the stitched journal project

Eager as I was to join the Stitched Journal project, I desperately needed a focus. It’s all very well using it to learn new stiches, but I wanted something to make the project cohesive. I thought a diary theme would work well with each piece reflecting the month, so I found some grey wool to represent a wet and overcast February and sat down with my Book of Stitches. To be truthful, it was a little depressing knitting with grey wool as the rain lashed down on the window and my mind wandered.

It occurred to me, as the wool slipped through my fingers transformed from a straight length into a knitted square of fabric, that there are many parallels between knitting and our farmed landscape. Rows of knitting rise and fall like furrowed fields while bobbles and textured patterns reflect the shapes of hedgerows. But if farming stops then the straight lines of cropped land revert to a tangled mass of scrub in the same way that a dropped ball of wool rolls away and knots into a jumbled mess. I yanked the dreary knitting from the needles, put away my grey wool and decided that my Stitched Journal project would be A Stitched Journal of the Farm.

horizontal lines on the farm

Where better to start than with horizontal lines. Farmers like straight lines. We sow seeds in straight lines, tramlines of bare earth stretch the length of the fields, our buildings are clad in wooden boards, corrugated tin or box profile cladding and wire is pulled taught between solid upright posts. Take a look across the fields and you’ll see horizontal bands of brown earth and green wheat crops that are interspersed with trees and hedges as the sky reaches down to meet them on the horizon.

landscape sketch

I sketched some ideas, searched for wool that might be something like the right colour and sat down to knit.

So, here is my Stitched Journal item for February. An Agricultural Landscape in Garter Slip Stitch*, with an extra horizontal blue band to represent all the rain that we’ve had this month. A brighter blue than the sky has been most of the month, but the closest I had in my basket of yarn “to be used up”.

slip garter stitch knitting

Agricultural Landscape

It isn’t perfect, but that wasn’t the point of the exercise. I’ve learnt that two colours in a row doesn’t mean I have to knit with two colours at once as slipping every other stitch introduces colour and a bit of texture. Garter Slip Stitch produces a firm fabric with little stretch so it would be good for pocket flaps and cuffs or (if you’re so inclined) for purses and dishcloths.

With luck March will bring a little more inspiration, perhaps of a sewing kind. I have ideas in my head, but recreating them may be a little more difficult.

Linking with Lola Nova for The Stitched Journal Project. Click the link to see all the other projects.

* Garter Slip Stitch

Cast on an odd number of stitches

1st Row Colour A: Knit
2nd Row Colour A: Knit
3rd Row Colour B: K1, *sl 1 purlwise, K1; repeat from * to end
4th Row Colour B: K1, *yf, sl 1 purlwise, yb, K1; repeat from * to end
5th Row Colour C: Knit
6th Row Colour C: Knit
7th Row Colour A: K2, *sl 1 purlwise, K1; repeat from * to last stitch, K1
8th Row Colour A: K2 *yf, sl 1 purlwise, yb, K1; repeat from * to last stitch, K1
Repeat

35 thoughts on “the stitched journal project

  1. Pat Machin says:

    That sounds like a good project. You are practicing stitches and also your crafting is leading you to think about more than the craft.

    I hope March will be full of the joys of spring.

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  2. Jenny says:

    What a great idea. I love your finished piece – so much more inspiring than a gray square, and a brilliant textures for the farming landscape. I’ve come across various slip stitch patterns recently and never cease to be amazed by the variety they produce without needing to do stranded knitting work. I shall have to give them a go…

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  3. Flaming Nora says:

    Love your images and the knitted piece sums them up so well. You are so darn right about the wet, its so depressing and I’m not even on a farm! Had a quick nosey round your site, will be back for a good look later when I can give it some time!

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  4. Thomasina Tittlemouse says:

    I like this very much – the photos, watercolour (?) sketch and the knitting together look like extracts from an artist’s portfolio. I don’t know how you would mount the knitting but it occurs to me you could make the most lovely handmade book including all the different components for each month’s piece. You know what I mean one of those thick, textured portfolio type books that are a joy just to pick up and handle as well as look through. My niece did one for her textiles GCSE exam and it was wonderfully inspirational both for her and anyone else allowed a peek! Enjoy experimenting! E x

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  5. Christina says:

    Your stitch library must be a lot more interesting than mine. I have never seen a slipped garter stitch pattern, it looks great. What a lovely idea to make a stitched journal of the farm!

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    • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

      The truth is that I only do the simplest stitches usually and even though I’ve had my Book of Stitches for over twenty years, it’s hardly been opened. I didn’t know there was such a thing as slipped garter stitch until I started looking properly at the book.

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  6. Simona Mrkvova says:

    I like the photos of what inspired you, your knitting looks great and what a nice colour combination. I also would like to experiment with knitting but don’t feel experienced enough.

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  7. Lola Nova says:

    What an amazing post! I love that you are working a farm journal. The inspiration photos and your piece truly reflect the land and views on a farm. The knitting is beautiful, I stared at it for a long time thinking about your words. Really lovely. Thank you so much for being a part of this project!

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  8. daisy jones says:

    I like that you have a theme, and the colours will change with the seasons, I am loving the blues and browns!
    How wonderful that this project has everyone following the breif but all so different.
    Bestest Daisy jones

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  9. dianeskitchentable says:

    How fantastic that you found inspiration from dreary weather. That piece looks so interesting and it has meaning that you’ll remember. Who knows, maybe someday the sun will come out and you’ll have flowers blooming, green grass…well someday. I thought we had to be done with winter here but it looks like a major snowstorm is moving in for Monday to drop at least a foot of snow. Maybe I should find some white wool.

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  10. from cinthia says:

    i really like your lines, and the way they make your landscape understandable for me, so far from you ! all this pictures are beautiful, and your piece of work, fed by these views, become precious. Soon, march is coming and if you keep on crafting your farm journal, it could become a wonderfull field !

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  11. Heike Herrling says:

    What a great selection of colours. I’d never have thought to put them together – but together they tell a real story about what inspired you. Lovely stitch. Perhaps I’ll have to give knitting a proper go one of these months 🙂

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  12. Gather and Graze says:

    I love how you’ve worked this through Anne, finding inspiration through your farming landscape. Photos… to painting… to knitting – brings it alive so much more than viewing a straight sample of knitting! Love it.

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  13. Gillian says:

    What a marvelous idea. I love your idea of recreating the horizontal lines of the agricultural landscape through yarn and stitches. Inspired. x

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  14. knitsofacto says:

    Ooh, nice! There’s so much you can do with drop stitches and the colour palette you’ve taken from your landscape is really effective … love it 🙂

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