I can't think of a recent knitting book project that has been so inspiring and so anticipated. Kate and her co-editor Jen Arnall-Culliford, have assembled a stellar list of designers from around the world to interpret the Shetland hap, defined as an everyday shawl. This includes several designers whose patterns I've previously knitted - Veera Valimaki, Martina Behm, Lucy Hague, and Kate herself - and several whose patterns or books are sitting on my shelves and in my Ravelry queue - Romi Hill, Carol Feller, Bristol Ivy, Jen Arnall-Culliford, Helene Magnusson, Gudrun Johnson. And then throw in Shetland residents Donna Smith and Hazel Tindall and the inventive Tom van Deijnen (aka Tom of Holland) and you have one extremely talented bunch of contributors.
I just love the collaborative nature of this project, the wonderful essays about the history and heritage of haps, and simply how original and inventive all these patterns are. The photography is gorgeous and almost every hap has an interesting and new-to-me construction; lots of exciting new techniques to try out which will make knitting these very enjoyable.
There are several hap-along KALs taking place on Ravelry, including one in the Knit British group and honestly, I really want to knit each of the 13 haps in this book. In fact, I think I WILL challenge myself to knit them all and do so entirely from my stash which, let's face it is getting out of control. I may change some of the sizes to better suit my tastes, and I may have to adjust colours if I run into yarn shortages, but I think I have enough yarn somewhere to complete them all, and it will be fun to give it a good try. I spent this morning stash diving to come up with possible combinations.
Definitely my Wensleydale/Shetland blend from The Knitting Goddess is calling out to be a Happenstance. This yarn just gleams and I think it will be stunning. Haven't yet decided on the order of colours though.
I love the Hexa Hap and the fact that you can knit it in several different sizes. The original is knit in Kate's own Buachaille yarn and I have enough in my stash to at least knit parts of it. I'd love to get my skein of Daughter of a Shepherd yarn in there somewhere too.
Love, love, love the lace pattern in Donna Smith's Houlland and I have two skeins of Organic Shetland lace weight from Garthenor that will be ideal for this one.
Carol Feller's Montbretia incorporates some lovely short rows that evoke for me the hills of the Lake District. I'm thinking various shades of green and grey will be perfect.
And wouldn't Lang Ayre by Gudrun Johnson, look terrific in different shades of Blacker's Tamar 4ply?
I love a bit of grellow and this combination of dark purpley-grey sock yarn from The Knitting Goddess and some mustard Texel would work really well for Theme and Variation.
More Knitting Goddess sock yarn (love her stuff) - I'll have to see how this self-striping yarn, called Laughing Herdy, knits up, but I think it would turn the Hapisk into a cheery shawl paired with some grey Wensleydale from John Arbon and some Excelana from Susan Crawford, in her limited edition Coral Lombard colourway.
Not sure whether to go rustic with Lucy Hague's gorgeous Uncia shawl, in which case this deep orange Finnish wool from Midwinter Yarns might do the trick, or to go more luxurious with a silk blend. Will need to think about it some more, but the possibilities for this and some of the other haps I haven't yet got to are endless. Also, I'm realizing that my stash is a little out of control - this will be a terrific stashbusting project.
And I have already cast on for my first hap - The Shore Hap by Martina Behm.
I had four hours on the coach yesterday with my rambling group, so a simple garter stitch pattern was ideal. The construction, like so many of the other haps, is unusual. You knit both long sides and then join them up for the square at the back. Here's my progress so far, knit in Wollemeise Pure (a brand that is often used by Behm for her designs), and some Old Maiden Aunt wool/silk blend that co-ordinated beautifully. So far, it's been a lot of fun and quite addictive to knit. Have I mentioned how much I absolutely love this book?