So this is my design for The Book of Haps! You can read a wee interview with me about it over on Jen’s blog today, but I thought I should say a little more about it here.

I have been wanting to make a Shetland hap for quite some time, and before I did so, I enjoyed talking to lots of Shetland knitters about their methods of hap design and construction. There’s a separate chapter in the book about this, where you can read about how haps have customarily been made in Shetland, and hear the thoughts of many different hap knitters whose ages range from 17 to 94. My Moder Dy (mother wave) hap follows their general method of making, but (because the borders are worked in the round) involves more purling than is perhaps usual in most Shetland haps.

KD1 copy

The yarn is, of course, Buachaille. I used haar for the main colour and hedder, furze, between weathers, yaffle and ptarmigan for the border shades. Hap borders are great places to use up odds and ends of yarn, and haps in general are also very flexible as to size. Knitting Moder Dy in Buachaille on a 5.5 mm needle has created an (ahem) rather large hap – you might achieve a somewhat smaller result with a 4 ply yarn and reducing the needle size.

Because Moder Dy is big (70-72 inches square when stretched) I needed a big board to block it on, and was hap-pily able to borrow one from my friend Anne Eunson (she of the famous lace fence). Here are Anne and Tom, trying out both board and hap for size, and the elegant figure in the foreground in the beautiful Shetland lace cardigan is Lauren Anderson, who we met modelling Carol’s Montbretia hap yesterday.


One of the many wonderful features of the west side of Shetland are the beautiful wee churches dotted about, which are carefully looked after by their parishioners. The methodist chapel at Culswick is one of these – a perfect, tiny stone building in a wild and beautiful location and (when you enter it) a very moving space (even for the non-religious such as I). This is where we photographed my hap.

KD9 copy

I am 5 ft 2″ tall. As you can see, Moder Dy on Anne’s board is quite a bit taller than me.

KD5 copy
KD2 copy
KD4 copy

Creating and blocking this hap in customary Shetland fashion has taught me many things. It has also sparked an inevitable desire to make more haps, and inspired Tom to knock up his own hap board (of which more later). I am looking forward to throwing my hap over the back of my knitting chair, and warming myself with it on chilly evenings. I hope you enjoy making it too.

Pop over to Jen’s to read my interview about my hap, and be sure to come back here tomorrow when I have the exciting task of interviewing a designer I very much admire!

You can see all patterns from The Book of Haps as they are revealed on Ravelry, and pre-order the book here.

Until tomorrow . . .

KD8 copy

28 thoughts on “Moder Dy

  1. That is a Big Hap! I am only 5′ Nothing. I think a 4ply hap would be plenty big for me. Unless I want to cover my entire family ;)


  2. The hap is very nice, but can we talk about the ?jumper ?cardigan that Lauren Anderson is wearing in the photo? Will that pattern be turning up somewhere, please?


  3. OH HO, what a treat that is!! Marvelous job and yes, I am mentally lining up woodworkers to make this hap board :) I have a Wooly Board/Horse so why not a Hap board? Thank you and am axniously awaiting my copy of the Hap-py book!


  4. Now I know why I have been waiting to buy Buachallie. I have loved the look of the traditional Shetland hap ever since you have brought them to our attention on your blog. I’m sure the other designs in the book will be wonderful, but I will be doing “Moder Dy” first.


  5. Entranced by the teasers for your book, Kate, and echo the other comments on your hap – this comment is specifically to thank you for the link to the concerto for fiddle, harp and strings, which I will be ordering. So atmospheric!
    – Beth in Ontario


  6. What a stunning piece of work in a stunning location! I have made two haps so far (with many more in the queue) and they are certainly addictive. As soon as I finished the first (Hansel by Gudrun) I wanted another and I wanted it bigger. I want to make another that will be big enough to wrap around me like I’ve seen in old photos. Mine are 53″ and 60″ a side respectively and the next will be bigger. They are so comforting to wrap around my neck or shoulders or lay across my lap. They are the perfect object for Glasgow, especially in the winter (although mine is coming in handy today).


  7. I have wanted to knit a hap, such as yours, for a long time. I cannot wait to receive your book in the mail and start on this particular beauty. When Tom begins construction of his hap board I hope you post pictures and constructions notes. I’m thinking my hubby may have a “honey-do” project in the future!


  8. Enlightened ahh! – that’s the first time I’ve seen a closeup of a hap being blocked – I always thought the points of the shawl were actually hooked onto the board, but of course it makes far more sense to run a line through the points and then hook the line over the pegs.

    Also the hap-board is awesome – I’m assuming the holes towards the end of each piece and the corner pegs are to make it whatever size you want. Do all the dowels come out too? Looking forward to hearing how Tom does!


  9. Congratulations on achieving such a wonderful Hap, your devotion to knitting and how much you have been inspired while researching for this book is clear to see in your stitch perfect work. I don’t think my mind has taken all of the design in and how the colours work so beautifully together. 💙❤️💛

    This would be an ambitious knit for me but will be a goal for me to work towards. I need to learn Hap knitting skills not to mention obtaining a board this size to block it. I am going to dream that someday I will be able to knit this hap which would be more of a blanket for me.

    Magnificent work which really shows your skill in design, techniques and the passion you had throughout your book journey. I will keep dreaming until I learn enough to knit this in order for it to be acceptable as a Kate Davies design but knit by me! I have really moved my goal post today


  10. Oh my goodness, what a difference between Montbretia yesterday and Moder Dy today. I get the feeling it’s going to be very very difficult to choose an order in which to knit the haps in your new book. And what lovely snippets of history and culture you feed us, even in a short post. Can’t wait for the book (and for Tom’s woodworking instructions).


    1. When I made my first hap it was only 53″ per side so not as big as Kate’s. It took me just under a month to knit it. I don’t consider myself a very fast knitter and I have a pre-schooler at home so it’s not like I have loads of knitting time. But it goes a lot faster than you think. The garter centre is simple and meditative, the stripes really tempt you to do “just one more” and the knitted on edging feels like the most time consuming part of the process. But even then, as you see it grow and come off the needles as you knit on the edging it is very satisfying. Once you get the basic construction concepts down it goes much faster than you think.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Now that is one big Hap …. not far off a blanket I would say :) So it could double up, round you in the evening and over you in the middle of the night. You have amazing patience to knit such a massive piece of work. The colours are so beautiful and I love the lacy edge. That tiny chapel is also amazing. Here on the Romney Marshes there are many very old churches, some Norman, others even older, and a fair few of them are in villages that were abandoned and no longer exist. Seeing that picture has made me remember that I am going to do the Church Trail this summer. Some of them even have remnants of the original painted interior walls. Not sure what that has to do with your Hap, but I think it is something to do with being inspired by your surroundings, and that is what you undoubtedly are.


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