Knitted sketch of Carmen based on Leontyne Price

Sketch kniting of Carmen based on Leontyne Price

Today I have started work on my knitted toy theatre for the Royal Opera House’s, Deloitte Ignite Festival in September. I’m basing the character of Carmen on Leontyne Price, and Don José on Noah Stewart.


Leontyne Price is an American soprano who rose to international fame in the 1950’s and 1960’s. She was one of the first African-Americans to be a leading artist at the Metropolitan Opera. In 2007 she was ranked fourth in the BBC Music Magazine’s list of  the “20 All-time Best Sopranos. Listed 1st was Maria Callas, 2nd Dame Joan Sutherland, and 3rd Victoria de los Ángeles.

Noah Stewart

Noah Stewart

Noah Stewart is born and raised in Harlem. He is the first Black musician to top the classical music chart. His debut album for Decca Records, titled Noah, topped the UK classical music chart at no.1. He was mentored by Leontyne Price who recommended that he attend The Juiliard School, where he was awarded a full scholarship.

Famed for his good looks, the handsome 37-year-old tenor is featured in this month’s edition of Vogue Italia

Having circulated images of the sketch knit above via social media; someone ask what I meant by the term ‘Sketch knitting’.

Well, what I mean, is that I draw the image directly into Designaknit Software programme, and knit from that sketch. I treat the knitted sample as a sketch – working prototype. I make amendments to the knitting by swiss darning stitches out that I feel are in the wrong place. I can also see how the colours are working. Colours on-screen and knitted can vary quite a lot.


I could draw directly onto paper, but I could not use tradition gridded paper as a knit stitch is not square, but rectangle. If you were to use a square gridded paper the resulting knitted design would be the wrong proportion. Take a look at LaVieDeWolfie post on using a square grid to create a beaded pattern to see the problem of proportion. The same problem would arise if you use cross stitch chart patterns.

You can download free printable knitting chart paper

To my knowledge Leontyne Price, and Noah Stewart have not appeared in an opera together. Casting them as Carmen, and Don José , on my toy theatre I will be able to make that happen, and honour them for their individual contribution to Opera