Design Discussion: Three Flowers

Three FlowersThis handknitting pattern has three lace scarves. Much like Elizabeth I, it has stitch patterns that are both easy to get in the rhythm of, yet satisfying in the end result. When I worked on this design, I wanted to offer essentially the next step in lace knitting. Edgings other than garter stitch. Don’t get me wrong, I like garter stitch. I use it quite a bit as I think it a versatile stitch. Really, I think the best edging is one which complements the design the best. Some designs need a simple treatment, and some need something more.

For inspiration, I looked again to nature and thought of what I enoy. I love looking at flowers, and I am essentially a homebody. I live in a wonderful old house (100 years old) and live on 2 acres in the city of Fort Wayne. We have a wonderful property, with lots of wildlife. Birds, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, deer. And some really wonderful old fashioned flowers and wild flowers. Pulmonaria, Lilly of the Valley, Day Lillies, Hostas, Flowering trees, wild berries, Lilacs. We have a large Saucer Magnolia near the front of the house.

So I wanted to pick things which were feminine, old fashioned, yet up to date. I opted for three flowers in my yard as inspiration. The Saucer Magnolia, the Day Lillies, and the wild Violets in the yard.

The Saucer Magnolia has large, waxy blooms which appear in early spring. The stitch pattern I used has a large repeat, and makes me think of the simple shapes of blooms on the naked branches. The tree leafs out after it blooms. This is a simple stitch pattern with round shapes, and it is not a fussy pattern which fits the Saucer Magnolia. Stately elegance was the feel I was after. It is feminine, too, and I decided a little ruffle would be a nice touch. I did not want to add your typical pointed type edging as I felt that did not give the feel I wanted. I wanted something that made me think of Mint Juleps, and porch swings. The hospitality of the country, with a bit of stately elegance mixed in. The traditional pointed edgings felt too formal for the feel I wanted, and the ruffled edge gave it the feel I wanted. This design is an example of how something can be inspired by an object and yet not be obviously visible. A very abstract approach, as it deals with how something feels, rather than the shape.Magnolia

The Tiger Lilly pattern is an example (as is the final design in the pattern) and example of an overall shape being the main expression of the inspiration.  Day Lillies are a bit exotic. Even the wild Tiger Lillies which we see in the country. There are some at the edge of our property, near a narrow trickle of a creek. In this design, what I focused on was not the bloom, but the seed pods. The stitch pattern echoes the shapes of the seed pods, as well as other parts of the plant. The plant also as long stems, and long leaves. This needed a simple border, as I had picked simple, strong shapes. It simply would not have felt like a Lilly to me if it was too fussy. So I trimmed it in garter stitch, which would fade into the background, much as the foliage fades into the background and plays a supporting role to the flower.

The final design, Sweet Violet, is for the wild violets in my yard…sweet, wild, and cheerful. This stitch pattern is the least abstract of all, as the lace pattern really mimics the 5 petaled Violet. This design, with it’s old fashioned inspiration, needed an appropriate old fashioned edging. One that would support the design and not detract from it. I picked a simple edging that has an angular feel to it, as repetition in design elements ties elements together so they look like they belong.

I know I have talked about this before, but don’t be afraid to choose what you like. I sometimes hear talk about “pushing the envelope” in design. I actually have heard this in relation to the choice of edging treatments in lace. If you are choosing garter stitch because you feel that is the best choice of treatment for what you want to do, say or communicate…there is nothing wrong with that choice. You truly ARE pushing the boundaries of design by not putting an “edging” on every piece of lace because that is how it is finished.

Form follows function, and that is true in good design as well. But there will always be personal choice involved. If your personal vision or inspiration for your project feels like it needs something different, by all means make the choice you feel best for your design. I have used the term organic unity before in reference to design choices, and it is one I strive for myself. That point at which nothing can be added or subtracted to a design without affecting how “complete” the design is. A design can have a simple garter stitch border or an intricate edging and have organic unity…it depends on what the inspiration is, what you want to communicate, how you want it to feel. That is the difference between Art and Craft. Craft chooses garter stitch because it is utilitarian. Art chooses garter stitch because as a design element, it supports the design.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene

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5 Responses to “Design Discussion: Three Flowers”

  1. Frankxc Says:

    Hello!I enjoyed looking around Your website, colors,
    layouts are great, keep up a good work!With the best regards!
    Frank

  2. angelarae Says:

    Gorgous, gorgeous scarves. Been wanting to knit Elizabeth I for myself. Now, I’ll have to try these.

    Ang

  3. JoLene Treace Says:

    Thanks, Ang! I appreciate your kind words. I have to say one of the funnest things for me in designing is being able to share the enjoyment of what I do with others who are excited about it too, particularly when it is something that they are doing then as a project. Send a picture if you do I would love to see it.

  4. Rachel Says:

    Beautiful designs! I just love the lace, by the way. I do think I should perhaps mention that the flower picture you have posted is not actually a Tiger lily, or any kind of lily at all. It’s actually a magnolia. They’re both beautiful, though!

  5. jolenetreace Says:

    Thank you, glad you like it. Yes, the picture is what is known as a Saucer Magnolia (at least in my part of the world). It was not meant to illustrate the discussion on the Lillies, but the discussion on the Magnolia design. Sometimes things don’t always display in the same place as where they are inserted on the page, depending on the size of the window you are looking at with the browser. I had to insert it low enough that it would not conflict with the photo above it, which is why it appears at the end of the paragraph it illustrates. Thanks, though, I appreciate your comments.

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