Stitch Art in the Streets of Penang: Swatch No.1

This past week I’ve had the opportunity to check out some fantastic spots in Malaysia. George Town, located off the west coast of Malaysia in the Penang state, is one of them.

Now for some background …

George Town was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 and is filled with a rich and complex culture and history. I have yet to unravel the mysteries of it all. No longer is it common to hear Malay spoken in the streets, Penang Hokkien now seems to be the most spoken language, due to the Chinese majority.

The food here is something else entirely. Once night casts a shadow on the city, food stalls fill the streets and menu options abound. Fried oysters, green jelly noodles, seafood soup and a plethora of other dishes that I cannot pronounce or even begin to describe their tastes and aromas are sold for only $2-3  CAD. It’s hard to hold yourself back when you have so many options!

Street Art

Not only is George Town filled with an amazing variety of food and street after street of beautiful colonial style buildings, it also has a burgeoning street art craze. Street art in Penang started out as a competition commissioned by the Penang State Government in 2009. The competition was a success and street art slowly started to creep up everywhere. It’s popularity has since exploded, in part thanks to Ernest Zacharevic, a well known Lithuanian artist, who was commissioned to paint a few murals back in 2012. Now tourists from around the world can be found lining up to get their pictures taken beside one of his most famous murals, Little Children on a Bicycle.

So where does the knitting come in to play?

Naturally, this abundance of street art provides a beautiful backdrop for my knitting. And this is just the beginning. As Pascal and myself will be volunteering for a few weeks at the Sim City Guest House in town, we’ll have a chance to make ourselves comfy and explore the hidden corners of Penang.

Just how much street art can we find? And how many swatches will I knit? Only time will tell.

Lady Smoking a Cigarette

Stich Art Swatch No. 1

Here are the details of my first swatch:


Garnstudio Drops Baby Alpaca, Sport Weight/2 ply


Addi Lace Turbo circular needles, US Size 1 (2.5 mm)

Stitch Pattern

This first swatch was an experimentation of one of my favorite stitches, the skyp stitch.

Skyp stands for Slip 1, Knit, Yarn over, Pass slipped stitch over. You can find an easy to follow tutorial over at We Are Knitters.

Swatch Art - Swatch No. 1

This photo shows off the backside of the swatch.

Close up of Skyp Swatch
And this shows the front of the swatch. It looks a bit messy, but really that’s just because I’m experimenting with 4 different stitch patterns in one swatch.

I have no idea who originally came up with this stitch, but I love it. It’s simple to learn, doesn’t require any complicated hand maneuvering, and knits up quite quickly. I used it to design the Easy Skyp PomPom Toque which I knit for my little nephew this last December. I’ve also used it in knitting the Simple Skyp socks pattern by Adrienne Ku.

I now want to experiment with this stitch to come up with a new design. Possibly mitts, possibly another hat. The end product will probably depend on how much yarn I have left, as my yarn stash is getting ever so smaller …

Stitch Art in the Streets of Penang, Malaysia