Friday, 21 January 2011

Camelstan

If I hadn't settled on Frog Land as a title for this blog, I would have been tempted to call it Camel Land. Except that sounds too much like Camelot. What about Camelstan? Stan being the Farsi word for place - you know, like the New Yorkistan cover.

I collect camels as well as frogs - this one,
a Steiff (sporting a tiny Turkmen camel bag),
belonged to my sister until I confiscated it. 
Anyway, Camelstan would admittedly be a pretty ridiculous name for a blog, but camels are definitely my favorite animal (after frogs, that is). This is probably due to their association with some of my favorite places - deserts and certain Asian countries. I spent my childhood in Iran and Turkey, and then a fair amount of holiday time in India while my parents lived there, plus three years in Uzbekistan as a Peace Corps volunteer, so I got used to seeing camels around the place. After all those years in Asia, I should know better than to sucumb to orientalism, but I just can't help it. Camels, the silk road, carpets and spices create an irresistible romantic mix.

So, when I discovered there was a yarn made with camel hair - called Fez - well, I just had to have it! It took me ages to decide on a pattern, but as these things usually happen, I saw a wrap on Ravelry that someone had knit in Fez and I was hooked. Not that I need any more wraps, but that is completely beside the point.

The pattern is Guernsey Wrap by Jared Flood, of Brooklyn Tweed fame. I'd never done a Guernsey or any of his patterns, so it was time to give it a try. You'll know Guernsey is an island and a type of square sweater, but it also refers to the stitch pattern of said sweaters, which incorporates simple knit and purl stitches to create a repeating pattern. It makes for easy, soothing knitting, resulting in a subtly textured fabric.

I chose the brick red - a good oriental colour, as demonstrated by my Karakalpak wall hanging.


Simple repeated geometric patterns are used throughout Karakalpak textiles, much like in the Guernsey patterns, so even though there is absolutely no connection of any sort, whether historical,cultural, geographic, etc..., I'll think of this as my Karakalpak Guernsey wrap. Or just my camel wrap.

Oh yes, and for the finished product:


And finally, just one last picture of camel - who could resist that face (or those toes)?!