(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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All images © Jesse Wild 2015.