10. Tarbet

Tarbet on the door of a beach hut

Today’s colour is Tarbet. Let’s play another intriguing game of MATCH THE YARN BALL TO THE BEACH HUT, SHALL WE?! This was the closest match that I could find…

Tarbet against a blue beach hut

My first association with Tarbet is of an idea of denim – but it’s not just any old denim colour. Going to my collection of denim scraps, saved for patching, I find that not a single one of them is the denim of my imagination: the deeply saturated, more than navy, touch of green, pleasingly rich, vibrant colour of TARBET.

I’m talking about Tarbet jeans like the ones Muriel wears (with her mostly Tarbet Balmaha sweater) here.

Muriel in Tarbet coloured denim jeans and sweater

Maybe I’m thinking of the rich deep blues of this wonderful Wiltshire smock, said to have been made between 1882 and 1885, and held in the collection of the Museum of English Rural Life.

Closeup of blue linen smock with stitching, in shade very similar to Tarbet

Closeup of blue linen smock with stitching, in shade very similar to Tarbet

Closeup of blue linen smock with stitching, in shade very similar to Tarbet

Closeup of blue linen smock with stitching, in shade very similar to Tarbet

In my mending stash, this box of thread and indigo-dyed fabric is close to the colour.

Tarbet yarn and denim mending things

And I’ve a box in the shape of a button that is also near to Tarbet.

Tarbet yarn and ceramic button shaped box

I’ve also got plenty of records of water that looked very Tarbet-y on certain days, in certain lights. In Portland, off Weymouth…

View from Portland of rocks and Tarbet-coloured sea

…in the grounds (or rather, in the waters) of Reading University…

Baby Goslings in the Reading University grounds

Very blue waters in the Reading University grounds

Moorhen in very blue green lake in Reading University grounds

…and in the seas that swirl around the UK’s most Northern point – Unst, in Shetland.

Unst in Shetland with Tarbet-coloured waters

Unst in Shetland with Tarbet-coloured waters

Such a rich blue. A blue that comes out at you. The kind of blue you only see in the water when the sky is vivid and sun-filled. The kind of blue you find in good strong working clothes that were dyed deeply with indigo.

Ball of Tarbet and mending jeans box of threads and patches

Tarbet has drawn me into a rich search for specificity when speaking about a particular shade; even when I narrow things down to “denim blue”, the idea is too broad. It’s so lovely to pinpoint an exact one from amongst infinite shades – to point to the colour I really mean; The North Atlantic on that day, when the light was just so. My ceramic button box. That beach hut. My friend Muriel’s good jeans. That scrap of fabric. That beach hut in the low winter sun.

closeup of beach hut slats and wood

Where, specifically, in an infinite range of blues, does Tarbet 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.

2 thoughts on “10. Tarbet

  1. Such a gorgeous deep blue. I took an indigo dyeing workshop last summer and this skein matches perfectly one of the garments I dyed. It also matches the denim shirt I am wearing today. As I wear denim shirts approximately 50% of the time that is no mean feat!

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