09 July 2006

Ooops to oooh

One of my favourite things about knitting, like life itself, is how a mistake or at least a detour from the original path can turn into something rather wonderful.

When I wrote the polygon seminar, I knit all of the samples based on my written instructions. Along the way I knit a few not quite as the instructions were written. I'd love to say that I do that by design so that I can know what the common mistakes are but the fact of the matter is that I can be just as distracted as the average bear and from time to time what I write and what I actually knit do not match.

Anyhow, while trying to knit the swirl triangle swatch shown below, I managed to miss the double rather than single yarn over at the start of each needle which resulted in a not so flat swirl triangle.
But the not so flat swirl triangle reminded me of a lily and I made a mental note to revisit that mistake after finishing the other class samples and seminar materials.

At the time I was still doing a lot of work with Habu Textiles' pine paper yarn (which I still love) and at least one early "looks like a lily to me mistakes" was done with the yarn. I'm not quite sure whether the image at right was the do a single rather than double yarn over mistake or a single yarn over plus a rest row variation but it got me thinking and I did a few short rows to test my impressions before binding off and putting it aside for future exploration.

In the Spring of 2005, I started really playing with designing knitted flowers and when I finished the lily revisit in June of 2005 and showed the picture below to some friends many were convinced it was a real lily rather than a knitted paper lily.

I knit the stem out of size 10 cotton, used plain 18 gauge floral wire to reinforce/support the flower and then wrapped the stem with coiled 22 gauge copper wire. I love the result but I'm didn't think that this was a reasonable solution for either publication or workshops.

While I really love the pine paper yarn, I also know that I am in the minority. The put up of it means that even though I have knit full size shoes, miniature shoes, lace balls, lazy lace, and more in the three years or so since I first encountered the stuff, I've still got a lot of yardage left over.

When I dropped round the DMC booth at TNNA in Spring 2006 I was actually in search of something that would be a good substitute for the no-longer-made-as-best-I-can-tell tatting thread that I used in my
knitted skull experiment. I was handed a ball of 100% cotton Senso with the suggestion that it might be a good substitute.

I haven't revisited my knitted skull project yet but I had some miniature feather and fan ballet slippers that also had originally been created in pine paper and were also in search of a more mass market available material. I liked the result so much that I decided to try a lily.

Since I only had white to play with and no one locally seemed to stock the stuff (so much for mass market available), my first white Senso lily had a stem knitted out of size 10 Baroque cotton like the original pine paper lily. Unlike the original lily and other flower experiments, I had moved onto fabric coated 18 gauge wire. The stem didn't need reinforcement but it was still kind of thin/wimpy compared to what I now know (thanks to a quick botany lesson in the park courtesy of Judy Gibson) is a bract or spathe and what I erroneously referred to as a stamen is a
spadix or flower spike.

Excited by the results I had from the white lily, I asked LYS to special order some colours for me and also placed a mail order purchase for others. While waiting, I did the icord stem for the 1st Goth lily in some sickly green size 10 crochet cotton -- and I could have continued down that path but I liked the combination of black and poison green.

I was not so crazy about poison green and white or gold and that's when I remembered that I had some Wildflower DK in a good stem green. Since I had used yellow Wildflower DK for one of my daffodils, I knew that it would work up to about the right gauge. To be honest, I think the green is a bit too bright for the gilded lily -- I'd prefer something a bit more brown/woodsy or maybe deep forest green but available yarns in proper gauge is a big limitation on design choices.


I finished off the 2nd Goth and white lilies with just a week to spare for the Knitty submission deadline. I considered photographing all six of them in a way that would obscure the stems, but I didn't want to be locked into that as my only option.

My photography efforts were hampered by my procrastinating nature (read income tax filing), my work schedule, not having an available model, and being a bit discouraged by yet another IK thanks but no thanks response to a design.

Still, I got some shots, drew some diagrams, put the materials together, battled a sluggish computer system and sent it all off into the great cyber submission zone.

Not having a model was one of the biggest problems I had for an extremities issue. One of the original ideas was to have ribbon, hands, maybe a bouquet. . . but my hands are not exactly the ideal and even if they were a second set of hands to hold the camera was missing.

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