the stitched journal project

Eager as I was to join the Stitched Journal project, I desperately needed a focus. It’s all very well using it to learn new stiches, but I wanted something to make the project cohesive. I thought a diary theme would work well with each piece reflecting the month, so I found some grey wool to represent a wet and overcast February and sat down with my Book of Stitches. To be truthful, it was a little depressing knitting with grey wool as the rain lashed down on the window and my mind wandered.

It occurred to me, as the wool slipped through my fingers transformed from a straight length into a knitted square of fabric, that there are many parallels between knitting and our farmed landscape. Rows of knitting rise and fall like furrowed fields while bobbles and textured patterns reflect the shapes of hedgerows. But if farming stops then the straight lines of cropped land revert to a tangled mass of scrub in the same way that a dropped ball of wool rolls away and knots into a jumbled mess. I yanked the dreary knitting from the needles, put away my grey wool and decided that my Stitched Journal project would be A Visual Journal of the Farm in knitted form.

horizontal lines on the farm
Where better to start than with horizontal lines. Farmers like straight lines. We sow seeds in straight lines, tramlines of bare earth stretch the length of the fields, our buildings are clad in wooden boards, corrugated tin or box profile cladding and wire is pulled taught between solid upright posts. Take a look across the fields and you’ll see horizontal bands of brown earth and green wheat crops that are interspersed with trees and hedges as the sky reaches down to meet them on the horizon.

landscape sketch
I sketched some ideas, searched for wool that might be something like the right colour and sat down to knit.

So, here is my Stitched Journal item for February. An Agricultural Landscape in Garter Slip Stitch*, with an extra horizontal blue band to represent all the rain that we’ve had this month. A brighter blue than the sky has been most of the month, but the closest I had in my basket of yarn “to be used up”.

Knitted Landscape

It isn’t perfect, but that wasn’t the point of the exercise. I’ve learnt that two colours in a row doesn’t mean I have to knit with two colours at once as slipping every other stitch introduces colour and a bit of texture. Garter Slip Stitch produces a firm fabric with little stretch so it would be good for pocket flaps and cuffs or (if you’re so inclined) for purses and dishcloths.

With luck March will bring a little more inspiration, perhaps of a sewing kind. I have ideas in my head, but recreating them may be a little more difficult.

Linking with Lola Nova for The Stitched Journal Project. Click the link to see all the other projects.

* Garter Slip Stitch
Cast on an odd number of stitches
1st Row Colour A: Knit
2nd Row Colour A: Knit
3rd Row Colour B: K1, *sl 1 purlwise, K1; repeat from * to end
4th Row Colour B: K1, *yf, sl 1 purlwise, yb, K1; repeat from * to end
5th Row Colour C: Knit
6th Row Colour C: Knit
7th Row Colour A: K2, *sl 1 purlwise, K1; repeat from * to last stitch, K1
8th Row Colour A: K2 *yf, sl 1 purlwise, yb, K1; repeat from * to last stitch, K1
Repeat