Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mittens of Moone

The High Cross at Moone has fascinated me ever since I was a child.
Unlike many celtic carvings where you have to squint to see the details of the carvings the images carved in this cross are delightfully clear.

The 12 Apostles.

Twelve monk-like figures. Apostles, obviously.

The loaves and fishes.

Without a doubt. With a knife and fork, apparantly (no, not really).

And even the Flight into Egypt is pretty clear. A man leads a donkey carrying another figure holding a much smaller figure. Yup, I have no problem accepting this interpretation.

The images on the cross work so well graphically too.

I mean look at those Apostles. They have such character.

These guys have always been central to my plans for this design. It took quite a while before I got them to appear sufficiently stocky and lined up together in a way that reflected the original.

See how the head is not symmetrical? and one shoulder is higher than the other? I really wanted to reflect these characteristics in the final design. And to avoid creating a little robot figure also.

I was very happy with how it worked out in the end.

Of course, the overall design took some time to develop and lots of fussy detail had to be refined out of it. As usual I threw all my ideas at it at once.

At one time I had trailing brambles and meadow grasses but despite many happy hours of charting fun many of these details proved to be unworkable once the swatching began.

Note to self: Start the knitting earlier in the process for gawd's sakes. How many times do I have to learn this? My desktop is littered with carefully detailed and
completely unworkable charts. Maybe I should do cross stitch instead?)

My original plan was to use a light grey and a dark grey for the granite, making the mitten itself like 3-dimensional carved stone (Oh I am nothing if not ambitious my friends) but while the result was wonderfully earthy and textured, the finer details of the motifs were completely obliterated. The beautifully blended browns and greys just did not have have enough contrast with each other.
Some of the brighter notes in the colour range did show up wonderfully against the granite and oatmeal/neutral backgrounds, the vibrant pink and spring green for instance, and it was this that led me to the final selection of colours.

When I decided to knit the fish in that beautiful blue the whole thing suddenly came together. (Thanks Lucy!)

Those fish released the design from its earthbound granite beginnings and made it fly. (If you can handle a flying granite fish metaphor that is.)


Irene said...

I have fondled these and I have tried them on and they are beautiful!

Anonymous said...

You've captured the essence of the original beautifully. This is a fantastic, imaginative and wonderful design !

Anonany (Ravelry)