Thursday, 18 March 2010

Knitting and Walking

Knitting in the Fields
Charles Sprague Pearce
(American, 1851-1914)
Private Collection

This is me yesterday. The weather is improving and I can take my gloves off outdoors and knit as I walk. Although this painting is called "Knitting in the Fields," the subject may be walking along a small river. I did the same for about two hours yesterday though by a much larger river (and on a smoother surface) in the first, fine sunny and warm yet breezy day this year. I was also working on a long piece, an 18th century long mitt, adapting it to fit me, and so ripping and re-knitting the thumb and upper hand as I went along, any frustration dispelled by the glorious weather, the breeze in my hair and wool, and the sheer delight of knitting outside in pure daylight and fresh air.

The weather in this painting does not look as nice as mine, and the knitter seems to warding off the chill with her outer clothing. She may, also, not be walking but standing as the leg in front is bent and the other is straight. Has she stopped because something we cannot see has caught her attention or is she simply pausing? Her hands have stopped knitting, too, and there is no strand of wool attached to her work. Has she run out of wool and so the stocking production has also halted?

We do see, for once, FOUR knitting needles - huzzah!


Alwen said...

Oooo, goody, another fascinating knitting painting! It's so nice to see something other than the really common ones.

The knitting is on four needles, but she doesn't seem to have a fifth. I'm thinking the knitting is a prop!

This time when I went looking, I found The American Gallery:

Mr. Pearce seems to have re-used clothing a lot: the blue patched skirt looks like it is in "Women in the Fields" and "Sainte-Geneviève", that cloak-thing is in "Return of the Flock" and "A Shepherd Boy", and the sabots look the same in "The Woodcutter’s Daughter" and "A Shepherd Boy".

I wonder if he didn't get to re-use the knitting because the knitter took it back!

One More Stitch said...

Good points. I thought the model's clothing did look rather jumbled together. I also had idea that the knitting might have been an afterthought and, like you said, the owner kept it afterwards.

I wonder if that girl was ever in a field by a river or if she was painted posing in a studio? One could make up a host of back stories!

Martha in Kansas said...

It almost looks like a photo, at least on my monitor. The coat worn like that reminds me of a 1940s coat of my mother's that has straps sewn under the front so it can be worn with arms slipped through the straps and not fall back off the shoulders.

I've been walking and knitting lately too -- following an auction and outdoors. It sure gets people to stare!

One More Stitch said...

The painting does look like a photograph - especially the clothes. The background and face are a little softer but I had the same reaction as you did the first time I saw it.

Jane said...

I'd love an outfit like this.

Hugh Yeman said...

The painter made sure to include teasel in the composition! How appropriate!