03 October 2012

What Makes Us Hate Certain Patterns?

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Before you dive into this post I have to say one thing. I really strongly dislike the word h-a-t-e. I try never to say it. But this post is about fabric so I hope it's okay and doesn't offend. It just seemed that no other word quite captured the emotions necessary.

A couple of weeks ago while hanging out with Sister #2, the gorgeous and talented photographer (be warned there is auto music if you take this link), she admitted to something that still has me curious. We were shopping, just wandering around with no real purpose, looking at home goods and she had to get it off her chest that she hates ikat.

If you don't know what ikat is, don't feel bad. Quickly take this link over to a hilarious post by my friend Margot of Margot Madison design. You can also see some beautiful designs she created in the ikat theme.

I have to admit that I found this confession from my sister far more intriguing than it probably needed to be, and certainly more than it was intended by her! But it got me so interested in trying to understand what makes her tick. This is not because I am a particularly passionate fan of ikat. I do like it and all things (sorry to use this horrible phrase) BoHo Chic. I think it has something to do with plentiful applications of pinks and oranges, my favorite color combination.

I wanted to administer a full psych eval to my sister to mine into her hate for ikat and learn how it could possibly create such a reaction in her. Was is the angle-y lines? The inconsistent depth of the hues? Too repetitive? Too much going on? I still really want to know.

What is is about patterns that we have such a visceral reaction to? It got me thinking, do I really hate any patterns? I know I do. Sometimes they go in and out of fashion with me or are completely dependent on the color combinations. Even after some thought I still don't know why my sister hates ikat and I'm not sure she does either. When I think about why I don't like certain patterns I don't have many concrete answers other than "it bores me" or "makes my skin crawl." But those are still only descriptors of how they make me feel, not anything specific to the pattern itself.

Okay, here's what I hate. I hate Chintz and it's weird glaze. I really hate Satin. Satin sheets make me want to scream and they look like garbage after a few washings. I'm pretty bored with Toile at this point thanks the overdose in the first decade of our new millennium. Not a fan of Art Deco. Gingham Check - meh. Tiny florals don't ring my bell either. I'll say "Oh, no" to Calico. I'm not saying there is necessarily anything bad about the use of these patterns. -- And no I'm not saying I hate your kitchen curtains. I am merely saying these patterns aren't my favorite. They all have their place - and in fact mixing patterns is the best thing to do to give a room a well-rounded look, so sneaking some of these patterns in can be a great idea.

On the yes side, I'll always be a sucker in fall for chunky neutral knits and a good gray wool houndstooth. In summer I always love a good bold colorful stripe for home or outdoor interiors. I like block printing, the measured use of ikat and bright patterns.

If you want to go deep into the study of patterns, here is a very thorough glossary. It's pretty awesome. So how about you? Do you have patterns that are like fingernails on a chalkboard for you? Tell me, what do you hate? And what do you love?

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