden, planted by the folks who lived here before us. They are a splash of brightness, food for the birds, perhaps quite like Asphodel?

Asphodel and stinking iris berries

Asphodel and stinking iris berries

Asphodel and stinking iris berries

Asphodel and stinking iris berries

Indoors they appear more red than my ball of Asphodel yarn; other things I gather from round and about – a persimmon; a lovely roll of red and orange washi tape; a TOFT alpaca pompom – are also not quite the thing. They’re not quite Asphodel… but they also are?

This colour sits somewhere between red and orange; a fun bright place to play and look.

Asphodel with stinking iris berries, persimmon, washi tape and fluffly alpaca pompom

Asphodel with persimmon and fluffly alpaca pompom

Asphodel with stinking iris berries, persimmon, washi tape and fluffly alpaca pompom

Asphodel instinctively makes me think of spices: of the yellow of turmeric, the hot reddish orange of paprika. But after extensive checking, I find the only one in the kitchen that’s a true match is Aldi’s specially selected smoky chipotle seasoning.

Asphodel and specially selected msoked chipotle seasoning

Flicking through a favourite Ladybird book called “sounds” I remember reading about the importance of reddish orange to the varnish for violins…

Asphodel and orange violin in Ladybird book

…and the associations of orange red mean I can’t resist taking a photo of Asphodel with another Ladybird book illustration of a volcano, even though this looks more yellow-orange and less red-orange, to me.

Asphodel and volcano

There are so many things I’ve noticed about this colour while adventuring with it. How nicely it plays with other oranges. How many things are not quite this colour, but leap out just like it does. How many times I seem to find it in the company of blue. How much the little neps and flecks enrich it.

What has contemplating Asphodel done for 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.

2 thoughts on “5. Asphodel

  1. I am soo an orange person! There are times in my life where I gravitate towards certain colors and last year it was this color…blaze orange if you will. I live in the deep woods of Maine and from October till December it’s hunting season, so we all wear blaze orange. Of course being a sewer and a knitter, my wardrobe is full of this color. This particular shade with all the lovely nibs of blue and green is really nice. I’m thinking I need a vest in this very color.

  2. Thank you so much for doing this series. It makes me feel warm inside and the joy of seeing the color in your world inspires me to look in my own neck of the woods for the beauty in simplicity

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