Knit Play Colour: Warm Hearted

Cosy in MillaMia Aran in Latte

Cosy in MillaMia Aran in Latte

(Sorry, I’m having blog issues after adding a new page about the book. Posts are getting converted to pages when I hit publish. Fixing this one – again.)

When I designed Song of the Sea, I got frequent questions about converting this cowl into a scarf or shawl. I designed Siren Song in response to those questions.

This time, I’ve pre-empted the questions by designing Warm Hearted as the flat companion to Heart Deco. Truth be told, the blanket came first this time.

When I was playing with lace ideas for Knit Play Colour, and the hearts jumped off the page, my first thought was for a lovely blanket. Then a wedding shawl. Then I scaled it back to a scarf for those who want less commitment of our time. All these options are discussed in the “Play” part of the pattern.

Finally I added a cowl, for those of us who like projects the size of just one skein. It had to become it’s own pattern at this stage – there is only so far you can say that what you’re doing is merely playing with the design. For me, converting a blanket into a cowl worked in the round is pattern writing and not playing around. So now there was Heart Deco and a raft of cowl-related options.

Unintentionally, I’d solved the same problems as with Siren Song and Song of the Sea. Knitters can have this lace design in larger or smaller projects, flat or in the round. That flexibility is key. I want people to be able to knit the project they want, not wish that the designer had made it easier to personalize.

Bold interlocking hearts creating an all-over lace, rather than a fiddly motif.

Bold interlocking hearts creating an all-over lace, rather than a fiddly motif.

For a blanket, I’d choose a yarn with great stitch definition. For a shawl, that can be enhanced with a little silk in the yarn, so that the stitches catch the light. Even in a heavier scarf yarn the addition of silk makes a big difference.

The original sample is in MillaMia Aran in Latte. There is a palette of gentle colours, and a range of bold brights, so you can easily take this blanket in a sophisticated or childlike direction. I went very grown-up with the plum tones of Madelinetosh Vintage for a personal project. I love this yarn and had “accidentally” accumulated a sweater quantity, now looking at me from stash, making me feel very guilty.

Blanket in Madelinetosh Vintage, in Dahlia

Blanket in Madelinetosh Vintage, in Dahlia

Through writing the book, I’ve discovered that a sweater quantity is about right for a big blanket or winter shawl (you’ll have to wait til next week for the latter). I rarely knit sweaters, and realised that my sweater yarn stash was growing faster than my sweater knitting. So a couple of big projects in worsted or aran seemed like a great idea! Sweater-sized knitting projects but without the stress of gauge or fitting.

Bridal hearts in Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply/sport, in classic Oyster (for a paler cream, try Natural)

Bridal hearts in Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply/sport, in classic Oyster (for a paler cream, try Natural)

Going in the bridal shawl direction, I love Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply (which we’ve reviewed on the blog). It has a great sheen on it and comes in classic colours. It’d be perfect for a guest to wear too. One knitting friend is desperate to make this project; I suspect the fact that Scrumptious is also machine washable is not lost on her – I’m wondering if she’s considering it for double duty as christening shawl? Whatever the special occasion, double rows of hearts are definitely romantic.

Skinny Cotton from Blue Sky Alpacas - and it's organic, perfect for baby blankets.

Skinny Cotton from Blue Sky Alpacas – and it’s organic, perfect for baby blankets.

Talking of babies, I can’t avoid mentioning how this would make a sweet baby blanket. I had to swatch it in something more practical and child-friendly. Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton is organic and knits up nicely in this design (and we’ve reviewed this on the blog earlier this summer too, along with other cotton yarns).

I wanted something a little more every day, but still elegant. The development of the lace came from messing around with some Art Deco ideas, and I wanted to be able to enjoy the simplicity of the lines and textures, leaving the romance slightly to one side. In Kettle Yarns Islington DK, in Old Smoke, it is an urban project. I really, really want to make this scarf! Worked across the short end, so not in long rows (like the shawl idea), it’s a friendly project because there’s no risk of having to tink back hundreds of stitches when something goes awry. It’s very accessible and feels like a good travel project.

Urban grey of Kettle Yarn Co Islington DK in Old Smoke, for a scarf.

Urban grey of Kettle Yarn Co Islington DK in Old Smoke, ideal for a scarf.

Having already made a blanket and two cowls, I’m surprised I’m not done with this lace. I think it is the scale of the repeat and the interlocking design that is holding my interest as the pattern develops each time through.

Which size of Warm Hearted project appeals to you? Blanket? Shawl? Scarf? Or Heart Deco cowl?

All images © Jesse Wild 2015.

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