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Celtic Knotwork! or, How the knitter took a night off knitting and played with a new technique instead

Posted by Miss Knotty on May 18, 2010

Howdy, folksen!

So, yeah, I I took a night off of knitting to try a different kind of design:  Knotwork.  Celtic knotwork, to be precise.

One of the ‘Hot Blog Posts’ for May 5 2010 was “How to Design Celtic Knotwork By Hand” on the blog Impassioned Platypi.  Caveat Emptor:This blogger’s subject matter varies widely, and can be NSFW, but I found this tutorial to be super educational, and totally SFW.

Anyway, the post spells it out on how to do it, and I’ve been noodling around with it for a couple of weeks, just playing with the technique, and with setting up the “graph paper” in Excel.  (Which I managed to do. Woot!  Now I can print off the “graph paper” (it has little on-point diamonds, instead of squares) in any size and use it to make designs.)

Now, I should say that I didn’t come into this ‘cold’.  Years ago, I purchased a book (and several pads of graph paper) on this very subject:  Celtic Knotwork Designs by Sheila Sturrock (link is to Amazon).  I had nominal success and understood where Ms. Sturrock was going, but I was only successful insofar as copying her designs out of the book and coloring them in on my paper, which was entertaining, sure, but not what I wanted. Impassioned Platypi’s tutorial kind of unlocked the ability to create really original designs for me; not by putting in elements and working around them, but instead by taking out certain crossing regions and creating openings and turns and changes in the design.  Pretty cool, huh?!
Hand drawn Celtic Knotwork Design 5.18.10
I also want to play with a design feature that comes into a lot of my drawings: the ribbony look, like the tail on the lower left.  I tend to doodle a lot of ribbons.  I don’t know the psychological significance of that, or if it’s simply the offshoot of being unable to trace my own line the same way twice, but getting to work with light and shadow, with something that has a look of movement on a flat sheet of paper is always entertaining to me, but it almost ALWAYS goes from being a doodle to being a drawing that I spend time filling in.  Looping back on itself, going in, out, around, under, between, those elements have always been in my drawings, be they doodles or intentional pieces in a little notebook.

I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of these designs crop up in the future, but I’m pretty pleased with this one, even for an amateur offering.   It’s very busy; I think I’m going to simplify designs some in the future so I can play with the elements some more.

There’ll be more knitting.  Just not tonight.



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