Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Finished scarf

Scarf, wool and silk blend, twisted stockinette stitch, size 13 needles

This is another item in the finishing frenzy. This curled quite a bit during knitting, and I really spread it apart when blocking, to maximize the lacey effect. After doing that, I think I'd make it wider. It will be plenty warm since it's long enough to wrap around the neck a good couple times and won't be too bulky. But it looks a little forlorn to me, since I'm accustomed to much more dense fabric. I simply had to try lace using a bulky yarn. I do love the effect of the stitch pattern done with those big needles. They're big bamboo, so they feel like wonderful warm sticks while knitting.

I took fourteen finished pieces down to the Woodstock Guild gallery, Fleur de Lis, last night. For the second or third time I did an artist's statement, and I think it's the best so far, although only about my knitting:

Knitted textiles by Lorre Smith

Knitting is a hand looming technique that uses a strand of fiber and two sticks to form and intertwine loops in such a way that they create a stable and sometimes stretchy fabric. I have knitted all the items in this display without using assistants or apprentices. All the processes I use are manual processes or those that may use a very simple apparatus such as a yarn swift and a ball winder. Yarn manufacturers and spinners often shape lengths of 100 or more yards of yarn into a very large loop called a skein. The skein will tangle easily, so the swift and ball winder help put the yarn into a tighter and more usable form for knitting. The yarns I use are from all over the world and include, silk, wool, cotton, linen, nylon, polyester, metallic fibers, viscose, tencel, acrylic, alpaca, acetate, mohair, cashmere and rayon.

I knit in order to create beautiful textiles in ancient forms such as wraps and scarves. I often seek a wide range of yarns, sometimes more than 30 or 40 to create one fabric. The colors and surface design of each piece grow through a duly considered process of color and fiber selection and combination. In some pieces it is important to select a smooth yarn that will highlight the fabric pattern. In other pieces it is more desirable to use wildly different yarns with extraordinary texture created by yarn combinations rather than a fabric pattern. I am endlessly attracted to the combination of utility and beauty.

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