Things We Like: “Baby (Cradle)”

Screen Shot 2017-02-18 at 5.55.22 PM.png

On a recent art excursion to Washington, D.C. we came upon this Gustav Klimt painting at the National Gallery of Art. Ensconced in the recently refurbished East Wing, Baby (Cradle) of 1917/1918, beckoned from the wall in a tussle of haphazard exuberance. I thought I was over Klimt, but this one totally hit me right between the eyes.

Say what you will of the dorm-room-poster kitsch or cliché romanticism of works like The Kiss, but lately I’ve enjoyed Klimt—the intricate patterns, the sublime colors, the gold, the drama—it’s all hitting the spot right about now. Seeing Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II at MoMA last year might have softened me up a bit. Beauty is underrated. Looking at a picture and enjoying it purely for the aesthetics is something I’m comfortable with at this very moment.

Baby (Cradle) offers a lot to look at. The complex marriage of dense pigment and ornament in the foreground piled onto the languid washes of color in the background brings the subject squarely into focus. Well, sort of. First you must navigate the swirling tatters of colors and marks that command your attention and toss your eyes aimlessly about.

A white piece of cloth offers a welcome respite and cuts a trail right up through the center of the mountain of material. But it’s not really a mountain at all and the top is not the top. You’re looking back into space and at the vanishing point there’s a baby’s head and hand peeking out from beneath the dizzying pattern work.

In that moment, time stands still. It’s as if, for a second, matter translates to sound and the chaotic din radiating from below is instantly sucked out of the room. All that’s left is peace, quiet and tranquility.

Compare the crisp, pale representation of the subject’s face to the haphazard array of elements draped amid the composition. The swaths of fabric look to have been painted at a feverish pace and smashed flat into the canvas while the face appears to have been created with a delicate touch that raises the baby up and away from the surface.

Baby (Cradle) is a study in contrasts and—like all great art—offers something new every time you look. It was painted in Klimt’s last year of life and appears light and open unlike much of his earlier work. It’s tempting to think that he was on his way to another breakthrough as evidenced by Portrait Of Amalie Zuckerkandl painted (and left unfinished) around the same time in 1917.

Amid the countless masterpieces we encountered on this trip, Klimt’s baby offered a solid finish.

Knits: Topping it off with a few hats

 

The Cherokee Heights Arts Festival is this Saturday, November 12! Over the last few weeks I decided to create a few hats since I hadn’t made any. It was a fun and relaxing way to use up all the bits and scraps left over from my massive glove production. Its always fun to see how long the colors will last, creating different blocks of color and texture. I had a bunch of neutrals left over, so these are a bit more sedate than the gloves, but also very appropriate for men or women.

Festival Ready!

 

I’ve been knitting up a storm and am almost done with my inventory for the Cherokee Heights Arts Festival on November 12! This year, in addition to my stock of fingerless gloves, I will have headbands and beaded bracelets.

The headbands are made with a textile “yarn” that gives them more of a woven feel – the textile is also very stretchy, making it perfect for headbands. I also realized I have a huge stash of sock weight yarn and wanted to make something simple with it, especially all the little bits I have left over that aren’t usable for socks. I happened to have some of the right sized beads left over from old projects – perfect for these quick and inexpensive little accessories.

 

Knit Pattern: Up & Over Mitts

Finishing up the current batch of patterns is Up & Over Mitts. These explore different constructions by combining knitting in the round with flat knitting.  The bottom section is the familiar cuff up, in the round knitting. The pattern switches direction after binding off with the top section is knit flat, perpendicular to the bottom. A stitch is picked up at the bound off edge in each row, connecting the new section to the old while the section is knit.

Here are some pattern details:

Special skills:
• Knitting in the round
• Increase
• Cable stitches
• Picked up stitches

Size: Adult
Approximate finished measurements: Glove length: 7 in (17.8 cm), Flat width: 3 in (7.6 cm) – larger in thumb gusset area. (sample for measurements was blocked and may be larger than unblocked mitts)

Needles: US 6 (4 mm) double pointed needles – set of 4 recommended. Cable needle.
Stitch marker and stitch counter optional.

Yarn: Worsted weight
Featured Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Worsted in Bright Red

Buy the pattern here for $3.50:
Up & Over Mitts on Etsy
Up & Over Mitts on Craftsy

Knit Pattern: Oblique Mitts

Introducing the third pattern of 2016: Oblique Mitts. This subtle diagonal rib is made by shifting stitches over with 1/1 cables. It’s a bit more fun to knit and adds a little sophistication to the standard 2/2 ribbing.

Pattern details:
These fingerless mitts knit from the bottom cuff up.
They are knit in the round.

Special skills:
• Knitting in the round
• Increase
• Cable stitches

Size: Adult
Approximate finished measurements: Glove length: 7 in (17.8 cm), Flat width: 2.5 in (6.4 cm) – larger in thumb gusset area. (sample for measurements was blocked and may be larger than unblocked mitts)

Needles: US 6 (4 mm) double pointed needles – set of 4 recommended. Cable needle.
(You may find it is easy enough to switch sts on needles without a cable needle as all cables are 1/1 stitch.)
Stitch marker and stitch counter optional.

Yarn: DK weight (can also be knit with worsted weight)
Featured Yarn: Cleckheaton Australian Superfine Merino in Truffle

Buy the pattern for $3.50:
Oblique Mitts on Etsy
Oblique Mitts on Craftsy

 

Knit Pattern: Scallop Cable Mitts

 

I’d like to introduce the second pattern in my new fingerless mitts series: Scallop Cable Mitts. These are the most heavily cabled gloves I’ve made to date. I was pleased with how the cables meander from the center to the outside of the cable. I’ve knit these with a few different types of yarn, but I love the simplicity of a beautiful hand-dyed yarn that allows both the texture of the pattern and the beautiful subtle variation of color to shine.

Pattern Notes:

These fingerless mitts knit from the bottom cuff up and are knit in the round.

Special skills:
• Knitting in the round
• Increase
• Cable stitches

Size: Adult
Approximate finished measurements: Glove length: 7.5 in (19 cm), Flat width: 3 in (7.6 cm) – larger in thumb gusset area. (sample for measurements was blocked and may be larger than unblocked mitts)

Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm) double pointed needles – set of 4 recommended. Cable needle.
(You may find it is easy enough to switch sts on needles without a cable needle as all cables are 1/1 stitch.)
Stitch marker and stitch counter optional.

Yarn: Light Worsted Weight or DK, approx 115 yds (100 m)
Featured Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Weathered Frame

You can buy the pattern here for $3.50:
Scallop Cable Mitts on Etsy
Scallop Cable Mitts on Craftsy