Modern Revival

What does EntreKnits, an eMag about modular, mitered, and entrelac knitting, have to do with traditional textiles?
Anne Merrow, editor of Yarn and Specialty Fiber eMags, is here to tell us.

Modular knitting has a modern air, with its angles and space-age lines. The recent mitered-square madness, entrelac envy, and quilt-inspired craze have brought geometric knitwear to the cutting edge. And there could hardly be a more modern medium than the eMag, which includes videos, pop-up photographs, hyperlinks, and all kinds of digital toys.

Virginia Bellamy patented "number knitting," a system for modular knitting, in 1948.

Inventive Knitting
But as so often is the case, "modern" knitting has deep roots in the work that knitters have done for ages. As Jenna Wilson describes a woman named Virginia Bellamy in her article "Who Invented Modular Knitting?" whoapplied for and received a patent for "number knitting" in 1948. Bellamy described a method for creating geometric shapes by increasing and decreasing stitches—ideas at work in every mitered square or knitted quilt.

Modern Classics

Inspired by paper piecing, the Sweet Hexagon Cowl is a fresh look at modular knitting.

Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark's Sweet Hexagon Cowl was inspired by the revival of interest in English paper piecing, using the interlocking assembly and addictive "can't make just one!" appeal of modular knitting. With changes in color and building hexagon units, the cowl makes for irresistible knitting (and wearing). Grace Anna Farrow's Lancaster Blanket draws on her love of traditional quilt forms like the ones in Amish country with a variation on a classic block.

Norah Gaughan's Soap Bubble Hat is spherical but composed of pentagons and rectangles.

The Ultimate Tradition
Norah Gaughan's pattern for the Soap Bubble Hat evokes the most traditional design of all: the natural world. Norah is drawn to the mathematical relationship between elements in nature, such as the branching of a tree or the course of a river. When multiple bubbles form a cluster, their intersections take on polygon shapes; this confluence inspired Norah to create the Soap Bubble Hat, which is formed of knitted pentagons and rectangles.

We may think of geometry and modern design as cold and far removed from the charms of classic textiles, but every stitch joins knitters to our shared traditions.



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