Guest post | Conceptual Knitting

by contributor on 19/08/2011

in Community + Creativity, Guest Blogger, knitting+crochet+yarn

Lea Redmond crafts objects, ideas, and activities. Leafcutter Designs, her little creative workshop in Oakland, CA, seeks to create a more playful, peaceful world by offering curious goods, surprising services, and participatory projects.

I’m delighted to be here on whipup today to share my new Conceptual Knitting project. I’ve recently released the first pattern, called Sky Scarf, of a series of activity-based scarf patterns. This means that the final look of the knitted object results from a whimsical adventure or process that you go through. To make a “sky scarf,” you first gather together skeins of blues and grays and white. Each day, you pay attention to the sky and add a row to your scarf in colors that match the weather out your window. The pattern turns 365 days of sky observations into a five-foot long scarf. Project participants around the world are making sky scarves and it is wonderful to watch the climate variations emerge row by row.

The Conceptual Knitting Project is free and open to everyone to join in at any time. Only basic knitting skills are required. Download patterns and sign up for project updates on our website. We’ve also got a flickr photo group going as well as a group on ravelry.com in case you’d like to join the conversation there. The next pattern in the series will be released this Fall. It might get you meeting your neighbors, re-reading your favorite book, or even frequenting the gumball machine in front of your grocery store.

I’m creating these unusual patterns because I’m fascinated by the places where matter and meaning meet. How can I knit a scarf in a way that creates a story worth retelling? How can we make objects that we love to live with? As much as I love beautiful objects, ultimately what I love even more is living a beautiful life. So I’m combining these two loves by creating knitting patterns that document and inspire experiences. Scarves are often striped. As are socks. And pants, and shirts, and sheets and so many other objects we live amongst. Yet these stripes don’t usually have much of a story to go with them. Why alternate blue and yellow? Why make them once inch wide instead of two? I’m hoping to offer up a series of patterns that can let stripes really mean something – let them carry the story of our lives as we toss them around our neck and head out into the cold.

And here’s my little video introduction to the Sky Scarf pattern. This is the second video, and the first pattern, in my Conceptual Knitting project. I introduce the Sky Scarf and give a few helpful tips on translating your local weather into a meaningful and creative knitting project.

Sky Scarf from Leafcutter Designs on Vimeo.

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 By Night August 19, 2011 at 11:41 am

what a fun idea!!

Reply

2 Micheline August 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm

This is so cool! I think you could also knit the ocean, or even your yard, by choosing different colors and observing those things over a time.

Reply

3 carole January 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm

doing the yard would be amazing!

Reply

4 KateG August 20, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Oh no. This is so very very gorgeous, I truly love the concept of a daily record in yarn. The single downside to this wonderful, inspirational project is that I can’t possibly start another project right now! I have run out of needles, I have so many WIPs right now. Sky Scarf is going into my Ravelry queue though :)

Reply

5 Jo August 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I think I am a little bit in love with that Lea Redmond! She has the most generous open-world way of seeing. And I love that her projects invite you in to share the viewing. Tracing the days with wool and colour…I am not a knitter or crafter but conceptually I will make a very long continuous scarf in my minds eye…right now in Perth it is black sky and raining…

Thanks for such a fab post and project!

Reply

6 Liza August 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm

This is utterly brilliant! I can imagine doing one with the colours of the sea would also be fantastic.

Reply

7 Jane August 24, 2011 at 7:13 am

I love this idea! What if I sat on my balcony with a cuppa and knitted a sunset row every day? What if I knitted the sky at night and observed how dark the sky was as the moon waxes and wanes? Thank you for sharing.

Reply

8 Lindsey @ Yarnia September 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm

I had a customer come in a couple months ago to make yarn for this project, and I thought it sounded very intriguing when she described it to me — very cool to see the origin of it here!

Reply

9 RINA KUVENT October 5, 2011 at 11:30 am

ILOVE THIS IDEA THANK FOR SHARING

Reply

10 Helena October 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm

This idea is so clever! I’m very excited for 2012 – the year of the scarf!

Reply

11 aimee powers October 14, 2011 at 5:05 pm

thanks for such a great pattern. I think me and my 8 year old are going to work on this together :)

Reply

12 Casey October 17, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Love this idea!! SO pretty!

Reply

13 annaid41 November 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm

How many stitches did you start with?

Reply

14 Kimara November 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm

This is such an incredible idea. I plan to start on January 1, 2012. I will be posting on weefolkart.com’s Facebook page. Thanks in advance for a year of fun :)

Reply

15 Tinadp December 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm

I absolutely love this idea, I’m going to NEED to make one.
Thank you so much!

Reply

16 Simona January 3, 2012 at 10:54 am

Veeeeeery cool! :) I think I’ll knit my italian sky for the next monts.
Thank you for sharing your lovely idea ;)
Simona

Reply

17 Jan January 3, 2012 at 11:04 am

This is very creative!! So many possibilities….knit a scarf of your favorite flower garden.

Reply

18 Rin January 3, 2012 at 11:05 am

Great idea, love it! Sadly, living in England as I do, I suspect mine would be mostly grey….

Reply

19 Kim Satterwhite January 3, 2012 at 11:07 am

Wow…but it seems it would take too long …
I am working on an afghan based on the scoring drives and final scores of the Washington Redskins season….it started out looking hopeful with 3 wins (and happy yarn) now it seems too black to post. But conceptual knitting is neat….I’m a Nationals baseball fan so I’m mulling over the next project.

Reply

20 Rebecca January 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Ahhh, what a lovely thing to create and then maybe put into a time capsule. It’s like a year, frozen in time. Gorgeous idea.

Reply

21 Rebecca January 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm

And imagine a sunrise scarf! Early risers might also include purple, pink, red, yellow (is yellow crazy? Been a while since I’ve seen a spectacular sunrise).

Reply

22 Jan E January 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Wonderful fun. Thanks very much for sharing.

Reply

23 Rachel January 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Wow, this is an amazing idea! I think I’m gonna start one today! Being the 3rd of January, I think this is prime time to start one!

Reply

24 Julianne Mulvany January 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I love this idea. I will be starting my sky scarf as soon as I gather the yarn. What a beautiful way to observe each and every day that we are given for a whole year. Can’t wait to see the finished product at the end of the year.

Reply

25 Holly Barry January 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Fantastic idea! I’m going to knit the ocean. Since moving to southern California, I’ve been facinated by the daily changes of the ocean.

Reply

26 Nicole January 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I’ve been wanting to try this for a while, but I can’t find a collection of yarn that I like for it. Anyone have ideas?

Reply

27 Jennifer January 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I live in Seattle. Gonna need Alooooooota grey and two weeks worth of blue. :)

Reply

28 Lilian January 4, 2012 at 4:17 am

Great idea!! I live in London, and it has been grayish last summer till now. I might have variants of gray yarn and if i end up with a scarf more blue than gray. It would prove my assumptions otherwise.

Reply

29 Cheryl Petersen January 4, 2012 at 6:17 am

I think I’ll assign my favorite shades to my moods or how my day went! Keeping a daily journal with short entries of days events would be a great gauge on what things to savor or eliminate from life for the following year. This is intriguiging to me. Thanks! I’m starting on my “2012 Happiness Scarf” now! Choosing my favorite shades will be super!

Reply

30 Jackie P January 21, 2012 at 11:00 am

That’s a neat idea, I’ll keep that in mind for next year!
Thanks for sharing!

Reply

31 Heather January 4, 2012 at 10:39 am

LOVE!!!! Spent the greater part of the afternoon yesterday stash swapping and finding the perfect basket and needles for this! I’m actually making a table runner- and set up a basket for a friend to do as well!

Reply

32 Jane freer February 29, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I love this! I live in Tn. This will be perfect for our weather.

Reply

33 Alicia McCrite May 1, 2012 at 7:08 am

What a great idea! An awesome way to commentate a special year like your first year of marriage or baby’s first year!!

Reply

34 evankleiman May 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I might try an LA Sunset scarf. It would range from grey lavender to florid magenta/pink.

Reply

35 Katie goodrow July 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm

How do you start the 1st row with all the strands?

Reply

36 Trish October 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm

This inspired me to start a “mood ring” scarf… I chose a mood ring chart to base my colors off of, and I’m going to make a scarf by daily adding a row of the color that correlates to what my overall mood for that day was.

For a variation on this, if you crochet, try making the scarf lengthwise instead of from side to side; that way it only takes about a month (yes, I’m impatient!) AND you don’t have to weave in the ends! Instead the extra yarn for every row you change color on becomes fringe for your scarf. :)

Reply

37 Diane October 24, 2012 at 8:56 am

Please tell me how many stitches to Cast On and when you add ALL the colors to have on the side.

Reply

38 kath_red October 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm

please contact the designer via her conceptual knitting page http://www.leafcutterdesigns.com/projects/conceptknit.html

Reply

39 Heidi November 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Could you give me any ideas on how to translate it to crochet?

Reply

40 kath_red November 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Any basic crochet scarf pattern would work fine — http://crochet.about.com/od/scarves/tp/Crochet_Scarf_Patterns.htm

Reply

41 auntiemichal December 4, 2012 at 12:36 pm

http://redshirtknitting.com/?page_id=463 is the link to a binary striped hat whose stripes spell out, llterally, HAT. The sky scarf looks great; mine would be finished randomly ASAP or possibly from a list of the previous year’s daily weather! LOL

Reply

42 Bailey December 27, 2012 at 1:05 am

This is awesome. How do you start it though. I understand the use of mulitple strands, but I’m confused as to how to start it with that much yarn. Any ideas?

Reply

43 kath_red December 27, 2012 at 2:16 am

please contact the designer at her website, she has heaps of tutorials too!

Reply

44 Gail Redmond Thomas January 1, 2013 at 11:44 am

Nice site! I saw your name on the Bernat page and had to say greetings and have a wonderful 2013! I grew up a Redmond and always notice the name! I am proud of my Irish heritage.

Reply

45 Renee January 5, 2013 at 9:50 am

I am new to knitting and want to take on this project. Could you please point me in the right direction so I know how to cast on and cast off? I just don’t know what to do with all those strands of yarn while casting on & off.
Thank you!

Reply

46 kath_red January 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Head on over to the makers website. Cheers

Reply

47 tattedends January 19, 2013 at 11:07 am

a friend shared this link with me and i have admit that Lea’s post has inspired me to put down my crochet needle and experiment with this. my knitting projects (all the way back in middle school) where very basic and included only one color. crocheting for years, where possible, i avoid projects that require tying off because i don’t like trying hide the ends… i never knew how to neatly incorporate multiple colors while knitting until I watched this clip…. thanks to Lea and also to Cheryl Peterson for the idea to make a mood scarf and journal! good luck to all. happy 2013!

Reply

48 Sarah April 14, 2013 at 4:45 am

I just saw this and I thought, what a great idea if instead of the sky, make each color a member of the family and and do a row for each year alive/together. Can’t wait to start.

Reply

49 Beth McClure January 27, 2014 at 10:58 pm

I have all the materials to start the Knit the Sky project only I do not know how to start it. I know how to knit it once it is started but I cannot find any direction on how to start this. HELP!

Reply

50 Rivana November 7, 2014 at 5:32 am

Love your idea!!! ;-) I will do , but a little bit different ; I’m in Ravery too (Rivanah)
See you there , I hope
Bisous

Reply

Leave a Comment

Powered by sweet Captcha

{ 5 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: