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  • Skógafjall Sweater by Kathy Cadigan

    Today we welcome our dear friend, Kathy Cadigan, to our blog.   Kathy is a knitter, spinner, and photographer.  Kathy is a big part of our Tolt community and we just love her!
    You can follow Kathy on Instagram at @kathycad and on her website.  Kathy was also the photographer for our Farm to Needle book.

    All photos by Kathy Cadigan

    When I first began thinking of color choices for Skógafjall, Dianna Walla’s beautiful design for Tolt Icelandic Wool Month, I originally had every intention of going a completely different direction from the earth tones I normally gravitate towards… Perhaps I would do a turquoise blue and silver landscape or better yet, a rainbow colored landscape! But even after many wonderful visits to Tolt for vibrant color acquistion, I surrendered to my color comfort zone and decided on yoke colors from my earthbound stash.

    I did not plan to modify the yoke pattern, it happened sort of organically. In order to help visualize and figure out color placement, I made a few quick line drawings with pen and watercolor. Since color was my main concern, I kept my sweater drawing simple, not really to scale, not very detailed. At some point during the process, a few little “black agates” inserted themselves at the base of the yoke. The more I peered at the drawings, the more I really liked seeing the overall yoke pattern without the vertical lines that delineate tree trunks in the original motif. I had no idea how it would all translate to knitting but I decided to go for it. Between the two pictures, I loved seeing the tonality moving upwards, traveling from light to dark.

     Knitting the body and sleeves gave me plenty of “stockinette time” to ponder and dream about the significance of this project to me. I wanted to explore why it was that the downward pointing angles of my pattern motif appealed to my visual sense so much. A google search gave me a few bits of information and I also came across a book that shed some light: Signs and Symbols, Their Design and Meaning by Andrian Frutiger.

    With regard to graphic symbolism, downward pointing angles and triangles have been used to signify the concept of female, (upward pointing signifies male.) A downward angle can also depict a chalice or vessel. I really like that, particularly the vessel implication. And the same nesting vessels in my yoke have also been found as a signature mark on objects dating from the Late Stone Age.

    When I excitedly related all of these little revelations to a friend and exclaimed, “this is my Womyn Sweater!” we both had to chuckle. A casual observer would probably say, “Wow, okay. How’d you get from point A to point B? It’s just a sweater!” But to knitters, a sweater project presents us with among other things, a unique opportunity to connect to a greater tradition in a creative way… and the more we come to understand about the world outside of ourselves, the more we know and understand about ourselves.

    I love that Anna and Tolt’s collaboration with Dianna gave me the opportunity to translate Icelandic and Scandinavian knitting influences (see Dianna’s blog post on her design inspiration for Skógafjall) into a personal, regional application. I now have a lopapeysa that suits me practically and aesthetically here in the Pacific Northwest. So grounded am I when I think of knitting the beauty of this region, I don’t see how my Skogafjall could have been knit in any other color palette than what constantly inspires me here.

    Yesterday, I took a walk out to the marsh preserve in Carnation to make some photos of my finished project. I really appreciate Dianna’s thoughtful design and construction details… the graceful short rows incorporated into the body and neckline and the longer body length makes for an extremely comfortable, beautiful sweater--- keeps my back covered too when I’m executing “photo-yoga” moves! ;)
    Thank you Anna and Dianna. I enjoyed knitting every stitch and will enjoy wearing this sweater for many years to come.




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