I’m delighted to welcome Anna Elliott as the designer for the July shawl club.
It’s always a pleasure to work with Anna, and her most recent deign, the Marmalade Sweater is destined to be one of those sweaters I live in.
Image copyright Anna Elliott
If you’d like your own sweater you can find the yarn here
Inspiration for knitting patterns can come from all sorts of places. Following a recent move to a fixer-upper of a cottage, I’ve been finding that the rhythm of life during the first year in our house and garden has found its way into my designs- for example in ‘Marmalade’, a cosy, relaxed sweater, perfect for pottering about, keeping an eye on the preserving pan on the stove.
Art has sparked my design ideas for longer, however. I often find myself drawn to late 19th century and early to mid 20th century painters, particularly where paint is used as a texture- the painting as a form as well as an image. It kind of makes sense, given that my twin loves in knit designing are colourwork and textured stitches.
On a previous design collaboration with Knitting Goddess, I explored colour using the Colour Wheel mini-skeins sets in my ‘Sonia’ hat. The idea for the stranded colourwork motif came following a visit to the Tate Modern’s exhibition of Sonia Delaunay’s paintings and textile designs where the relationship of juxtaposed colours was a key theme.
When I was developing an idea for this year’s July shawl club I wanted texture feature too and my mind was on paintings by LS Lowry. I had been fascinated to discover recently that he worked with a palette of just five paint colours: Ivory Black, Vermilion, Prussian Blue, Yellow Ochre and Flake White. Initially I thought I would try developing a design around that palette, but the more I looked at his paintings (in particular the Industrial scenes featuring the famous ‘matchstick’ figures) the more I was fascinated by the range of colours and textures he created with that limited range of paints. While it’s easy to think of his depictions of life in the manufacturing towns of the North as all soot and dust and brickwork, it’s not all grim and grey. The urban armour of the people- hats, scarves, shawls and sweaters- is more than protection against the cold, it is brave splashes of colour and humanity within the might of industry and mechanisation.
In the shawl I went on to design I tried to reflect these different elements. The colours move from the industrial to the human elements of Lowry paintings and something of his bold, textured application of paint is echoed in the textured stitches. It has a traditional shape but could be worn as modern urban armour, giving colour, warmth and comfort to the daily commute.