Knitting a Painting: Jasmine Sidewinder
Guest Post by Virginia Catherall, Curator of Education
Over ten years ago I started a knitting club at the UMFA with some of my education department colleagues and their spouses. Once a month we would meet at someone’s house for dinner, drinks, and knitting. We had a lot of fun knitting, talking, gossiping. We made lasting friendships over knitted works and wine. But, as life is wont to do, our lives got busier and busier, kids came along and people moved in and out of the group as some moved away and others moved to the area. It was harder to carve out the time to spend an entire evening at someone’s house especially because we all started having kids at a staggered rate.
So, we devised a plan to just have dessert after dinner and kids were put to bed, so we would have a little grown-up time to knit. That worked for a few years until even that became hard to coordinate. So, last year we decided to make the knitting club a lunchtime affair for anyone who wanted to knit once a week at work. So far, this has worked splendidly. So much so that we are trying to knit a little and eat a little together every day if we can. Besides, research shows that we definitely need to stop eating alone at our desks, which is what we were used to doing.
This long-winded explanation of my knitting club history is all to say that because we have started knitting at work, I wanted to create a project that could stay at work. One that was interesting enough to knit but mindless enough to be able to eat and talk and knit all at the same time. It needed to be large enough to last several months so I wouldn’t have to keep schlepping yarn to work. I also wanted it to have some meaning for the UMFA, since after all that is where we all work and knit.
Cue an epic project that is inspired by my favorite work at the Museum, Jasmine Sidewinder by Gene Davis. I have loved this minimalist work since I first started working 20 years ago. It is large and interesting and has STRIPES!
The painting is almost 10 feet tall! I decided to replicate the artwork in a smaller version as a stole. After a lot of swatching and math, I created a pattern and cast on last November. Over the last several months, I have knit row after row and have seen it grow.
A month ago I finally came to the colored stripes and freaked out over the weird colors. They looked very odd together and definitely not the combination or order of colors that I would ever put together. But, I trusted Gene Davis and his mastery of color and kept going.
I finally finished the stole in May, it truly was an epic knit! It has been a fun companion at work and has fulfilled all of my requirements of being interesting but easy, large enough to take a few months, and definitely inspired by our collection of art.
I finished it just in time for the heat of summer when the Museum is at its coldest. We always have to bundle up in the summer just to stay warm in the air-conditioned building. This stole is the perfect summer wrap.
The pattern is available for free on Ravelry.com if anyone out there knits. I didn’t feel right charging for a pattern that was essentially designed (at least color-wise) by Gene Davis. If anyone out there makes one of these, I hope you enjoy the process as much as I did.