Creating motifs knitting traditional Fair Isle or Intarsia are not of interest to me. Each time I crack the cover of Kaffee Fassett’s, kaffee Knits Again or Sasha Kagan’s, Country Inspiration, I marvel at pictoral images translated from rows of charted squares and symbols. The knitter uses her needles, like a painter does her brush, with each stitch or stroke emerges color, pattern and texture.
In order to visually create pattern and texture, I am fascinated with the dimensional effects offered by knit, purl and slip stitches. The textural quality of knit and purl stitches are unlimited. Mosaic patterns are formed by slipping stitches over rows giving an impression that two or more colors have been used in the same row. The Harmony Guides 250 Creative Knitting Stitches, Volume 4 and Mosaic Knitting by Barbara G. Walker have captured my attention.
Nicky Epstein…publishing diva extraordinaire. The prolific knitter and her designs “push the envelope of embellishment.” I recently found a copy of Nicky’s Signature Scarves at my local recycled book store and was immediately inspired to knit Yo-Yos scarf on page 76. Signature Scarves are felted, lace, floral, constructed, cut, and embellished with sewn-on elements.
I recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend of knitting with Nicky Epstein at Vogue Knitting Destination in Oregon. My two favorite Nicky books were knitting on the edge and knitting over the edge, until my weekend of discovery. Each attendee received a complimentary copy of Knitting On Top of the World. Inside, I spied the Mongolian Warrior Pullover, which I had recently pinned on Pinterest. I was thrilled! Nicky used “the armor used by the hordes of Genghis Khan” for her inspiration. The Magical Capelet project for the weekend referenced Nicky’s most recent title, Knitting Block By Block. Four blocks of any stitch pattern and color were transformed into a magical garment. (For my magical capelet, I knit with Noro’s Kureyon and added a collar)
Listening to Nicky Epstein discuss her own way to create, I began to peel away the many layers of Nicky’s uncomplicated innovative techniques. In order to appreciate her “over the top” approach, requires patience and a desire to understand her design sense, level of intuition and creativity.
The Hotel deLuxe in Portland, Oregon was the starting point for a weekend of knitting, moonshine and the beautiful landscape of Imperial Stock Ranch. Arriving a day early, I decided to check-out the local flavor. On my way to Josephine’s Dry Goods on SW 11th Avenue, I got lucky and found Knit Purl located next door to Josephine’s. I found the perfect color of malabrigo’s Rasta to knit the Rasta Neckwarmer designed by Breean E. Miller. It was so convenient to walk next door and purchase the perfect buttons at Josephine’s Dry Goods.
Our journey began the next morning as we boarded a coach for our weekend with Doreen Connors of Vogue Knitting, designer Nicky Epstein, Dan and Jeanne Carver, owners of Imperial Stock Ranch. “Sustainability” is not just a buzz word for the duo…They live a life of commitment, hard work and respect for the land. I am proud to say, “I’m an Imperial Yarn Girl.”
After returning from “the ranch,” I had an extra day before flying back to Northern California. At the knitting getaway, I overheard fellow knitters talking about Portland’s flagship yarn store, Yarn Garden. With an extra day to spare, I hailed a taxi… destination Yarn Garden. I was greeted at the door by the owner, who graciously explained the history of the store. I was slowly drawn to her garden of temptation. A garden of beautiful yarn in three different rooms organized by gauge. By now, my suitcase and duffle bag were stuffed with yarn from Knit Purl and Imperial Stock Ranch, so I had a few skeins mailed home. Much to my surprise, the package arrived ahead of schedule. This was an unforgettable trip, one I will remember forever.
Flags, buttons and butterflies oh my! Join knitorious at A Work of Heart located in dowtown Willow Glen, CA for a summer camp of knitting. Embellish your knitting with buttons and craft felt. The craft felt used for embellishment, reflects the current trend of “going green” and is comprised of post-consumer plastic bottles. Check-out the summer camp schedule at www.aworkofheart.com.