Monday, September 20, 2010

September Project Yarnway Challenge - Life Imitates Art

September brings yet another great challenge over on Ravelry's Project Yarnway.  This month, we are to browse through the Metropolitan Museum of New York's online collection, and pick a piece for inspiration for our design.  So all the other very, very talented designers who are participating are jumping for joy.  And I'm like....ohhh, great, art.  As is obvious from last month's entry, I'm a literal kind of gal.  This challenge had me running scared, with no clue how to even start.  The collection is huge; how was I going to pick one piece???

I decided to start searching based on items I love - it was either going to be horses or dogs.  I searched on horses first, and before I knew it, I had settled on this:

While designing the last challenge, I promised myself that the next challenge would be small - like mittens (remember, blanket).   I was thinking about picking out some motifs and doing a stranded two color design on the mittens based on the panel.  It would work, but in my mind, this was just so literal.  I wanted to be inspired, not to just copy motifs. 

Meanwhile, I picked up a copy of Nancy Marchant's phenomenal book Knitting Brioche.  I had been intrigued by this technique, and kind of thought it was just that one stitch below stuff - which I never really found all that fun.  But Nancy's book opened up a whole new world.  Brioche knitting is not only fun, versatile, and challenging, the resulting fabric is really great.  Doubly thick but with a wonderful drape.   And the book does a fantastic job of laying out all kinds of design possibilities.  I want to knit every one of the projects in the book.

And all of a sudden, I realized that two-color brioche would be a great way to interpret the panel.  I swatched a lot for this, using thicker yarn and bigger needles.  I needed to practice, but Nancy's descriptions and teaching style in the book make it very easy.

I got carried away in some of my swatches - but I edited it down to a 4 row pattern repeat in 2-color brioche on the top and plain 2-color stockinette brioche on the palms.  One down - it fits and I love the cuff.

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