Handknit and Handpainted: Meet My Mother
You must meet my mother, Carole. She is the reason why I am here, painting knitwear on MDK. It is an homage to her and to all the creative time we’ve shared together. She is the knitter in the family. And the sewer. And the quilter. Among her many other talents.
My mother always needs a project. If she is not working on a project, she doesn’t feel right. These days she primarily knits. She is a fast knitter. At least to me she’s very fast. She seems to start a project and the next thing I know, she is blocking it out!
And she is a perfectionist. She will rip out and redo. Even her marks on notepaper to count rows resemble abstract works of art. She mostly follows patterns, but sometimes she adapts them. Should you be a recipient of one of her creations, you receive it beautifully folded, packed with some extra yarn, and with one of her labels. The package always smells good.
My mother has been knitting since she was a young girl, taught by her mother. She has taught me to knit, but that is a story for another time. She really loves to knit. She says it feels like solving a puzzle. She finds great enjoyment in the creative aspect, and the sense of accomplishment with each project. I see how it highlights and draws upon her talents in mathematics and art.
Deciding on the project and then selecting the yarn takes time. There is a lot of thought and discussion. Some back and forth. Yarn shops are visited. Photos are exchanged and skeins of yarn are brought home to mull over. Various colors and textures are considered. Yarn is selected. Then, often it needs to be rethought due to lack of stock. Over the years I have spent many hours with her in various yarn shops. I study the layout and display of the stock while my mother is busy visualizing her creations. And then we go out for coffee. Thinking is hard!
Here is my mother in one of her favorites, a Fair Isle sweater she made in the ’80s. Its colors remind me of the décor our home at that time: taupe, beige and coral The pattern is reflective of her aesthetic: tailored, delicate and refined. I remember that she wore it a lot at the time. She still has it but it is stored away. How it can be too small for my petite mother is an absolute mystery to me.
Recently my mother has been eyeing a sporty Chanel ready to wear Fair Isle design in white, fuschia, and yellow from their new Coco Neige winter sports collection. She has been carrying around a photo of it for a couple of months now. It has inspired her to consider making a version this year. Though she seems to live now in black and navy, she likes the bold and unusual color combination.
She is starting to look at patterns. MDK Field Guide No. 2: Fair Isle, Vogue Knitting Fall 2018 (featuring the Modern Fair Isle trend), and 200 Fair Isle Motifs by Mary Jane Mucklestone are all on her table. Recently she made me a sweater based on Diana Walla’s Sundottir, and she has pulled that out as well.
As I write, she is searching for yarn to make her vision. I am sure I will be asked to look at the yarn and give feedback as we do for each other each time.