Friday, 24 June 2016

Masterpiece Knits: A Book Review

In February 2016, Dragonfly Fibers (a yarn company that produces hand-dyed yarns and spinning fibres) published Masterpiece Knits: A Modern Collection, a book of designs inspired by famous paintings. I love the concept, but then I tend to love the combination of knitting with anything else I enjoy or think important: knitting and literature, knitting and art, knitting and theatre, knitting and politics, etc. Basically, knitting goes with everything but something like, say, driving a car. Let's have a look at Masterpiece Knits.

Fractal Poppies. This design was inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe's "Oriental Poppies". I can definitely see the correlation in the shaping and colours, but I'm not convinced that this shawl would look all that good when worn given its unusual shape.

Blue Morning Glories. This design was inspired by another Georgia O'Keeffe work, "Blue Morning Glories". This is attractively and interestingly detailed, well-shaped, and very wearable, though I'm not thrilled with the edging on the neckline and bottom hem.

Picasso Socks. This pair of socks was inspired by Picasso's Paisaje Mediterraneo. I actually find the socks more pleasing to look at than the painting. Great stitchwork, and the play of colour is awesome.

Klee's Knees. This design is based on Paul Klee's "Fire in the Evening". These are interesting, and they aren't unattractive, but I'm not sure I'd want to wear such a bulky pair of knee socks.

A Golden Landscape Hat & Mitts. These two patterns were based on Gustav Klimt's "Tree of Life". I love the combination of the "tree" stitchwork, the polished shaping, and the beautiful yarn.

Morning at the Tate. This scarf wasn't based on a particular painting but rather was inspired by modern art on the whole (the Tate Modern, of course, is London's museum of modern art) and "combines the movement of an O'Keeffe painting and the boldness of modernism". It does have a very contemporary feel to it and capture the spirit of modern art quite well.

Marilyn in Color. This cowl was inspired by Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe diptych. I would have named the scarf after Andy Warhol, because it seems more expressive of him than it does of Monroe. I love the stitchwork though I'm not that taken with the colourway, which is too crude and loud for my liking.

Sugar Shack Tunic. This design represents Ernie Barnes' "Sugar Shack", and it looks like not only a tribute to the painting but also as though it could be worn by one of the figures in the painting, which is a neat accomplishment. The lines of the tunic are very good, but I'm not sure about the curled edge, which looks too unfinished and takes away from the overall sleekness of the piece.

Rothko Beret. This hat was inspired by Mark Rothko's "Untitled 12". I like the bold colour, and the lacework is attractive.

Earth and Green. This cap was inspired by Mark Rothko's "Earth & Green". I like the hat and the colours in it, though I am not sure how many men would.

Sheaves. This cowl was based on the Matisse cut out, "The Sheaf". I actually don't see much of a correlation between these two pieces, but I do love the cowl -- it's probably my favourite design in the whole book. The shape is perfect and the yarn is gorgeous.

The Laundress. This jacket was inspired by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's painting "The Laundress". Between the frumpy shape and ugly, dreary colour of this one, all I can say is that this does look like the kind of thing one might wear to do the family laundry if one wanted to feel even more oppressed by the task than one already is.

The Laundress Hat. Here's a hat to go with the jacket. Although at least I can say for the hat that the stitchwork and shaping are perfectly good and deserve a better colourway and a better occasion than laundry day.

Modern Lattice. This cowl is another tribute to Paul Klee's "Fire in the Evening". I like this piece, though I would make it in a lighter weight than super bulky, as it looks a little crude as is. Double knitting weight might be my pick, or I might go all the way down to fingering.


  1. Rather like the Laundress but would have a hard time with the darn name!!

  2. I'll give thia one a pass since I relly don't like any of the pattrns very much. The hats are nice except for the yarn colors. The only pattern where I liked both the style and the color choice was the cowl. The edging is really nice too.