A Forest Green Jacket


Choosing yarn online is a tricky business, as many of you will know. Colours can look very different on a computer screen than in real life. I had forest green in mind for a jacket for our grandson. You know, that deep, fairly dark, leafy green. The yarn did look lighter and, well, different on my screen, but it was called ‘forest green’, so I thought it would be all right and ordered it.

When it arrived, it was not what I had in mind, and very much what it had looked like on the computer screen. Oh, well, it was a nice colour for a little boy anyway.

The last time I wrote about the jacket, I said that I ‘only’ needed to knit the hood. Well, the hood was almost as big as the rest of the cardigan.

I finished the knitting on Saturday afternoon and started weaving in the ends and seaming. It is getting dark early at this time of year and for work like this I need to switch the lights on at around three.

While I was seaming and sipping tea, I meditated on the term ‘forest green’. How could the yarn producer have such a different idea about it from what I had in mind? My Oxford Dictionary defines forest green as ‘any of various shades of green associated with forests’. Not very helpful. Googling it, I found out that on various websites about colour, ‘forest green’ is indeed the shade of the yarn, and that what I have always thought of as forest green is generally called ‘dark olive’.

In a colour story about forest green on the Artists’ Network, I found this painting from the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum:

The accompanying text said: ‘In a sense, the name “forest green” is a misnomer, because as artists well know, leaves and mosses are never a single color, much less a single value. Nevertheless, forest green does evoke the overall impression of foliage […] When the color finds its way into domestic spaces, it can lend a degree of earthiness and calm. This connection with nature is apparent in Still Life With Teapot, Cup and Fruit by Émile Bernard (1868–1941), in which the colors of the man-made objects seem to take their cue from the color of the fruit.’

Earthiness and calm – that sounds like a good thing for a baby jacket.

On Sunday, my husband was out on an excursion and I was home alone. A good moment to finish the seaming and sew on the buttons. It was a lovely, sunshiny day. Too lovely to spend indoors entirely, so I went for a bicycle ride as well.

Still shocked by the realisation that I’ve had a different mental image of this shade of green from the rest of the world all my life, I saw what I now know is ‘forest green’ everywhere. On a church door…

… on the lid of a wheelie bin…

… and on every bicycle route sign I passed.

For me, it’s still more like garden-and-kitchen-waste-wheelie-bin-lid-green or bicycle-route-sign-green than the colour of a forest, grumble, grumble. (I’m very much attached to my own mental image of forest green.)

It won’t make any difference to our grandson, though. His favourite colours are still those of his Mum and Dad’s eyes. As long as the jacket is soft and warm, he’ll be happy with it. And it certainly is that.

For any of you with babies and toddlers to knit for, here are a few useful details:

  • Pattern: Little Pixie Jacket (here on Ravelry)
  • Size made: 74-80/12-18 months (our grandson is only 7 months old, but he’s a big boy)
  • Yarn: Garnstudio Drops ‘Merino Extra Fine’, 7 skeins, colour 31 Forest Green
  • Needles: 4.0 mm/US 6

Knitter’s notes:

  • The sleeves are knit on to the body by casting on stitches at the sides. They have both underarm seams and seams on the top.
  • I put the sleeve and hood stitches on holders (old circular knitting needles) and used the 3-needle bind-off instead of seaming them.
  • Having knit this jacket before, I knew that the sleeves were waaay to long and made them a size smaller this time.
  • The hood is very warm and cosy for babies still lying down in their prams or strollers. For toddlers sitting up or walking, I think the hood will be too heavy and cumbersome hanging down the back.
  • The hood has a garter edging that is folded to the outside. The pattern says to only attach it at the bottom on both sides, but that won’t keep it in place. I attached it with invisible stitches all around.

Thank you for your patience with my forest green grumblings. Have a lovely weekend and see you next week!

14 thoughts on “A Forest Green Jacket”

  1. Hij is echt prachtig geworden! En ja, groen, maar op het scherm bij mij thuis is het een mooie groen hoor! Niks mis mee. Ook al snap ik je wel hoor. Bos-groen.

    • Dank je! Het is echt een leuk en fijn jasje voor een baby. Mijn vader droeg altijd bosgroen; tenminste dat dachten we. Blijkt het donker olijf te zijn. Hij had helemaal niks met olijven, maar wel met bos. Nee, ik hou gewoon mijn eigen idee van bosgroen aan.

  2. Green is the weirdest thing…when you look at any green space, you can see that there are more hues, tones, and shades of green than anything else. That said, I think of forest green as deeper, darker, and slightly different than your yarn. But that little jacket is sweet, big hood and all. (Hoods are always SO big.)

    I love the sentiment behind the words, “His favourite colours are still those of his Mum and Dad’s eyes.” How poetic!

    In any event, he will surely stay warm and look like a little forest sprite (just not a forest green one).

    • Ah, you seem to have the same idea of forest green as me. I don’t think I’ve ever knit anything with a hood before. The hood needs to be big to fit around a baby’s head, and it isn’t a problem now. But when he gets bigger, I don’t think I’ll knit things with hoods again. Thank you for your lovely words!

  3. I think that I might have the same mental image of forest green as you do – but it’s really hard to tell because each of the pictures show a slight variation of green – I like the last picture – I think that reflects closest to what I think is forest green.

    Cute jacket – sorry the color wasn’t what you thought it would be.

    • You’re right, the jacket’s green looks different in every single photograph I took. It’s always hard to capture colours correctly, but this green seemed to be playing games with me. All in all, I am happy with how the jacket turned out, even if it isn’t exactly what I had in mind.

  4. Ha, ha, colors are really in the eye of the beholder! I have a lovely blanket in a dark rose/blush/fuchsia shade. So I call it pink (or rather, rosa in Swedish). My sister refuses to acknowledge its rosiness. She calls it purple!

    Anyway, your green jacket is just lovely.

    • Absolutely! To me purple is something different entirely from your ‘rosa’. We always have discussions about tealy and turquoise blues/greens. What to me looks green, to my husband and daughter often looks blue. Maybe some people’s eyes really do send different messages to their brains about colours from other people’s. Maybe we really see the world differently in that respect. An interesting thought. All the grumbles about the green aside, I am really happy with how the jacket turned out.

  5. Reading your post is a delight! you are so right about the color values as seen on a computer screen, and how different they are as seen in real life.
    I, like you, think of forest green as much darker and saturated. You’ve reminded me to pay more attention to the “50 shades of green”(!!!!!) as I wander around the neighborhood!
    Sending warm wishes to your grand baby as he enters the season of cold weather, yet protected by the warm hug that his Grammy has lovingly knit for him.

    • And at this time of year it is not just shades of green around here, but also reds, yellows, oranges… I’m smiling reading your comment, and waving at you across the pond.

  6. Even if the green is not what you had in mind, it is a very beautiful little jacket, and perfectly knit too!

    • Dit is echt zo’n ideaal jasje. Het is al de tweede die ik maak. Mocht je nog een kleinkind hebben in de maat 0-4 jaar, dan is het echt een aanrader. De capuchon is heel behaaglijk.

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