There it is, I have been blithering on about communication and I missed a really great question from a lovely artist/designer on Facebook. Today I did something I have not done on Facebook before – I checked the tab “Just Others” and there was the question from May 2010.
The question was “Where can I learn more about your method of intarsia freeform knitting?”
Now that should have sprung out and said “Hey, Here I am”!!!, and I missed it.
There are books out there and much on the internet explaining Intarsia, but my free form Intarsia, there is no resource available as yet that I am aware of.
And so there is no single easy answer to the question, although I am working on an answer to it as I am putting together a book proposal.
For the design on the piece I consider the shape of the canvas, which might be a sweater or a cloak, or a jacket; and the person or exhibition for whom this piece is being created, and then I work to the idea or concept. In other pieces I might simply change the colours and yarn types as I feel, as I view what I am creating.
Very very basically, I sort yarns by colour, texture and weight (more or less as I don’t let the weight drive my work) and then I knit (play) always with the idea or concept in my mind or on the sketch.
The biggest hurdle for most knitters is to plan too much, and while I do plan, that is I have a canvas, which is the shape of the knitted piece, and concept and colour group, then I just knit.
I would love to run workshops on working with intarsia generally and including freeform work, or on “Playing with colour and yarn”. I hope I will have the opportunity to do that when I return to New Zealand.
I am working on a proposal for a book which will have basic knit designs, Instruction on working in the Intarsia method, a planned intarsia design for each knit design, as well as exercises to play with the yarns and colours and so go on to work on a free form intarsia design within the knitted design.
There is a lot work even in putting together a proposal as I am sure you all know, and of course I have to convince a publisher that it is worth their while.
Right now I am working on a vest for myself. It is so unusual for me to create a piece for me, but I am. I am deciding just how I shall include the intarsia. I have all the yarn (many colours). I am already knitting a k2 p2 rib band and constantly looking at the yarns out of the corner of my eyes, wondering how will I use it.
That started me thinking about my very first intarsia knit. It was a sweater for my son. It was so cute, it was in two colours, chocolate brown and cream. The intarsia (a word I had never heard of) was so simple and it started me on the wild wild world of free form knit intarsia. Prior to that my intarsia work had all been in crochet.
I crocheted shawls and vests in the main. And I created all sorts of weird and unusual shapes with the yarn that I had available to me.
My very first crochet commission was for 3 crocheted shawls and a poncho. They were many coloured, but formal – that is no free form work at all. The patterns if I remember correctly, might have been from the Mon Tricot magazine which I just adored. Yes, I created for sale shawls from someone elses patterns, and I was even paid to do it.
Shock, horror now.
That was in the very early 70’s. I knew nothing of copyright at that time.
BUT back to the first knit intarsia.
It was a bought pattern and it may have been a Shepherd pattern, I simply can’t remember. But it was a straight forward sweater (jersey or jumper). The cuffs and a band of about 10 or 12 stitches straight up the front were in cream and the remainder of the sweater was chocolate brown.
I had to learn how to twist the yarn so there were no holes at the join of the two colours. It was knitted in pieces – back, front, 2 sleeves, something I rarely do today. But it started me exploring knitting and the excitement was probably not immediate but it slowly simmered and very soon I was creating wild, wonderful and wacky intarsia sweaters, jackets, vests and cardigans.
I still love my wild and wacky knits.
And now I am going to knit a wild and wacky vest for me. I still haven’t decided in what way I shall incorporate the intarsia but I will.
Many many years ago – I attended my first Kaffe session on colour and knitting in New Zealand. I purchased a Kaffe videotape at that time, I do not have it with me here in the Netherlands & cannot recall the title – the subject was knitting with colour, as in many many colours, and viewing your world for ideas to create new knitted pieces using many colours and shapes.
When Kaffe came to New Zealand then I had already been knitting & crocheting using many colours in freeform intarsia since the early 1970’s. I found as everyone does great inspiration in listening to him then & I continued to knit with many colours and yarns even though I was informed by others that my knitting was not normal, nor was my passion for playing with colour. I do however feel quite quite normal.
I have searched the Kaffe Fassett listings in Youtube and cannot see my video tape there. But the concepts in this new video apply to knitting as well as quilting, mosaics and other art and textile art forms.
Kaffe Fassett on YouTube – you will discover much to inspire you.
I was wandering about the internet – which is remarkably easy to do – and I happened upon a blog I have not read before and there in was the challenge. Knit Sisters Blog – A year of knitting dangerously
Excerpt from the blog: and do follow the link above and read the rest. It is good reading.
Item 1 on the list is – Learn something new
…… However, there are a couple of techniques that I’d like to tackle this year: entrelac and twined knitting. These seem worthy goals. (Please do not unkindly point out that I have not included intarsia in this list; I feel that intarsia should not be asked of anyone.)
I will not be unkind regarding the exclusion of Intarsia.
I will however take umbrage at the vague suggestion that taking up intarsia as a challenge could be somehow “unworthy”
Now I really am in a state of distress, my heart is going crazy. How could any form of knitting be considered unworthy? If you had remained silent, I would never have know of your view with regard to Intarsia.
Below are some points for Intarsia knitting which I personally regard as an important item in the arsenal of any knitter – especially the freeform colour work.
And I do have to say it again – I really want everyone to play with intarsia.
I do have to confess, even though I have done so many times before – I do have other knitting skills to be learnt on my list as well, such as the knitting of socks – (still on my to do list for 2010, and they were there in 2009 as well, and I am sad to say I have 2 IOU’s for 2 pairs of hand knitted red socks, for Best Beloved and Son) – and if you take up the challenge to knit a piece of freeform intarsia, I will add Entrelac and twined knitting to my list for 2010.
So to Knit Sister – Sarah
Take up the challenge – Knit dangerously with Intarsia please
Just now it is not easy to find something to tell you about.
Maybe this is called Writer’s Block
Maybe it is called Designer’s Block
Maybe it is called Knitter’s Block
Maybe it is Ball Withdrawal Block
Maybe it is just called Blockety Block
Whatever it should be called in my case – I do believe I have a big case of whatever it is just now.
So yet another to do list
- mohair shell sample
- 100% wool shell sample
- finish and photograph the carbon footprint bag
- publish the carbon footprint shadow knitting graph
- complete and publish the pattern for the sleeveless jacket in English
- translate the pattern for the sleeveless jacket into Danish
- maybe translate the pattern for the sleeveless jacket into Norwegian maybe
- finish black ball cover
- decide where and when to install black and white ball covers
- Intarsia E-book or print book planning
- I may be thinking about knit kits (thank you Constance for bringing that up)
- I may also be thinking about cloaks again (thank you Constance for bringing that up as well)
- I may be thinking about the Alexandra Blossom Festival committee invitation to participate in the WoolOn Creative Fashion Event of the 2010
- I may be thinking about the Fibre and Fleece Exhibition
- I am NOT thinking about creating for either event while I am in New Zealand
- I may be thinking about “King of the Mountain” run/walk in NZ on the first Sunday in July
And I am planning a trip to New Zealand to see our very special small person (grandson), our daughter, my courageous Mother In law, and family and friends – and that seems more important than everything and anything else just now.
Maybe that is the cause of the blockety block.
Because this a state of Blockety block – or is that Blankety Blank – if I have forgotten anything then please please remind me, thanks.
And in case it occurred to you, the Constance mentioned above is not me, myself and I. My name is really Connie Lene and not not Constance.
Oh, and did you pick up that my Norwegian is not as good as my Danish, which is certainly not as good as my English.
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