I love textiles. For over 50 years I’m a professional hand weaver and knitter now. After all that time I still love to explore new things as a textile designer and I am constantly thinking about improvements and new techniques that I can create. As a knitter you will surely know that there are only so many innovations out there when it comes to new ways of knitting.
This is one of my woven pieces. Note how the forms and the woven frame have translated into tapestry knitting.
I always loved to weave, especially back in the 70s and 80s I was constantly creating new designs and techniques because it was just so much fun and I had a pretty big workshop back in Germany. I always liked the art of tapestry. If you aren’t a weaver you might want to know some more details. Here is a short summary:
Tapestry is a traditional textile art woven on a loom. It is composed of two sets of interlaced threads, those running parallel to the length (called the warp) and those parallel to the width (called the weft); the warp threads are set up under tension on a loom and the weft thread is passed back and forth across part or all of the warp. Tapestry is weft-faced weaving, in which all the warp threads are hidden in the completed work, unlike cloth weaving where both the warp and the weft threads may be visible. In tapestry weaving, weft yarns are typically discontinuous.
Now this is where it gets really interesting:
The artisan interlaces each colored weft back and forth in its own small pattern area. It is a plain weft-faced weave having weft threads of different colors worked over portions of the warp to form the design.
A closeup of traditional French Tapestry
This was such an inspiration to me! I thought, why can’t I apply this weaving technique to knitting? Surely it would be interesting to combine the look of the two crafts: to knit with different colors over portions of my work to form a design. Thus Tapestry Knitting was born!
For this design I am using the Garter Stitch. Each Garter Stitch Ridge (GSTR) becomes a part of the design and it free forms straight and wavy lines.
This technique steps out of the characteristic vertical (stitches) and horizontal (rows) construction of a knitted piece.
This is how Tapestry Knitting actually looks like. The adaption from weaving translated beautifully into knitting.
By using short row forms into the knitting the following rows have to “wave” like the weft (horizontal threads) in a tapestry. By adding more short row forms into the “valleys” of the rows, the lines create another wave. It’s a play with “hills” and “valleys” to finally end up with a straight line to complete a piece.
By using several colors the wavy rows and forms are more visible which creates the tapestry look.
Like the painters in the early years drew “Cartoons” for a tapestry, I drew a Shawl with lines, waves and forms. I started knitting in one corner and followed a count of Garter Stitch Ridges, stitches and colors. It doesn’t end here – the design possibilities are endless!
When finishing my shawl I added a knitted “frame” on the edge holding all the lines waves and forms together.
It was a lot of fun and I didn’t want to stop knitting the shawl in this technique. If you want to try it here what you need to do:
My creation in the Tapestry Knitting technique is called the Miss Grace Shawl and it is SKEINO’s brand new product for the Fall/Winter season 2015/2016. We carefully chose our colorways and named them after real people who we think are full of grace!
The put up of this kit is 4 skeins, 2 of them are in the base color and one each is the first and second color. Being a super wash yarn the piece will be easy to care for and the yarn feels very soft and cotton-like.
SKEINO’s new Miss Grace Shawl
SKEINO’s new Miss Grace Shawl
The pattern for the Miss Grace Shawl comes with a chart so you know exactly when to create the forms.
Being a part of SKEINO’s DNA the kits are packed and shipped by the people with special needs of LARC, Inc., here in South-West Florida.
What do you think about Tapestry Knitting? Do you like my idea? Or did you even create YOUR own special technique? Let me know in the comments section!
As always: HAPPY KNITTING,