Orange you glad to see me*

crab apples

While the hedgerows are bursting full of fruit (and lovely vitamin C) I’m trying to harvest what I can into jellies and syrups.

In a way I’m almost pleased the blackberries didn’t seem to do so well this year because if not I think I’d have over looked the rosy jeweled bounty that’s even closer to home.  Long hedges of hawthorn all intermingled with wild rose bushes, then small wildings appearing from all the prickles, branches full of apples in what seem to be 101 different varieties.  Although there are a few “true” crab or scrub apple trees near by (Malus pumila …very mean and grouchy looking little apples) I prefer to use these glorious almost oval shaped ones in the picture, all rosy and coral coloured though I’m not sure their full genus.

I’m very lucky in that when I’m foraging I’m completely away from any traffic, it’s all pedestrian areas so when I’m clambering around through a hedge looking somewhat like Catweazle, I often get stopped by dog walkers and people with children asking me what I’m picking, what I’m going to make.  I never mind telling anyone who asks and will happily offer plums and cherries to taste and advise good places to go.  I really love it when children look interested as I have lovely memories of going blackberry picking with my sisters and feel sad if children miss out on that.

Anyway, I seemed to spend most of yesterday chopping and prepping and cooking apples, rosehips (including hips from lovely fat and round apple roses), rowan berries and haws to make the most fantastic and bright amber coloured jellies and syrups, and while I was chopping and listening to the radio I began thinking just how much I like the colour orange.

tree in our neighbours garden

Last years Autumn leaf change was spectaular, persimmon and flame, marigold and tangerine, pumpkin patch orange and deep amber…..each morning’s walk either down to the post box, popping into the shops or just stretching my legs for half an hour or so over the marshes was a real treat….on a morning filled with sunshine, Autumn leaves come ablaze and those lovely bright orangey colours seem to be everywhere you look.

At the time it inspired me somewhat with my wardrobe and made me covet a pair of orange shoes after spotting a pair in a local shop.

orange floral print dress

And while I haven’t bought a pair of orange shoes quite yet (thought I still want a pair to wear with the brightest blue tights so I think it’s only a matter of time) over the past year or so there’s been some orangey additions in my wardrobe, the latest being a “dottie angel” style dress I made in the Summer with fabric from John Lewis (it was in the sale and with the alterations I made to the pattern I only needed a metre and a half so felt very happy).

I like wearing it with either an orange cardigan or a pale blue one as orange and blue has become one of my favourite colour combinations.

more nine square patches

Generally when I’m crocheting it’s never long before little bursts of orange begin to creep in amongst the other colours, though I’m quite fussy about the particular orange I like….the orange in the picture above was on a cone in a charity shop and was about a pound if that, I have to double up the yarn when I use it as it’s a bit skinny, but I don’t like the other acryllic oranges that I’ve seen and find this is bright without making my eyes hurt.

orange tapestry wool

But mostly when I’m crocheting I now prefer to use tapestry wool, although I really only tend to buy it second hand ( a bag here, a bag there from junk shops and charity shops, jumbles and car boots, I’m often spoilt for choice when I tumble all the wool out together on the table…) the wool makes those tangerine and marigold tones somewhat softer, warmer, colours that seem at first a bit on the bright side, blend quite happily.

oh Bernard what big paws you have

Probably the best example of colours working together, blending in and not taking over is my Grannie’s Paerweight blanket (and yes I’m still sewing in the woolly tails on the tail…) bright golds and salmon tones, pumpkins and carrot oranges are all there but seem to mingle in quite nicely amongst warmer browns and fawns.  Along with the orange and browns I’ve also used orange and blue together, and orange and grey, using a few different shades of both to add plenty of depth and interest.There’s even a few fiery orange and vermillion and scarlet hexagons.

I’m not sure if Bernard is a fan of orange himself but once it starts getting chilly, he’s never far away from the blanket.


I bought this wool last year, in part to make a scarf inspired by Autumn leaves, but must confess it was the colour more than anythng else that made the wool choice although the wool is so soft and is one of those ones where it is very hard not to just stand in the shop and keep squidging or rubbbing it against your face….I’m still working out the best pattern for it and although I’ve got 3 skeins am thinking perhaps I will need to buy more.  I like a nice big scarf, one that can be flung around my shoulders so I’m all bundled up nicely (and will happily sit like this on the sofa and not turn the heating on)…but I love this particular colour so much that I feel it’s almost going to be the colour itself I’m all bundled and wrapped in.

new album

Although I haven’t worked very much on the patchwork for my “dear ethel” quilt this year, it’s never very far from my thoughts, odd patches are pinned up on a board above my work table (in part because the little blocks make me smile, and also if they were tucked away until the quilt gets completed I’d be going a long old while without seeing them…and also having them there makes me think I need to crack on and get more sewn )….

When I look back at them I see certain colour combinations turning up again and again, although each block is different and each combination of print is different, certain colours  just make me happy so much more than others and although I think pink and yellow is possibly the most used combination, there are also a lot of pairings with orange.

swamp angel

I know that some of my print and colour choices aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and if it was an all over quilt then I’d be right there with you, but in a six inch block I think you can get away with what looks like picking things from “the dressing up box”.

I don’t know why but I’m always drawn to orange prints in my local quilt shop or if I’m looking on-line…when I was chosing fabrics for the quilts for Peggy and Pearl in the Spring I really had to rein my love of orange in, knowing that it’s not for eveyone.

selection of mini blocks 005

I love the opportunities for mixing colour in patchwork…small and tiny flecks of colour in one print (the little orange flowers on the floral print) can be picked out and used on a larger scale. This is also how I get dressed in the morning, picking out a colour from a dress print no matter how small to then wear as the accompanying cardigan.

mrs bryan and others 025

The same colour combination of orange and blue but in different fabrics.  I find the use of orange stops some patches looking a bit cold and pale.

hexagons and ethel 002

Orange and brown just makes me think of my tummy…chocolate and orange cake, toffee apples, orange creams, Jaffa Cakes and Terry’s chocolate oranges (which I only seem to see in the shops at Christmas for which my waistline should be thankful)…..

piecing a dresden plate 032

Even when I was making my dresden plate patchwork I couldn’t help myself and there’s barely a “plate” sewn together that didn’t have at least one orange section.  Whenever I up-turn and empty out a scrap box there’s always pieces of orange fabric that seem to be at the front of the queue waiting to be used in whatever patchwork I’m sewing.

beth 003

A few years ago my friend Beth (who is the most incredible artist and who I’ve mentioned before on my blog) made this little doll of me, she sits on one of our bookselves.  At the time Beth made it she said she knew I didn’t have an orange scarf but that was the colour wool she just had to hand….and now I’m thinking…it’s just the same orange as the wool I’m waiting to knit up into a scarf.   There have been days when I’ve left the house and my makeup has looked just like this (my excuse is that I was in a rush).

Now I’m back to the kitchen to bubble up and boil amber coloured juices with sugar for syrups (we’re both a bit sniffly so hope it’s not the start of a cold)…downstairs smells lovely, soft fruity aromas from apples and roses with the faintest spicey hint of star anise and clove.

*possibly the best Knock knock joke becaue it’s so rubbish.


10 thoughts on “Orange you glad to see me*

  1. I love orange so this post had me smiling all the way through. You have made me think of some different colour combinations with it too. I have an aqua, orange and brown scarf/shawl idea in my head that is now screaming to be made.

    1. Hoorah for orange…I used to associate it with those sort of “George and Mildred” style clothes relatives wore when I was growing up but now I love it.
      Your scarf/shawl sounds amazing, are you knitting or crocheting?

      1. A lady afer my own heart…I really struggle with knitting although the fog seems to be lifting, finally was able to understand proper knitting lingo psso, yf,kI etc and have been trying to practise although I need a very quiet house woth no distractions, but actually having a hole in my knitting on purpose felt rather wonderful!
        I think you should go for both shawls, have you used Artesano wool, I made a “dottie angel” style scarf last year using their dk and it was so wonderful to crochet, very soft, warm and a nice range of colours x

      2. Sounds lovely, I am trying to use different yarns so appreciate the recommendation 🙂 Wrt knitting – I once managed to knit a flower with leaves yet failed completely when it came to a simple scarf!

      3. I really like Jamiesons of Shetland wool as it comes in heaps of colours and once my knitting has improved I’d like to splurge and buy some from them for a fairisle jumper to wear with plus twos (on my list of things I’d like to make)….I’m practising lace knitting at the mo while Bernard is supervising.
        A rule I try to apply to both crochet and knitting is using really nice hooks and needles (Brittany is my favourite, they look and feel beautiful, and are a pleasure to use) and nice wool….

      4. I am going to have to try the wool and the hooks too! I started crocheting with acrylic for baby items but I am definitely leaning towards wool and cotton now. I love fairisle jumpers.

  2. I love this post. I dress in Autumn colours a lot in the winter, oranges, rust, browns, mustard. I always love your colour combos, the blue and orange is beautiful and I can just imagine the orange dottie angels dress with some blue tights and orange shoes 🙂 x

    1. OOh yes I like mustard too, I had a nice pair of mustard tights I wore with red shoes (much to the horror of my boyfriend) but then I put my hand right through them .
      About the only colour I don’t wear is purple though I have a purple tweed handbag which holds my crochet, Werthers Originals and anything else I need (but I don’t carry it when I’ve got my basket or I really do look like Miss Marple)
      Your Autumn colours sound lovely x

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