[Repost of material originally appearing on 1 August 2006]
As promised, here is the square I use to build my North Truro Counterpane – the first of the companion units needed to build the thing along with yesterday’s hexes.
I could see someone making a blanket of only the squares, or only the triangles (tomorrow’s post), but I did design them to fit visually with the swirl counterpane to make up the larger star meta-motif. I like the contrast between the patterned, almost embossed central swirls and plain stockinette. The lines of the square extend and frame the swirl’s motion, spreading the design out beyond the borders of the hex itself.
The square is knit flat, back and forth on straights. I use two of my longer DPNs for all the smaller units. Since these are quick and almost never languish on the needles, don’t bother finding a pair of traditional straights with end buttons.
Now, why did I go to all this trouble? For the classic reason. Why not?
I’m not a big fan of pieced quilting. I think it can be visually quite lovely, and value it as a medium for artistic expression, but I don’t enjoy manipulating all those little patches of cloth myself. I am however fascinated by simple geometry. Things like tessellations tickle my fancy. I can’t pass by a bit of interesting mosaic or brickwork without pausing to appreciate regular polyhedral tiling. Traditional Islamic non-figural ornamentation is a source of wonder to me. When I stumbled across Phillips Knitting Counterpanes I skidded to a halt and hung on every page.
Since then I’ve kept my eye open for more pieced counterpane style patterns of all levels of complexity. But I notice that very few are built on layouts beyond all squares, triangles, or hexes; or (at the most) on octagons plus small squares. I wanted to play with some of the more unusual layouts – to see if I could bend knitting around them. There are lots of ways to tile an area with simple regular polygons, and simple regular polygons are easy to knit. Why not mix squares and triangles? Or hexes, squares and triangles? Or (be still, my heart), dodecagons, hexes, and squares? North Truro is my first attempt.
I wonder what trouble i could get into if I departed the single plane, and ventured into the 3D world of polyhedra? Hmmm….