Maine Fiberarts will display the sculptural knitted work and clothing of Cushing artist Katharine Cobey at its gallery at 13 Main St. beginning Friday, Dec. 3 and continuing through Feb. 25.

The exhibition, “Diagonal Knitting: A Different Slant,” is a celebration of Cobey’s new book by the same title recently published by Schoolhouse Press. Many of the knitted pieces featured in the book will be on exhibit at Maine Fiberarts. Sales of the book will take place during the three months of the exhibition, and the public is invited to attend a book signing Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and meet the artist.

The new book is the result of several decades of exploration into the knit stitch by Cobey. For years, she has implored knitters to move away from printed patterns (the very word comes from “patrone,” the patriarch) towards studying shape and techniques that allow the knitter to freely create works that are original and of their own design. The book is an exploration of knitted squares, triangles and rectangles and about how these shapes may be put together to create sweaters, coats, capes, dresses and much more. In working three-dimensionally, the knitter can begin to imagine creating sculptural pieces and works that have meaning. Cobey skillfully guides knitters towards this thinking, and the book is beautifully illustrated with photos of her clothing and sculpture, works of inspiration and clear precise drawings.

The exhibition at Maine Fiberarts’ gallery will feature several of the pieces from the book. One dramatic piece that will be installed in the gallery is “Ritual Against Homelessness,” a series of five coats — knit from simple squares that are folded and embellished — arranged in a circle. Of this piece, Cobey wrote “Inspiration often comes in bits and pieces. For ‘Ritual Against Homelessness,’ the women living on the streets in Washington, D.C., and what I had read about American trade blankets coalesced with the character of the unspun wool [a friend] had sent. I decided to make a circle of coats protesting homelessness.”

An award-winning artist, Cobey has participated in national solo shows at The Torpedo Factory in Virginia, The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in Texas, among others. In Maine, her work has been shown at the Portland Museum of Art, the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art and others. Several of her works currently are on view in the show “Altering Matters: New Work by Maine Members of the Surface Design Association” at the Atrium Art Gallery of Lewiston-Auburn College.

Cobey is Maine’s 2010 Master Craft Artist, a title designated by the Maine Crafts Association. An accomplished master teaching artist, Cobey offers classes in spinning, knitting, diagonal knitting and design from her studio in Cushing. She will offer a workshop on Diagonal Knitting at Halcyon Yarn in Bath on Feb. 25.

Established in the year 2000, Maine Fiberarts is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance Maine fiber in all its aspects — art, craft, farm, school and business — through education, display, celebrations and networking. Exhibitions at the Topsham Center/Gallery change every two months and are open to the public Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information or to see a preview of the artist’s work, visit mainefiberarts.org or call 721-0678.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.