This past Sunday we got our first creativity assignment for Kate Davies Knitting Season club, which involves creating our own motif. I am taking my inspiration for this assignment from eastern Pennsylvania, my point of origin. For a while now, I have thought that some of the imagery from hex signs and related folk art might make for some nifty knitting graphics, so I’m taking this assignment to give it a try!
Hex signs, for anyone not familiar with them, are various types of Pennsylvania German folk art designs painted on circular fields. (The link below takes you to an image search.) Often they are painted on barns or other buildings, sometimes they are on round pieces of board or metal and hung up as decorative items. Before you ask, no – they are nothing to do with the Amish. 🙂 My own maternal grandparents had a bunch of them hung up at various places in their house.
Because folklorists are easily bored and don’t like things that just are, there is a lot of speculation that they are something to do with warding off evil. More likely is that they are kind of pretty and both locals and tourists like them. But whatever – they are kind of pretty, and I want to at least try. And if I wind up with a sweater that wards off evil – bonus.
Some of the designs are super-elaborate, and would not be suitable for knitting. Some are symmetrical, and might work but keep reminding me of tam hats. Others are more typical things like the distelfinks (stylized birds) and hearts and flowers that might work as intarsia motifs.
So right now I’m working on charting, and will try knitting samples of the most promising options. More on this later!