MKG Cable Gram - Volume 17, Number 3
Martha Baker is a woodcut artist whose passion is incorporating art into color knitting. A Minnesota native, Baker was taught knitting at an early age by both her mother and her father. She has studied with Kaffe Fasset, and recommends his book "Glorious Inspirations."
Slides of her work showed Baker's woodcuts, the prints made from the woodcuts, and the knitted pieces inspired by the print. She also brought sample knitted pieces and the woodcut block from which she made the prints.
Martha's designs are inspired by prints, photographs (particularly JimBrandenberg¹s work) and artwork, and she recommends saving ideas as you get them... clippings from magazines, photographs, postcards, calendars, wrapping paper... whatever images excite your imagination.
Martha Baker works in the Kaffe Fasset technique... knitting with two ballsof yarn, one for the background and one for the picture you are creating. The balls would be of contrasting colors or tones, and each ball would contain up to 20 different colors, in varying lengths to get a good mix throughout. She winds the balls ahead of time but does not tie the ends together. This allows an "edit as you go" technique... if you want to switch to the next color earlier than you had planned, just do it! The basic technique for this type of knitting is the same as Fair Isle ¬- leave a two-inch tail of yarn, and weave the tails in as you go.
How to know what colors go together? Use a well known piece of art, or any picture that appeals to you. Wind a ball of yarn that contains all the picture's foreground colors, and another with all the background colors. The ball can be a mix of the picture's colors, or have the same progression of colors that the piece of art has. Use the colors in the same proportion as in the artwork ¬ if there's just a sliver of yellow in a cloudy sunset sky, then match that proportion in your yarn ball.
Design ideas can come from the shapes in the original artwork, or can be based on traditional patterns, such as Fair Isle, Nordic or Turkish. All those colors? Shop yard sales, thrift stores, beg from friends... and never throw away a piece of yarn! Wool works best for multi-color work because it weaves in well. Thanks, Martha, for your talents!