Saturday, January 26, 2008

A is for Artichoke

Artichoke. Cynara scolymus.

And a really great design motif.

William Morris created a number of artichoke designs, the most memorable of which is the Artichoke Tapestry in the Morris Gallery, Walthamstow. See Beth Russell’s site for an image of the artichoke tapestry. Others Morris artichoke designs include artichoke fabric, artichoke wallpaper (many attribute the design to Morris’s assistant, John Henry Dearle). Another design for artichoke wallpaper (this done by Walter Crane) was for Jeffrey & Co., around 1895.

In short: artichokes make great graphic food!

The artichoke has been my icon (mascot? totem? emblem? device?) for some time now. I began designing the bit of knitting pictured above out of fingering-weight Shetland yarn at least ten years ago as something of a rank badge, thinking that I would set it into a larger sweater. If you look hard, you can see the date on either side of the artichoke—in the style of dated Swedish North Halland sweaters. But I’ve changed my mind. Now I want to make it into a full cardigan, and am working out the details. I’d like to use up all the Alice Starmore campion yarn I accumulated in the mid-90s & this seems like an ideal way to do it.

If you like artichokes too, there are some great knitting patterns available:
If you know of any others, please share links by adding a comment below!


Erica said...

Beautiful colors and patterns!

Debra said...

I really love your idea and will be following your blog! I would also like to share my artichoke pattern on

Anonymous said...

just discovered your blog. here's another great artichoke pattern. i knitted one for my local csa farmer!