PAINTED: Inspiration found at Agawa Canyon

Painted

Painted in Agawa Canyon colours

I am thrilled to reveal Painted, my new scarf design for The Loopy Ewe. I was very excited when Sheri invited me to design for her Spring Giftables Club, and eagerly anticipated the arrival of Sheri’s chosen yarn.

The yarn is Peppino, a bouncy sportweight from Canada’s The Yarns of Rhichard Devrieze. The vibrant colourway is named Agawa Canyon. A little research revealed that this amazing place has been a big inspiration to Canada’s Group of Seven artists.

I set about trying to find a way to show off the variegated and vivid colours. I didn’t want to blend the colours too much since it could look muddied. On the other hand, I needed to avoid pooling. And I felt it needed to be a spring-time accessory.

Long shallow triangle

Long shallow triangle: versatile

A long shallow triangle scarf would give me a lightweight accessory – wear it loose, or wrap up with it.  The ever-changing row length would help dodge pooling, which can be an issue with a multi-coloured yarn. But how to really show-off the yarn?

You might already know of my love of vintage. It was time to dig into my pattern archives for ideas for a stitch pattern to try. I needed something visually effective, but not too complex. Something that would make this project a great gift-knit. I wanted to make it accessible to a range of knitting abillities, but still fun for the more experienced. I tried a few stitch patterns. I tried a few more. I tried a lot.

The stitch that grabbed me is recorded by Mary Thomas in her “Book of Knitting Patterns” of 1943. Mary wrote two books on knitting, the first being her “Knitting Book”, where she says she “had hoped to present the whole story of knitting in one volume only, but this eventually proved impossible, as the subject was too vast.” How right she is!

Her books are fascinating reading. Yes, they are a treasure trove of ideas in which to find a creative spark. However, they also contain a great deal of the history of our craft. I like her structured and technical approach to her explanations. Admittedly, not everyone wants to decipher some of the more antiquated language, or some of her exceedingly brief explanations, but to me it is part of their charm.

Noting that her first knitting book was written in 1938, her preface could have been written today. She advises us that “Knitting should be done thoughtfully. It should not be hurried. That is its charm to our generation, who live surrounded with a wild helter-skelter of speed. It is creative, and that is its supreme satisfaction. If things go wrong, don’t get impatient.” Some things may have changed, but not the charm of knitting.

In her book, Mary named the stitch I’ve used Grecian Plait Stitch. It couldn’t sound more classical. However, I thought that it looked perfect for a new twist in a modern variegated yarn, bringing the scarf alive with colour. I don’t know what she’d make of it, since she shows it in an equally classic plain white wool, but she was all for encouraging creativity and invention.

Lastly, the finished design needed a name to reflect all these ingredients. I named the pattern Painted because with this stitch you can really see the colours painted on your yarn – and of course it is also a reference back to that Group of Seven and the inspiration found at Agawa Canyon.

This pattern is exclusive to The Loopy Ewe for the next 12 months. However, we can notify you when the Painted pattern is available to buy singly on Ravelry – join our mailing list to keep up to date with news of our new patterns and special offers. When Painted is available from us, we’ll let you know.

And what of the stitch patterns I tried and didn’t use this time? I plan to stir some of them into the pot for the mystery knitalong I’m running in July (watch this space). And I’m not done with this stitch either…it holds some other secrets.

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