My Material Life

Scintillating Stripes

What do you see when you look at these photos?  I asked Samantha and she said rugs.  I see knit blankets, probably garter stitch, but rugs are an interesting idea too.  These are actually photos of tulip fields in the Netherlands taken during the month of May.  They were forwarded to me by my neighbor.  She thought I might like to see them when we were talking about beautiful things during a trip we made earlier this month to the Pulp Fashion exhibit at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco (which is wonderful, by the way).  The photos are stunning, aren’t they?  Funny how just about any section you could pick would make a pleasing stripe combination or at least a source of inspiration for a textile.

The first two photos in particular remind me of a favorite technique for playing with stripes that I found in an old textile design book by two Swedish designers.

In this spread, they show how sandwiches inspired the stripe combinations on the sample cards that consist of a rectangle of cardboard wrapped with yarn or floss. I’ve used the cardboard that comes in a packet of binding tape for this because the size is right and it’s white, but you can use just about any paper that is thick and stiff like cardboard.  The book is The Textile Design Book by Karin Jerstorp and Eva Kohlmark, and it’s very worthwhile overall.  It was first published in English in 1988.

My last striped effort was probably this crib blanket for Sam’s big baby doll.  She doesn’t see much action these days, but the blanket does remind me a bit of that middle flower field photo.  At the time I just wanted to use the colors from the crib in a contrasting way to the existing curvy floral design.  I could have used the technique above to figure out what color to use where, but I’m afraid I didn’t think of it.


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