When I was in college, I spent a semester abroad studying classical art in Rome, Italy. I have always been interested in art, but being in a city completely dominated by ancient design and architecture completely rejuvenated my passion. Although we focused mainly on the Renaissance masters during my time in Rome, I’ve always appreciated a variety of different styles, mediums, and movements of art. Art (in whatever form) has the ability to move people and inspire ideas. It has influenced (and has been influenced by) fashion, architecture, and music for centuries.
Throughout the years, knitting has become its own art form. The dazzling designs that master knitters can create with their own two hands is simple mind boggling. Intricate stitch work and detailed rows of color combine to form wearable masterpieces. However, you don’t have to be a master knitter to create a knit version of the Mona Lisa. There are plenty of simple, yet sophisticated patterns that are both flattering and timeless.
Here are a few of my favorite artists and some easy knitting patterns that have been inspired by their work.
Piet Mondrian was a Dutch painter known for his grid-like pieces full of bold vertical and horizontal black lines accented by primary colors. The Mondrian-inspired patterns are characterized by striking bold lines and geometric forms. (From left to top right and down: Driggs Avenue Hattitude, Vintage No Sew Sweater, Streamlined Striped Sweater, Ice Storm Beanie)
Chuck Close is an American painter and photographer known for his photo-realist and pixelated larger-than-life portraits. Up close, his mosaic portraits look like large blobs of colors. They come into sharper and sharper focus the further away you stand. The Close-inspired patterns in this selection celebrate the pixelated effect he achieves in many of his portraits. (From left to top right and down: Amazing Mitered Shawl, Chilly Ice Cube Scarf, Color Riot Cowl, Organic Tiles Wrap)
Mark Rothko was an American painter known for his large-scale, bold color block paintings. The patterns in this collection are inspired by his simple, yet sophisticated block-like technique of two contrasting colors. (From top left to right: Cozy Colorblock Jacket, Fifty-Fifty Cowl, Half and Half Cowl, Mindless Sideways Shawl)
Claude Monet, the founder of French Impressionism, was a master of light and color. Although he has many beautiful naturalistic pieces, he is most known for his angelic Water Lilies series. The Monet-inspired knitting patterns share similarities with his choice of color. (From top left to right: Lily Pad Cowl, Maria’s Favorite Shawl, Monet Beret, 45 Min Recycled Sari Ribbon Scarf)
Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh, one of the most famous artists of all time, was a post-impressionist painter and creator of the masterpiece, The Starry Night. The knitting patterns in this collection were inspired by the beautiful blues and gorgeous star forms in this celebrated piece. (From left to top right and down: Falling Snowflakes Sweater, Stained Glass Sweater, Falling Stars Top Down Sweater, Stained Glass Shawl)
Georgia O’Keeffe is one of my favorite artists of all time. Although she is most known for her stunning flower paintings, her studies of the American west are absolutely gorgeous and capture the beauty of the desert landscape perfectly. The knitting patterns are characterized by the bold oranges and sandy browns of many of her pieces. (From top right to left: Grand Canyon Wrap, Desert Lace Shawl, Desert Sands Hat, Santa Fe Wrap)
What is your proudest knitting achievement?