Thursday, February 12, 2009

Paper Work

I spent the better part of yesterday knitting swatches with my hanji paper yarn. Grrrr… It took several aborted attempts (yes, I was calling them “abortions”) to get the proposed pattern correct. Here’s the final swatch, all blocked and dry:

Kinda weird, eh? It’s an embryo. And here’s the aborted attempts:

I now have new and renewed respect for pattern designers for sure! It’s not easy to get what’s in your mind’s eye to come out in the knitting. Especially when this is to be an “art” piece so it has to have a little something special going for it. Not to mention the fact that it’s being knit with a skinny strip of paper! Ever tried to execute a Make 1 (I tried 3 different kinds), SSP (slip, slip, purl) or a sk2po (slip, k2tog, psso) with something that not only has absolutely no stretch but that will break if you force it just a little bit too far? It’s exciting, I tell you. Takes a lot more concentration than normal. You can’t even jerk the yarn off the cone but must gently unwind more as you go. Delicate, mindful, zen knitting. Zzzzz...

I must have been worth it, because I think I now have the beginnings of what I need to get started on the real piece. It’s going to be a stole, roughly a very long oval shape but with funky ends (one innie and one outie). The edges will be scalloped with lace leaves and there will be further leaves dangling from the ends. Maybe. The centre will be a random bark effect using garter, st st, reverse st st and moss stitches. I still need a name for my creation and I don’t seem to be having much inspiration in that direction. How about “Papyrine”? Or is that too obvious? Sounds pretty.

Meanwhile, I’ve been knitting on Milady’s Gloves for relief from the paper stuff. The Regia Kaffe Fassett yarn is surprising me with how the colours are knitting up. There is less blue and red and more olive and brown and it’s more muted than I first supposed. I got all the way up to the top of the thumb gusset before I even caught sight of the beginning of the repeat. It’s really a very unexpected and original colourway which I suppose one must expect from Colour-Master Kaffe. I love it but I’m not sure about Milady Daughter. She says she likes them but hasn’t actually seen them in person yet. Hope she does because these are too large for me. Though if I’m lucky I might be able to get some fingerless mitts out of the remains.

Never a dull moment around here, eh? Knit knit spin spin type type. That’s my excuse for not doing housework anyhow.


Anonymous said...

you could have called your swatch " PapTest''

twisted sister said...

Howzabout Platypus!

Louisa said...

Tee-hee!! Seriously, you guys...

Anonymous said...

I've been enjoying a few peeks here on and off, and following your exploits with hanji. I have several questions for you: what is the yarn hand like? Are there any issues with tearing either when knitting or dyeing? Handling notes? Regarding your exchange exhibit, is there a theme, and is it international?

Louisa said...

Thanks for your questions, Velma! The paper yarn feels (oddly enough) like a thin strip of un-coated paper. It's fairly strong for paper and so far I haven't broken it accidentally while working with it. I let it twist a bit naturally as it comes off the cone which actually makes it stronger. However a sharp tug would tear it for sure. It's definitely more delicate when wet but if it's well-supported it survives quite well being swished around in water and squeezed out and even pinned out to block. I would say the key word is "gently".
Some info on the show that my paper piece is for:

BC – Jeonju Hanji Culture Festival – 2009
Fibre, Naturally
Paper Like You Have Never Seen it Before

The exhibit, will take place at Emily Carr University, Granville Island, in the Concourse Gallery from August 10 through 16, 2009. Pieces from the exhibit will then travel to the Port Coquitlam Visual Arts Centre for 3 weeks, and to Fibre Works Gallery on the Sunshine Coast also for 3 weeks, through to Sept 13, 2009.

All artists applying must be members of either the Vancouver Guild of Fibre Arts (VGFA), or the Greater Vancouver Weavers’ and Spinners’ Guild (GVWSG).
All works must incorporate at least 50% paper, Tyvek, or other like material as approved by the steering committee.

Hope this helps! You'll be hearing more about this as time goes on.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Louisa,
I'm very interested in the fusion of paper and textiles and look forward to hearing more!!! I make paper into shifu and have been working on connecting the spinning and weaving into books. You might want to look at artist Aimee Lee's website for some images incorporating knitted paper... I love the photos of her knitting paper at the bus stop!

Louisa said...

Thanks so much for mentioning Aimee Lee, Velma. I hadn't been aware of her work. Her website and her blog are really interesting! I'll be sharing this with my fellow "paper players".