Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tribal Turkish Tubes

“You ought to be living in a yurt somewhere” I said aloud, and laughed, as I hung this piece out to dry. The undulating tribal Turkish tulip design fluttered in the wind: a lacy, felt-like banner in vivid red, aqua and yellow orange against the cerulean sky.

The finished piece, seen here, can be worn as a head or neck scarf, or about the waist and hips, or hung on the wall. I like it's old texture, rather like a washcloth worn lacy with age. Bold and delicate at the same time.

However it all started as a desire to finally find a good use for a knitting knobby. You know those little hand crank machines that produce a knitted tube, and seem like a good idea when you shell out 30 bucks at the craft store. I thought it was a good idea - twice. Yup - forgot I already owned one when I bought another. Later I discovered how very limited they are, in the yarn size and type it can accomodate, when I broke the "Embellish Knit" and still had the original "Magicord Machine", which the package states is "The Knitting Knobby of the '90s". All apparently waiting for me to rearrange my studio and come across some big spools of closeout thin yarns, get an idea, and start cranking out tube yardage.

After I knit out long ropes of red and aqua,  I chose to forego sketching and worked right in the yarn on a long piece of adhesive backed soluble stabilizer (AquaMesh Plus by OESD).  Starting in the middle of a long blue knitted rope, I worked with left and right hands simultaneously, keeping the design as symmetrical as possible and working quickly. I filled in the background with red rope, and added spots of yellow orange chenille yarn.
When all the colors were in place, I stitched over the whole thing like mad, joining and defining areas. I used a darker teal thread which lended an almost batik appearance to this strange, lacy, textural cloth. After the stabilizer was washed out, and the piece dried, I  reinforced areas and fixed unwanted holes with stitching and added beads to finish the long fringe ends.

The adhesive was harder to wash out than expected and it took a second, vigorous scrubbing. The piece has a nice feel to it. I may play with this method more, but may leave off the adhesive and baste stitch instead.