Some Friday Inspiration

June 4, 2010

Here we go with an occasional series of what’s fascinating me lately.  We’ll start with three books I picked up recently that I find absolutely brain-boggling.

You know by now how obsessed I am with knitting from the center out, right? First, check out the high art doilies of Herbert Niebling.

The Knitted Lace Designs of Herbert Niebling

Knitted Lace Designs of Herbert Niebling

As a knitter and a designer, I can’t look at a tricky knit I haven’t seen before without mentally playing along, imagining my needles making the same pattern. Lots of designers I’ve talked to have said they knew they’d turned a corner when they couldn’t switch that part of their brain off any more – the obsession blossoming as your attention gets a little too focused on a stranger’s hat or sweater on the subway. When I was biking a lot more, I’d get the same hypnotic look tracing the topographical lines on a backroads map, mentally climbing and zooming down the hills, imagining the scenery whizzing past. When I try to play along when I look at Niebling’s designs, I get totally turned around and feel rather pleasantly lost, and I’ve got a pretty finely honed sense of direction.

If you’re on Ravelry, here’s a whole group of Niebling Knitters. And outside Rav, here’s the Niebling Knitters Yahoo group. And here’s the Niebling Knitters blog.

Next up, another absolute master of center-out lace – Marianne Kinzel.

First Book of Modern Lace Knitting

First Book of Modern Lace Knitting

I finally picked up the Dover reprint of Marianne Kinzel’s First Book of Modern Lace Knitting – holy crow.  Such beautiful designs, straight-forward, logical, complicated, and gorgeous.

A while back in a Ravelry thread about music, I was talking about how the math-y OCD-ness of knit-designing had unexpectedly honed my appreciation for Bach instead of Nina Hagen – this is totally Bach in knitted form. Cue the harpsichords. You’ve just landed in the northeast quadrant a world of geometric flower petals and delicious, sweet sweet candy. It’s beautiful here and sometimes sparkly, and you always know exactly where you are.

There’s no Rav group of Kinzel fans yet, but here’s a Rav page of her designs, and here’s her Wikipedia page.

Okay, and last but not least, here’s one from the world of weaving. Textile Art From Southern Appalachia: The Quiet Work of Women.

Textile Art from Southern Appalachia: The Quiet Work of Women

Textile Art from Southern Appalachia: The Quiet Work of Women

I saw this book on the Museum of the American Coverlet’s table at Maryland Sheep & Wool and was instantly entranced.  “Quiet Work of Women” indeed – these overshot-woven coverlets are like Op-Art made at home on a loom. Except that Op-Art usually feels throbby and makes my head hurt and these, with their muted, sensible tones, just invite you to look closer and then stand back and take it all in, over and over again, all in a non-show-off-y, confident way.

You can peek inside the book more over on Google Books, and there’s lots more about coverlets here on Wikipedia and here from the Coverlet Museum.

In other news:

Purple KnitsyBitsy Octopus

I’ll be at the Renegade Craft Fair in McCarren Park in Brooklyn all weekend, throwing a gigantic picnic for more hand-knit critters than you can say “boo” to. If you’re in or near Brooklyn, stop by and say “Hi,” or pick up a KnitsyBitsy critter for a friend or loved one at craft-fair prices. It’s going to be a super-gigantic crafty hoedown all through the park, with over 300 vendors to choose from.  Hope to see you there!

Renegade Flyer


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