Some of you were curious as to where I get ideas. Really, the problem is not ideas; I see knitting patterns and ideas EVERYWHERE. The problem is finding the time to knit them all. (I'm hoping to get the yarn biz going well enough that I can start hiring test knitters to produce some of these ideas, and then sell the patterns.) My brain works in a very visual way; maps and charts and pictures are my friends. Those weirdos who can look at a pattern and identify where it came from? I'm one of them. To give you an idea, while I was flipping through photos on line, looking for a photo of the Blue Mosque for this post, I spotted a photo and thought "That's not the Blue Mosque, that's the Allhambra, in Spain." It's rather spooky, even to me.
So, a smorgasboard of stuff I've been meaning to knit for years.
Celadon porcelain has always been one of my favorites, though other forms of Chinese ceramics are also tempting. I'd use a subtle gray-green yarn and knit a yoke sweater, with some subtle texture around the neck to imitate the way the clay was carved before the glaze was put on. I've got a folder on my computer called "celadon" that I copy photos to, when I run across things I like. Of course there are dozens of other types of pottery from all over the world that would translate wonderfully into knitwear.
There's a folder in my office of stuff I've torn out of magazines that I think would make cool sweaters; the latest is a couple of advertisements for scandinavian carpets, torn out of an Architectural Digest while I was in Florida.
Of course there are all the historic sources, such as the ones I produced yesterday. Another idea lurking in the back of my mind is to create a drapey kimono-style jacket based on the "Frieze of Archers" originally in the palace of Darius, king of Persians, at Susa. I've got several pictures of these guys laying around the house, waiting for the day I get off my ass and knit this. I'm thinking linen for drape, and otherwise sticking as close as possible to the designs and cut of what they're wearing. I'd like to do something similar with Minoan palace frescoes, Byzantine mosaics, and Japanese and Chinese scroll paintings, Russian icons, and illuminated manuscripts.
Then there's antique clothing of all types. I could go on for days about that. But one of my favorites is Mario Fortuny, the maker of the famous (well, in clothing history circles) delphos gowns of the early 1900s. While the gowns were certainly cool, it's the jackets he made to go over them that really fascinate me. The one at the left is stenciled velvet; I once got as far as knitting a gauge swatch with cotton chenille for the velvet and gold rayon for the gold paint... all I figured out was that I hate chenille yarn. Then there are the other great clothes of history - Worth, Charles I's execution undershirt, bronze age string skirts, and ethnic textiles from all over.
When I was in college in 2005, I spotted a photo of the Blue Mosque of Istanbul in my World Religions textbook. I turned the book sideways (earning an odd look from the prof, who later demanded an explanation, which got another odd look), and yup, there it was - Fair Isle patterns. I've got this one about half charted, and think a nice, crisp cotton would be better than wool in this case. (This tile photo is off the 'net, and I'm not sure where it's from - but it gives you an idea of the photo out of my textbook.)
And then there are ancient maps. Done in intarsia, in all colors, and felted. Cut like an old-fashioned frock coat. With sea monsters needle-felted onto the oceans where appropriate. And a dragon or two.
You see where this is going. I could go on for days. Art, textiles, history, you name it. I want to knit everything. Would anyone be interested in test knitting? And if so, how much would you charge? (I'd provide the yarn.)
All images copyright the human race, all rights reserved. 20,000 BCE - 2008 CE.