12. Smirr

Smirr in the bluey silver sky

When I look up the meaning of the name for today’s yarn shade, the internet tells me Smirr is “a Scottish word to describe a fine, drifting rain or drizzle. A smirr (or smur in parts of England) is so light it seems like a mist or smoke”. I can certainly imagine this yarn shade on a day of lace-weight rain, where the sky is somewhere between grey and blue. Yet on the day when I go out and about with my ball of Smirr, there’s barely a cloud about, and all my associations are with non-rainy things.

Smirr out and about in St. Leonards-on-sea

That’s the beauty of this adventures with colours: taking each shade and finding our own way with it; relating it to our own lives and memories; seeing where the shade itself takes us, and what it helps us to see and notice on the way.

No rainclouds here, but the winter sky feels greyer than the summer one, and the sea is a great silver mirror to it all.

Smirr and the sea

Smirr coloured sea and sky

Smirr and the sky above the beach

On the ground, big boulders of Norwegian granite – imported to try and prevent the erosion of the shingle – are a lovely match to Smirr.

Smirr on the beach, beside a big granite rock

Would you like to play WHERE’S MY SMIRR?

Smirr hiding in the boulders

Smirr, hiding in amongst the blue grey boulders

Smirr, hiding in amongst the blue grey boulders

Smirr, hiding in amongst the blue grey boulders

Smirr also fits right in amongst the rocks and shingle on the shore, reminding me that so many things we think of as grey (like stones and pebbles) are full of other colours, too.

Pebbles on the beach

For example, tarmac (asphalt if you’re in the US) reads as grey until you tune into it, and realise how many shades of blue, green, and even pink can be found when looking at our roads with curiosity and wonder (see Tarmac Tuesdays for more of this idea).

I see Smirr in the sky and tarmac on volumes 2. and 3. of the Shetland Wool Adventures Journal.

Smirr matching the blueish tarmac on the road, on the cover of the Shetland Wool Adventures Journal, Vol. 2

Smirr matching the blueish tarmac on the road, on the cover of the Shetland  Wool Adventures Journal, Vol. 2

Earlier this week, I spoke of how rummaging in my stash of scrap denim pieces for patching gave me no nice examples of Tarbet. But here on the inside surface of one piece, and in its blue-grey selvedge, I spy Smirr!

Inside part of denim - a blue grey colour - pictured here with Smirr

None of my washi tapes are an exact match, but I think these shades of bluey-grey – and a tiny little watercolour wallet made by my friend Caro for storing precious memories – are definitely related to this silvery grey-blue shade.

Smirr and bits of precious washi tape in adjacent shades

Smirr and apposite washi tapes

Other things I found that look SMIRR-Y to my eyes include:

Smirr-coloured Macaron

…a macaron!…

Seal peeping out of Smirr-coloured water

…a sleek silvery blue grey seal peeping his head up out of the water at Minn, my favourite Shetland beach…

Smirr sky and grasses

…the winter sky seen through some grasses, in Reading…

Smirr-coloured silver blue evening sky with palm tree

…and a magical blush of Smirr through the winter dusk, seen from our new garden here in St. Leonards.

Smirr has taken me on a journey through light, water and sky; in this photo, what I like is that Smirr seems to reflect the late afternoon light in the same way as the sea. What has your little orb of silver blue shown you?

Smirr on the beach, reflecting the light the same way as the water

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.

5 thoughts on “12. Smirr

  1. Laceweight Rain – I think these will be my favourite words from the Advent Calendar.

    Thank you for your daily dose of colour love and the new ways to look at them.

  2. As usual, great associations. This color always seems to fit into different color work colorways for me. I’m excited to see how Eyebright will fit in. Thank you for your lovely insights.

  3. Our local word for smirr is mizzle, a portmanteau of mist and drizzle. Smirr sounds significantly wetter. (It was in Scotland that I learned that it could rain upwards – my rain poncho didn’t protect me nearly as much as expected.)

    1. I use mizzle too; when we walked the West Highland Way back in 2010, I think we learnt how all-pervasive the Scottish rain can be! But lots of rainbows is the upside of all that rain as well.

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