Happy birthday, Josef Albers

If Josef Albers were alive, he would be celebrating the 124th anniversary of his birth. and while Josef Albers is no longer with us, his legacy lives on in the body of work he created during his life, and his most widely accessible in his book, Interaction of Color.

In the introduction, Albers states, “The aim of such study is to develop — through experience — by trial and error –an eye for color.

Although the error aspect of this method of learning can be time consuming, the trial portion of it can be both enlightening and fun, so today, I continued my own personal quest to develop an eye for color.

The first stop in my study: Square 34 of Jean Leinhauser’s 101 Crochet Squares. Just before sunset yesterday, I had used two colors (Red Heart Classic grenadine in the center, and Red Heart Super Saver lemon) to complete the first four rounds seen here:

granny square textured crochet square
The first four rounds of crochet square 34

Because I have also been working on the Little Boy Blue blanket, I had a number of blues nearby, and settled on Red Heart Super Saver delft for rounds five, six, and seven. Once I had completed round seven, I was loathe to switch colors as shown in the book and instead of doing the final round of single crochet in my “color B” of lemon as directed in the instructions or framing it with my “color A” of grenadine (bringing me back where I started) I elected to continue through to the end with “color C,” deflt:

granny square textured crochet square
Crochet square 34

I liked the result, but as I had spent a good portion of the day running errands and unraveling a formidable yarn tangle in my crochet empire/guest room, I had little time to waste, and with my hook and yarn at the ready, I began work on a spiral square I discovered earlier this month.

Using my 5.0 mm hook, my stash of Red Heart Super Saver yarn, and this pattern, I started by using medium purple for the central spiral which I bordered with a round of soft navy:

crochet spiral circle
Rowena’s spiral crochet square begins to take shape

At this point, my spiral/mandala squared seemed as though it might become a three-dimensional bowl rather than a more two-dimensional motif, but after I added a round of shocking pink to begin squaring the circle, it flattened out a bit:

crochet circle center crochet square
I begin squaring the crochet circle

and when I added the final round of tealeaf, it flattened out further and took on a more familiar motif shape:

crochet spiral center crochet square
I finish the final round of the spiral crochet square

I know that if I had arranged the order of colors of either motif in any one of the different possible permutations, I would have ended up with squares that look very different from the ones I did make.

And it is this opportunity for reinvention that color offers that I find endlessly engaging.

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5 thoughts on “Happy birthday, Josef Albers

  1. This interplay of colour is why I can happily work on the same washcloth pattern for weeks, but changing the colours and needle sizes and I get a whole lot of interest from that.

  2. I think the best thing to ever happen to the standard white or ecru doily was color.

    What I think would be interesting to see with granny squares is using tapestry techniques to colorize specific stitches or stitch groups. The possibilities would be endless!

  3. I like both of them. I would have taken the different road too and stayed with the delft. It makes the center pop more I think.

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