Friday, December 16, 2011

Hawaiian Petroglyph Sweater

In yesterday's post I talked about how I love petroglyphs and was inspired to knit designs based on Hawaiian Petroglyphs. The coasters I put up weren't my first version of petroglyphs - this was:

I designed and knit a fairly traditional Fair Isle sweater, except the patterns are all petroglyphs. I used Alice Starmore's Scottish Campion yarn. This was back in the mid-to-late-90's and I used her Book of Fair Isle Knitting to guide my design.  

At the time I was a graduate student in Physical Oceanography at Oregon State University. A lot of the sweater was knit onboard the R/V Wecoma, during the 13 GLOBEC LTOP cruises I worked on. As a graduate student, I usually got the really desirable shifts, like midnight to 8am. I'd have to deploy the CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth sensor), which would have to be lowered slowly through the water column, to near the bottom or 1000m if the ocean was deeper than 1000m. The 1000m CTD casts would take an hour or more of staring at slowly changing conductivity, temperature, and depth lines on the computer monitor (at 3am no less). I referred to these as "knittin' casts" and would work on this sweater while watching the lines.

I have 20+ pages of graph paper with the petroglyphs drawn out on them, cuz heaven forbid I repeat patterns. Some of the petroglyphs recur in multiple places on the sweater, but not in the same order. The only repetitive parts are my version of peeries - the small pattern bands in Fair Isle sweaters. I have two types of peeries. One line is petroglyph men, the other is sea turtles. There was serious counting of stitches involved in this sweater.

I may someday release a design that's a simpler version with repeating patterns. I figure no one but OCD me would have knit this one. I am still quite proud of it though, and wish it still fit. I really need to go on a diet, so I can wear this sweater again if for no other reason. One year I did some hats for Xmas presents using the left over yarn and charted petroglyphs - maybe I'll write up and release a version of that.


  1. It looks fantastic! I would love to see some close up shots of the patterns, they are very intriguing and completely fascinating!
    Oh yes, imagine you'd fit into this sweater again and could wear it! That would simply be great. You never know, you might get there. Eating lots of steamed vegetable in tasty marinade/sauce, I think that's the secret. It's bulky, full of nutrients and gives you back a joie de vivre. If that makes any sense.