Over the thirty or more years that I have been making my living as a potter, the work has changed dramatically from simple stoneware to intensely decorated porcelain. Yet there has been one constant element- my love for pattern and decoration. Throwing pots on the wheel is by necessity a quick activity, a burst of energy which I enjoy and find exciting.
My real love, though, is painting intricate patterns onto my pots. Decorating with wax resist (similar to batik) is a slow step-by-step process that cannot be rushed. The activity is meditative and peaceful, so when I became interested in, then addicted to, knitting a few years ago, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between both crafts and my approach to them. I love the sensuality of clay and yarn, their softness and pliability. Unlike wood, metal, or fabric, which require careful cutting and measuring, precision joining and finishing, the soft materials that I love allow for a more casual approach, an intuitive way of working where something can be “close enough” or where a slight mistake can be fudged.
The main attraction, though, is that both are vehicles for exploring pattern and colour. The fabric arts have always been an inspiration for the patterns on my pottery and lately, I have been playing with the idea of transforming some of the more static patterns from my pots into bands of colourwork on sweaters or garments.
Sometimes I am surprised that knitting, which I have taken up as a form of relaxation, is so closely related to what I do for a living, but the elements of repetition, sensuality of material, and creativity and problem solving are just too tempting to resist.
Our web site has more examples of patterns on my pots: http://www.mckenziemarcotte.ca/en/artists/maureen_marcotte.html
A couple of days ago I bought a new Nikon DSLR so I could take good product shots as well as to have for just plain fun. Here’s one of my first photos. Isn’t it pretty?!
Merino/Nylon Sock Yarn 420 yards 115 grams
Superwash Merino Singles Fingering 440 yards 115 grams. I made Making Waves Cardigan with 3 skeins
on the bed
Superwash Merino/Silk Fingering 2 ply 50/50 378 yards – 115 grams, beautiful sheen
Here is a top down pullover knit size 36 with 2.5 skeins of Merino Silk
Superwash Merino/Cashmere/Nylon Sock 3 ply, 80/10/10 378 yards, 115grams…so luxurious!
Superwash Merino Lace 2 ply 990 yards – 115grams
Superwash Merino Singles Lace 412 yards – 57 grams a lace weight treat. 3 skeins will make a featherweight cardigan.
Merino/Nylon Sock 3 ply 420 yards – 115 grams. Perfect for socks, but I made a Paulie cardigan with three and a half skeins!
I apologize for the terrible picture, and the messy studio in the background.
Beautiful Blue Faced Leicester Yarn 2 ply, 378 yards, 115 grams. This has a beautiful sheen, and dyes up like a watercolour!
Superwash Merino Singles Worsted.220 yards – 115 grams. A thick and thin yarn that’s lofty and so soft.
That’s it for now. Got to get to the studio and dye more yarn.
Happy Stash Building!
Riverside Studio online shop for handyed yarnie goodness!
Riverside Studio will be at the Parkdale Market in Ottawa Saturday May 26th and then at La Fabrique in Chelsea Quebec on May 27 with lots of scrumptious new yarns.
I also want to announce that my yarns are now available on Etsy.
Steve, a friend of ours asked me to make an old fashioned bear as a gift for his sister. Fifty or more years ago, when he was a very young pesky brother, he hid her yellow bear that an aunt had made for her, by placing it on top of a lamp. The poor bear ended up with a large hole which his mother patched. Later on, the bear, who was stored away for safe keeping, ended up being chewed by mice. This is how he looked after all his ordeals:
Now many years later, Steve is sending his sister a new bear to right the wrong from the long ago past, probably in the 1950’s. His cousin sent him a copy of the original pattern of the Weldon Bear (the pattern is a free one on Ravelry) and I have attempted to make a brand new yellow bear. He’s a jaunty fellow with a very dashing scarf, but does he have as much character as the much loved Old Bear? Maybe as the years go by he will.
Little Bear on a Yellow Chair
I had a great time at our little retreat. Everyone laughed a lot, they were pretty game to sleep with strangers (some rooms had 6 beds) but earplugs helped. As to actual knitting and dyeing, we split the class up on Saturday, so half dyed yarn and half worked on double knitting. And then we switched it up in the afternoon. This worked well as everyone was able to get individual attention. Here are a few more pictures from the retreat.
Knitters concentrating on their double knitting:
Close-up of some double knitting, you can see a few errant bars across the stitches but those were soon fixed. Everyone did a great job!
Kathryn‘s beautiful yarn, and Francine‘s beautiful shawl pins (and stitch markers) for sale:
And thematic cookies for everyone, made by my baker-daughter (who I may have mentioned in this blog, once or twice, or maybe three times, but whose counting.)
Lastly, Henry bids you adieu (with a little blue and green double knitting poking out from behind him), and says, thanks for the yarn, baby, just try to take it away, come on, try.
We had a great weekend at the Barn, relaxing and fun. The weather was perfect for Kathryn’s yarn dyeing workshop which took place outdoors and the house was lovely and cozy for knitting and learning new techniques from Julie. We had lots of time to visit with old friends and make new ones, share good meals together and indulge in the passion that brought us all together, knitting!
Here are a few photos that show a bit of the weekend.