I promised last week that I’d post my first cut of a Maori pattern this time, so here it is.
In a way this is a bit of a cheat, since I’ve started with a design that closely matches the kind of pattern you’d find on a traditional British gansey – diamonds and straight lines. But this was deliberate. As I’ve said before, I’ve never tried to create my own designs, so it made sense to start with something relatively familiar, and then gradually work up to the swirly patterns and tikis or kiwis you’d expect.
The pattern comes from a photograph of the interior of a Waitangi meeting house, where panels of abstract patterns alternate with carved wooden totem figures. Of course I couldn’t hope to replicate the power of that combination in wool! But my interest was piqued when I saw the diamonds, and it occurred to me that they would make an effective bridge to get me into the project. The main difference between these diamonds and the ones from, say, Flamborough, are the way that each one is divided into four sub-diamonds, with alternating shading between the horizontal and vertical pairs of sub-diamonds. Also, as you’d expect from art of this type, the space around the diamonds isn’t left plain but is filled in with smaller diamond patterns, making it all very rich and detailed.
Finally, the other point to stress is that this pattern is supposed to serve as a sort of “filler” for the lower body; the really intricate stuff should appear on the yoke, and what’s on the lower body shouldn’t detract too much from that.
Curiously enough, now I’ve got an actual charted pattern to play with, the thought of swatching doesn’t seem too bad. (My God – did I really say that? I must be sicker than I thought.) Tune in next week for a curly-edged swatchlet. (I’ve decided to save all the swatches I make in future, until I have enough to sew them together into an American quilt. Or at least a pillow case. Or maybe a handkerchief?) The panel is about 42 stitches wide in all, so if it works I’ll probably have 5 panels on the front, and another 5 on the back, giving me some 430 stitches in the round.
And here’s a thought to chill the soul, now we’re officially into the season of Autumn. I went up to Inverness last week, to see the state-of-the-art new Highlands Archives Centre, due to open at the end of the month (and very impressive it is, too). The county archivist mentioned in passing she’d noticed there was snow on the Cairngorms that morning…