Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Patchwork Inspiration

We're half way through January already and I have finished my Gee's Bend patchwork inspired knitted throw.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of working out the pattern and interpreting the design of a fabric quilt into a knitted version.  I used double knit merino wool and 4mm needles and garter stitch - I felt I needed to adjust the colours - the original colour combination was red, orange, yellow and off white - I didn't feel comfortable with the off white so substituted it with a lime yellow.  I incorporated a knitted border (4 rows of seed stitch) with the stripes rather than knit it separately and added knitted buttons - I have decided not to line it.

It has been a good exercise as besides being very therapeutic, it also allows you time to think of other things such as what direction my work will take this year.  

I would definitely have another go and one idea that sprang to mind whilst knitting this throw was a painting by Keith Vaughan.  Keith Vaughan was an artist who lived from 1939 to 1977 and who spent some of his life living in Toppesfield, a village not far from where I live.  A few years ago some of his work was featured in an exhibition at the Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden and amongst the exhibits of his drawings, letters, etc. was a cushion knitted by his mother.  It's funny how things stick in the back of your mind - from what I remember it was simply knitted square but was very much in the colour combination below which is one of his paintings.  I would love to have a go at doing the knitted version of this - I feel in working so closely to something somehow you get a better understand of it, plus I remembered that my friend Rene had lend me a book of his Journals.


Sunday, 8 January 2017

Winter Projects

My first post for 2017 and after watching the news today I think I have probably been suffering from the same cold bug as the Queen which really likes hanging on.  However, the thing that has been keeping me going through it is my winter knitting project - the last couple of years I have found that a winter knitting project really helps to clear my mind.  I don't follow a pattern - I like the puzzle of figuring out colour, size and shape, etc. myself, although this year's project is inspired by a Gee's Bend Quilt.  Some years ago I came across a book of postcards on "The Quilts of Gee's Bend" -

"Nestled inside a sweeping curve of the Alabama River southwest of Selma, Gee's Bend is one of America's most geographically isolated communities.  It has been linked to the outside world by a single road, which remained unpaved until the late 1960's.  The residents' ancestors worked in the cotton plantations there, first as slaves, then for several generations as tenant farmers...........".

The quilts are very unique, made from discarded, worn fabrics and I just love the colour combinations and formats and shapes used reflecting the creative and individual imagination of what was a poor community. 

I haven't stuck rigidly to the design as I am knitting and the quilts were made from fabrics, by this I mean that I have altered the colour rather than the shapes/format. 

On the left is the original Gee's Bend quilt - as you can see some areas are made from patterned fabrics and the little dots are ties holding the layers together.  On the right is my  knitted version so far, lots still to do, I haven't even started the two stripes (the red and patterned stripes) on the left side of the quilt and I'm still knitting the red, orange and lime stripes on the right.  I am knitting the stripes to a certain length and then putting the stitches on stitch holders as I think I will extend the stripes a little more.  The colours haven't come out very well on the photograph but there is a greater difference in the orange and red  wools than shows.  The wool I am using is a 100% merino wool and I am knitting on 4mm needles.  Once I have finished the throw I will, I think, line it with a thin cotton wading and back it - on the other hand I might not, depends how things work out. 

On the stitching front, I have done just a small amount of work on my last rolling landscape - I think once I have completed this one I will draw a line under rolling landscapes and move on - New Year/New Projects. 

The photo below shows the stage at which I left it, the area to the right of the village still to be worked on.

The area to the right of the village shows a few fields which I am now merging into an area with trees.  I decided I would use the photograph of trees I took back in the summer, in Cornwall, where the trees that had been in someones garden had ended up standing on the beach due to coastal erosion.  I took the photograph in the bright evening sun and so also got the shadow of the trees, making it look as if there were twice as many trees as was really there.  I printed the image on silk organza and cut away anything I didn't want.  I have laid a plain white scrap of fabric under the image so you can see it.  I have pinned the image in place on the left.  

The image will help to show me where I need to put the embroidery stitches to achieve the image I want.  To give the image more depth I then rolled back the image and placed a piece of silk organza underneath that I have dyed in appropriate colours and then laid the image back down as in the pictures below.