Traditional Materials – final outcome

As I was knitting my samples I decided that I could use symbols traditionally used in art within the patterning of either a knitted gansey or fair isle. I started to think and looked at the symbolism associated with death in art I then started to associate these with the death of my Mum who died after years of alcohol abuse. I chose 4 symbols…

I created one of my own based on a simple gin bottle, my mothers drink of choice.


I chose one of a thistle that symbolises misery on earth…


The next was a crow traditionally symbolising death…


Lastly I used a timer so show the passing of time…



On my iPad I found an app called ‘knitcraft’ for designing fair isle patterns and used this to plot and plan my design interspersing and breaking it up with other simple patterns.

Initially I felt I had a finished design but had forgotten to keep to only two colours per line of knitting so I had to go back and redo it.

My mum used and owned a spinning wheel that I inherited when she died, I decided that as part of the design and the story behind it I should spin the wool for my finished piece myself on her spinning wheel.



I spent some time time considering what this fair isle pattern should be knitted into and came upon the idea of knitting it into a gin bottle cosy. I wanted to created subversive piece that would look pretty, cosy and attractive, but has a darker meaning. I want people to say ‘oh that’s so pretty’ but then be told the story and realise that the story isn’t so attractive.

I want the piece to cover the label hiding the bottle, pretending it isn’t there or perhaps hiding the fact of drinking itself, alcoholics often hide their bottles from other people. It could also be used as a subversive knitted graffiti project left on bottles in a supermarket.


I like the finished piece and feel it could make a lovely subversive yoke on a fair isle cardigan or jumper. Perhaps one day I will knit one.

I struggled with a couple of things. My spinning is OK but not quite constantly the same thickness so knitting fair isle with it proved a little harder because of this. Also in places I have knitted it a little tight but never the less I am happy with it.