Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Persephone and Demeter Wrap: What to Do With Art Yarns

In Greek mythology, Persephone, daughter of Demeter and Zeus, was kidnapped by Hades and taken to the Underworld, which enraged Demeter so much that she refused to bring forth the seasons of growth and fertility to the Earth. In order to heal the devastation this caused, Demeter was allowed to return to Earth; however, because she had eaten six pomegranate seeds while trapped in the Underworld, she was sentenced to return there for six months of the year.  Demeter, the Crone Mother, mourns her loss every year, which brings on the Winter season. Each time, her mourning ends. Persephone rejoins her Mother. Spring returns.

We are on the tail end of one of the coldest winters in our history.  We've been tempted with the promise of Spring several times, only to have Winter return.  Demeter must be very unhappy this past while.  It's difficult to know what to expect when we venture out (or stay in, near drafty windows).

A batch of art yarns has been calling me.  They're the result of my experiments in spinning stable super bulky yarns from soft, soft fibres, including Merino wool, silk, cashmere, camel and alpaca. The yarns are heavy and luxurious, the kinds of yarns which beg to be worn next to the skin.  Their texture and bulk precludes fancy stitches and there is just enough total yardage to knit something small.  I cast on 70 stitches on 12 mm needles and knit in garter stitch, picking up yarns as they spoke to me, changing from one natural colour to the next when it seemed the time to do so.  The result is this wrap, which reminds me of the Persephone/Demeter myth.  The heavy yarns in whites and brown belong to Winter. The openness of the stitches wrapped around large needles make the fabric warm but light enough to be worn outside on early Spring days or in the house when the weather turns cold again.  The wrap is simple and will suit many bodies, from Young Maiden to Crone. Persephone has an alternate name, "Kore," which is a nice bit of serendipity, because the yarns in this wrap include thick and thin, cabled, felted singles and core spun techniques.


I'm not providing a pattern here.  I had about 500 grams/250 metres of bulky yarn on hand. I cast on 70 stitches on a 12 mm needle.  I used straight needles because that is all I had, but I strongly encourage you to use a long circular needle, because cramming and knitting that many stitches on a straight needle is no fun. I knit until I ran out of yarns.The gauge is about 1.3 stitches per inch.  The knitting is loose and open, so stability in this piece has to come from the yarns. Spinning stable yarns from soft, often short fibres can be difficult; make sure to spin and finish your art yarns properly to prevent excessive stretching and pilling. Rather than making button holes, I made 6 twisted fringes from the yarns left as I changed colours, 1 fringe for each month Demeter rules.  Persephone is represented by 6 pomegranate seeds I embroidered with hand spun yarn on the back side of the wrap. The 3 large seed pod buttons were a thrift shop find; I rescued them from a worn out piece machine knit from acrylic yarn.

Close up view of the "pomengrate seeds"

(Congratulations to all my fellow graduates in the Bodhi Tree Yoga Teacher Training Programme.  I'll see you tonight at our Celebration, the yogic version of "Prom Night!")

No comments:

Post a Comment