Monday, July 18, 2011

Inspiration Mondays: Stitch Poetry

We were lucky enough to visit Tunisia a few years ago. We lived in the UK then, and we found a cheap deal after Christmas to visit this country in North Africa. It was a fantastic time, like visiting the world of Aladdin and Arabian Nights.

While we were there, we made sure we saw as much as possible, while still squeezing in some days of relaxation. We took a tour and saw El Djem, a coliseum built during Roman rule. It was used in the filming of Gladiator.

We also visited a couple of mosques in Kairouan, filled with miles of beautiful hand-painted tiles and carved plaster.

The hotel we stayed at had unbelievable examples of this carved plaster in the lounge. It was difficult to photograph, but it was truly breathtaking:

It's only recently that I've realized how attracted I am to intricate patterns. I recall spending time as a child covering every bit of white space on pieces of paper with lines and swirls. Even now, I continue to be inspired by batik patterns, and the patterns of Persia.

Having said that, there are certain kinds of intricacy that attract me. It has to be simply intricate, not contrived, elegant, sophisticated, rich. It's funny how one can be so particular about something that seems so generic. It's difficult to describe, but I know it when I see it.

So what does this look like?

Here is some fabric I found in a quilt shop that I couldn't walk away from:

And you can certainly see it in my preferences for knitting patterns:

What amazes me is the imagination of the people who create these patterns, either in fabric, in carvings and especially in knit stitches. I have no problem idly doodling patterns on a page, but to immortalize these patterns out of loops of string truly astounds me. Have a look at Kitman Figueroa's designs or Kristen Kapur's Cerasefira Shawl to see this genius at work.

Is that simple? Maybe not, but my brain seems to see these as an ordered beauty, not chaos. I wish I could explain it better than that, but that's the best I can do. If lines were language, then these patterns would be poetry.

Stitch poetry. Yeah, something like that.


  1. I have no concept of how patterns are made in knitting like that. It seems like some weird feat of physics to take something that is, ultimately, a straight line... And then turn it into THAT!

    I have a much greater appreciation for it, especially, having seen a knitter like yourself at work. :) (Heheh, at work. Literally!)

  2. I am still boggled by the idea that someone figured out how to knit in the first place, let alone make all these patterns. People are amazing!

  3. You have amazing stitch poetry!
    I think my favorite is the green scarf, it looks so old and new at the same time. Just beautiful.