Monday, 5 December 2011

Ian Tyson - Old Cheyenne - Katie Harris

This project I'm about to present is really interesting and completely different to anything I've received thus far for Art for Art. Katie's project is a work in progress and over the next six months she'll be providing us with occasional updates on her project's development. Rather than give too much away, I'm going to let Katie explain her project and how it's going to work. Before I do pass you on to Katie, I would just like to remind everyone that if you're impressed or affected by any of the A4A projects in any way, don't be afraid to comment. I'd love for us to start talking about the creative work people are doing. If you're struck by a particular interpretation or if you've always interpreted a song differently, talk about it. Ultimately, I'd love for Art for Art to become a venue for both creative discussion as well as creative expression, and hopefully in coming months we can see a little more communication. Anyway, here's Katie Harris...

* * *

Ever since Sarah invited me to contribute to Art for Art, I've been really excited to write this post! And now, here I am. As soon as I had the invite, I knew what I would be producing, partly because of the inclusion of a Canadian musician and partly because it was a motivation to start something that's already been brewing in the back of my head. 

My project is something that is in development for the Calgary Stampede's Western Showcase's Creative Arts and Crafts competition. July 2012 will be the centennial of the Calgary Stampede, and there were very few entries in knitting in 2011, so I particularly want to enter this coming July. Hence, I'm using a rodeo song by Ian Tyson, an Albertan country singer, titled "Old Cheyenne", as inspiration. 

What I produced from this is a draft of a silhouette that I will be using to knit into a pair of mittens.
These are the needles and yarn that I will be using:

The work will have to be delicate because I don't have much space within which to make the picture. This is why I have selected a thin yarn and needles smaller than I've ever worked with before (the needles are usually used for socks)!

This is my design as of right now:

All of the little dash lines are a stitch. I haven't decided whether the boot will be the design that I use on the final pair; I might try to develop a bit more skill and try for a silhouette of a bareback rider. Maybe even a hat! The possibilities right now are endless, since this project doesn't need to be submitted until June. I may sketch out a few more before I start knitting. I probably won't begin the actual mittens until at least mid January to early February. But I am really excited about them!

And if I get the chance, given Sarah's good graces, all of you folks may also see the development of these mittens, too!

* * *
Haha, my good graces. I have no such thing. 

I'm excited to see where Katie takes this project over the next few months and how Ian Tyson's song comes to influence the knitting process. Good luck, Katie!

Katie Harris is an undergraduate English major at the University of Calgary. She likes to knit during class so that she doesn't doodle (trust me, I've seen her in action). She spends a great deal of time crafting and sells much of her work on Etsy. Check out her own blog here. For more on Katie Harris, visit the contributors page

Ian Tyson is an old cowboy soul best known for his songs about the Canadian West. At the age of 73, he is still an active songwriter and performer and has been recognized numerous times over for his contributions to the Canadian entertainment industry. I encourage you to visit Tyson's website here


  1. I will confess that I've always been very fascinated with Katie's knitting in class. Along with being, at times, distracting (hah), it was also quite endearing an activity. I remember once that a professor commented on how knitting can be a very feminist activity, and I think that's quite right. And why not? It's an act of becoming familiar with our labour--not an alienation from labour but its opposite.

    As for Katie's artistic representation of Ian Tyson's Old Cheyenne, I think it's a very interesting take on it. It's not exactly what comes to mind when I hear the lyrics, but I think the song (as with many other country songs) basks in it's country-ness. And so to create an emblem of that country-ness is very astute!

    Very great plan Katie, I can't wait to see it develop further!


  2. Hahaha, thanks, Norman!

    I should mention that I do usually get the most work done on my knitting in class, since it is a time when I'm simply sitting and listening to a professor/student presenters.

    Thinking about it, I could probably have also used Tyson's "Half Mile of Hell," but that is more specifically about the chuckwagon races at the Calgary Stampede; "Old Cheyenne" represents the rodeo more to me. My work for this piece is more or less informed by quite a few of his songs, with "Cheyenne" being the representative piece. :) And my design will likely change over the next couple months as I get more familiar with colour work, too. This is all a learning process, that's for sure!

    I can't wait to share more with you guys in the future!

    Katie =^..^=

  3. I have never seen needles like that for knitting...very interesting!!

  4. They're super thin! They're going to produce a really nice, fine stitch. At least, that's what I'm hoping! :) We'll see how this shapes up. haha