That new project I’ve been referring to? It’s a giant knitted picture of a mandala, to go on the living room wall. Here’s the background:-
Mandalas are the thing at the moment. For anyone with spiritual or crafty leanings, they’re everywhere, and joyfully so. Witness (with excitement), Attic 24’s ever-growing collection of crocheted mandalas ahead of this year’s Yarndale, here. Rich and varied colours, complex, circular, swirling patterns: what’s not to like? (Is anyone going to Yarndale? I’m so tempted…)
I’ve put together a page of Mandala inspiration on Pinterest, because I’ve started taking an interest in these gorgeous creations. I’ve concentrated particularly on mandalas in different media – from bookshelves, to crochet, to painting on stones. Anyway, have a look and judge for y’self. (I’m very very new to Pinterest, so would be honoured if you followed me – I’ll happily follow you back, oh crafty souls.)
Do you remember from childhood – and I say this as a 41-year-old woman – the wonders of Spirograph? Man, I loved that toy. No particular skill or artistry required to create complex, repetitive, beautiful, elegant mandalas. Using it, I felt like an artist and a mathematician, all at once, for very little effort.
So, naturally The Twisted Yarn needs to jump on the mandala bandwagon, but in its own unconventional way. First, I started to think about the nature of mandalas. They’re big in Buddhism and Hinduism, representing the universe. And as a clinical psychologist, I can’t ignore Jung’s eccentric incorporation of mandalas into his thinking. (Everything about Jung was fairly eccentric. But I’m not here to ramble on about my day job.)
Yarnwise, I have to say that crochet has the edge over knitting for this medium, despite the fact that I’m primarily a knitter. You can most certainly knit mandalas if you’re comfortable with DPNs and short rows and suchlike, but really, crochet allows you to make beautifully multi-coloured creations, especially if you can master overlay crochet. Like, wow. Proper wow.
And if as a child you had and loved a kaleidoscope, you’ll adore the tree-based mandala I have on my wall here at the brewery, a representation of alder blackthorn by Sean Hellman. I bought it many years ago whilst on an Arvon course in Devon.
And whilst we’re indulging in a little gratuitous mandala porn, have you seen this book? I fear some expenditure coming on…
Oops, did I get distracted there?
Here at The Twisted Yarn, we really don’t do things conventionally. I do feel the need to subvert the medium a little. I thought about knitted mandalas and I thought, “Nah”. So I decided I’d knit a picture of a mandala. That’s what all my graph-paper-work over the past few days has been about. I’m going to knit a large panel to go on the wall of our abandoned-to-the-toddler-twinnage-because-I-haven’t-got-round-to-decorating-it living room. The design I showed you? I’m going to knit it in-the-round and then cut the steek. I’m using my new knitting needles from the Deramores prize. 🙂 The cream background is knitted in rough, string-like Wendy Guernsey, and the luscious variegated green foreground is deliciously soft Fyberspates Vivacious DK Deep Forest, that I’m resisting the urge to cuddle. Not two yarns that naturally belong together texture-wise, but their colours are perfect. We shall see whether this works. Or not. Here’s its start:-
If it doesn’t work as a panel, I guess that given that it’s knitted in the round, it could pre-steek be a (rather excessively large) jumper*… but for someone else, because I don’t wear pale colours, ever. Even my wedding dress was dark teal. In pale, I look ill. Any takers?
*’sweater’, to North Americans.