The Wonderful World of Weird and Bizarre Knits

I’ve been knitting for years, ever since I first made a Doctor Who scarf as a teenager. (Note: You should do a gauge swatch even if you don’t have a pattern to follow, or your scarf could wind up three feet wide. Ask me how I know.) I’ve been making socks since the 90s and have memorized the pattern I use. While I appreciate the advantages of brainless knitting, from time to time, I long for something more challenging.

Fortunately, the world is full of innovative knitters, and they are busy making weird and wonderful knitted objects.

Knitted Nautilus (pattern and photo by Hansi Singh)
Knitted Nautilus (pattern and photo by Hansi Singh)

I’ve already mentioned Hansi Singh, but I’m happy to report I discovered she has some patterns I didn’t know about, available via Ravelry. I keep going to the page and staring at the nautilus, which is amazing, but I’m also drawn to the chameleon and the frogs. All three patterns have the same attention to shaping and detail I associate with her captivating work.

Another source of inspiring if odd knitting ideas is this list of weird knitted gifts. While the brain hat is just disturbing, the dissected frog is actually pretty. The lobster sweater and the tortoise cozies both made me laugh.

Only one of the many "icky and cuddly" knits by aKNITomy (photo from Etsy).
Only one of the many “icky and cuddly” knits by aKNITomy (image from Etsy).

But the really exciting knitting discovery I made recently is yarn bombing. Yarn bombing is a form of outdoor art installation: knitted or crocheted pieces are stitched onto things you don’t normally think of as having anything to do with yarn. Bike racks, hand rails, parking meters, sign poles, even cars, trees, and statues get encased in blankets of color.

Poking around online, I continue to be blown away by the installations as well as their creators. I’ve discovered Streetcolor, two artists who are covering Berkeley, CA, using yarn they’ve spun and dyed themselves, and Yarn Bomb Yukon, a Canadian group that takes on little projects like airplanes and woolly mammoths.

Mammoth yarn bombed by Yarn Bomb Yukon (photo by  Tyler Kuhn)
Mammoth yarn bombed by Yarn Bomb Yukon (photo by Tyler Kuhn)

I’m not sure that I actually want to take up yarn bombing. I don’t think I have the nerves for that sort of public (and potentially illegal) activity. But I am grateful there are people out there doing it. All of these innovative knitters are giving me a gift: they help me to see how my knitting can interact with the world around me in new ways.

On Friday, I’ll show you my current knitting experiment which was inspired by yarn bombing.

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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

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