Robin Melanson shares some of her inspiration for Sylvatica, a beautiful spring pullover from our latest issue. This sweater has a lovely neckline, a simple shape, and gorgeous details. We can't wait to see more of you wearing your own! Robin's designs never disappoint (remember this one? and this one? and don't forget about this one!!). You can keep up with Robin on her blog, where you will also find this entry, and much much more. For example, did you know that Robin has knitted costume items for stage productions, including Mary Poppins and The Lord of the Rings? Well, now you know.
My most recent pattern for Twist Collective is Sylvatica, a short-sleeved Henley pullover in the spring issue. It’s worked in a lightweight wool, Filatura di Crosa Zarina. It has a delicate stitch pattern on the front and back, composed of columns of eyelet rib and lacy leaves. As I am usually inspired by the natural world, the name Sylvatica signifies a woodland habitat or origin. In my rather vivid imagination, I think of plants and mushrooms and flowers in a rather anthropomorphic way, that is, in my mind I give them characteristics that normally you would think only people have. It is a common theme in fairy tales and lore.
My sweetie gave me a beautiful edition of Grimm’s Fairy tales called The Juniper Tree, selected and translated by Lore Segal and illustrated by Maurice Sendak (of Where the Wild Things Are fame). The tales retain their original horror (compared to the watered-down versions often told to children) and are a really fun read. In the title story, the juniper tree resurrects a little boy to avenge his own death at the hands of his stepmother (who had then fed him to his father in a stew – gruesome!) So this is a peek inside what runs through my head as I sketch or knit, thinking of new designs. Particularly in the spring my mind turns to fantasy. The colours of spring sort of encourage it.
I went to the Papillons en Liberté exhibit at the Botanical Gardens. The exhibit was a large indoor garden with free-range butterflies just flying all around around you as you walk through the garden. Oddly enough, there were numerous security guards, I’m not sure if they were crowd control for the butterflies or the humans.
The colours of both the butterflies and the flowers were beautiful. They had set out plates of kiwi and oranges for the butterflies to eat. In one section there was a waterfall with a two story chasm in which were fluttering tons of giant turquoise butterflies. Pictures didn’t really do that justice as you couldn’t see the motion of the fluttering , though it was a pretty amazing effect in person.
I guess I try and use my imagination to re-create the beauty and mystery that I see around me, as people have always been doing. Whether you do it with words, brushstrokes, or yarn and fabric, the important thing is that we are thinking and interpreting.