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As a designer, my ideas often flow from or build on a previous idea. Picassco had a blue period, I get obsessed with colorwork, or texture. But usually, because of the diversity of my publishing outlets, this is less obvious because the order I design something and the order they’re released are often vastly different.

This past week’s release of Maian by Quince & Co. makes for a rare exception, as it was both designed and released on the heels of Lamassu. Like it’s predecessor, Maian was inspired by an ancient culture. But where Lamassu looked to the Near East, Maian takes its inspiration from the areas due south of the US border.

Maian is knit in Quince’s new’s yarn, Piper, which is an entirely Texas-sourced wool/mohair blend. With that info about the yarn and ancient cultures on the brain, it only seemed natural to make a shawl inspired by Aztec and Mayan stair-stepped temples.

Maian is worked from the tip up, with 1/2 the increases in each section worked as end row increases, and the other 1/2 worked as cast on increases at the end of each section. The lace is a super-easy chevron-style repeat that results a graceful and not overly-literal take on its inspiration.

If you’d like to make one for yourself, the Maian pattern is available through Quince & Co. or Ravelry for $6 USD.

All photos courtesy of Quince & Co. by Emma Sampson

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What is a Lamassu?

  1. A winged, human headed bull frequently seen in ancient Mesopotamian (modern Iraq & Syria) myth and art – most frequently as looming sentinels at the gates of major cities.
  2. My latest shawl design for Quince & Co. yarns

How does one morph into the other? Where that’s where the fun of designing comes in!

Back when I was in college, I was a Theatre major and the midst of my Senior year, I decided to swap my English minor for one in Classical Studies, following my increasing interest in the topic. I had an excellent Latin professor (Ortwin Knorr), who got me interested in the subject beyond the language and introduced me to Roman Cookery and the Archaeological Institute of America (of which there are sadly, no Maine chapters).

I had taken a lot of Latin courses, but to complete my minor I took two additional classes: Introduction to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Art History.

My textbook for the Art History class is the only one I regret selling back, but it was the Old Testament course that has had one of the longest lasting impacts of any of my school courses. Taught by professor and archaeologist David W. McCreery, this 100-level course was the hardest course I took in my college career. But, as they say, nothing worthwhile is easy.

One day while discussing Noah’s flood in Genesis, Professor McCreery mentioned that there was an much earlier, but very similar, version of a Great Flood story that appeared in the Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2100–2000 BCE). Following class that day, I stayed late to express my interest in the Gilgamesh tale, but as the professor was busy with another student at the time, I merely stated my interest and left conversation for another time.  It was to my surprise then, when at the next class session, he handed me one of his personal copies of the tale (Herbert Mason’s verse narrative), with the following inscription:

October 2004
Dear Leah
There is a lot to learn from this “oldest story ever told.”
Enjoy!
Dave McCreery

I fell in love with the Gilgamesh story, particularly his adventures with the wild-man Enkidu, so much so that I wrote and produced a play about it. It’s a story that’s stuck with me ever since. So when I was talking to Quince about doing a new shawl design, it was Gilgamesh, and his Mesopotamian brethren that sprung to mind.

As is the way nowadays, I started collecting some images on Pinterest and I kept coming back to two things, the lamassu and king’s beards. There was a distinct texture and style of the beards that the more I looked at it, the more knitterly they seemed. A stitch dictionary provided the trinity stitch that mirrored the curly portion of the beard by the mouth, and some time with swatches and graph paper yielded the banded columns and feathery bits I call Gilgamesh’s Beard and Lamassu Feathers.

Since Mesopotamia was part of the fertile crescent, a gentle crescent shape  for the shawl seemed only natural and of course, when given the option to pick my yarn, I had to go with that ancient near-eastern fiber: linen.

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And that is a long story behind a fairly simple shawl.

If you’d like to knit one for yourself, the pattern is available now from Quince & Co. or Ravelry.

And to make the long stretches of trinity stitch go faster, I suggest you listen to the following while you knit (I did!).

 

 

Photo Credits:

  1. Quince & Co.
  2. Lamassu  by Jasmine Ramig
  3. Quince & Co.
  4. Iran 2007 Persepolis Gate of all Nations by David Holt
  5. Quince & Co.
  6. Untitled by E.N.K

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I’m pleased to announce the release of Honeymaker, my newest design for Quince & Co. A feminine take on the traditional aran sweater, with a bee-inspired twist, the Honeymaker pullover features stitch patterns inspired by netting, hives, and, of course, the honeycomb. It also comes with directions to include an optional bee inset into your honeycomb, if you like.

The cables really pop when knit in Quince’s Osprey aran-weight yarn, particularly in the less saturated shades, like the faded brick-colored Clay used here. The collar can be worn popped for a face framing effect, or folded for a more-traditional shawl-collar look.

The pattern is knit in the round from the bottom up, with subtle waist shaping. The collar/shoulders are knit back and forth (cabling on right side only) with raglan shaping and the collar ribbing is picked up and knit back and forth for a seamless garment.

The pattern is available for download for $6 USD from the Quince & Co Website or you can queue it up on Ravelry.

Modeled photos courtesy of Quince & Co.

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My final design in the Strata and Line Collection is Latitude, a cozy and simple sweater coat.

The coat is worked from the top down with round yoke shaping and a bit of waist shaping. The buttonholes are worked with the rest of the body, while the oversized collar and cuffs are picked up and worked after in the striped pattern (though you could always knit separately and seam on if desired).

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The sample features Quince & Co’s Puffin yarn in a range of seaglass blues. This fluffy single-ply yarn makes the coat super warm and cuddly.

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As a sweater coat, Latitude was designed to be worn with approximately 2″ positive ease. The modeled shots show the coat with about 4″ of ease. For comparison here’s a shot or two of me wearing it over a 38.5 week baby bump and 1-2″ of negative ease.

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Latitude is available for download as a solo pattern for $6.00 USD or can be purchased from my Ravelry store with my other two designs from the collection, Longitude and Lamina for a discounted $12 with the coupon code LINE.

Latitude

$6 USD

If you want to queue it up on Ravelry, the collection can be found here.

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Longitude was the first design in the collection I came up with and the last one I actually made.

Long before Bristol came to me with the idea for a stripe-themed collection, I had the idea for a short-row shaped striped bonnet banging around in my head as by product of a zebra I had knit for my cousin. (Incidentally, that’s another pattern that I intend to release soonish).

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In making that zebra I learned a few things about the possibilities of short rows and thought it would make a great hat. Add in some i-cord edging and a couple of pom-poms and you’re all set!

The yarn for the sample features the wonderfully subtle Berroco Black Tweed in Narragansett (Navy Blue) and Clover Honey (off-white). I’d wanted to try this yarn out for a while, so when it showed up in my LYS’s clearance bin in colors I loved, it seemed like fate.Untitled

It’s a wonderfully soft yarn, but my one caveat is that I has no issues knitting with it, but the yarn did tend to break when I tried to use it to tie off the center of the pom-poms, so I ended up using a sturdier thread for that purpose.

Longitude is available for download as a solo pattern for $4.00 USD or can be purchased from my Ravelry store with my other two designs from the collection, Latitude and Lamina for a discounted $12 with the coupon code LINE.

Longitude

$4 USD

If you want to queue it up on Ravelry, the collection can be found here.

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Back in February, I set out to design my idea of the perfect spring sweater and the Sakura cardigan is result. Delicate, airy, and sweetly pink without being saccharine, Sakura was inspired by my visit to the Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring of 2011.

Cherry Blossoms

Knit in Quince’s springy sport-weight Chickadee yarn, Sakura features elbow-length sleeves, an a-line silhouette and a petal-like lace scallops along the button band and collar.

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Sakura is knit in one-piece from the top down and utilizes round yoke shaping.

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Washington Monument

Sakura is written for sizes 31 ½ (33 ¼, 35, 37 ½, 39 ½, 40 ½, 43, 44 ½, 47, 48 ¾, 51, 53 ¼)”  and uses 905 – 1810 yards  of Quince & Co. Chickadee in Dogwood or another sport-weight yarn.

Sakura is available for download on Quince & Co. for $6 USD or you can queue it up on Ravelry.

 PS – Did you know about my mailing list? You’ll receive notification about all new patterns as well as special discount codes and offers.  Sign up Now!

All modeled photos © Carrie Bostick Hoge courtesy of Quince & Co.

Now that I completed my squealing with excitement over being physically published, I thought I’d share some of the details and design inspiration behind the Westwood Blouse.

Vivien-Sketch

I was initially attracted the Knitscene call for submission when I came across the “southern comfort” prompt. My brain started thinking of hanging moss and Gone with the Wind and I ended up looking at a bunch of photos of corset covers, which, along with a tank I had from Banana Republic,  served as the starting point for the design.

I was specifically drawn to the blousey shape and sometimes embellished necklines.  I ended up choosing this very simple openwork (two-sided lace) pattern and starting thinking about construction.

VIvien Swatch Scan

This top couldn’t be easier to knit. It’s knit in the round to the armholes and then split at the armhole to work the lace and then seamed at the shoulders into a boatneck. Even if you’ve never knit lace before, the stitch pattern  is an easy two-row/ four-stitch repeat that gives a lot of visual bang, for a small amount of complexity buck.

The swatches above where done in Quince & Co’s Lark, but the final design was done in Kollage Yarns Riveting Sport, a recycled denim yarn. I’m always a bit wary about recycled yarn, but I found this to be lovely to work with. It’s not splitty and very light.

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I will note that the yarn is machine washable/dryable, but my gauge information was based on a swatch/sample that was hand washed and blocked flat, so if you have plans to machine wash/dry your final garment, do so with your swatch and adjust needle size as necessary.

The magazine is currently on newstands or is available as a digital download from the Interweave store. Eventually the pattern will be available as a stand-alone download in the Interweave store (presumably after the magazine is off shelves).

You can also queue it up on Ravelry.