brilliant corners

Morning, everyone! Today I’m introducing a new hat, and a new shade of Milarrochy Tweed.

First, the hat, which, just like the yoke of my Land o’ Cakes cardigan, is worked in variations of 2×2 corrugated rib and which, just like that pattern, I designed on the hoof, experimenting with shade combinations and rhythms in an improvisatory way.

This design marked the beginning of my current explorations of the different ways that weaving and knitting might mutually inspire each other after the notched appearance of an early experiment on my inkle loom reminded me of corrugated rib. . . .

. . . and I decided to knit something related to it, which also combined three shades: a blue, an orange, and a pale neutral.

Pretty much as soon as I cast the hat on, I knew I wanted to just play around with the colours and structure of the rib, mix it up, and see what happened. So that’s what I did. I found making this hat extraordinarily refreshing – the process was engaging, absorbing, surprising, meditative – and a lot of fun.

While I was knitting the hat, I was listening to Theolonius Monk’s 1956 Riverside album, Brilliant Corners, and the hat put me in mind of the title track (which you can listen to here)

Like Monk’s composition, my tri-coloured hat has a ternary (three part) structure. And like the tune too, the patterns and rhythms of the hat are, at the same time, regular yet unpredictable.

We have some Brilliant Corners kits available, the pattern is now up on Ravelry, and, if you subscribe to our newsletter, watch out for a code landing in your inbox later today – enabling you to download the pattern for just £1.00.

If you were so inclined, you might use the bare bones of the Brilliant Corners pattern to pursue your own original corrugated rib composition – just pick three shades of fingering weight / 4 ply, follow the shaping instructions, improvise, enjoy yourself, and see what happens.

Now to that shade of orange.

It’s name is asphodel, after the wild flower, bog asphodel (narthecium ossifragum) which is a familiar feature of my local lancscape.

Bog asphodel has pale yellow, star-shaped flowers, but after the plant flowers and fruits, its stems and stamens turn a startling (and incredibly luminous) pale orange shade: a colour which lights up the muir through the autumn months, long after all the other flowers have died back. There’s a lovely description of bog asphodel’s autumnal appearance here

Our asphodel shade has the luminous appearance of its namesake, though it’s certainly not bright or jarring. Rather, asphodel is an orange on the paler side, lit up with a range of tweedy flecks of contrasting hue. I’d describe asphodel as a quiet and complex orange and it’s a shade with which I’m really enjoying working (there’s another design featuring it coming soon).

Asphodel is now available in the shop alongside all our other shades of Milarrochy Tweed. We’re also excited to add another shade to the palette (hopefully in a couple of weeks time) and at that point, we’ll update our sampler packs to include all 18 shades. We started making this yarn around three years ago now, and to say I love it would be an understatement. I’m continually inspired by its colour range, and love working with it, particularly (for some reason) at this time of year. I know that some (not least our friends in the mill who ball our yarn!) can find the uneven texture of Milarrochy Tweed a wee bit frustrating. But for me, this is all part of its unique tweedy character, and the way that its been spun also has the effect of producing a yarn that’s suprisingly hard wearing and refuses to pill, while also being soft enough to wear next to the skin (in my case anyway).

hurrah for interesting tweedy shades!

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to thank our friends at Carry Farm, where we shot these photographs a few weeks ago, and where as well as enjoying the company of Fiona’s Hebridean sheep, I got to spend some time with Pablo and Alfie, my two favourite goats.

Look out for the discount code in your inboxes, and I’ll be back here tomorrow, with a poem about this coat.