Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Arty Knitting

I love knitting books. I’ve whiled away hours in bookshops and on Amazon looking at all the books available and every now and again I give in to temptation and buy one - or two. The last couple I got were gifts, although they were chosen by me. One was Knit Knit by Sabrina Gschwandtner.

Knit Knit is more of a coffee table book than a traditional pattern book with profiles of knitting designers / artists . There are lots of very nice photographs and each designer has provided a pattern. I knew the work of some of these designers before, Teva Durham , Erika Knight and Annie Modesitt among others, but the more artistic knitters were new to me. Now, I am very interested in art but my taste runs more to painting than conceptual art and my knitting is mostly about following patterns and creating attractive, practical garments. Combining knitting and art can be effective but I find myself torn by some of the projects in this book.

Dave Cole’s knitted Fibreglass Teddy Bear was probably really impressive as an installation, I’d imagine the scale would be disconcerting. As a photograph however it doesn’t really move me and I’m not even interested enough to read the knitting pattern he used to produce the work. It just all seems a bit pretentious. A few of the art works profiled in the book seem like that to me but if they do inspire others , fair enough, that makes them worthwhile. I did like lots of the projects in the book and the profiles of the designers are interesting - it’s amazing how people from all sorts of backgrounds end up knitting.

The knitted wedding dress is surprisingly beautiful and the pattern provided by it’s designer Eugene Ong for a backless top is very pretty.

The book does have patterns that make you want to knit them rather than just look at them. There is a hobo bag pattern by Nora Gaughan and I plan to knit Joelle Hoverson’s Favorite Yoke Sweater. The sweater is based on Elizabeth Zimmermann’s sweaters which tells you all you need to know about me and my knitting. I may buy arty knitting books and flick through them for hours, consuming far too many cups of coffee but when it comes to actually knitting something it’s well conceived, well written patterns that I turn to. I’d like to be a creative pick up the needles and let’s just see where it takes me type but I’m not sure I can be. Still, it doesn’t stop me admiring this quality in others. On that note, a quick update on my current WIP.

I've just about finished the sleeves on the cabled cardigan for my nephew. It felt pretty slow going knitting both sleeves at once but now that they are almost done I'm glad I did it this way. Following a good old fashioned cable pattern has it's merits too.