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Monday, June 20, 2011

Knit Artist of the Week: Chris Aiton


Chris Aiton


To paraphrase David Copperfield, I am the artist of my own life. As a child, I drew, colored, sewed dolls' clothes, and even wrote plays and created puppets to act them out. As an adult, I put away most of my artistic pursuits to work as an accountant and raise a family; but along the way I still found time to quilt and sew. My husband and I first retired in 1997 to go cruising on our sailboat throughout the Bahamas and the Eastern Caribbean. We returned to the States in 2001 and went back to work for a while. At this time, a boat friend taught me the basics of stockinette stitch and left; but I was hooked, or should I say needled. I found knitting needles and yarns in thrift stores, bought a couple of books, and taught myself to knit. We retired a second time in 2007 and I now have lots of time to paint (watercolor and mixed-media), quilt, sew, read, and knit. I discovered Ravelry in 2009 and then Jane's free-range style of knitting in early 2010, and really enjoy the inspiration and camaraderie of the KAL forums. 



Chris's Great Zimbabwe Vest

JT: Have you always been a fearless knitter?

CA: I look back now to my early knitting days  and think how naive and fearless I was. In 2004 we were hit by 2 hurricanes, and that winter afterwards while we lived in a small trailer next to our heavily damaged house, I knitted a Suss Cousins kit scarf with multiple yarns. I decided that I wanted a bigger version so I just sat down and calculated stitch counts, etc. and went out and bought a variety of cream yarns to do it. Once I finished that, I decided to knit a lace scarf so I just bought a book, some hand painted silk yarn, and fearlessly attempted it. After several bad starts, I persevered, and the scarf turned out beautifully.  That taught me that I could knit anything I wanted and that I could adapt and/or create patterns to suit my body and aesthetic.  Right now I am intrigued by dyeing and spinning yarn so that will probably be my next new skill to learn. For my current knitting project, I hand dyed rayon seam binding and I also made stribbons from some quilting fabric.



Kalahari Vest

JT: Who in your creative life most inspires you (please don't say me wink )

CA: In addition to knitting (and everything else), I have also done beadwork, and in 2006, I took a class with Diane Fitzgerald learning how to make her beautiful ginkgo leaves. I have always been entranced by her impeccable blending of colors and beads, and that same concept runs through my knitting theory and aspirations. I knitted some early pieces with multiple and blended yarns, mostly in garter stitch; but once I discovered your patterns with both multiple hand painted yarns and varied stitches (as in the Knit a Beach pattern), I have gotten closer to the blended beadwork ideal.
Also, color is a vital and integral component to everything I create, whether it be with paints and paper, with fabrics and threads, or with needles and yarn. I have studied color theory and art history, and much of my color inspiration comes from works done by my favorite painters: the misty greens, blues, pinks, and lavenders of Monet's garden paintings; the crisp, clean whites and brights of John Singer Sargent's and Stephen Scott Young's portraits and landscapes; and the myriad shades of  whites, grays, and other hues of Whistler's exquisite color studies.

JT: I ask everyone this question: do you wear your knit artistry in public?

CA: Yes, I definitely wear my creations. Most of my pieces are knitted with cotton, rayon, linen, and silk yarns so I can wear them year-round, even where I live in South Florida; but I admit that when the temperature drops below 60degrees F, I bundle myself in my heavier scarves and shawls. After living in hot places for so long, I am now a wimp when it comes to cold weather!  Some of my knitted pieces are in colors that are not flattering for me so I usually give them to friends who I know would love them and wear them.

JT: IS there anything you'd love to kniot?

CA: Having mentioned Diane Fitzgerald as an inspiration above, I have in my mind a knitted piece that captures the look of her brick stitch ginkgo leaves - perhaps a kimono knitted in silks with an intarsia leaf design or maybe a top or cardigan with short sleeves that echo the rounded ginkgo shaping and knitted with a variety of hand dyed yarns blended to flow like beadwork. The piece would have a natural flow and rhythm - very zen-like and evocative of the Natural World.



Free Range scotian Meadow

Posted by Jane on 06/20 at 01:18 PM

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I just love love love Chris and I loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee her work! She always amazes and inspires me! :):):):):):):):):):):):):)

By Julie Tucker-Wolek on 2011 06 20

How wonderful to see my talended overseas blogbuddy here! Chris deserves the spotlight, she's an amazing artist! Chris ROCKS!!!

By Marit on 2011 06 21

this is wonderful... I love the color combo...{{hugs}} michelle

By michelle on 2011 07 03

Recent Comments I've almost finished Rouge Wave and anxiously awaiting Book II. Do you have any idea when it will be available?

By Verlene Brooks on 2014 08 22
From the entry 'Rogue Wave nearing completion!'.




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