One of my favorite moments of the knitting life is when I see something and it knocks the visual wind out of me, and I have to get it on my needles immediately. Sometimes it’s a knitting pattern, but the most memorable such moments in my knitting life have been individual pieces of handwork, whether knitted or not. One that I still think about often is when I stood in front of Loretta Pettway’s log cabin quilt on the wall of the Whitney Museum in 2003. Her specific arrangement of pieces of cloth, so elemental and eloquent, spoke to me deeply. I wanted to participate in that quilt in my own way, to enter into its source. And my way of doing that, often, is through knitting. It’s 100 percent personal, I need to do this for me.
It’s happened again. A few weeks ago, a kind person steered me toward the Instagram account of Maysa Tomikawa, @m_moos. All I know about Maysa Tomikawa is in the profile: “A Japanese-Brazilian living in Tokyo. Who loves to knit, crochet, sew, spinning yarn, read, and write.” But oh, what knitting, crochet, sewing, and spinning—a distinctive visual sensibility that manifests in the details of each piece of work.
Take a look around the @m_moos feed. Almost every piece of knitting has that knocking-the-wind-out effect on me. Why? I can’t say, but surely it has something to do with these three things, in brilliant combination: garter stitch, marling, and intarsia. Yes, I said intarsia. I remember, dimly, some experiments with garter intarsia in my blanket-knitting past. I love its boxy, blockish solidity. The marling, and Maysa Tomikawa’s use of handspun yarns, makes the shapes vibrate.
I had to knit something in response, for me. I grabbed some skeins of linen/cotton and cast on. For now I’m keeping it simple, intarsia-free, just marling this twine-like yarn in colorblock stripes, changing color whenever a skein runs out. No doubt, though: intarsia is coming soon. I can feel it.
Thank you, Maysa Tomikawa, for sharing your work on Instagram.
Do you do this? What gives you that cast-on-NOW feeling? Also: Isn’t it a wonderful feeling?