I'm still musing about where ideas come from. I am convinced that living in the world we do, many artists come up with the same or very similar ideas at the same time. There must be a term for this and I have no clue what it is. Maybe someone out there knows and can leave it in the comments. As a designer and artist, I know that I have a recognizable style. It is a style that I have developed over decades of making things, working with color and fibers and living my life. I have been influenced by artists, by friends, by museums, by current culture and antique culture. It is a conglomeration or perhaps I should call it a "stew" of ideas blending around in my head and life, making my work mine. I do not deem to be totally original on many of my projects. I pick up ideas all over and then translate them into my own work. You can't help it unless you live under a rock. Sometimes it is hard to remember where the spark of an idea comes from. (Do you know the NPR series, podcast, and book Spark, How Creativity Works? Check it out here.)
I purchased a green, gold, slate blue and navy wool plaid throw on our first trip to Scotland back in 1984. The label on it reads Trow Mill and I think I found it at one of the little touristy shops in the Scottish Borders. Hard to remember back then as that trip was so wonderful. We drove all through the Scottish Borders (named our next dog Kelso after the little Border town), the Highlands, and even to the Outer Hebrides. Fond memories but wish they had digital cameras back then because I don't have much of a visual reference.
I love this blanket - the lovely plaid design using complementary colors. It has been well-used over the years in several photo shoots (see it on page 63 of Melanie Falick's Knitting America) and it has been on countless hayrides. I guess it has lived a good life being toted around and warming up whoever is chilly. Such a well-lived life that last year, the blanket began to tear up from the fringes. We kept using it, me thinking about how to repair it. I couldn't let it go - just too much history and still so beautiful.
A while back I was reading the British blog Pure Style and saw an old blanket that Jane Cumberbatch had sewn velvet ribbons on. I put that in my memory bank thinking it was such a pretty way to add new life to an old thing. And then in October, I started making my Felted Sunflowers and Zinnias by the dozen. I couldn't stop making them and kept going, finding ways to use them. My old Scottish blanket, in dire need of repair because it had some large rips in it that were going to destroy it came to mind. Remember this bag that I made for my friend Cathy? I still had some bright orange wool and all of a sudden I had one of those aha moments.
Here's what I did - I ripped some inch and two inch pieces of wool from the orange wool. I pinned them over the long tears on the blanket and over the holes one of our puppies had added. With my sewing machine, I zigzagged them in place.
Then I took some of my felted sunflowers and handsewed them onto the ends of the wool strips. It all looked a little bare because I only had 3 rips and 2 holes so I started adding strips of orange wool randomly.
I still want to add some more orange stripes and felted sunflowers but I have run out and will have to make some more. Someday..... I think our blanket is prettier than before and I surely have added another decade to its life. Now that I think about it, the idea for patching the blanket also came from the illustrations I did for the new "Mend It Better" book by Kristin Roach (one more day for the giveaway - see this post.)
See more ideas for my Sunflowers and Zinnias to Knit and Felt Pattern here, here, and here. The pattern is available for $6.00 by PDF Download on my website here or on Ravelry here. Or click the button below (you do not have to be a Ravelry member to purchase the pattern). (BTW, I make more money if you purchase directly through Ravelry vs. my own website. Their fulfillment fees are more reasonable than through the download service I use!)
Happy Leap Day everyone!