I have been so inspired by Ottar (see yesterday’s post) that I decided to name my latest design for her – the Ottar hap.

This is a hap I’ve had a notion to knit since I started working on The Book of Haps about eighteen months ago. As I researched Shetland hap construction, I became a little preoccupied with the many different ways that an auld shell pattern might be used to add a simple, effective border to haps of many different shapes and styles. In Shetland, this familiar stitch pattern was generally used to edge a borders-in square hap, as it is in my Moder Dy design.

Many contemporary iterations of the hap, such as Gudrun’s classic Hansel and Half Hansel, use auld shell to add a decorative border to a hap that’s worked from centre out.

And in my Northmavine hap, meanwhile, I used a variant of the pattern with 4 yarnovers to create an allover triangular design.

I just don’t think you can argue with auld shell: its pleasing, graphic simplicity, the way it can be used to highlight colour transitions, the elegant curves of its yarnovers, its distinctive combination of squishy ridges and undulating chevrons . . .

In short, I love auld shell. I also love a big hap – one you can really wrap yourself up in – and the Ottar hap is certainly that!

Using three shades of Buachaille, (Squall, Ptarmigan, and Furze), the hap is knitted from tip to border, working increases along one long edge only.

Somehow, I find squall to be the most deliciously sheepy of all the Buachaille shades – a deeply satisfying warm grey. And there’s something wonderfully elemental about it when its worked in garter stitch. But I also wanted to give a smooth finish to this simplest of knits, so incorporated a slipped stitch cord into both long edges. Worked as you go, the edge lends the squishy expanse of garter stitch a little neatness and élan. I used a similar edge recently on the Dunyvaig design, and I’m a little obsessed with it.

I love the the way that garter stitch, when it is knitted sideways, essentially sits across the body on the bias.

This is a really comforting hap to wrap oneself up in (as I’ve found myself doing as the air gets chill) but I also think it has drama, and a little elegance too.

As I’m busy working on my writing at the moment, this is the right kind of knitting for me – something to relax with in the evening, a fabric which grows slowly and steadily, and which one can finally put on and enjoy.

I hope you enjoy it too!

The Ottar hap is now available on Ravelry as a single pattern and as a kit in the KDD shop. The kit includes yarn, project bag, and digital pattern download, and represents a 15% discount on buying these items separately. We’ve also put some of these beautiful Penannular brooches in the shop – like all penannular brooches, on this one the pin is attached to the outer ring, which is then secured by rotation. Its a fantastic, intuitive design — especially if you, like me, are forever losing shawl pins.

Finally, we’ve also produced a video tutorial which illustrates a really straightforward way of weaving in yarn ends as you go — it takes very little effort, and means that there is no finishing at all once you’ve bound off the final stitches of your hap – just block, and go! This video, capably demonstrated by Mel, will be available on the tutorial page (once it has uploaded, later today).

Hap-py knitting!

35 thoughts on “Ottar (hap)

  1. I love this hap,Kate! I wanted to let you know that I bought the pattern right away and started it using my 3 skeins of Daughter of a Shepherd dk yarn. It is beautiful! And I will use your Yarn for the lace section. Haar and either Furze or Highland Coo. Love them both! Thank you so much for this design. So simple, yet so compelling. And a wonderful tribute to an outstanding role model.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks so much for the tutorial on working ends in as you go. It’s simple and intuitive and brilliant. Now I’m glad I had to rip out a colorwork sweater because I fumbled the gauge–when I start it again, I’ll be working ends in as I go, and it will be so much more pleasant to finish.


  3. Please could you give us the measurements of the hap – I can’t seem to find its length and width anywhere. Many thanks


    1. apologies – I omitted this on the Rav page – theres a full schematic with measurements in the pattern – which are A 193cm / 76in
      B 180cm / 71in
      C 28cm / 11in
      D 81cm / 32in


  4. I am so pleased to see you still riffing on this stitch pattern and haps in general. I too love a large hap and this one is going in the queue right now. It might displace the 2 or 3 haps I already plan to make ;)

    The colour combination is going to be difficult to decide on…


  5. Dear Kate,

    Could you change the ptarmigan to the silver grey ?

    Lovely hap.

    I wrote a poem on Odradek for my poetry and read it last night, inspired by KD and FK.

    Hope you are well,

    Best wishes .

    Jennifer Robinson.


  6. I love this design! The temperatures are already sneaking towards 100F in Phoenix but the idea of wrapping oneself up in a big, squishy expanse of garter is very appealing.


  7. Good for you! I can certainly see why. I also read yesterday’s post about Ottar and sent you an e-mail saying how much I enjoyed it.

    Doris Fishman


  8. I think this is beautiful and I love Squall but I would also be interested in a different colour combination. I used Squall with Highland Coo to make the Funyin hat and it looks lovely so I am thinking of an Ottar knitted in Squall with Highland Coo and perhaps the Silver Grey for the Old Shale ???


  9. Just beautiful!
    I’m already pkanning one in islay with haar & yaffle… is there a way to order the yarn not kitted but still get tge pattern?


  10. I love this stitch and use it a great deal for my sock tops. It always gets compliments. I love this happen, so simple and elegant.


  11. That is lovely! I think if I was going to knit it I’d do it in the two shades of grey and the white – I love greys and whites together! But am on a yarn diet at the moment..; :-(

    Just a quick question about the lace pattern – is it the same as the pattern called feather-and-fan elsewhere? It seems to have the same effect of scalloping the edge (which I love).


      1. I had always wondered whether they were two names for the same stitch pattern – thanks for giving us this link, which explains so clearly how different they are. Now I know that my supposedly “feather and fan” socks are really Old Shale.


    1. I believe that “feather and fan” is the name of a family of lace knits featuring blocks of multiple yarnovers and multiple K2tog, and that “Old Shale” is the name of one member of this family.


      1. My sense is that it is the other way round? “Shale” is, by the way, an erroneous anglicisation of the way the word “shell” is pronounced in Shetland and elsewhere in Scotland.


  12. Another hap I just have to knit. Your patterns are always so stunning that I can’t resist even when I know I’ve got about 3 other projects on the go. Now if I could just get to the shop in time to buy the brooch and one of your skein sheep …


  13. Exactly the shawl I have been looking for……. I have bought the pattern and am mulling over yarn/colours while mentally casting on. I have a beloved worn out shawl that needs replacing with something comforting. I know many people who also need one of these. Old shell is my top favourite lace pattern as it is for so many others. Ottar is so inspiring, and despite Norwegian connections I didn’t know of her til your post.


  14. Haha, for once I got in quickly enough to buy that lovely shawl pin from your shop while stocks lasted! I’m delighted, I’ve admired it forever. And I’ve bought this lovely pattern, love auld shell, and it should be a really relaxing hap to knit! I already have just the wool.


      1. I would love it in Haar as the main colour with Squall & Mccallum.

        I don’t suit such a large swathe of Dark grey. Fabulous pattern and threatening to jump the queue of projects waiting to be done!!


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