Rejoice with me that after several years and a mountain of work, Yarnadelic Remixes 0.1 (eBook) is published on this day!
BIGGEST THANKS to the folks over on Teachable, who bought the full shebang – playlists, videos, essays – when this project came out earlier this year, and whose engagement there and support for the project has really kept me going through the months of wrestling with InDesign and other publishing software to put mine and Muriel’s work into context. If you haven’t already seen, you can download the completed eBook in there. If you’re a Ravelry user and would also like to have the book available in your Ravelry library, you can drop your Ravname in the comments in that section of the course and I will happily oblige.
Today I’m also scooting to the finish line of our joyous month-long knit and play-alongs, and celebrating the last design in the collection: Shuffle Play Shawl.
This is a semi-circular shawl worked in the round, with a steek. Garter stitch borders are added all the way around to provide a lovely border, and the shape is designed to drape beautifully around your shoulders as you wear it.
Shuffle Play Shawl takes its name from the shuffle mode you can activate on digital devices to enable tracks to be played at random. In this shawl, you make Magic Yarn Balls before casting on. To do this, you attach lengths of yarn together to make a light ball and a dark ball, meaning that as you knit the pattern, your colour-changes occur randomly, just like your track changes when listening to music in shuffle play mode.
Naturally, the motifs that you can see all around this design are rooted in the music that inspired the yarns in which it’s knit. That’s a mouthful so I’ll break it down! Six shades of Yarnadelic yarn were used for this design. The light magic ball includes yarns inspired by the songs Ordinary Joe, The Beautiful Ones, and Hey Moon. The dark magic ball includes yarns inspired by the songs Waltz, Les Fleurs, and Canto de Ossanha.
To produce motifs for the shawl, I took the most memorable phrases from each of the songs, and charted them out to create short motifs that fit into the stitch-counts for the shawl. So when you look at the shawl and see all those little dots, they each represent musical notes and phrases, repeated around the shawl to warm your spirit, along with the wool!
I am really proud of this design, and especially love how closely it resembles old round music box discs – which are circular versions of the same technology that Muriel and I have used to make our punch-cards for this whole project.
Do you see what I mean?
Shout out to test-knitters Yvonne Philippa and Daphne, who made their own versions of this project and joined me earlier this summer online for a happy STEEKING PARTY! Their advice for knitting this shawl (and it is good advice…) is to knit it with a friend. Whether making Magic Yarn Balls before you cast on, or splicing yarns in as you go, it’s relaxing to not have to think about colour changes as you go, and a wonderful way to use up any gradient sets of fingering weight yarn that you may have lying around. Although the end result looks complex, 1. nobody will notice if you make a mistake in the pattern, 2. each round is actually really easy to memorise as you go, because the repeats are long and 3. these two things together mean that you can easily while away afternoons in chatter and knitting, especially enjoying the easy plain rounds that lie between the notes!
Blocking this pattern is recommended; all the strong verticals and blocks of colour make the fabric pucker a little bit as you can see in Yvonne Philippa and Daphne’s freshly steeked (but not yet blocked) Shuffle Play Shawls just here…
…and what a difference blocking makes as you can now see here!
Without further ado, let’s wrap up what’s been a glorious month of knitting and playing along with Yarnadelic Remixes 0.1 with my digest of the final set of prompts.
25. RANDOM SONG FROM PLAYLIST
There can only be one answer to that prompt today, and it’s UP ABOVE MY HEAD, I HEAR MUSIC IN THE AIR by the inimitable Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
26. MAGIC BALL PROJECT (KNIT)
The first project that introduced me to this wondrous concept was a version of Kaffe Fassett’s Persian Poppies Waistcoat at – I think – an open day at the Oxford Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers perhaps as long ago as 2007? Photo from the KNITSONIK VAULTS! Apologies that past-me failed to properly note the name of the amazing knitter who produced this marvel.
27. MINNIE RIPERTON: CELEBRATING ARTISTS’ STYLE
Minnie Riperton sings Les Fleurs – one of the songs represented in the shawl; I think her iconic sense of style comes across in this fantastic album cover from Adventures in Paradise, but you also get to hear her wonderful sense of humour in this interview in which she describes interacting with a lion in the photoshoot for this cover!
To learn more about Minnie Riperton, I thoroughly recommend the book that Faith Makawa is reading in our photoshoot for the shawl – Memoirs of a Minnie Riperton Fan, by Sheila Simmons. I love how Sheila’s book explores Minnie’s life through parallels with her own, and the aura of appreciation and love with which she explores the memory of her childhood idol. About Minnie Riperton’s sense of style, she writes:
But Minnie is not just a singer to her growing body of fans. She is also a fashion and cultural influence. A friend who grew up in Washington, D.C., in the 70s, recalls how Black teen girls began wearing baby’s breath in their hair, like Minnie. They would constantly sing Minnie’s “Lovin’ You” refrain, “La, la, la, la, la…”
So I ask Wendy what she knows about the flowers, if there was significance to the baby’s breath Minnie sported.
“It was everything!” she insists. “We were flower children, hence the baby’s breath. It was a signature for her – her signature! It was a reminder of the fragrant, glorious, fragile existence we all lived. When you can look at the good every day and give thanks, you create more good, and as you pass it along, you create more good.”
28. PRINCE: CELEBRATING ARTISTS’ STYLE
Another fashion icon whose music is there in the Shuffle Play Shawl is Prince, whose song The Beautiful Ones appears in yarn and in the musical phrase that I remixed for the componium and then turned into a stranded colourwork motif. I am sure there are multiple doctoral research projects in existence unpacking the inspiring power – and enormous reach – of Prince’s cultural legacy. He was a massive force of joy for life, music and fashion. I miss him so much, and remember the wave of ideas that would flower across fashion and music in the wake of a new Prince project.
What are your favourite Prince moments? I chose this image because he’s wearing knits in it, but really, my best memories of Prince include the release of Diamonds and Pearls; The Most Beautiful Girl In The World; and If I Was Your Girlfriend… these songs just spoke to my girly teenage self very deeply.
29. FAVOURITE MUSIC REMIX
This is my favourite remix in the whole world: the Calibre Remix of Lady Blackbird’s Collage. Get it on Bandcamp here. I promise it will make you want to dance
30. KNITS THAT CELEBRATE SOUND / SOUNDS THAT CELEBRATE KNIT
You may remember that many moons ago I interviewed the amazing artist whose music I used in the videos for my KNITSONIK Bullet Journaling Course, and who releases music under various aliases including Rrrrrose (formerly Monplaisir) and Loyalty Freak Music?
One of the many beautiful crossovers of interest for us, was that I discovered that Rrrrrose had produced a beautiful track called Unraveling Chords and based around the sounds of a knitting machine. The track info is as follows:
That piece of music was recorded in the studio of the textile designer Cecile Feilchenfeldt, an incredible artist working on warp knitting, tricot, and experimental knitting. It was a real pleasure to access her place and do some field recording in here.
Everything about this – the love and respect for the labour of knitting, the sonic appreciation of its tones, beats and textures, and the careful work of listening – and also joyously playing – to the KNIT and the SONIK make this the perfect track on which to end this month.
Buy it on bandcamp here.
THANK YOU for joining us for this adventure in KNIT + SONIK, and don’t forget that you can buy our eBook now!
Tomorrow I’ll be back with something totally different; find out more about that here and see you in the morning!!!
YOURS IN KNIT + SONIK,