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True Blue

Knit Together in Love


Hand-knitted mittens
Drawing on her Swedish ancestry, Bigelow has adapted traditional mitten knitting motifs with her own design handiwork, like the pink flower (left) and red letters and date (right) in these examples. Photo by Bradley Slade.

BYU viola professor Claudine Pinnell Bigelow (BM ’92, MM ’94) compares her knitting to her music: “There’s rhythm in knitting, in counting stitches, in patterning, in color work. Knitting, like music, requires real discipline. Both are meditative. Both can be imbued with sentiment and meaning.” She loves both.

Bigelow began to knit in college, inspired by her friend Ana Preto-Bay (PhD ’02). She began with a children’s book on knitting and just kept learning. Today she knits and creates designs in many styles, including Aran, Fair Isle, Faroese, Swedish, Norwegian, and Estonian. “The work I do is both artful and technical. Everything must be just so,” she says. “I’m a finisher, which helps me do large projects and invest a lot of time. I have a Faroese shawl of incredible complexity that may have taken me a thousand hours to
complete.”

Knitting is “a creative outpouring,” Bigelow says. “Often the work of women done at home with textiles has not been valued as art—but [it] should be.”

Traditional Faroe Islands, maroon, hand-knitted shawl.
This traditional Faroe Islands shawl—made with extremely fine wool and designed to look like eagle wings—took Bigelow as many as a thousand hours to knit. Photo by Bradley Slade.
Assortment of hand-knitted woolen socks with cabled designs.
This assortment of soft woolen socks incorporates Aran (cabled) and other designs. Photo Bradley Slade.
Hand-knitted Fair Isle, patterned hat and sweater.
This Fair Isle hat and sweater incorporate carefully blended colors and a heathered wool, which, when seen up close, is itself a blend of colors. Photo by Bradley Slade.