Thursday, 29 January 2009

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men

gang aft aglay...

This post celebrates my very distant Scottish ancestry with a quote from the great Robbie Burns in honour of the 250th anniversary of his birth. All, I hope will become clear...

Blithely assuming the other day that what with all the practice I was becoming something of a stranded colour work expert I thought I'd gently dip my toes in the water of designing something. How hard can it be? I thought. In preparation for the launch of the Yarn Yard mitten pattern I thought it would be really nice if I did a little something that celebrated the season and allowed people to have a bit of a practice at stranded colour work and in particular knitting letters before the Yarn Yard pattern is launched in all its glory.

With Valentines day on the horizon I thought it might be good to make a little gift bag with some affectionate motto on it for people to try. Now if I had had the foresight to go with Burns right from the start and maybe use ' My Love is like a Red, Red Rose' or something like that all might have been well but no - I'm far too modern and prefer to show my middle age with a quote from Elvis Costello, 'My Aim is True'.

Look, I drew it out on squared paper and everything and made all kinds of little designery notes and drawings - I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

I also remembered this book which has languished on my shelves untouched by human hand for some years. I must have bought it before I got interested in stranded colour work as I've not really referred to it since I bought it.

When I opened it it was an absolute revelation. In my minds eye it was full of rows of knitted bananas and charts for intarsia tractors. It does have these which I may, one day, find a use for but what it also has is an absolute treasure trove of stranded designs from all over the world. Look, on the left is a traditional nordic star while the pattern on the right is really reminiscent of some of the Komi designs that I have been enjoying recently.

What it also has is pages and pages of smaller geometric border patterns which repeat over a variety of stitch numbers and rows. I thought a little row of arrows like the ones on the top left of the right hand page would be in keeping with the theme.
I was feeling quite pleased with myself by that point. I found a couple of skeins of Yarn Yard Bonny.

...and produced this...
and once again from the back....

It's hard to put into words the number of levels on which this does not match up to the picture in my head. After using traditional Shetland wool which blends and blooms so beautifully, sock yarn just doesn't have the cohesion to create lettering that doesn't look like it's been done by a five year old. The pink, which was left over from my Battenberg socks, fully realised the slightly blue tinge in its shade to look positively grey against this scarlet red.
As for romance, not that I am a great hearts and flowers girls but the arrows immediately reminded me of tyre tracks turning this quote from a declaration of honourable intent into a threatened hit and run.
Back to the drawing board as they say....

7 comments:

Kate said...

You mean it doesn't have charts for knitted bananas? I was going to buy it, but perhaps I won't now. :-P


I find that knitting thin, straight vertical lines with stranded knitting often looks a bit wrong for me as well, so it's not just you. :-) Diagonal lines work far better.

Cornflower said...

So good of you to show us the false dawns within the creative process - you're bound to come up with something perfect next!

tea and cake said...

Sorry to laugh! but it was the bit about it looking like a threat! Awe,what a good practice piece, tho.

Bells said...

Oh I've never seen that book but I think I must have it. This post was worth that alone!

But you know, drawing boards are excellent places to return to, I think. You'll get there. It's a good first start and I think the concept is a lovely one.

Jeanne said...

I like it - I like the half threat of the tire tracks - keeps people on their toes! :-)

Good luck with the redesign...

Sally said...

Oh Jane, I laughed my handknitted socks off! Such a lovely sentiment, but so threatening in a different context. Thanks for the giggle. At least it was a learning experience?

madonnaearth said...

What an ending! Love that! There's something you don't see everyday!