An inspirational pattern.

Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so!

There are two characteristics that can typically be applied to knitting patterns and objects that I really, truly love: they are either a part of or emblematic of an ethnic knitting tradition, or they have a very strong aesthetic sensibility. And on the whole, I aspire to create everyday, utilitarian objects that are also entirely beautiful to look at. I don’t always get there–I often fall prey to novelty yarns and patterns, and can never resist the siren song of a variegated sock yarn–but it is what, as a knitter and art-lover, I do hope and try to do. So what do I aspire to as a knitter? To make some of the bold and graphic designs of the lovely Icelandic wonder, Hélène Magnússon, who perfectly marries the ethnic with the aesthetic.

Photo credit: Hélène Magnússon

That blanket up there, specifically.

Hélène’s designs often feature traditional Icelandic motifs, and all utilize knitting techniques specific to Icelandic traditions. And as I mentioned in a previous post, all of her designs carry a very strong, cohesive aesthetic. By working the motifs in bright colors, and in the case of this blanket, on a crisp white background, the traditional takes on a very modern aspect.

So it’s the lure of the visual, but also of the technical: while the blanket is mostly comprised of the humble garter stitch, it also utilizes a unique intarsia technique. This is the point of aspiration, and also the element of hesitation. I’ve done fair isle and have been fairly successful with it, but intarsia is an entirely different beast. It kind of scares me, to be honest. But one day, I will conquer it.

Photo credit: Hélène Magnússon

These small and graphic brooches are the perfect stepping stone. And, incidentally, the perfect way to use up bits of yarn–one of my other most favorite things about knitting and stash management.


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