One of the things I believed about knitting before I learned to knit was that I would never again have trouble finding camel sweaters because I could just make them myself! And then, as I was lamenting the other day, I discovered that camel-colored yarn is harder to come by than it should be. There is truly nothing more classic, versatile or timeless than camel (not even grey!), as demonstrated by these very different looks from very different fashion houses for Pre-Fall 2015: Michael Kors sending out the epitome of the camel sweater over a long-cuffed white shirt and cropped dark jeans with the most amazing coat of all time, all of it very Mad Men; Chloé doing badass chic with a sleek camel turtleneck under a biker jacket with navy flares; See by Chloé showing us camel’s demure side in a simple pullover with an ironic toile skirt and matching handbag; and TSE putting together a more contemporary allover camel look built around a lattice-stitch funnel-neck sweater.
Anyone who doesn’t have a good camel sweater in their closet should knit one post haste, and there really are good camel-colored yarns out there — they’re just not in every yarn company’s palette like I might have imagined. The core, American-wool Quince and Co. yarns (Finch, Chickadee, Lark, Osprey and Puffin) all come in a seemingly perfect shade called Camel. (How did I not see that till now?) Most of the Fibre Company yarns come in some shade of camel — notably, Canopy Fingering and Canopy Worsted in Wild Ginger (a very light camel), worsted-weight Knightsbridge in Goldfirth and bulky Tundra in Larch. Woolfolk has a slightly light-brownish camel in Color 7 of both worsted-weight Far and fingering-weight Tynd. Blue Sky Alpacas fingering-weight Metalico in Gold Dust is one of the prettiest yarns I’ve ever seen. (I have a beloved super-bulky cable hat knit in Blue Sky Bulky in a nice camel that looks like it’s no longer available. So sad!) So they do exist — this is just a small sampling. And perhaps if we all knit with them there will be more added — and fewer removed — from the yarn palettes of the world.
I just finished my camel sweater yesterday! I used your aforementioned Quince & Co. Opsrey and made modified Such a Winter’s Day sweater by Heidi Kirrmaier. I haven’t had a chance to take photos and post to Ravelry yet, but I’m really happy with how it turned out. Camel is so elegant and chic.
I love camel color, but I look terrible in camel color.
Ditto — I actually think it’s not flattering for a lot of people. I do love that look with the jeans, though.
Same here! I’ve sadly given up on camel, beige, ecru, tan, warm neutrals, etc. No single color looks great on every single person.
It’s just a matter of strategic dressing! All that means (it’s true for me, too) is maybe you can’t wear a camel turtleneck. You can wear a pullover as shown in the Kors and See examples above, where there’s a collar of a more flattering color in between the sweater and your face. Or like my very favorite sweater of all time is my camel cable cardigan I’ve had for years. I wear it unbuttoned over whites and brights. Problem solved!
Hmm, I’ll try a collared shirt between a pullover and a sweater next time I’m out shopping and see how that works. Never thought of that! I do have a camel colored wool pencil skirt that I love, so I’m not totally out of the club if that still doesn’t work.
I agree, no camel on the top of me. Make me look ill. Now camel pants are extremely versatile! I can still appreciate the classic dressing though and agree it is a GREAT look.
I think I’ll stick to appreciating camel on the people whose complexions it really flatters (not me!). I guess it’s not a color I feel personally drawn to? Even with the separate-it-from-your-face trick, I always feel blah wearing camel. If I’m going to wear a beige, I’m happier in a green-beige than a gold-beige like camel, and really I’d prefer to just wear olive (or taupe!). There are lots of “classic” colors and styles, and I think we can all pick those that speak to us and make us feel best (e.g., charcoal and red is another classic combo, but I never feel particularly flattered or much like myself while wearing it, so why force it?).
I do like that Michael Kors photo very much, though I’m not sure I would have associated it with camel — I’d probably have called that caramel? But talking about colors is hard. I have to admit, I find the colors in the all-over camel photo a little off-putting… Maybe it’s my screen, but to my eye the sweater and pants have a pinkish undertone, while the coat has more of a yellow undertone, and the combination makes me a bit queasy. I guess I’m very picky about my complex neutrals!
Swans Island Natural Collection has a couple of Camel colors too.
hmmmmm do I sense a camel sweater KAL? wouldn’t that be fun to simply announce a color and see what people come up with ? KAL or no… a camel sweater is next on the list (after the classic cable you posted awhile back… in pink… , pale but… PINK).
I was just telling Anna the other day that I have a craving for a shell pink sweater of some sort.
And I love the idea of a knitalong by color!
Lana Grossa also has a gorgeous cashmere in that color (I should know, it’s part of my I came, I saw, I bought it stash. No idea what to make with it yet)
Also, if you find a shetland sheep farm, or a llama farm, you will most likely find “camel” color. If they do not have yarn made up, you could buy the fleece and send it to a mill yourself to be spun to your specifications. (That way you are supporting a local farm AND you love of knitting! ) I used to have a llama a lovely dark shade of what I called apricot. I would blend her fiber 50/50 with my Romney wool and it produced a lovely “camel” colored yarn. I preferred the llama blending with wool, as llama alone has no resiliency. Alpacas also come in that color. Does anyone else have suggestions for breeds of sheep that are naturally “camel” color? I always prefer working with natural colored fibers when possible.
Or, you could learn to spin and save a LOT of money by doing it yourself. I’m currently making a camel (caramel actually, maybe?) and cream tweedy Hitofude http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/hitofude-cardigan out of hand spun alpaca. I also have one on the needles from rose grey alpaca for my other DIL. The lack of memory/resiliency can be overcome by 1. knitting on smaller needles or 2. choosing a pattern that has enough drape that it accentuates it.
Since my hair has been turning silver, I do pick my browns more strategically. I made a cardigan out of the Metallico Gold Dust (yes, it is to-die-for yarn) and have been eyeing Fibre Co.s, Ginger. Both of those variations of camel work for me. I am also craving a pinkish, dusty shade of brown. Not sure what to call it, but I will know it when I see it.
Love your posts on fashion, Karen. I keep a file on my computer, called “Fashion Stuff” where I stash pix of wardrobe pieces I’d love to have. Sometimes it’s a whole look (like the Michael Kors one here), and sometimes it’s as simple as a detail on a sweater. Thanks for feeding my file!
Ha! I was just considering a blend of shibui baby alpaca with a strand of their mohair to knit the Lori wrap by Carrie Hoge. Color name? Camel!
And yes the shibui merino alpaca is discontinued but still available here and there on the inter webs…
I placed an order last night …
I’m sad it’s being discontinued.
I just bought a camel color sweater from JCrew last night at 50% off the sale price, which is ridiculous. I love camel, I too think it’s classic, but I also hesitate that it’s not the most flattering color for me. That being said, I couldn’t resist such a bargain and I’m glad I’ve added this color to my wardrobe. Perhaps I’ll knit one in the future too.
Great, Karen! I have never possessed a camel piece (nor had a desire to own or knit one)… but NOW I want one :-) The ‘Metallico’ is available in Germany and I will definitely be browsing patterns tonight!
Karen is really good at leading you down paths you didn’t know you wanted to travel, isn’t she?
Total coincidence today, I just knitted up some footies in Weekend Wool by Green Mountain Spinnery, and loved it so much I wound up on their website, and look what happens to be on sale: 100% camel yarn! http://www.spinnery.com/shop/proddetail.php?prod=Alashan-C
I’m super curious about that. I fear 100% camel might be like 100% alpaca, which I could never wear. But I’d love to find out!
The color I think would be fine on me, and I prefer knitting with natural fibers, but what I am most excited about is that my wardrobe is FINALLY coming back in fashion! Fair Isle sweaters, slouchy hats, and sweaters over collared shirts…I just want to look well dressed/clean and most importantly be WARM but being in fashion is a definite plus! :)
Thank you for investigating this! Also can’t believe I’d missed the Quince & Co. yarns—now that’s a perfect camel. As a “light/golden Spring” type it’s about the only brown that doesn’t make me look washed out and ill. Camel seems very Brit-classic to me, so maybe that went out of fashion for a few seasons. Acne put out a camel cardigan this year, so maybe the color is coming back.
Thanks for all the camel yarn suggestions, they are indeed not so easy to find. I am seriously tempted by the Goldie pattern from Kim Hargreaves for a perfect camel basic with a vintage twist.
I have stayed clear of camel since that time ages ago when I halfway through a day at school caught a glimpse of myself in a window and realised I was head to toe in beige. Not flattering at all.
I do however like the idea of breaking it if with a different colour around the neck. One day I might be brave enough to try it again.
Seriously all I want is a camel Ondawa. I’d been considering Quince & co. Lark but am wondering if the cabling would still shine without the tweediness. I wish there was a camel Shelter. Maybe I should just swatch Lark and barn owl or nest and see how it goes… Decisions, decisions.
Camel Lark Ondawa sounds brilliant to me.
Same here, was wanting to knit Ondawa but none of the Shelter colors felt right, so Lark it is!
Love, love, love camel and have worn it for years – but sadly not in recent years because it’s not easily available – in yarn or ready-to-wear. People are right – it’s not a great color for many – just keep it away from your face or break the color with a scarf. I love camel with grey, navy, winter white, black – and red for a small pop of color. Camel is a color that really needs to be in a good quality fabric or it can look “cheap.” It’s a true classic and can be very elegant – I wish it would make a strong return! I look terrible in black and burgundy next to my face, and always pass those colors up for warmer ones…but they’re not as easy to find. Thanks for the suggestions for camel yarn – happy January to me!
I started knitting Carrie Hoge’s LILA in a camel last year, but sort of abandoned the project. Now that the pattern is released as a top down I might give it another go! I’d love to add the warm color to my mostly grey and black wardrobe. Thanks for the color inspiration!
Wow! It’s like you read my mind. I have a Hawser that just has 1.5 sleeves to go in Quince & Co Lark in camel on my needles at the moment.
Ooooh, I want to see that.
Hi all, I was rampaging through my stash last night and found **actual camel yarn** when my Mom and Grandmother were in Egpyt and Israel in the early 60’s. I can post the actual skeins, plastic wrapping Company bag, etc to prove authenticity. The color is on the darker side of (yellowy) offwhite, rather than what we perceive as camel colored. Reply using my email: email@example.com if you are interested. Thanks.
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