Saturday, April 9, 2011

On not following rules

Since childhood I've had a proclivity for ignoring the rules, whatever the rules may be. Yes, this contrarian streak seems to be hard-wired. It has gotten me into trouble sometimes, but more often than not, led to interesting discoveries that yield longterm, reverberating insights.

Molly, alter ego.
You may have noticed that I didn't post for the last day of 2KCBW--the Second Annual Knitting and Crocheting Blogs Week. I just grew tired of responding to the prompts, and the last one, inquiring as to my favorite places to knit, seemed a giant yawn, so I thought, Why bother? This is a fairly mild instance of Not Following the Rules. It also reminded me of why I hate board games.

In knitting, not following the rules has had a more creative effect. I've sometimes taken a fairly basic pattern and altered it to suit my taste. Usually this isn't a preplanned exercise, as in the most recent case, but something that evolves as I knit. About a year ago I began making the "Chic Bolero" pattern from Classic Elite Knits: One Hundred Gorgeous Designs for Every Occasion.

Obviously this is a straightforward, unembellished pattern. When I sewed the pieces together, I realized the sweater was going in a new direction. As is my habit, I didn't use the specified yarns (sorry, Classic Elite), and once everything was attached, I decided the body of the cardigan needed to be longer. I added a section below the ribbing, creating eyelets. These will be threaded with a belt of some sort--either a ribbon or an I-cord. (My experiment was validated by the Knitting Goddess, who told me she encourages knitters to adapt professional designs to their own whims.)

While I'm on the subject of original designs, I will draw your attention to a beautiful new jacket from Richard Muto's expert hand. It's of woven mohair bouclé, sewn, knitted, fully lined, and bedecked with freshwater pearls and crystals! Here it is, modeled by Jan Doyle.

"Oceancrest," by Richard Muto.
As you'll recall, I profiled Richard Muto, the Rhode Island Laureate of Fiber, a bit more than a year ago. You can read about him there, and on his Facebook page, or you can catch him at the Carolina Fiber and Fiction Center, where he teaches spinning. Because Richard is such a force in my world of handcrafted textiles, I will continue to provide you with periodic updates on his design career and teaching gigs.

Finally it's spring in Rhode Island. We planted a huge fig tree on the hill, 

moved some of the dwarf citrus trees to the deck, and have been luxuriating in the sudden influx of sun.

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