Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Unusual Knitting: Wedding Gowns, Scientific Inspiration, and More

While I still enjoy crafting simple scarves after more than thirty years of knitting, I also love to experiment. If you are also a knitter who likes to ask "What if..." or explore the boundaries of what can be done with two pointy sticks and some string, these patterns are right up your alley.
Wedding Gown Patterns
Yes, you can find patterns for knitted wedding gowns! Interweave Knits offers a free pattern for a full-length lace gown. Vogue Knitting offered a design by Nicky Epstein in their fall 2012 issue. For a theme wedding, the Elfin Bride pattern is gorgeous with long, flared sleeves. A wedding dress is a major commitment, so make sure you knit some sample swatches with yarns you think will work, using the various pattern stitches in your chosen dress pattern. Be absolutely sure you are getting the gauge right, too. Nobody wants to knit for months only to have a dress that doesn't fit!
You Knit a What?!
Just for fun, there are some books I recommend because the projects are so unexpected. Knit Your Own Zoo by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne is one such book. Why not knit an aardvark or a giraffe? These projects use pipe cleaners where stiffness is required, so don't make them for toddlers or babies.
If you do knit for children, Knitted Farm Animals by Sarah Keen is a better choice. The hen and chicks would make a fun gift for a young child. Another whimsical project is knitted food. Sometimes knitting should just be fun.
Scientific Knitting
June Oshiro created a DNA scarf as a gift for one of her professors. The double helix is created by a carefully charted series of cables. I love this design, but must admit that I gave up after a few inches out of concern that I would lose my place at some point and have to rip out cables (not fun!) I prefer color work to cables, but knitters who love Aran sweaters and have the patience to follow cable charts should give this pattern a go. I chose instead to use my unravelled yarn for a much simpler scarf based on the Fibonacci sequence.
For more ideas and inspiration for mathematical knitting, check out this article from American Scientist. The author, Sarah -Marie Belcastro, has knit Klein bottles, Mobius bands, and other designs that illustrate mathematical concepts. Elizabeth Zimmerman, although not a mathematician, recognized the logical, mathematical nature of knitting and even created the Pi Shawl--a design copied by many knitters on many ways.

Keep knitting interesting by always looking for something fresh to create. Inspiration is everywhere. Enjoy making something extraordinary.