Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Stranded Knitting: a question.

Suirbunni project in progress

This week, I want to put down the needles and take a slight detour...

A question has come to my attention about why I do what I do. Why do I continue to work and design stranded knitting. It is very easy to say “because I love it”…but why specifically. Why stranded knitting as opposed to knitting in general.

Don’t get me wrong….I love knitting in general. We all do. Right?

But, I have done some thinking about this question of "why stranded" recently and have come up with a few possible reasons…

Color:  This is an obvious one for me. Color and color combinations are certainly an attractive draw to stranded knitting. Whether it is the high contrast colorations of some of the original/traditional designs of Fair Isle and Shetland or the graded color combination of the more painterly pattern offerings, color tops the list in my book for why I love stranded work. I just love playing with the combination possibilities. Shade cards or a wall of skeins graded by color is like the ultimate candy shop.

Saluda Sunrise shawl
Pattern: But it isn’t color alone, is it? If that were the case, we’d be all a flutter about stripes or slipped stitch work, or even intarsia. No…it’s the way the colors are placed in the pattern. It’s the rhythm of knitting the motifs. It’s the ultimate “just one more round” compulsion…just to see how that new color is going to look…how each motif band works with the one before. It’s the way the patterning creates bite-sized chunks that give an immediate sense of completion…even before the last cast off round. 

And if I can go a little further….I love the way each motif in traditional Fair Isle designs fits exactly into the circumference of the garment. The sanctity of the body patterns was absolute. No messy half motifs in the body of a Fair Isle sweater.

So you can understand why the decreases creating waist shaping in patterns like Autumn Rose upset my little orderly math brain. Short rows creating shoulder shaping were  also unthinkable. Ok, I know. Don’t fuss at me. I’m getting over it. Moving on.

Shetland Museum display

Shetland Museum display
History: I love history. I especially like the idea of connecting with the past through things we do every day. Granted we modern day knitters are not having to do production knitting for extra household money, but we are making some of the same decisions and mastering the same challenges with our knitting as our predecessors did with their projects. That’s kinda neat, isn’t it?

Sense of accomplishment: Admit it…you kinda like that feeling when you have completed a particularly challenging stranded project. That sense of pride. I did this. That project that everyone else is saying “Wow, you did this. That is incredible!” Makes you want to stand up straight, pat yourself on the back and smile. Pretty darned cool, huh?

So what do we call this feeling…this thing that makes up want more…more color….more pattern…more of those "pat yourself on the back" moments? Is it stranded ecstasy? Fair Isle heaven? Color and pattern harmony? 

What about Stranded Bliss? Have you found your Stranded Bliss? What cha think?

Next week: Adding in New Colors and Finishing old colors…I promise.

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