My first post publishing career foray was into the world of knitwear. I bought a second hand knitting machine and taught myself to design. I loved the designing, the yarns, and the finished work I made. I did not really enjoy knitting on the machine, nor the employing of knitters, nor the selling – so after a few years the whole enterprise fizzled out.
Nonetheless I did not want to throw out everything I had made. When I decided to pack in the whole enterprise one garment which was still in the designing was a waistcoat. I had found some lovely silk yarn and my idea was to design a pattern to knit in strips. The strips would then be sewn together using a kind of fabric hinge made of dupion silk, and the whole would also be lined with dupion silk. Well, I got as far as knitting the strips of silk yarn, and I was experimenting with the hinges, and there it remained.
I gave away all my yarns except the silk. I had not bought much as I was still at the design stage, and so there is still a small amount on each cone. I would look at the knitted strips from time to time and wonder what I could do with them. And then it arrived – again with a juggler!
I had used jugglers in my printmaking experiments, and had been pleased enough with a few that I had them printed onto cotton. I was not sure what exactly I was going to do with each one, but the impulse was there so I followed it.
Most of the knitted silk strips were black and grey. They had been going to be the main contrast colour in each colourway. After that the majority of coloured strips were in yellow, using two yellows. The mottled effect matched the mottling of the background of one of the juggler prints.
So I put together a patchwork. The juggler panel was quilted in my usual way, and it became part of a joining of large patches which were stitched onto a backing by machine.
Because of the knubbly overall effect I added pompoms made with some of the left over yarns in the appropriate colours.
And I really like the piece, Patched pastime – as well as being delighted to have found a good home for the much loved strips that fitted appropriately with my body of work.
Enthusiastic about how the yellow one had turned out, I started quilting a second one of the printed jugglers; a blue one. I also have blue strips as well as several black and grey ones left. I was working on this last year when I was distracted by the possibility of perhaps completing Distant dancers (see last post) for an exhibition. So now Patched pastime, blue languishes waiting for attention. Once I get back to it, it should not take too long because the hand quilting is done. It is machine work that remains.