I have been sharing my own thoughts ON SWATCHING over the past few days but I thought now would be a good time to hear from other comrades who have been swatching using The KNITSONIK System for our group challenge – #knitsonikfrangipanis.
The idea here was to collectively explore a small set of photos taken by my brother Fergus Ford as an inspiration source for stranded colourwork. The photos were taken in Barbados and feature marvelous Frangipani Caterpillars.
We wanted to explore whether working from the exact same few images would push us towards more similar or diverse results. The results reflect the rich variety of ways in which knitters see and explore the world in stranded colourwork, and I thought you would enjoy seeing them and hearing thoughts on the swatching process from their makers.
General comments on the swatching process;
“I’m participating in the swatch-a-long (in the group Knitsonik Comrades) and using a lot of different colors of Blackhill Højlandsuld/Supersoft from my stash.
Not everything is worth using for later projects, though. Quite a lot of the swatch is outside my usual color range, but maybe that’s why I find it so refreshing and it gives me new ideas.
Again, I had to stop at some point, but I probably could have knitted on for months ;-)”
“It was such great fun to do all this swatching;
First I loved the colours, so bright, brilliant, nearly aggressive against each others, very inspiring!
Not at all my colouring, but I loved it very much to experiment with bright blue against bright green with the orange/red in between – wow…
I had really great fun with this and I think it is great to leave the comfort zone! It opens another world and wakes your mind and eyes for more possibilities/combinations.
In the end I have to say for myself: I come back to my beloved colours and can relax after an exciting trip to other sides. That´s great!”
“I liked the colours on the photo, individually and all together, so I worked with the colours as I found them on the photo and in the yarn shop. A bright yellow was not available, I would have included it…
…All in all I enjoyed the whole process of swatching very much. The finishing (knotting the strands together) is my least favorite part.”
On tackling specific details of the caterpillars in stranded colourwork;
“I tried to image those tiny ‘boots’, but I feel I haven’t really explored the caterpillars themselves…”
“I think this is some sort of comic style frangipani… that was the embarrassing part, but – it’s there now…”
“For the design I focused namely on two elements, the caterpillar and the branches. For the caterpillar, the challenge was to use only two colours in a row, especially a curved caterpillar asks for at least three colours ;)!”
On translating the branches and background sky into stranded colourwork;
“Here I tried the trees and leaves against the blue sky, red ground and the shimmering background. I think I lost this one…”
“The branches took most of my time. I was not sure wether to use a regular, symmetric or asymmetric pattern or a more irregular pattern. I even considered to knit a section randomly. Finally I chose two asymmetric but regular patterns.”
The crazy palette struck us all as being somewhat adventurous, but venturing from familiar palettes and comfort zones was useful for broadening knitterly horizons
Everyone picked different details from the photos from which to work and then created small briefs for developing/finessing those ideas… whether it was coming up with the right curvy shape to suggest caterpillars, experimenting with the shading and motifs for suggesting branches against the night sky, or investigating how best to represent the dots on a caterpillar’s head…
Even when the same very specific obsession grips several knitters, the fact that we are usually using different yarns and that we see the world differently means that our results are never exactly the same…
…but one thing that a few of us found is that when you are stuck, a vague or generalised pattern can enable you to simply explore the song of background and pattern colours against one another;
“The dots where for me very catchy, little dots of bright colours against the more subtle colours (well, not too subtle the background I have to admit, this is what I need to learn)”
I hope you have enjoyed this collection of thoughts and images on collective swatching; thanks to everyone who participated and to those of you still knitting Frangipanis for this swatch-a-long! I think your swatches are AMAZING,
YOURS IN FRANGIPANIS,