Thursday, January 31, 2008

Knitting With Fabric!

While counting the hours until tomorrow and eagerly awaiting the next TIF Challenge, I realized that in becoming a blog junky as a result of joining this activity and seeing so many gorgeous things done in different media, but with a common denominator (the colors), I saw "batik" fabric mentioned several times. I do admire these - both the real things done with wax resist, and what is sold now in quilt shops as "batik." These are vat dyed, so there is no right or wrong side to deal with, as with printed fabrics. Several years ago I got the urge to re-create a thing I enjoyed back in the 80's - cutting fabrics into strips and knitting with them. I think the ladies in the quilt shop kind of winced when I told them what I was doing, as I accumulated yet another fine stash of raw materials ( yards and yards of gorgeous fabrics). I think the most enjoyable project I came up with was making these little tote bags for my grand daughters to enhance the "poor girl" look. (I will have to say, this poor girl thing gets rather expensive, from the looks of the shopping bags they bring home.) The challenge in designing this tote bag, which was knit (except for the I-cord strap) all in one piece - gussets included, was making the chart. I have graph paper that I can print out to my required size in the format for knitting (a bit different, as they aren't square), but had to remind myself after a dumb error or two, that some of them had to be upside down when arriving past the bottom and starting on the opposite side. Also, I found it easier on the ones, like this one, that weren't symmetric, to make a mirror image of the pattern to make it easier and less confusing. Anyway - the only thing on this bag that isn't batik is the heart - I like the kind of "tweedy" look of the knitted batik fabric around the stronger, solid color of the central motif. Pillows are also quite wonderful done with fabric strips, and are achieved in a minimum amount of time, due to using large needles - up to size 13. The look isn't Shabby Chic, but rather "Raggedy Chic" in that they aren't faded and worn looking - just a bit rustic due to the mottled appearance of the fabrics when knitted, and the little fibers that unravel on the edges. The "lodge look" maybe?? The three geometric looking pillows are knit in patterns from the Barbara G. Walker TREASURY OF KNITTING PATTERNS - Mosaic knits. They look complicated, but are extremely easy to work, and very entertaining. I am hoping that at least one of the challenges this year will include something that may be adapted to fabric strip knitting, as I do enjoy diversifying. I do not believe in forcing any art medium, fiber or otherwise, to do something not natural to its inherent qualities, but do believe I could do a bit of "enhancing" of some sort on the knitted tote bags. Interesting thought.

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