Two important principles to plan a handknit sweater - Philosophy, Bauhaus and Josef Albers

in needleworkmonday •  14 days ago

It is fascinating to read about philosophies, about guiding principles and often I have imagined following some of them for a shorter period. Like an experiment I would obey these rules which derive out of the philosophy and my life would instantly change (to the better) for example: eating like the Pythagorean or acting after von Glasersfeld assumption that a human mind can not perceive reality. Never did it occur to me that I could apply philosophy to knitting (and to be honest never did I apply anything outside the worlds of my own mind). But now is the time – I will knit a Bauhaus sweater.

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Form follows function – or so they say
Applying the rules of Bauhaus onto knitting could mean different approaches. One method is to go into your sleeping room and look through your huge stash look through your one box full of artfully selected yarn. Choose a yarn and let this material dictate the form of the garment. Here fore make a swatch and then perceive this fabric. Lay it flat on a smooth table and then whirl it around with one finger. If the swatch ripples and does not move in one, the fabric will be very drapy. On the other hand, if it glides over the surface in one, then the fabric will be stiffer when knitted in bigger proportions.
Stroke your swatch (but omit manic laughing while petting the fabric, it could lead to problematic assumption about your health). Is it soft and fluffy or scratchy or smooth and cool? All these qualities will dictate the later garment. For example, a scratchy and stiff fabric will behave better in a thick cardigan worn over many layers of clothes, whereas a soft, cool and smooth knitting will make a wonderful summer top which can be worn directly on the skin.
There are many more qualities of the yarn to be observed, but I think the method of ‘the material dictates the form’ is understandable.
But you can also go into a completely different direction and follow the Bauhaus principles. Here you would firstly decide what kind of qualities the object (in my case the sweater) should possess:

Fun, playful appearance
Should harmonize with half circle skirts
Should harmonize with wide legged trousers.

With this qualities (functions) in mind you choose the yarn, knitting pattern and the fit of the sweater. For me this led to a mildly cropped, top down sweater which I knit in washable acrylic yarn in two contrasting colours. The overall fit will be oversized and because of the bulkiness and because I will make a turtle neck, the whole sweater will be warm and cosy.

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Do not be fooled
But as you all got to know me a bit better, you already guessed, that all the fabulizing about principles and planning behind my knitting is just a tale. Sorry. In reality I found this stripy yarn in a bargain shop, could not resist to buy it. I could not get enough of one colour to make a whole sweater, so I bought the red and the grey variety of yarn cake and hoped for the best. I made a swatch with the yarn held double as I did not want a sweater with stripes, but with softer colour transitions.

After finishing the yoke and seeing it on a photo I thought ‘wow, this looks a bit like one of Josef Albers abstract paintings’ and the Bauhaus sweater idea was born. And as I am a highly educated Art Historian nasty show-off, I wanted to give you a better story, than writing about me by chance making a sweater which fulfils its purpose :-DDD

Kopie von old neckline(8).png
impressions of "Quadrat" the Josef Albers museum

If you want to read more about this sweater’s construction go to my last post
You can find more details about this sweater on my ravelry page

Thank you @crosheille and @crystalize for hosting the #needleworkmonday. If you want to see more beautiful projects with yarn, fabric and most of all needles, follow @needleworkmonday. Or even better grab your needles and keyboard and join the #needleworkmonday community.


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This is soooo beautiful!!!! I love also the colours!!!:-D


Uhhh thank you. I also love these pink hues, but I am still not sure if they were the best choice as I have reddish hair 😆 😆 Yesterday I finished the neckline and made a turtle neck. I used the grey yarn for the last rows and hopefully this softens the hair/sweater clash a bit.


Sorry for the late answer....I think your choice is perfect! Colourful like you :D


Thank youuuuu and no problem for the late answer. It is nice to hear from you indifferent of time <3

I really like the fact that the colours are not solid, @neumannsalva...

When I first saw the colour of the yoke in your previous post, it looked more orangey to me and it did remind me of Rothko :D since then I have read a bit more about Albers and I do like his squares - and Anni Albers's style too :D


And it was a strange coincidence that @shanibeer wrote about Anni Albers and I about Josef Albers. Both are exceptional artists and color -theoretician.
And with the pink/coral colours... it is hard to photograph them right. But in reality, they are more cool than warm. The orange you can see in one of the photos developed perhaps of the artificial light...

Excellent job as always. Thanks for sharing your talent and skills with us.


Thank you so much but believe me I neither feel talented nor skilled. While seeing all the @needleworkmonday project, I know how much I must learn. So many different crafts and techniques to try 😮😮😮

A fun post to read @neumannsalva! Smiles! Also, the sweater looks great! I like the colors you have chosen.


Thank you <3. These yarn cakes have such nice colours (and the shop is just above the street... too much temptation) Although the sweater is not finished I am already contemplating what I will make with the left overs of these cakes..

Thank you for always sharing useful information and tips with us @neumannsalva :)
I love this part:

look through your one box full of artfully selected yarn. Choose a yarn and let this material dictate the form of the garment.

I have wondered how do we know. And I loveeee the colours of your knitting 😍😍😍

Posted using Partiko iOS


I had to laugh while writing... me giving advice on how to choose yarn... although I am the queen of knitting and sewing completely unplanned things 😆 But I am happy you liked the post and the colours (as I got a bit unsure about the bright pink)

I love the colours that you choose for your garments, always such flair! I like the grey cake with this red space-dyed colour and the contrast between garter stitch and stocking stitch.


Thank youuuu <3 But I yesterday finished the neckline and tried the sweater on, and the garter stitch part looks kind of massive. I hope it will be more harmonious when I am finished with the whole thing.

I like the combination of red and gray. sweater will look great. I am not good at high knitting philosophy :))) but I am sure that your yarn is soft and pleasant to the touch :)


Knitting philosophy is a great term :-D I am still not to sure about the colours of my sweater. Yesterday I finished the neckcline and added a bit of grey into it... we will see.

into your sleeping room and look through your huge stash
I snorted my tea 🤣 don’t we all have one of these for one craft or another? I chuckled through your tale.

Love what you have done so far, thanks for sharing.


Thank you for the compliment <3 and the stash..... oh, shame on me 😅 I find it very tough to resist colorfull yarn and I may have hidden some skeins (or more) in my wardrobe. And I recently started to sew and live in 100 m distance from a fabric shop - I am afraid what will happen 😆 😆 😆

(but omit manic laughing while petting the fabric, it could lead to problematic assumption about your health) ruiner. ;)


Sorry, I once caught myself doing it and thought 'hm does not look sane, better stop the grinning and yarn-cuddling' But feel free to do it in your room... with the lights out... at night.... alone 😆 😆 😆