Yarnadelic Remixes 0.1 eBook is launched in Ravelry!

Faith Makawa wears the orange and purple hat, with beautifully shaded orange eye makeup; and a coral cheek blush that pick up on the warm tones in the wool used in the design

YES! Today is the day, and you can now buy Yarnadelic Remixes 0.1 as an eBook in my Ravelry store. The different chapters will be published throughout the month. If you buy the eBook, you will receive each of the patterns in the following order:

Wondrous Waltz – 1st Nov
Woman In All The Blues – 7th Nov
Beadism – 13th Nov
Looking For A Stranded Harmonium – 19th Nov
Shuffle Play Shawl – 25th Nov
Finished eBook – 30th Nov

Wondrous Waltz is the first set of designs – a hat with mis-matched mitts – worked using the double-knit technique (so fully reversible) and featuring a bold motif that is based on the notes in the bass lines of two songs: Wondrous Place by Billy Fury and Waltz by Fatima. It’s an ideal first double-knitting project if you’ve never tried that technique, and is the optimal accessory set to wear for playing records or for thumbing through them at cold car-boot sales.

Faith removes Fatima's record from its sleeve; on the cover can be seen the artwork of Monica Kim Garza, featuring a Black woman relaxing on a bed enjoying her own space and not catering to any outsider gaze

In the photo-shoot, Faith Makawa – who modelled all our designs for Yarnadelic Remixes 0.1 – plays Fatima’s record (on which you’ll find the Waltz whose bass line appears around the main body of the hat).

Faith drops the needle on the record 'And Yet It's All Love' on which Fatima's song - Waltz - appears; in the background is the orange Decca wrapper containing the record Wondrous Place by Billy Fury

Faith also holds a copy of Billy Fury’s Wondrous Place – whose bass line appears around the crown of the hat.

A Black model with locs - Faith Makawa - wears orange dungarees and a white t-shirt, which pick up on the orange in her purple and orange hat, and matching pair of mitts. In her hands she holds a record in an orange DECCA sleeve, she is facing towards shelves of music, as if looking to position or place the record somewhere on the shelf.

The motifs are fifteen stitches wide (Waltz) and twenty stitches wide (Wondrous), meaning they align only every sixty stitches. As with syncopated music, the beats / the patterns, phase in and out of sync. Muriel made the most beautiful remix of this design, which is included in this chapter of the eBook: Indigo Lover. This slouchy beanie is much taller than my original hat and has a totally different mood, owing to the psychedelic concept album that was its musical inspiration.

Muriel's indigo and hot green remix, Indigo Lover

Where I found my three-beat rhythm in Fatima’s Waltz, and my four-beat rhythm in Billy Fury’s Wondrous Place, Muriel took both her three-beat and four-beat rhythms from Mort Garson’s esoteric track, Aquarius – The Lover Of Life, as this song is written in seven-time. Can you hear the lilting seven-beat time in the song?

There is a preview in Teachable showing our creative process in video and sound, which you can watch free of charge here.

The prompts I’ve created to run alongside the pattern releases throughout November are designed to celebrate the aspects of music and design that influenced each one so, to celebrate today’s launch of Wondrous Waltz, here are some related prompts for you to play with too!

WONDROUS WALTZ (1 - 6 NOVEMBER)
1. 	SYNCOPATED PATTERNS (KNIT)
2. 	SYNCOPATED RHYTHMS (SOUND)
3. 	JIMMY JONES, BILLY FURY OR FATIMA: CELEBRATING ARTISTS’ STYLE
4. 	INDEPENDENT LABEL (KNIT)
5.	INDEPENDENT LABEL (SOUND)
6. 	FAVOURITE PATTERN RE-MIX

With this design, I clearly thought a lot about syncopation – that is, about beats and patterns running in and out of sync with one another – which is a key element of the Wondrous Waltz hat and mitts set. Once you start looking for it, you’ll find syncopation everywhere in knitting; and by that I mean you’ll find patterns phasing in and out of alignment to produce a vibrant visual effect of movement and life. I love Patty Knox’s New Directions in Fair Isle Knitting for this.

A vibrant design by Patty Knox, featuring diagonal lines, balls, triangles and little notched patterns in a clashy palette, with many of the patterns phasing in and out of alignment

In order to hear syncopated rhythms at the same time as admiring them in knit, I feel there is no better sonic accompaniment than Hip Harp by Jazz harp pioneer, Dorothy Ashby: who does not want to knit and hear syncopated patterns at the same time?

While working on Wondrous Waltz, I thought a lot about the artists’ whose music formed the foundation of the work. Wondrous Place was in fact originally recorded by Jimmy Jones but as his managers didn’t feel the single performed as well as they’d like it to, it was given instead to Billy Fury, who made it iconic while also yearning for more creative autonomy. The more I read about, and listened to, stories of Billy Fury and Jimmy Jones, the less comfortable I grew with the exploitative practices of big labels, and the impact of middle-men on the creative agency and freedom of their recording artists.

In contrast, I was heartened to learn more about contemporary Swedish soul-singer, Fatima, and the amazing independent label Eglo Records with whom she now works. Combing Bandcamp to hear Fatima’s collaborators and producers and reading interviews with Fatima herself about how her glorious music comes to be, I was struck by how much richer and creative the context of music is when artists are allowed to make more of what we want.

There is surely a knitterly parallel here, too; for how much richer is the world of knitting for independent publishers, for self-publishing designers, for independent dyers? How much more exciting is our world of making for its diversity of producers? Bandcamp is like Ravelry, but for music.

Finally, it’s always amazing when people take a design I’ve created and do something different with it. However, it is hard to convey just how much I love Muriel’s remix of Wondrous WaltzIndigo Lover. Like with a really great musical remix, this wasn’t just about changing the yarns/colours in which the design was worked, but about getting into its bones and reworking it using a different set of beats and notes; changing its whole shape and mood. And that got me thinking about other pattern remixes – about instances in which someone has taken a design element, or a design, and significantly reworked it so that, like the best remixes, the new version speaks to the original but is now its own kind of thing? Thanks to Muriel, Yarnadelic Remixes 0.1 now features a slouchy beanie as well as the original more closely-fitting shape.

Muriel's re-mix of Wondrous Waltz; it is still a hat with syncopated beats, but the whole mood and dimensions of the hat are different, as she has used different beats as the basis for her version

I’ll be back here in a few days’ time to share my weekly digest of PAL prompts but, in the meantime, I’ll be working on my Indigo Lover hat (which is Muriel’s remix of Wondrous Waltz) and hopefully KAL-ing with some of you in Ravelry or in Teachable.

Use the prompts to play-along through November, and leave a comment here for where we can find you! And, if you want to knit Wondrous Waltz too – or, indeed, Indigo Lover – you’ll get the pattern and the pattern remix instantly when you buy the Yarnadelic Remixes 0.1 eBook today.

UNTIL SOON,
Yours in KNIT & SOUND,
Fx

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