Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Day two of the knitting, crochet blogging week asks for a story about an inspirational pattern.

Hmm. That's much tougher than recounting a bit of my history as I did yesterday. Usually my posts are written in less time than it takes to watch a sitcom. Today, however, this post has required deep knitterly thinking. Started shortly after breakfast, I am inserting this portion now as dinner cooks on the stove.

Sometimes, my knitting inspiration is based on fashion. The pattern might have a style, colour or fit that I like. When I knit for fashion, I expect the process to conclude with a flattering, wearable product. My 'skinny' ribs
or Easter Topper 2010
are good examples of that.

Sometimes, for me, inspiration is born of patriotism. As when I knit Prairie Sunset - a Canadian design, from a Canadian book, knit with Canadian yarn. Knowing that knitting needles could turn a cable into a sheaf of wheat
or produce a setting sun
inspired me. Prairie Sunset is a wearable work of art.

Sometimes, I'm inspired by the frugal nature of a pattern that uses stash yarn to create a beautiful garment. Sally Mellville's Ski Jacket was one such sweater. Made with stash yarns in all my favourite colours, it is a thing of beauty.
As I once heard Sally remark - "I am capable of doing complicated knitting. But why should I, when I can let the yarns do the work?" That is 'Ski Jacket' exactly. The complicated-appearing Linen stitch is so easy to do and with yarns I love, the knitting produced a spectacular sweater.

More than patterns, though, I believe I am inspired by thinking knitters. Sally Melville and Elizabeth Zimmermann come to mind. Knitters who encourage me not to blindly follow a pattern, but to experiment. Knitters who encourage me not to be afraid of my knitting. The yarnharlot once wrote -" Be afraid of bunging jumping or mortgage foreclosure - but don't be afraid of your knitting." After all, there are no knitting police.

This year, I am taking that inspiration to a new level. I am spending the year with Elizabeth Zimmermann. Her construction methods differ greatly from current thought.

At the moment, I am knitting the Tomten Jacket. Instructions are based on 112 stitches and simply by changing yarn gauge, the jacket can be made for a baby or an adult. In February, for my Olympic Knitting Challenge, I was inspired to knit EZ's Green Sweater. It taught me about steeking, mitred corners and knitted facings.

Just completed, is my Waterloo Fairisle. Knit in a tube as Elizabeth recommends, then steeked for the armholes, centre front and neckline.

Her description of 'Prime Rib' garments inspired me to knit a Prime Rib hat.

My inspiration comes from many sources. It evolves, it changes, it teaches and it motivates. And as the length of time it took to write today's post proves - it causes me to think.


Sel and Poivre said...

What a great "stroll" through your FO's - I've never seen a couple of them and they're fabulous! I might have to visit your archives and see what other treasures are lurking!

Anne Campbell said...

I really enjoyed your thoughts on this topic! I must say that I really love your Prairie Sunset - it's just gorgeous.

You couldn't find better sources of inspiration than Elizabeth Zimmerman and Sally Melville! I prize my copy of Knitting without Tears, autographed in 1975. And last year I took a pair of classes from Sally Melville which I enjoyed immensely.

Sandra said...

I can only hope my Slinky Ribs sweater looks alf as nice as yours! And your Prairie jacket is stunning - I hadn't seen it before this.