Following the KNITSONIK blog post series on swatching I have been thinking about the next KNITSONIK swatch-a-long.
I’ve made no secret of my love for THE SWATCH! But I also sympathise with comrades wishing to WEAR the results of any time spent knitting. And I am thrilled every time a new project turns up on Ravelry in which an ingenious knitter has applied The KNITSONIK System to the production of wearable garments.
These objects reveal their maker’s creative process. They are true originals and one-offs, as beautiful in concept as design. Each pair of mitts that is made as a swatch reflects the particular priorities and creative focus of its maker: they couldn’t have been made by anyone else.
The KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook advocates the swatch as a superlative testing ground for ideas because sometimes the pressure of having to make something wearable can inhibit our impulse to take risks and to try things out. But knitters are thrifty and practical folk and reading your comments on my swatching post series and also the notes on these projects makes me think that perhaps for some comrades the prospect of making a swatch that can’t be worn is more of a barrier to creativity than the pressures of wracking your brains to make something you’d be proud to wear.
All of which is a long preamble to say that in the next KNITSONIK swatch-a-long, the Fingerless Mitts pattern from the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook will be our playground for swatching. It is a MITTS-A-LONG rather than a SWATCH-A-LONG (though if you want to make a swatch of course I won’t discourage you!)
The mitts-a-long runs like this: comrades cast on Fingerless Mitts on 1st October, making up patterns and ideas as we go, and each ending up with a pair of mitts based on the same inspiration source. By all working from the same source and with the same sorts of colours, we will learn TONS from each other about how yarn shades interact with one another.
I put the subject of the inspiration source to public vote and it was this photos of the ancient Roman wall at Silchester that seemed to hold the broadest appeal. I am immensely happy that you all liked this beauteous old wall as much as I do! I photographed it in the midst of working on my book last year. It was Mark’s birthday and we had gone for a walk. Working on the book had put stranded colourwork to the forefront of my mind, and the glorious flint stones, velvety moss and greeny shades struck me as a treasure trove of inspiration. How lovely it will be to now explore that all with you.
I also consulted with comrades on Ravelry in the KNITSONIK forum on whether or not my producing a kit would be enabling for knitters wishing to participate in the mitts-a-long. Some folks were excited about the possibility of having that option so I have been assembling a very limited number of kits that include 8 balls of Jamieson & Smith 2-Ply Jumper Weight in appropriate shades. These kits will go on sale at the Yarn in The City pop-up marketplace tomorrow. Unsold kits will be posted up for sale afterwards on Sunday in my online shop.
Jamieson & Smith have a stupendous range of greys and greens and other appropriate Roman wall shades of yarn…
As well as 8 balls of Jamieson & Smith 2-ply Jumper Weight yarn these kits contain a card printout with several views of the inspiration source for reference; a print out of the Fingerless Mitts pattern that appears in the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook (includes blank chart templates to fill out as you go); two sets of bamboo DPNs in the appropriate sizes; and a button-badge declaring your participation in the mitts-a-long:
All this comes in a canvas tote with KNITSONIK emblazoned on the side and costs £25 + P&P. There is no requirement for you to buy this kit in order to participate in the mitts-a-long and you don’t have to use the Fingerless Mitts pattern supplied in the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook as your template if you would rather use an alternative pattern. I have merely created these guidelines and options to make translating the world into stranded colourwork as easy and appealing as possible.
When you have finished experimenting with your palettes, patterns and shading to create a pair of mitts based on the Roman wall at Silchester, please upload your project photos to Ravelry with the tags #knitsonikmittsalong, and #KNITSONIK as this will enable other participants to see your work as in previous KNITSONIK swatch-a-longs, #knitsonikpomegranates and #knitsonikcaterpillars. At the end of the #knitsonikmittsalong I shall write about our endeavours so that we can all learn from each other’s amazing knitting adventures.
While we are on the subject of amazing mitts as a canvas for colourwork creativity, can I show you Fidlstix’s Color Study Mitts and More Color Study Mitts? I am a huge fan of Fidlstix and her mitts are a delight for the wealth of ideas they contain and for their matchy-by-not-matching aesthetic. I’ll bet they are as fun to wear as they were to knit, and for anyone considering using fingerless mitts as an experimental canvas, I think the idea to repeat the same motifs on each hand but to change the colour sequencing for each one is genius…it is one of many things you could try out if participating in the mitts-a-long!
…for further ideas please feel free to visit the KNITSONIK mitts-a-long Pinterest board.