So. I am half-assedly planning my mother-in-law's Christmas present. This is way far in advance, obviously, but I hate being rushed at Christmas and I love the 'I could knit this... or this... or this...' phase when the whole project is pure potential. The pure potential phase on this could stretch out three or four months, because I'm going to finish the Russian Prime, and then knit my father-in-law's Christmas sweater before I start on this one. The plan is to knit something in two-color stranded knitting, using either the Russian Prime construction (probably) or the Steeked Jacket construction (probably not, unless I'm using yarn I don't wanna steek).
The current issue is the overall idea. I can't settle on that.
At first, I was going to do something based on the door lintel at Newgrange in Ireland. It's an early bronze age site, a tomb with very cool swirly thing going on:
At sunrise on Midsummer's Day, light shines through a hole above the door and all the way down the shaft of the tomb to the burial at the end. I was thinking of knitting this with a dark gray/blue and a light blue, with touches of gold silk detailing to represent the sunlight.
Then I got this damn book on Chinese art history that I'm reading. And that reminded me of several other ideas I've had for years that I could do instead.
The oldest idea, and probably the oldest of these patterns, is the 'Taotie'. That translates roughly to 'glutton' and is a face motif found on very old Chinese bronzes:
There is an old legend of a demon that was cast out of China by it's first settlers, then bound and forced to act as a guardian. Most historians suspect that's what the taotie represents. There are varying degrees of subtlety in its use:
I would make my version fairly elaborate (covering the whole sweater), but subtle, so unless you look closely it resembles a lot of swirls. I'd do it in ivory and turqouise, after a cup found in the tomb of empress Fu Hao:
Then there's my last idea:
Basically, copy that. It's another Chinese bronze, this time inlaid with silver. I was thinking I could custom spin the darker yarn, to look like the bronze patina, with different shades of brown with a little blue and green thrown in. And I could use a bright white or silvery gray for the silver bits. This one is probably the least complicated in terms of making the pattern (yeah, really), but I'd be spinning the yarn for it which would obviously take a while.
So. Two questions. One, what do you guys think is the best idea, and two, would y'all be interested in me walking you through the entire design process to see how I do it?
[Most of these images, copyright the Freer Gallery of Art, a branch of the Smithsonian. I will spare all of you the rant about how they can take their alleged copyright of cultural treasures stolen from other people and smoke it. But the collections available on line are great. Check 'em out.]