summer shawls

We are gradually adding a range of different kits, books, and other products to the KDD shop, and the latest to arrive are kits for two of my most popular shawl designs – Fantoosh, and A Hap for Harriet.

Both shawls are great for summer knitting, and I think both also make ideal accessories for the kind of outfit you would want to wear for a summer wedding, evening event or special occasion – something light and warm and a little bit luxurious.

Mel and I thought we’d style the new shawl samples with precisely such outfits so you could see how well they work.

Mel is wearing one of my all-time favourite coats here, which I bought especially for a talk I gave at the National Portrait Gallery back in 2008 (which now seems a very long time ago). It’s from Cabbages and Roses and like most of their garments has fantastic line and drape, as well as being supremely comfortable and easy to wear (which, if you ask me, is exactly what one needs for a special occasion).

My friend and colleague, Harriet Guest, gave a paper alongside me at the same NPG conference, and it’s for her that A Hap for Harriet is named (I originally created it as her retirement gift).

Harriet is an eighteenth-century expert, and it seems quite fitting to me that the look of the shawl as we’ve styled it here is quite late- eighteenth century.

We used a wonderful new-to-me yarn for this sample – Fyberspates Gleem Lace – a sheeny, lustrous 2 ply blend of Blue Faced Leicester and Silk with 800 metres to 100g.

As you can see, the colour of the yarn is really rich, and slightly variegated. We chose the ‘tweed imps’ shade, which knits up very beautifully.

Hap for Harriet is a simple knit – the kind of shawl you can pick up and put down without thinking too much about it – but I think the end result, with the combined effect of all those sweeping openwork points, is really pretty spectacular.

Well, call me predictable, but yes, the coat I’m wearing also hails from Cabbages and Roses.

This garment is a little older than the one which Mel is wearing. I don’t mind admitting that I own several of these summer coats from C&R, the majority of which were bought via eBay several years ago. I can tell you truly that with a few of these in my wardrobe I have never been at a loss for something to wear to a wedding. The fact that I’ve owned these coats in many cases for a decade or more, and still really enjoy the way they look, speaks volumes. It certainly suggests that my style is consistent, or static or indeed possibly both. This bothers me not a jot — I know what I like to wear — and all I can say is that when I pop one of these coats on I immediately feel that I am dressing up, but without making too much of a fuss about it.

Fantoosh might well be a contender for my favourite shawl design – I just love its twisted stitches and easy tessellated structure.

And the fabric created by the yarn with which we chose to knit this sample is seriously delicious.

The yarn is Fyberspates Vivacious 4 ply – and I fell for it last year after we used it for a couple of designs in The Book of Haps. This sample has been knitted in in the slate shade, which is a beautiful, shimmery, silvery grey.

Fantoosh makes a much deeper shawl than Hap for Harriet, but like that design it is also very easy to adapt the pattern for the quantity of yarn you have available (by knitting fewer or more repeats).

We took these photographs nearby at Rowardennan, one of my favourite Loch Lomond shoot locations.

There are few local views I enjoy more than looking north to the head of the loch.

Thanks to Mel, for modelling and knitting, and to Tom, as always for photography.

If you fancy knitting yourself a Fantoosh or Hap for Harriet, kits in the two colourways shown here are now available in the shop. Kits contain all the yarn you need, a PDF pattern download, and a KDD project bag. The kit price represents a 10% discount on buying these items separately.

Coats are not included.

If you already have yarn in your stash, but would like to knit these designs, PDF patterns for Hap for Harriet and Fantoosh are available separately via Ravelry. The patterns include both charted and written instructions, together with clear guidelines about adjusting size and yarn quantity.

Happy summer knitting!