Hello everyone, today I thought I’d go a bit into my new design that’s featured (on the cover no less) in the 2020 Wool Week Annual, the Radiant Star Cowl:
Now we all know I am a knitwear collector – I mean you could call it a hoarder but no judgment here.. and one of my favourite types of shetland knitwear is something you don’t see many of in a charity shop, mainly because they are working jumpers but that’s a good, old everyday allover gansey.
These are those jumpers – quite often machine-made, also often two colours but also the perfect vessel for shading that I grew up seeing (mainly) men wearing in the way that people nowadays wear hoodies and sweatshirts, they can be quite subtle or striking but the way an allover pattern fits together will never not please my eyeballs.
Now I love these types of patterns and love the ganseys but at the moment I just wouldn’t knit one, I have quite a few in my collection and also don’t have the mental space/patience either. But when I was thinking about this design (pre coronavirus..!) I knew I wanted to combine my love for these everyday jumpers and use bright colours on a dark background which is my favourite vibe for this style into a design which gave space for the motif and colours to shine and a cowl was what I came up with:
I used 2ply Jumper Weight (shock horror.. not) in shades 81 (charcoal) for the background, 91 and 66 (yellows), 125 (orange), 71 and 75 (blues) in a shaded pattern onto my own allover motif, it took me a while to put this motif together and it takes a lot of fiddling to balance this kind of motif well within itself and then as an allover pattern. Quite often I do a swatch, take a photo of it then repeat it on an app to ensure I dig it. I wanted to do a double cowl for maximum warmth so you provisionally start it, knit so many repeats then switch to a peerier needle for the inside then graft the beginning and end together giving you a seamless funnel tube!
This is the second design I’ve named after a Shetland fishing boat (the first being my Adenia yoke) what can I say – something about the star motifs and the overall fisherman vibe of the design it just seemed to fit – also I find the colours quite.. radiant.
It’s easy to romanticise Shetland, Shetland knitting and in turn Shetlanders but to me, these types of patterns represent and remind me of hard-working people and the love language of making jumpers for husbands and boyfriends. Life here is different now, I’m not saying for better or worse but the way that knitting is now a very expensive hobby (elitist even at times) is not the way it was, it’s one of our core industries along with crofting and fishing. You see a lot of people using Shetland and its people and knitting culture, I’m really trying to not let it annoy me but it can be hard. I’ll end by saying be careful to not take things at face value and if it matters to you try to support the right people doing the right things.
If it’s hard to tell.. they probably aren’t. (just saying)
happy knitting xx