Do you choose yarn before the pattern, or pattern before the yarn? When you go to the local yarn shop and you feast your eyes on the colours and texture which do you decide to think about first?
I attend a few events and shows throughout the year and adding to my yarn stash is always on my agenda, each one offers a different fibre acquiring experience.
I usually (until I don’t) decide to buy yarn first; I am attracted by colour then I check the label to see what it is (texture) and where it is from, I later worry about whether I have a pattern for it. I like to make up patterns or re-jig patterns to suit my current crush/whim or my size and shape. (I know I don’t suit a raglan)
When I need a knitting angel’s advice I go to Elizabeth Zimmerman and her books, she says in Knitting Workshop (1981) in answer to the question "Why do you recommend wool? - Easy: wool is warm and comforting, and pleasant to knit with. It is an infinitely renewable resource and does not deplete our oil supply. It looks good. Its sheepish producers are happy to be rid of it for the summer, and will gladly grow a new supply for next year” What a woman, discussing sustainability before it became a thing.
For this project, the Template Shawl, the colours spoke to me on an emotional level, Tilia will always be a go-to shade for me, its zingyness and edgyness speak to my inner joy and then Blazer is my go-to foil/good buddy colour, goes with everything, the perfect contrast and compliment to Tilia.
This project started off as Tilia & Blazer ‘musthaveinmystash’ pure acquisitiveness and drooling greed, then I began to ask the question of the yarn: what do you want to be?
To be or not to be, sometimes that is the hardest question in creating and making. I decided that I would sacrifice this first outing with Tilia and Blazer for Garthenor and put together a simple free pattern to encourage knitters and crocheters to join us and collaborate on our first project together. Template was born.
I remember finding my first shawl pattern and was frankly put off by the complexity and fiddlyness when I just wanted something to go around my neck and shoulders. I am a great believer in having a few projects on the go to fit in with all aspects of my life; visiting friends/going for a coffee/travelling/watching TV/procrastinating/trying not to stress - you get the idea. I wanted the pattern to be accessible for beginners, not a huge project, and for intermediate and experienced shawl makers to have the opportunity to add their own interpretation and still be part of the collaboration.
My knitting angel Elizabeth Zimmerman in her book Knitters Almanac (1974) states “now try a shawl. This has a beginning, but no end, as it may be stopped whenever you please, depending on time, patience, and wool supply.” Best advice ever on knitting a shawl, with no pressure at all.
This is a standard shawl beginners pattern with the understanding that we want you to make it your own, add your bit of specialness and creativity, we want to see you in the Template Shawl.
We [@Garthenor] would of course like you to give this shawl/scarf pattern a go and to make it from Preseli, let us know about your colour choice and inspiration, this is a taster for a few upcoming events that we also would like you to join in and be part of.
Community is important for me; to be a part of and to work within, this privileged position I have of reaching out to creative yarn folk is wonderful and making an offer to see who is out there and might want to join in is awesome. If the last two years have taught me anything it is that knitters, crocheters and fibre folk are incredibly generous with their time, experience and knowledge, and no matter where and who you are there is always a welcome and an opportunity to share and learn from each other.