Well, I’ve been planning for the Woolly Walk-Along! As Knitty said in a massive understatement, ‘if you’re into woolly tagging, I think you will like this’. Her plan is to cover a handrail (a looong one) around the wharf in Auckland, New Zealand, with knitted/crocheted strips from all around the world, as a large number of visitors will be there for the rugby and will get to see it: http://knittygraffity.blogspot.com/ is her webpage but you have to mail her for more details and to be in. Basically the piece can be any width, but must be rectangular with 9cm feature panel + 4 cm visible vertical + 9 cm underneath + 4 cm back, so that it can be wrapped around the rail and stitched to the ones either side of it. I had a slight artistic crisis (as described previously) about planning my massive creative statement, but now it’s well underway 🙂
Knitty herself seems to do quite a bit of intarsia, which is spelling out words (or shapes) in one colour against a background of another, using two or more different balls of wool. As you can see from the website (& her page on facebook), she has done fabulous pieces saying ‘love’, ‘awesome’, and my favourite ‘let there be light’ (with fluffy bits). I didn’t have to think too hard to realise that my favourite spiritual value was on the (under-estimated) ‘cool side’ of the spectrum, and it was clear I was going to go for ‘wisdom’ in my tribute piece, which was going to be done in double crochet – and some neutral colour with bright orange, which has symbolic links with the concept for me. I searched around for fonts, and decided on a rather classy (and all too familiar) Times New Roman, which worked because it is 16 stitches top-to-bottom and at my tension of 2 stitches per cm gives a perfect 9 cm with one stitch for a frame at each end. Once I worked out that starting at one end and going sideways was going to make it much easier than going all the way along from left to right, as I could tackle one letter at a time, I was off.
Haha, the first ‘W’ reminded me of the Waterstones logo (which I now see also partakes of the evocative power of Times New Roman)! I quite liked the flaky effect caused by the crochet, as it is reminiscent of faded printing on old parchment or something. It happens because the more isolated stitches done from the ‘wrong side’ only produce a little v-shape on the right side, which make it less joined up than the more common intarsia knitting. I did use the ends to ‘swiss darn’ (stitch over) selected gappy bits – at first I thought I’d made mistakes, but it turns out it’s just a necessity. But not too many though, or the ‘print’ gets too thick and it spoils the yarny whimsy.
One quirk arose through my painstaking method(s) of drawing out the chart. Some letters (the curved/diagonal) were hard, and had to be coloured in in little blocks; whilst some were easy (those that started with a straight) and could be outlined right in. When I looked at the chart, I saw that this made four of the letters black and two white, which I found I was bonding with… the white letters spell out ‘I.D.’ which has various resonances – e.g. identify with wisdom? set against the psychological ‘id’? – and it was somehow more eye-catching and puzzling than just doing everything in black. So I went with it:
It is 9 cm wide exactly, and 92 rows long! I have been banging out one letter at a time mostly while listening to soothing radio on my tv (a crucial discovery, as I don’t need to look at the tv, but can still change channels easily). I have shown it to no-one and discussed it with no-one, because I was afraid that if I started to talk about it I would think it was daft and lose my nerve – I needed to charge straight in. I am going to do the other three strips separately, and crochet them together in relief double crochet with maybe some kind of frilly frame. I just need to work out how/whether to frame each strip first in some kind of looser mesh that I can crochet into. More news on the other strips soon! But in the meantime, you are the first to know about it 😉