Mudeford Sandbank meets Brightlingsea

Greetings from three weeks into the KNITSONIK & Friends Colour to Knit Club! Today I’ve been editing the recording of our second Zoom session and I’m feeling thoroughly inspired. In the enthusiasm of working on the eBook and seeing what everyone else is making, I’ve been happily making my own version of our first club pattern, Brightlingsea by Patricia Kimmitt (JudithJayne Design).

Felix holds up a little piece of knitting featuring rusty orange beach huts, bracken and bramble coloured diamonds, and a blue sky background

Yesterday, I went to one of my favourite beaches with my friend Dee. We took my wip (work-in-progress) to the place of its inspiration, and Dee held up my knitting so I could photograph it beside its inspiration source. Thanks, Dee!

Dee holds up the beginnings of my scarf, so you can clearly see the sky, the beach huts, and the scrubby greens in the landscape in the foreground

Ever since Patricia emailed me the plan for her Brightlingsea scarf, I’ve been excited about all that this design offers knitters for celebrating life in stranded colourwork. With its careful palette and simple, joyous motifs, Brightlingsea is exacting in its relationship to its namesake. Yet for all the ways in which the design speaks eloquently and specifically to one place, it is also highly adaptable for celebrating a variety of different contexts.

In the KNITSONIK & Friends Colour to Knit Club, folks are using Patricia’s Brightlingsea pattern as a jumping-off point for knitting portraits of home; for commemorating special places visited on holidays; and as an opportunity to explore colour-relationships and refresh plans for working from stash. In the imaginative hands of knitters, Brightlingsea – presented alongside Patricia’s attentive documentation of her process – is clearly giving knitters an inspiring focus for creative play. There’s just something about this design that makes you want to rummage around for colours and photos, and to start playing with different combinations of main colour and huts, and then joyful blended diamonds. The experiment feels like it will pay off, too, because the pattern promises you a glorious scarf to wear at the end of the process.

Taia peeps mischievously out of her scarf while wearing matching eyeshadow in gold and blue and a lovely bright yellow raincoat

Patricia’s Brightlingsea chapter solves the problem we can sometimes face of not knowing where to start. It can be especially difficult to find a place to begin when it comes to translating the complex, high-resolution world around us into a tangible action plan for knitting. Where to startn? With so much infinite choice, what to pick? To start with yarn, or colouring-in, or one of the ten million photos collected in the course of life and featuring Inspiring Things? Sometimes a creative brief is just what we need to help us find our footing and I think that’s exactly what Patricia’s chapter in the eBook provides. I always wanted the KNITSONIK & Friends Colour to Knit eBook to give insights into the process behind each design, and there’s just something about Patricia’s notes on choosing colours that really invites you to join in and to get involved. Working on this project has also made me especially alert to the presence of beach huts and now, whenever I see them, I think about how they could become a version of the scarf.

Beach huts silhouetted by the sun, with soft sand in front and blue sky behind

One of my favourite art projects – Learning To Love You More by Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher – is entirely based on the value of other peoples’ instructions for sparking our creativity. It’s a whole collection of beautiful, life-affirming and often poignant assignments, plus the very many versions of each one created by different people. I love the combination in Learning To Love You More of a set of instructions presented beside a broad variety of deeply personal and expressive interpretations. I’m often reminded of this project when looking through multiple versions of one knitwear design, and especially today, when I see all the versions of Brightlingsea appearing in the KNITSONIK & Friends Colour to Knit Club:

Sometimes it is a relief to be told what to do. We are two artists who are trying to come up with new ideas every day. But our most joyful and even profound experiences often come when we are following other people’s instructions. When we are making crepes from a recipe, attempting to do a handstand in yoga class, or singing someone else’s song. Sometimes it seems like the moment we let go of trying to be original, we actually feel something new – which was the whole point of being artists in the first place.

– Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July
Learning to Love You More, Prestel Verlag, 200

It is certainly a relief for me to be told what to do for once, and I’m really enjoying adapting Patricia’s design to satisfy my own need for play, and to explore a wonderfully personal set of inspirations.

For the past few years Mark and I have been using every available opportunity to search the UK’s coastal areas for our forever home. We haven’t yet found it but the search continues and, as it does, my phone fills up with ever more photos of cherished seaside adventures. It is the joy of our search that I shall pour into my scarf.

a moody blue sky, many beachhuts, and a shoreline green with seaweed (or algae?) photographed at Mudeford Sandbank

Thank you so much, Patricia, for giving all of us in the KNITSONIK & Friends Colour to Knit Club an opportunity to explore ideas through the lens of your design – for creating such an enabling and inviting place for all of us to start.

Yours in the freedom offered by a creative brief, in the endless inspiration of the sea, and in all the ways that we can share these things –

Dee and Felix smiling by the sea

the sparkling sea rushing up onto the sand

1 thought on “Mudeford Sandbank meets Brightlingsea

  1. What a joyous post! Hurrah for the seaside! I love the photos of your knitting together with its inspiration & the words from Fletcher & July about following instructions really spoke to me.

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