conceptual knitting

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 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.