Wednesday, August 20, 2014

of Llamas and other such stories

Many years ago, I borrowed this book from my local library, captivated by the beautiful patterns based on traditional folk knits - mainly bags - of the Andes region.   Admiration however, was about all I could offer. I was completely intimidated by the technique and skills required for many of the projects.  I remember the feeling of inability well; I couldn't even make sense of the instructions.

On a recent trip to the library, I spotted this book and picked it up again, mostly just to admire , but to my surprise I found myself with a brand new perspective both of the projects within and my skillset. Instead of being intimidated, I found myself assessing construction methods with a nod of comprehension, and noting the simplicity of much of the colourwork.

I am surprised at the leaps I've taken with my knitting, I have to say.  If you'd asked me, I would have agreed my finishing and attention to the finer details had certainly improved, but I doubt I would ventured to say my knitting proficiency had changed in any significant way.  It was a nice moment, to be able to acknowledge the growth.

Armed with this newfound confidence, I checked out the book and cast on this sweet little Llama bag using some of my recent Bendigo purchases - 100g of Karoa Fibre.

(It seems I must be a sucker for small, fiddly novelty knits)

The construction of this little bag is something that first time around, I would have been totally bamboozled by.  The legs are worked similarly to afterthough heels on socks, something I'd never even encountered all those years ago and there is absolutely no sewing up - all the little pieces like the face, ears, tail are knit either from live stitches or by picking up stitches directly in place.  

The legs of this bag are actually unas, small pouches traditionally used by market stallholders for things like sorting change by denomination, storing talismans' or keys, amongst other things. 
As well as being visually beautiful, the book is also a lovely read as the author goes into good detail on the history and purpose of the bags in traditional cultures of the Andean region, as well as providing background on fibres and the roles animals such as llamas play within the communities.

I just love those ears!!

What would you say are your shifts in perception over the years of working creatively?  Do you forget to reassess yourself and your talents every now and then, allowing that things change so subtly over time that they sneak up on you too, like this? 


Rose Red said...

Your llama is adorable! You are right, the ears are perfect!

I used to say I would never, but NEVER, do colourwork. I still refuse to do intarsia, but I have done fair isle, and will do more (but would like to learn how to do it two handed...). I think it was making my first pair of socks that really gave me the confidence to try (almost) anything, knitting wise.

rebecca said...

I think that foxy, gave you a knitted animal hankering! Those Andean animal purses are pretty fascinating. I have a Piecework edition that focuses on their history and gives a pattern too I think. If you are interested, I shall hunt it up.

Fay said...

I love the bag. The book looks beautiful. I have not knitted much colourwork. I'm a bit intimidated I think. Perhaps I need to branch out and try fairisle:) I have become much more skilled at lace over the year and more pedantic about blocking. Fay:)

2paw said...

Oh the llama is as cute as a button and the ears are definitely the best!! I never really think about my skills, but the other day someone listed some thing they think I am good at and I was a bit surprised: in a nice way!!