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"I must be idle."




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Wrapped Up in the Sky

I've started a creative free-form knitting project that will --- this is part of its design--- take me exactly one year to complete. I've seen projects online where people use knitting---usually stripped scarfs---to document something, changing colors when conditions change. I didn't realize until I read Knit the Sky that there's a whole world of knitting devoted to this type of thing. The book is full of all kinds of creative ideas. I'm not sure when or why I decided to do this sort of project. I'd read the book last fall and then quite suddenly around Christmas I decided that I'd "knit the sky". I ordered yarn in blues and grays (emphasizing grays because this is winter after all, and a rainy spring lies ahead) and though the yarn didn't arrive until after the first of the year which I'd set for a start date, I noted and photographed the sky so that I could catch up.

Knitting the sky
Knitting the sky

This is a very odd way of knitting. After catching up on the days I missed at the beginning of the year, I'm knitting one row per day. I realize that with the color changes that two rows would've been more practical but it would've also made the wrap more stripey and I want something that's visually less structured than that. The recommendation in the book is to combine two colors of yarn, knitted together. Because I'm using a hand dyed worsted weight, I thought that would be too heavy. The hand dyed yarn gives me some variation and changing colors within the row does the rest. I'm doing a simple seed stitch, changing colors every other stitch. I'm not too fussy about whether the yarn is carried in the front or the back. I want the texture of the fabric as well as the color to be varied, the lack of uniformity reflecting the changing nature of the sky. I'm not trying to match colors precisely. This project is not so much a record of weather as it is an impressionistic rendering of a changing sky over the course of a year. I want the colors to spill over one another creating something almost like a woven effect. There's no right side or wrong side to the fabric. Indeed, there's no telling where I will start on it. If the color I want to use is coming off the opposite end from where I left off working, then I'll work from that end. The whole thing is chaotic and I love it.

I'm not yet sure how I will feel about this over the course of the year. To look at the sky every day, choose a color, and knit just one single row. Every day. I love free-form color-changing pattern-less projects. I think I've enjoyed those more than anything else, but this feels different. There's no losing myself in the flow of the colors, knitting, changing colors based on what would look good, experimenting, and knitting, knitting, knitting. One gets immersed in color and design and can knit for long creative stretches. But this...this is something more deliberate. One row per day. It's a thoughtful process sometimes, deciding what colors to use when the sky in the morning is completely different from the afternoon sky. Some days I just use one color, some days two. Some days are high contrast and some days are similar colors combined to subtle effect. One row every day for 365 days. It doesn't feel like any project I've ever done. At the end of it I'll have a small wrap, probably just long enough to go around my shoulders, fastened with a shawl pin. I haven't checked the gauge or done any measurements. It doesn't matter. All that matters is the color of the sky.

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