Having a Moment With: Burnt Orange

Having a moment: a little ode to the things I’m currently captivated by. In theory, with some relation to knitting.

All the orange yarns! From top left: Small batch YOTH Neighbor, dyed by Fiber & Hue, in Bronze; mYak Baby Yak Medium in Mustard (just waiting to become a Presidio, since I was kind to all of you lovely folks and did not buy every last skein of it at Stitches); The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers Craggy Tweed in Porch Pumpkin; Fiber & Hue Well Rounded Fingering in Gorange; Stone Wool American Cormo in Osage 02; Swan’s Island Sterling Worsted in Carnelian; Barrett Wool Co. Wisconsin Woolen Spun in Penny; The Yarn Collective Hudson in Terrapin Pumpkin (perfect for a Cold Spring or a Terrapin Tunic).

So, I’m not noted for being the world’s most “out of the box” thinker when it comes to color. Many of my colleagues will joke (hopefully lovingly?) about the strength of my internal (deeply jewel-toned) color story, and the extent to which, if left to my own devices, I will come home from pretty much every show with yarn that is some form of mallard blue-green, some shade of slightly blue-ish red, off-white, or grey. Sometimes I work with yarn companies on new designs and they pick colors for specific samples, like that one time Brooke Sinnes from Sincere Sheep went totally wild-bunch on me, and there was a kind of purpley burgundy that got involved for a bit, and there was a little while last year when, for reasons that still kind of pass my understanding, almost everything was some kind of blue. But broadly and generally, there’s been an aggressively strong jewel-toned thing going on, with a particularly lean in the directions of reds and teal-ish-things.

And then about six or eight months ago, something kind of shifted. I had originally pitched the sweater that became the Terrapin Tunic in a dark red (…go figure), but Meghan Babin came back to me and asked if I could do it in the Yarn Collective’s Hudson Worsted, a Merino-Yak blend, in a color way called “Terrapin Pumpkin.” The yak fiber in Hudson gives it a gorgeous smoky undertone, regardless of what color it’s dyed in, and adds a beautiful complexity to the the rich, roasted-pumpkin-burnt-orange color. It’s a lovely yarn to work with (after all, I liked it so much that I…designed another sweater in it, and am about to do another one for another publisher), but long after I sent the sweater off, I just couldn’t get that color out of my head.

Which it turns out is great, because that color is now EVERYWHERE, and boy howdy am I here for it. Depending on the yarn maker and the base, it tends to range from more red to more brown or yellow, but always with a distinct warmth and richness to it—there’s no day-glo or neon or kid-like vibe here. And while there is certainly an autumnal vibe to some of these hues, the depth and sophistication and…non-halloweeniness of most of them mean that these are shades that are wearable year round. Paired with crisp, light neutrals (white? light grey?), and always at home with a dark navy, I’m going to stand for this one long after the season of decorative gourds and pumpkin-spice-everything has faded into the rearview mirror.

I’ve collected a few of my favorites above, but I know there are countless other versions of this color out there. What’s your favorite? And perhaps equally importantly, what’s your favorite “orange”-alternative color name?