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Key pattern knitting chart

Object number: ROMGH.1999.293

Type: Knitting chart

Material: Paper, Pencil, Watercolour

Width: 40.5cm | Height: 33cm

Production date: 1920 - 1968

 Yes you can     No you cannot
Use the same Celtic patterns in your art and craft work Yes
Use this design for commercial purposes without the permission of the Copyright holder No
Commercially reproduce this object without the permission of the Copyright holder No

This angular, geometric design seems to have been a favourite of George Bain’s when creating knitting charts. The straight lines of the key pattern are easily transferred onto grid-paper, unlike the sinuous curves of interlace. The stepped lines, so obvious at this scale, merge into smooth diagonals once you move back. 

This particular design is the most commonly used across insular art. Bain shows readers how to construct it as the very first example in his illustrations of key patterns.

Here we see Bain playing around, rotating and mirroring the basic cell of the design. He uses colour to create quite different panels. Were any of these ever knitted into finished items by the crafters that Bain wrote to and sent patterns? We have yet to find out.

See Bain's Celtic Art, Methods of Construction page 75 Plate 1

Author: Jo Clements

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