Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Churchill Was Right

Winston Churchill apparently said, "Creativity is the ability to move from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm". (My source is Sally Melville, in her fabulously creative book, "The Knit Stitch".) I've been having a very creative day, moving from one failed attempt to another in an effort to make knit stitches flow in various directions without interruption. It seems quite ridiculous that I should find the problem so engrossing. Some would say I ought to be devoting this problem-solving energy to more weighty matters. However, I've had a most satisfying day and I'm happy to report that the problem has been solved and duly recorded in pencil in my Hilroy Notebook #9. (No sense in coming up with brilliant solutions if you don't keep track of what you did.)
The inspiration for my new garment comes from several sources. First, Sally Melville's above-mentioned book. If you're into garter stitch (and you really ought to be), this is one of the great must-have knitting books. It advertises itself as "a learn-to-knit book that's not just for beginners", and that's so right. I'd been knitting for almost 40 years when this book appeared and I learned A LOT from it. One of the later chapters presents a bunch of garments all based on garter slip stitch. I made the ladies' crop pullover years ago when the book was new and fell in love with the drapey no-purl stitch pattern. Now that I'm into making my own designs, I'm re-visiting it with some twists and turns of my own. Below you see the swatch I knitted and ripped and knitted again and ripped, over and over all day. Here it is in some leftover Lark,


and here's a closeup of the same stitch in Rowan's Felted Tweed Aran.

I played with buttonholes, short row shaping, waist shaping, and armhole decreasing, all within the confines of pure garter stitch. You've got to love a stitch pattern with no purl stitches to slow you down!
My second source of inspiration for this garment is Brooklyn Tweed's simple men's scarf, Dunaway. Looks similar to Sally's slip stitch, except it's reversible, with purl stitches making that possible. A wonderful man's scarf, if ever there was one.
My third and final source of inspiration for my new garment is Purl Soho's cardigan with garter stitch yoke. Check out that high collar with buttons. Yum.
What do all three of these design sources have in common? Garter stitch and simple, clean lines. I'm going to keep the nature of my new garment a mystery for now, but you can be guaranteed that it will have a clean, flattering, shaped fit, lots of garter stitch, and a sophisticated, yet rustic feel. See you in a bit...

2 comments:

  1. Churchill said so many funny/amazing things, didn't he? I see him quoted on an amazing array of subjects and suspect that some are apocryphal, a la Yogi Berra, who (probably) said, "I didn't say all of the things I said."
    I love lace, cables, Fair isle, slipped stitches, mosaic knitting (not so much entrelac or intarsia) but I really really love the substantial bounce and squish of garter. It makes a Such a nice crisp edge on a cuff or a collar and an extra bonus is I can happily read while knitting it!

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  2. Oh, looking forward to your new pattern. I love garter stitch, not because I don't like to purl, because I don't mind it, but because I love the look and feel of garter. And I love Elizabeth Zimmerman's garter designs and her book Knit One Knit All.

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