Tuesday, October 27, 2009

o'keeffe cardigan

the seasons are changing here, and fall/winter is definitely edging in. the skies are shifting to gray, and it's getting dark quite early here now. one of the things i found difficult in my first year in scotland (and still find difficult now) is how dark & gray the winters are here. it never really gets that cold here in the winter, but the lack of light & colour is something i struggle with year after year - so it's important to find things to combat that grayness that starts to settle in this time of year.

fyberspates merino aran
merino aran in "limes" from fyberspates

something bright & vivid, in a soft & cozy merino, is perfect for chasing away the grays. this yarn was my one & only yarn purchase from this summer's ravelry day in coventry (i ended up being far too busy to browse the other vendor's stalls, and just snatched this up on my way back from the loos - the colour shouted out to me!) i've been knitting with fine-gauge yarns so much lately that i'd forgotten how quickly an aran weight knits up, and it's rapidly becoming the tilted duster cardigan from the interweave knits fall 2007 magazine.

tilted duster front
interweave fall 2007 cover shot

the only problem with this project? i can't get georgia o'keeffe out of my head. & here's why - before i cast on for the cardigan, i had this conversation with the RSA.

me: (holding the interweave magazine so the RSA can see the cover shot of the cardigan) what do you think about this cardigan? i think i'm going to make it.
the RSA: hm... are you going to change it, or knit it just like that?
me: well, i'm probably going to knit the bottom "skirt" section plain, instead of having the ribbing at the fronts, and make it a little wider so there's more overlap.
the RSA: oh, ok!
me: why do you ask?...
the RSA: well..... knitted like that, it kind of looks like..... ah..... well, it looks like a..... vagina.
me: oh.

(scroll on back up & take another look at the magazine cover shot - you know you want to.)

well, what can you say after that? i'd already planned to change the ribbing at the bottom, because it draws a lot of attention to the belly area, & i don't really need any extra attention there! (weirdly enough, lots of folk on ravelry have knitted this as a pregnancy cardi, so i'm clearly not alone in thinking it's a style that draws focus to the belly). but now, all i can think of is georgia o'keeffe's flower paintings:

"well, I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower - and I don't."
(georgia o'keeffe)


Anonymous said...

How true! Plain skirt and wider; wise choice.

Thank you for the O'Keeffe reference. She is revered here in Madison, WI, near her childhood home of Sun Prairie, WI. And thank you for your blog - love it, have been following silently but your O'Keeffe reference drew me out.

Felix said...

I'm glad you put that quote up here. I studied O'Keeffe at Art College and was always struck by how a certain wave of feminist art-making had appropriated her flowers for the politics of their movement... if she had been a man, she would have been venerated for reinventing the format of the landscape painting. But because of the timing and the politics, her work was interpreted in very different - and sexualised - terms.

I love O'Keeffe and like to think of her as someone who mapped for the first time a certain way of seeing the details in places and the worlds within worlds. I think your choice of yarn for the cardigan is perfect because it's so like so many of the well-observed greens that she mixed for her large scale paintings.

Shame you had to rip it all out, but what a lovely creative process from start to finish. I am sure you will find something amazing to make in its place!