April 28, 2010

One Great Knitter : knitcroblo3

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week

Today's topic is "One Great Knitter" - Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy.

It's so difficult to restrict myself to just one knitter whose work I admire and enjoy! There are SO many -- and I've blogged about a lot of them in the past. But one knitter (and crocheter) stands out as continually inspiring and surprising - Kat Coyle. From her About page on her blog:

Sometimes, I think that daydreaming is my real passion and art making is just there to keep my hands busy. As a daydreamer, intuition leads and I follow.

I first became aware of Kat when my sister gifted me with Greetings from Knit Cafe. There were a few of Kat's patterns in the book that seemed to demonstrate that she was bringing an artist's sensibilities to her knitting.

One of her latest designs: Courting Sophia. While I love it and think it's amazing, look at Kat's newest version, Courting Sophia with Colorwork:

Photos are copyrighted by Kat Coyle and are used with her permission

Her recent blog entry has all the details regarding her design process for this shawl.

One of the things that intrigues me is her ability to match a yarn with a lace pattern that just seems perfect for it. The Gossamer Stars scarf/shawl (Interweave 2008) is another one that I love:


Kat often shares photos of her sketches and paintings and Library Skirt is delightful:


It leaves me wondering whether she'll create a knitting pattern inspired by it.

Finally, Kat's color palette seems rich and bright; she gathers inspiration from so many aspects of her life. I hope you check out her designs on Ravelry and read her blog -- I think you'll be enriched by it.



April 27, 2010

Inspirational : knitcroblo2

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week

Today's topic for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week is "An Inspirational Pattern" -- something we aspire to knit or a pattern that inspires us. For me - this is easy to answer. I'm completely inspired by Christel Seyfarth of Denmark, specifically her Shawl Kits. I absolutely love the Masai shawl. Her designs are unique; although I don't necessarily see myself wearing any of them, I would certainly display them.

I've never done any color work or Fair Isle knitting, so that's a serious knowledge and skill gap that I'd have to overcome before I could attempt such an ambitious project.

Other inspirational designers are Vivian Hoxbro and Hanne Falkenberg. Their designs are probably more in the realm of possibility for my abilities, but their kits would still be an investment and a commitment. Because most of the designs are in kit form, I'd have no alternate use for the yarns, so I'd have to make sure I was up to it before buying one. In looking up some of the other designs that I find inspiring, it's interesting that a lot of them are Scandinavians.

I'll probably think about many other designers and patterns after I press "publish" -- and I can't wait to see what my fellow knitters and crocheters find inspirational. Even if you're not participating in the Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, let me know in the comments what your most inspirational project would be.


April 26, 2010

How I Started Knitting : knitcroblo1

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week

It's been a while since I've shared how I started knitting, so Knitting & Crochet Blog Week is a perfect reason to do so.

In mid-December 2003, I was trying to decide what to get my mother for Christmas. Since her birthday is in early December, and she's notoriously difficult to buy for, I was stumped. She always tells me she doesn't want/need anything, but this time, she mentioned that she would like some dishcloths -- the kind my sister Jayne used to buy for her at craft fairs. Rather than trying to look for them in my new hometown, I decided to try to knit them for her myself. I'd been exposed to knitting when I was in Girl Scouts in elementary school, but other than that, had not picked up knitting needles in over thirty years. So, on that mid-December morning, as I was chatting online with a friend, I mentioned my desire to knit something for my mom. She immediately dispatched several links to videos, websites and books. Shortly after that, I left for Walmart to buy some Boye knitting needles and kitchen cotton.

If you thought I didn't take a photo of my knitting that day, you'd be wrong:

FIRST knitting - December 2003

I was in a groove and completely obsessed. At the time, I didn't have the basic dishcloth pattern that I would eventually use as my go-to pattern, so I just knit "square-ish" cloths. After I sent them to my mom (she loved them and used them -- I found them years later when we were clearing out her kitchen for her move to Washington), I looked online for some local knitting groups and when I didn't find one, I started one. We met at a nearby Starbucks and thanks to the listing of our group online, several experienced and proficient knitters showed up -- their amazing projects in hand. One particular knitter brought something new each week -- a Booga bag, multidirectional scarf, socks (!!), gorgeous lace shawls. I've blogged about Mariann before; she inspired me to move beyond dishcloths. If not for her, that's where my knitting career would have ended. She was adamant that I learn how to purl and convinced me that every knitted object I fell in love with was simply a combination of knit and purl stitches; so naturally, I started buying more yarn, better tools and some basic knitting books -- all purchased online. One evening, she brought a flyer for a new shop that was opening in February, 2004. Since I was ordering my yarn online, I doubted I would ever need to go to a yarn shop (HA!), but made a mental note of it anyway. Before the year was over, I was working there, as were Mariann and Alisa, both members of that first knitting group (and much more experienced knitters than I).

Scarf for Mariann
The scarf I knit for Mariann in 2004, in appreciation for her putting up with me

I credit working there for my growth as a knitter. There are so many things I wouldn't have attempted if I hadn't seen my friends and fellow knitters doing them first. With rare exception, I am still that way in my knitting habits -- I'm not apt to experiment. There are group projects we've worked on over the years to celebrate milestones in our respective families and I've learned something with each one of those big projects.

When Ravelry came along in 2007, I finally had a place to organize all my projects along with all the photos I'd taken of my knitting. Between Flickr and Ravelry, I now have complete documentation of my knitting career.

I hope you join along in Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! I'd love to hear about your beginnings too.