Archive for August 27th, 2008

God is in the details.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

On restraint in design

NY Herald Tribune 28 June 1959

I was recently asked if I was as crazy as I appeared to be regarding the details of the hem and transition stitches for the baby sweater. If wanting to get it right from a design standpoint is crazy, then I’m crazy. Why would I want a sweater, or any other knitted project, to start out poorly? Should I spend all that time knitting only to hope it comes out well in the end? Now that would drive me nuts.

Knitting is about details. It’s about the stitch; putting one at a time together to create a design.  I like the idea of restraint in design, especially in knitwear. Some of the designs of today’s knitwear are busy, busy, busy. Lots of big cables, lace, bobbles and variegated yarn combined in one project makes for a very busy design.  The eye cannot see the whole because it is distracted by the parts. Is it a sweater? A wrap? Or just a sampler of big cables, lace, boobles and variegated yarn.

Life is overly busy and complicated. I don’t want my knitwear to be the same way. I want it to be calm like a deep breath. I want it to be simple in design like a zen garden. I want the design elements to come together and reinforce the whole.

In order to keep my design on track I create “story boards” of pictures taken from everywhere and of everything that fits in with the feeling I want my project to create.

Words.  My story boards are filled with words. The pictures reinforce the words. For the baby sweater I used the words simple and feminine. I collected colors, textures, stitch designs that I thought were good examples of these words. I swatched a lot to see how the stitches related to each other and to the whole I am trying to create.

As promised here is a picture of the beginning of the baby sweater.

Last night, while I was working on this a friend asked me to knit him a scarf in purple and yellow. I am having fun collecting a story board for the scarf project.

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