A Journey of Knitting and Art

My recent trip to New York City was so much fun. I went to four knitting stores and four museums, plus a ton of places in between. It was a little bit of a sprint through New York and New England!

    
Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth
(Tempera on panel; 32¼ x 47¾" [81.9 x 121.3 cm]; Purchase; Museum of Modern Art; 1948)
The Wyeth Shrug from New American Knits

The museums were fabulous; my favorite was the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). It seemed like with every corner I turned, I was greeted by an amazing piece of art that took my breath away.

Van Gogh's spectacular Starry Night, Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans, Monet's Water Lilies (huge paintings that take up an entire room!), Picasso's Girl Before a Mirror, and a special favorite of mine, Andrew Wyeth's magic realism masterpiece, Christina's World.

I saw this painting at the National Gallery in D.C. many years ago, and I was so happy to visit it again. The picture evokes such interesting feelings.

One the one hand, it looks like polio-stricken Christina is stranded far from her house, and on the other, it shows her spirit in being able to embark on an outdoor adventure even though she can't walk. It's really inspiring to me, and calming, too. I've heard from others that this painting makes them feel anxious. It's amazing how art affects people differently.

Another painting that struck me was Winslow Homer's The Gulf Stream, which I saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It's a frightening scene—a solitary man on a broken sailboat in rough seas and surrounded by sharks. Yeah, no thanks! The painting grabbed me, though, and I looked at it for quite a while. The man looks almost carefree, as unimaginable as that seems with the sharks circling. There's a larger ship far in the distance, which gave me hope; maybe the man in the painting feels the same way.

Knitting and art collide for me all the time. I find so much inspiration in art, architecture, and nature. Many designers feel this way, too, including Amy Christoffers. In her book New American Knits, all of her designs are inspired by American artists. It's really fun to look through the patterns in the book, because you can see characteristics of each artist in Amy's designs.

Her tributes to Wyeth and Homer are two of my favorite pieces in the book, which is so great, since the artists are two of my favorite artists as well.

Amy's Wyeth Shrug is oversize and slouchy. It's worked in a waffle-stitch pattern with an I-cord edging that's worked as you knit—no picking up stitches all around when you're done with the body! It's knit horizontally and the seams are grafted when the main knitting is done. Amy likens this piece to Andrew Wyeth's perfect balance of refined and rustic.

     
The Gulf Stream by Winslow Homer
(Oil on canvas; 28 1/8 x 49 1/8 in. [71.4 x 124.8 cm]
Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1906)

I can really see Wyeth's Christina wearing this shrug!

The Winslow Camisole is a versatile garment, knit in a textured vine lace pattern with garter-stitch edging. According to Amy (and I agree!), "It pairs utility with a little sentimental sweetness, like the landscapes of the painter Winslow Homer. This camisole can be worn either as a tank or a vest.

Knit in sport-weight yarn, it works for nearly any fiber—breezy linen or cotton for summer or wool, cashmere, or silk for a light but warming winter layer."

My example of Homer's work isn't sweet or sentimental, but Homer has a wide body of work; his paintings Snap the Whip and Boys in a Pasture more readily evoke the sentimental and sweet feelings that Amy picked up on.

     
The Winslow Camisole from
New American Knits

New American Knits is a fantastic book. It's inspiring in many ways; you'll want to knit the beautiful designs and learn more about the artists that motivated Amy's work.

I highly recommend New American Knits. Order your copy today, or download the eBook and start knitting now!

Cheers,

P.S. What piece of art inspires you? Share it with us in the comments!

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