Thomas Edison once said that “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration”. If you don’t believe it, take a look at this lovely book by Felicity Ford. In the introduction to this little masterpiece, she states that her “work is about finding and celebrating a sense of place through the gorgeous, bodily mediums of knitting (that we wear) and sound (that we live in)…a knitted record of paying attention to and being present in to my immediate surroundings.” She goes to great lengths to describe both the inspiration and the perspiration process that results in her briliant stranded knits. You will see that her knitted art is created using that very proportion (give or take a few percentage points) and she has named the whole thing “the Knitsonik system”.
Her inspiration is found in everyday objects such as biscuit (cookie, to us Americans) tins, buildings, factories, roadways, brewpub signs, books, electronic devices, and just about anything that catches her eye. She photographs what she sees around her and studies those photos as the source of both platettes and patterns. In Felicity’s eye, anything is can transformed into stranded knitwork.
Once she has examined something, she selects a palette of yarn colors, sketches out patterns and charts them, considers shading of background colors and shading of pattern colors, and how the two interact. She knits a long swatch as she plays with her patterns and her colors, reviewing and revising as she goes. This goes on until she is satisfied with her patterns and colors. The finished swatch is then blocked to use as a sampler that can be applied to an actual knitted garment. Although this is the “perspiration” phase, Felicity seems to delight in the sweating of the details!
The patterns she creates are included for use by the reader as well as adaptations of them to knitted garments such as fingerless mitts and leg warmers. So, if the reader does not feel lead to create his/her own designs, there are instructions for reproducing Felicity’s. But, if you want to try your hand at designing stranded colorwork, you have some great instructions laid out for you.
Other notable features of this book are beautiful photographs, “Top Tips”, and “Further Reading” suggestions. There is also a recipe for Felix’s Fabulous Fruitcake because Felicity used the fruitcake as inspiration for one of her designs! Finally, if you go to Felicity’s website at knitsonik.com, you can hear recordings of sound that inspires her knitting.
I loved this book for the inspiration and for the affirmation that I receive from it in my creative processes. If this is 99% perspiration, then it looks pretty good to me. “Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook” should be on every knitter and designer’s bookshelf.