The Problem With Purple

I know, I know… it’s hard to imagine there could be a problem with such a lovely color. It has so many appealing shades, from bright red-ish tones all the way to that amazing deep velvety color which is nearly black.

It’s wondrous. I love it. I have tons of it.

But sheesh, is it ever hard to photograph!

OK, lets just back the bus up, shall we?

I finally, finally started the last project for Year of Lace 2009. The kit included a huge (1000 yards) skein of Curious Creek Fibers Meru, a blend of 51% wild tussah silk 49% merino dyed in an amazing colorway called Purple Martin. See how pretty?

Curious Creek Fibers - Meru

You would not believe how many photos I took to get this one image that nearly shows the true color. Even so I had to tweak the contrast a bit, and I’m still not completely happy with it.

Also in the kit was a little bag of clear beads with a cobalt blue lining. They completely refused to be photographed well, no matter what I tried. Maybe they’re just shy. Or stubborn.

This pattern in called Belle Nuit, and it was designed by the most amazing Sivia Harding. The pictures made me woozy with delight, but as I was hip-deep in a volunteer project which took over my life completely, I put it away for seven months. I still can’t believe I held out for that long. I need to learn to set some boundaries!

Finally, last week, I knit my gauge swatch. And then I tried to photograph it. For two hours. Two hours, people… it took less time to knit the thing!

Belle Nuit, Guage Swatch

You’ll just have to trust me… those beads just pop. The clear part grabs the light, and the cobalt just glows. They’re the perfect beads for the project, but they’re shy… or stubborn. Or I just can’t take good photos.

Belle Nuit Beginning

These photos are a prime example of why so many of the sample knitting in publications is done in light yarn. Obviously, I need to seek the advice of better photographers than myself with regards to getting these materials to show off for the camera. For now, you’re just going to have to suspend your disbelief and nod wisely, “Oh yes, goodness me! So pretty!”

Or something like that.

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11 Responses to The Problem With Purple

  1. TheBon says:

    Purple is hard because it’s on the far end of the visible spectrum. White balance is possibly your problem, but you can help to skew the tone of an image based on the background color. The compliment of a color can help it seem more itself (like for this, an orangey-yellow might be helpful). As to how to get good photos of the knitting? Good light. Indirect if possible (you can rubberband a piece of wax paper over a light to help difuse it, just make sure that you don’t put the paper up against the bulb.) Although sometimes lace details need stronger light than regular. (Can you tell I spend a lot of time with my camera?)

  2. KT says:

    Looking forward to seeing it in person one of these Mondays.

  3. drkknits says:

    oh yum. it looks just DIVINE! the only way i can get good pictures is outside really, inside light just seems to make false colours or makes my camera flash. but these are great pictures anyway. look forward to seeing the finished thing!

  4. Anna says:

    I hate when colours come out all wrong. But you know what? I realize most of the ones looking at the pictures are struggling just as I am and therefore knows about the difficulties to photograph red, black and purple…

    I’ll take your word on it being a lovely colour and that the beads are amazing! 🙂

  5. Rose Red says:

    it looks so lush, that pattern in that yarn. Yum!

    I have the same problem trying to photograph purple – and red too.

  6. Sara says:

    Purple is evil, as is red! Even when I do fancy things with my camera setting custom white balance my camera still struggles. It is a lovely lovely color – I have a soft spot in my heart for purple!

  7. donna lee says:

    Well, whether the color is true or not, the piece looks beautiful. I was never a huge fan of beaded knitting but lately I’ve seen some examples that are rapidly making me change my mind.

    And yes, boundaries are necessary.

  8. alwen says:

    Ah, yes, the elusive purple! I have New England asters, and every fall I struggle trying to get an accurate shot of their color.

  9. Chandler says:

    Well, it looks lovely regardless! I’d agree with the advice to take it outside. I find that overcast days are great for showing color, because you have plenty of natural light outside, but the light is diffused, which will eliminate any unwanted contrast or color changes. That purple will just glow outside!

  10. Bells says:

    Purple and red are so hard!! I’ve found in the past that including something like the yarn label etc, to break it up, helps a bit but mostly it just turns out blue or not the right purple.

    So glad you’re still going with your 2009 projects!

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