Crafting Trends: Chartreuse

Crafting Trends: Chartreuse

Chartreuse is everywhere this year!  This vibrant shade of yellow-green is as quirky as it is distinctive.  "Chartreuse the color" is named after "chartreuse the liqueur," an herbal concoction which was first produced by a group of monks in the 1730s.  This spicy-sweet liqueur is one of the signature drinks of New Orleans, and brings to mind Tolouse LeTrec's Paris of the 1800s, can-can girls and all.

"Chartreuse the liqueur" comes in two varieties, green and yellow.  The same is true of "chartreuse the color," which is part of its charm.  Both chartreuse green and chartreuse yellow can be reminiscent of the New Wave 80s, with their eye-searing "pop" of neon color. 

Chartreuse is also a classic color from the 1950s and 1960s - think FiestaWare.  Chartreuse and aqua is one of the signature colors of the 50s and 60s, particularly when mixed together in a paisley print. Amy Butler uses this combination, often with desaturated versions of both, in many of her popular fabric prints.

But milder shades of both colors edge towards other interesting colors, taming chartreuse's acidic side.  Green chartreuse leans towards olive green and citron green.  Yellow chartreuse often winds its way towards a fresh pear green.  In between this mini spectrum you can find compelling shades of color which have no proper name (yet).

I recently encountered chartreuse in the magazine ad pictured above.  I don't actually know what Vera Bailey is, or sells, but the color combination in the ad is striking.  It demonstrates the two very conflicting effects of pairing chartreuse with black versus with white. 

Chartreuse and white is a cool, elegant combination.  It reminds me of Martha Stewart, but with a little extra kick to it.  Martha's palette is rarely so assertive as to include chartreuse. 

When paired with black, even the mildest shade of chartreuse really pops.  This is a combination which brings us back to the New Wave day-glo fad.  It is perhaps best saved for small doses, like the small broach that the little girl is wearing on her shirt.

Chartreuse can also go well with turquoise, as you can see in these beautiful felted Christmas ornaments.

The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, has been knitting a Laminaria shawl in a shade of yarn which appears chartreuse in her photographs.  (Although when I look at the color card on the Blue Moon Fiber Arts website, it looks much more olive green.) 

The combination of a high-energy color like chartreuse with a large traditional lace shawl pattern like Laminaria is bold, to say the least.  And an excellent antidote to those who feel that lace shawls are a little too "little old lady" for their tastes.  Imagine a chartreuse lace shawl over a black outfit!  Love it!

Chartreuse is all about the zing, that unexpected delight in a color you wouldn't ordinarily pick.  The next time you're casting about for new craft supplies, go bold!  Try a little chartreuse, and see if it doesn't perk up your project!