Art

Not so new art installed

After a four month wait, we were quite excited to experience supply chain improvements with a November rather than a February delivery of our Stressless™ recliner.  But then came the real challenge – what art to hang where as the seating configuration in that corner of the living room no longer resembled what had been.  Having quickly discovered the comfy leisureliness of an afternoon nap, the empty space necessary for the recliner to do its thing – that is recline – simply demanded to be filled.  As it turns out, the right piece of art was hanging in the closet.

In September 2006, we drove to Knoxville, Tennessee to celebrate my aunt and uncle’s 50th anniversary.  This family occasion also included a visit to the Knoxville Museum of Art located in the World’s Fair Park.  With a diverse collection, the museum “focuses on the rich culture, old and new, of the Southern Appalachians” and the museum’s perquisite gallery shop provided an eclectic sampling of local artists’ work.  While I had packed appropriately for all of the various anniversary festivities, I found a beautiful woven stole –the perfect wardrobe upgrade for the celebratory dinner.  The loosely woven wool shawl includes shimmering gold thread, a trio of silk ribbons running the entire length, and Czech crystal bead embellishments.  

Due to its size (21 inches x 96 inches) and its elegant structure, I tended to save it for special occasions like my aunt and uncle’s 50th anniversary, Minnesota’s sesquicentennial celebrations at the Capitol when I presented Governor Pawlenty with two sesquicentennial flags that had flown over the state’s public libraries or library meetings when power dressing sent the correct message.  I never imagined my 2006 purchase would offer a complementary color palette in our renovated space, as well as provide an acoustical benefit in a room with a new red birch hardwood floor.  The shawl that was safely tucked away amidst layers of tissue paper is now installed as art.

Knitting

My Busy Needles

handknit blue shawl with contracting cream colored bands and lace edge
Apple Cart Shawl using Rustic Silk in Niagara Falls and Cape Cod colorways

The word of the day:  précisa shortened version of a speech or written report containing main points and omitting minor details is apropos for this Finished Object Friday (FOF) as I am providing a partial update of what has come off my needles since May.

The most recent project ready to be mailed is the second of two Apple Cart Shawls which features contrasting bands of color, with just enough texture to keep the design interesting.  Both shawls were knit using Ella Rae’s Rustic Silk making them versatile wardrobe additions perfect for Minnesota summer evenings or any time of the year in warmer climes.  This design is one of three in a new series from Marie Greene’s stash buster collection.  Each of the titles in this pattern trio start with A and, from recent reports, the B threesome will be released very soon.

close up of hand knit pick shawl with contracting cream colored bands and lace edge
Apple Cart Shawl using Rustic Silk in Rosenberg and Cape Cod colorways

I commandeered the Ruffled Shawlette for my recent Massachusetts Pilgrimage.  It provided a lovely, dress-up accent for evening dinners and offered a hint of protection in over-zealous air conditioned rooms.  This was also knit using Ella Rae’s Rustic Silk.  It is small, easy to pack and (most important for the well-dressed traveler) wrinkle free.  If you are looking for this kerchief pattern, check out 22 Little Clouds by Martina Behm. 

handknit blue kerchief on wooden hanger
Ruffled Shawlette using Rustic Silk in Graceland

The Mallory Shawl by Heidi Hennessy features a delicate lattice that flows from the tip of the triangle to a wide ribbed base.  Knit using ethically sourced Merino wool from Uruguay, the slightly variegated green tones compliment the interconnecting cables.  The luxurious wrap, perfect for chilly winter days, was a WIP (work-in-progress) from March to September and became my go-to project between other creations. 

handknit green shawl with interconnecting cables twisted throughout
Mallory Shawl using Malabrigo Sock in a Kris colorway

A Suri and silk cowl with a complimentary headband were my first foray into working with lace weight yarn, something that I had shied away from simply due to the super fine nature.  However, in the interest of honest reporting, I did hold the Naturel and Rubia colorways double thus technically making a blended fingering weight mix. The Cooler Side of Warm cowl is designed by Espace Tricot, “a modern knitting shop in Montreal”.

Happy knitting!

handknit coral colored cowl on wooden hanger
Cooler Side of Warm cowl with blended Naturel & Rubia colorways
Knitting

FOF – Finished Object Friday

blue green sweater with cable stitched yoke
Little Gansey in Nile Blue

Just in time for FOF, a second Little Gansey designed by Marie Greene is off my needles.  This version in a deep blue green is for a new great-great niece born in December.  The color gives a blended nod to my favorite color – blue and the second time parents who both love the color green.  Knit in size 2-4, to let the little one grow a bit before donning this cotton, silk, bamboo, blend.

Knitting

The Aquarelle Shawl

Reminiscent of a walk along the beach collecting shell treasures, Marie Greene describes her latest design as “watercolor-inspired waves opening into shells and scallops”. Using a lovely merino wool and silk blend, The Aquarelle Shawl is my most recent mystery knit along (KAL) project.

Trusting the designer, I cast on in real time with other Knit Campers on April 1 (no fooling) and watched my project evolve without benefit of knowing a final design other than its crescent shape. The pattern was released over two weeks in four mystery clues and revealed shells constructed with yarn drawn over rows of stitches and then mirrored in lace. The long rows of garter stitch, which anchor the decorative design elements, remind me of tides lines lightly scored in water packed sand.

In addition to the fluidity afforded by the silk, the contrasting colors of the two skeins ripple through the fabric alternating between a solid rich teal and a complimentary fingering with ivory, blue and green tones. The colors flow quite like John Lurie’s watercolors on HBO’s Painting with John proving that The Aquarelle Shawl is true to its painting namesake, aquarelle – a “technique of painting in transparent, rather than opaque, watercolours” as defined by Encyclopedia Britannica.

Knitting

Boost the FOF Tally

Just in time to tackle a spring mystery knit-along (MKAL) with Marie Greene and to learn brioche with members of the Zumbro River Fiber Artists Guild’s Knitting Group, my WIP (Work-in-Progress) count has been reduced by three on this Finished Object Friday (FOF).  The deep heather blue scarf and muted lavender shawelette have yet to find homes but the vibrant yellow sweater will be gifted to a great niece or nephew arriving in May.  (Shhhh!  It is still a secret for the mom and dad-to-be.)

The small Gansey sweater, designed by Marie Greene, incorporates a cabled yoke for bit of decoration on the practical pullover knit using an easy to care for cotton, nylon, rayon, and silk blend.  Knit in a size 2-4, my new great-great niece or nephew will have something to grow into and, hopefully, will have many days of warm wear.

The blue wool scarf is another of Marie’s designs.  Reminiscent of barrel staves and trellised grape plants, the French Oak pattern reveals off-center cables traveling the length of the scarf like grape vines.  And, I am starting out a new year with another Hitchhiker, perfect for a special person knit in 100% rustic silk with Czech glass beads decorating each tip.  This is Hitchhiker #23 in my collection of hand-knit gifts.