Sunday, January 04, 2009

Today was the first meetup of the East Dartmoor Tea Shop Knitters in the Terrace Cafe, Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Bovey Tracey. There were 15 of us! Going clockwise from me there was Emily, Mary, Chris, Jane, Jill, Thelma, Vicky, Jae, Yvonne, Kathryn, Christine, Kim, Hanneka, Trudy and me. We grow.

I took my Mimbres Vest along, as I'm up to the neckshaping, and the time approacheth when I will soon have to advance upon it with a pair of scissors. EEk. Yes, my first ever STEEKS.

I was originally going to knit this pattern for the Ravelympics. I'm glad I didn't, as I never would have finished it in such a short time. And after I've gritted my teeth and cut the steeks the pattern calls for a double row of icord edging. Another first!

The Mimbres pattern is fascinating, and is by Meg Swansen (daughter of Elizabeth Zimmermann) from her book 'Knitting'. She tells this story about it:

She and her husband Chris were headed South West from their home in Wisconsin to Sedona, Arizona, to film a 'knitting vacation video' (part of a series). Meg had in mind a vibrant patterned vest in red and cream colours to match the sand and red rocks she remembered from previous trips to Sedona. They flew to Phoenix, hired a car and headed north. As they climbed into the mountains, a gentle snow fall rapidly became a blizzard and they reluctantly turned back and headed south instead, to end up filming in Saguaro county.

The design she had doodled on graph paper was inspired by a small drawing she had seen on a South Western Calender - the main crisscross had a hiccup in the middle and this appealed to her. Starting from this X, she charted outward, diagonally, in four directions. When she reached the edge, she mirror imaged the pattern in all directions. Soon she had lost sight of the original pattern, like victorian bedspreads, or ceramic tiles which form a new pattern from the union of the smaller ones.

You can see the results in the picture.

By now, the couple had reached New Mexico and decided on a whim to visit the Luna County Museum. In the Mimbres Room, she was stunned to see 'her' design painted in the centre of a small bowl. Most of the other bowls in the room were painted in black paint on a sand coloured background - this one was painted in red on a sandcolour. Spooky ay?

Nearly all the other bowls in this room had holes punched in the middle of the bottom - perhaps to release the souls of the potters who had made them and with whom they had been buried - Meg was told later that the bowl without the hole, the one she was knitting, was 'her' bowl and that its spirit had not been released at her death and that was why she was knitting it.

Anyway, my Mimbres vest is much more subtle :-)

I had the grey garn studio yarn left over from the failed Astrid's Knitalong that I dropped out of last year, which I wanted to use up (very prosaic compared to Meg!). I've been fascinated by the randomness of using long colour change dyed wool like noro to get fairisle effects, so I wanted to try it out again with this pattern. The tone in the noro is so similar in places that the pattern almost disappears - but not quite. I like the effect.

I'll take some more photos when after I've machine sewed the steeks and I'm ready to cut.

1 comment:

kathryn said...

Wow! What fantastic colours! I love it.