I found Barbara G.Walker’s “Treasury of Knitting Patterns” from 1968 in pristine condition.
Ok, after three days in my house- not looking as tidy. No matter, it’s just as informative and inspirational.
This is a sketch from a few years ago which started as an idea about my aunt Sue and became the source for the next punch needle. She had died earlier that year. The sketch has a sad and chaotic feel, although the colors are bright yellow and pink and not usually associated with sadness and grief.
It changed along the way into something quite different once it was translated into a punch needle piece. I don’t know why the bird hopped from the shoulder to the hand but I think it had to do with balancing out the shapes in the composition.
Piecing it together in my head
I had the idea of knitting a security blanket as a metaphor for American culture so I started by knitting – as an example- my own security blanket.
So as I was knitting the different sections, I was puzzled as to why I was using such a different range of colors in this knitting. Usually I work with pure color, and never use black. And why did I start knitting with size 15 knitting needles when I have very few bulky yarns? To create the bulky yarns needed for size 15 knitting needles, I combined different thickness of yarns together, different colors together and different textures together which gave a much more muted palette. Black and browns, deep blues and textured black yarns made stripes of stocking stitch between ribs of blended colors. Why did I construct the pieces with stripes of stocking stitch and ribs? It was mystifying. I hung up the knitted pieces on a piece of foam core, sat down and started to look at them.
As I was looking at the thick stripes, a memory started to form in my head. The thick textured dark stripes reminded me of some winter cardigans my mother used to have hanging on the back of the bedroom doors, and in the hall, of my childhood home. We lived in a very large and cold, old house and whenever I returned home to visit my parents, one of the first things I would do on my arrival, was to look for a cardigan to wear from my mother’s extensive collection. Most of them were from thrift shops and many were for men (for my father) Mixed in with the charcoals, blacks, navy and dull green stocking stitch cardigans that my father favored, were some jumbo rib stripe cardigans knitted in muted Shetland colors for ladies. I admit that I was more attracted to the colored stripes but was more than happy to wear whatever was available in the stash, depending on how many family members were visiting at the same time. Wrapped in one of those winter cardigans, you finally knew you were home.
This is how it looks like right now.
I’m beginning to run out of some of my hand dyed/ hand spun yarns which are mixed with other yarns so this and a deadline of finishing by this weekend, will limit the final size of the blanket. Nothing is sewn together so the finished piece may look radically different..!
I was so worried that Theo would n ‘t get his knitted hat in time for Christmas, I knitted it in one evening and sent it off the next morning. .
Then I could n’t remember what the hat looked like!
Thanks to Jane, Ruiaridh and Mel for this lovely pensive photograph of Theo.
My friend Connie and I just attended a 4 week session class on painting with cold wax, taught by George Wade Carmichael- a fabulous teacher. George is incredibly knowledgeable about historical painting techniques and materials.
However, it was the total opposite of what I had read about cold wax painting on-line!
I was expecting to do heavy textural layers of cold wax, with squeegees and sharp mark making objects.
Instead we worked with the smallest brushes I have ever seen and laid down super-fine layers of translucent colors of oil and cold wax, starting with a foundation of complimentary colors which de intensified the application of color on the next layers. So completely different from my usual approach to painting which is lots of applications of thick saturated colors with complimentary colors laid beside each other, not in layers.
With this technique I appear to have a softer and more detailed image that I would normally paint.
Must be the tiny brushes!
The painting is not finished as I ran out of my mixture of cold wax and thinner while painting. George showed us how to cook it up in the microwave-so I made a batch this evening. I’m liking the translucent layers- and the contrasting opaque areas too.
More details about the “Outlander” hand knitted wraps
The “Outlander” wraps are for adults: they are all hand knitted with some hand dyed wool yarns mixed with other multi fiber yarns. Each piece is one-of-a-kind with up to 8 or more different yarns and every knitted piece has a different mix of yarns . The wraps go around the neck and shoulders and tuck into your coat or jacket. Although the knitted pieces are knitted with thick yarns, it is not bulky underneath your coat or around the shoulders as long scarves tend to be.
The “Outlander ” wraps are $60 plus postage if ordering on-line
The “Outlander” collar is $45 plus postage if buying on-line
If you are interested in purchasing, all pieces will be display at the Kirby Gallery, Roxboro or email me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org to order directly.
Please be aware that there will be a proportion of hand dyed wool fibers in the knitted pieces which can feel “scatchy” against the skin for some people.
Fibre art by Jean Ottosen
art in fibers and fabric
art in fibers and fabric
art in fibers and fabric