Romancing the Bean

Originally published March 20, 2006

Jolene Treace very kindly sent me her thoughts on designing and related them directly to designing a coffee coat. Jolene’s ideas are pure poetry. Such sensitivity and understanding for such a simple task suggests the tremendous amount of thought and feeling that Jolene brings to her sweater, shawl and scarf designs. Here is what Jolene says about designing:

“The creative process for me is very much one that takes me over. Something catches my eye, and one thought leads to another. I am often inspired by whatever happens to be around me. I suppose it is because I am used to thinking of expression in an abstract way, rather than fully representational like a photograph.

The idea for the coffee cup, for instance. When I thought about what I could do for a coffee cup protector/cozy/whatever you might call it, I of course thought about coffee beans themselves after they have been roasted and before they are ground. They have a simple, strong, geometric shape with clean lines. Then I thought about the smell. Deep and heady and earthy.

Obviously for me, the yarn would need to express this. Something natural. Something warm and cozy. Something inviting. Secondary to that would be the stitch pattern to choose. Something that would have both common elements as well as a little unexpectedness to it. Something with a little bit of an urban edge to reflect the urban edge to the coffee houses of today. Perhaps cables combined with either moss stitch or garter stitch. Or, one of the many types of ribbing patterns that are very nubby and textural. A natural color would be nice. Something in a warm natural brown. I am not a coffee drinker myself, but if I was I would like something tied to the earthy appeal of that smell, that just cannot be matched by anything else. It smells of warmth, and comfort, and good times with friends and loved ones. It smells of solitude with a good book on a crisp fall day. It smells of ritual that comforts on many levels. This kind of process goes on, every day, all day. It is like breathing. I cannot imagine what it is like without that inner dialogue and the drive to create. “

Thank you so much Jolene. It is wonderful to have these feelings translated into knitting patterns for so many of us to enjoy!

Jolene’s patterns may be seen below.

I am still enjoying working through the designs of my “coffee cats”. Here is another. This time I decided to work with beads. The yarn was a little too thick to thread the #6 bead on the yarn so I threaded the bead onto some DMC cotton the same colour as the yarn and knit the yarn and the beaded thread as one. It was a little tricky and I do prefer to pre-bead the yarn when I can.

I made a few small changes as well. Instead of 2 stitches for the nose. I tried one stitch. I thought that the 2 stitches were too much like a snout and now I think that the one stitch is too much like a beak. I am going to try a few more variations, just to see what happens. In the meantime here is a poem on coffee that I found. It makes me think that Art comes from a main creative force and finds its outlets where ever it surfaces. For us it is knitting!

How can you know,
unless you are addicted so.
The smooth, velvet swish
of liquid, brown bliss,
coating all inner pores
with a soothing balm of creamy, frothy joy.
Ah, to savor the flavor of mellow, ground beans.
There’s not enough time,
it seems.

Well the name is divine.

Have a good one


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