November 19, 2008

Still Life with Knitting

As I’ve written before, it is always such a pleasure to see customers return to the store with their finished projects. The yarn leaves the store as an idea and sometimes we are lucky enough to see it “all grown up.” When I write up a Customer Creation post, I usually fill in a basic description of the yarn used and pattern, that is until I came across the knitting of Jim Schram. Jim’s knitting boggles the mind. It is beautiful in its complexity. So to completely buck convention, here is Jim in his own words, a true artist talking about his work.

The shawl below was knit using Malabrigo brand 100% cotton on size 3, 5, 7, and 9 circular needles. The triangle starts at the center base of the neck with size 3 needles, increasing the needle size during every pattern transition — Leaf becomes Rose becomes Ripple then back to Leaf again. Knitting each row creates several individual increases, thus forming the finished triangle.

Shawl Front.jpg

Shawl Back.jpg

The peach sweater below is a Christmas gift for my cousin, Michelle. It was knit using two colors of Malabrigo brand worsted 100% cotton on 24″ size 3 circular and dpns. The yarns were factory-dyed in solid and variegated pink, then later tinted peach using natural sandalwood powder, with alum and cream of tartar as the mordant. Two steeks were knit for the armholes which were later cut and machine-hemmed before joining the sleeves.

There are ten stitch patterns involved: Simple Seed, Lorgnette Cable, Twining Vine Leaf, Flame Chevron (sides under the arms), Diamond Cable-topped Crossed V, and Candelight stitches form the body, with frilly half-Horseshoe and Roman Stripe patterns at the waist, and Tulip Bud edged simple seeded cuffs. The princess-style sleeves have a Three-Leaf run with Diamond Cables containing a Double-Seed fill for visual interest. The background is simple reverse stockinette.

Sweater Front.jpg

Sweater Back.jpg

The Fair Isle style men’s vest below was knitted using Cotton Classic brand 100% Mercerized cotton on size 5 and size 7 circulars. Seven colors were used (two per row) in a custom pattern inspired by traditional Fair Isle garments. Three steeks were knit for the neck and armholes which were later cut and machine-hemmed before adding the twisted ribbing. This allowed all work to continue in the round, resulting in more even yarn tension throughout.

BTW, the Cotton Classic yarns are PURE PLEASURE to work with… deep bold colors and a slight stretchy-ness, with NONE of the annoying “de- stranding” that sometimes occurs with looser-spun multi-ply yarns. The oversized “Jim” signature garment tag is really just for giggles. ;o) It was knit on size 2 dpns.

Vest Front.jpg

Vest Back.jpg

Transitions? Ten stitch patterns? Steeks? Fair Isle in cotton? Just for giggles?! Jim, we are all in awe.

Filed under: customer creations — Admin @ 9:15 pm