Hello! After some welcome warm weather, there’s been an unusually cold snap over the past few days in Scotland. Though we’ve not seen much of the snow and hail flurries that have been bothering friends further north, the air has turned very cold, we’ve put off planting out our broccoli, and have had to protect some of the vegetables in our garden that are already in the ground. You can see a light frost on the grass in front of me in the photo above, though this burns off quite quickly in the morning sunshine.
This past week I’ve really been enjoying wearing the extra layer of my Stronachlachar, a design I created for our West Highland Way project. It’s a garment inspired by water, and the work of water, and you can read more about that context in this post, in which I also talk about the remarkable watery landscapes of local nineteenth-century photographer, Thomas Annan.
The garment features panels of twisted and travelling stitches. Simple cables flow like rivulets through the landscape.
I extended the sinuous lines of this simple, intuitive motif by sticking in extra rows between each cable’s twisting ‘action’ – a technique which many 20th century commercial pattern writers used when adapting very old travelling stitch motifs (which were routinely knitted on stockings, in the round) for the pieces of flat garments, that needed to be knitted back and forth. Sticking in one extra row meant no cable twisting on the purl side.
But this technique of extending travelling stitches is also a nice way to visually accentuate a line across a garment – it works works particularly well for Stronachlachar, with its slightly longer length.
The integrated shaping is positioned between the panels, creating a really comfortable and subtle sillhouette, that falls from the shoulders with its little grown-on sleeves.
Stronachlachar is easy to wear with a smart shirt, like one from Gibson & Birkbeck I sported in the original photos, but the shape and style of the garment also makes it great to throw on over a favourite spring dress.
This is Stronachlachar‘s third spring in my wardrobe, and it’s still looking fresh!
This sample is knitted in Haar, one of the two natural shades of Buachaille, a blend of Shetland and Scottish Cheviot fleeces that you’ll know by now I love.
Though we discontinued the coloured shades of this yarn line last year, we retained the two natural greys. The worsted spinning makes Buachaille excellent for cabled texture, and as well as being beautiful and hard-wearing, its just a deeply sheepy and satisfying wool to wear.
Later in the year, we will be introducing a new yarn line, which will knit to the same gauge as the coloured shades of Buachaille, but which features a different (though similarly sheepy) fleece composition and a brand new palette. I’m really excited to show you the shades I’ve developed, alongside the brand new designs that Mel and I are currently knitting.
We have Stronachlachar kits in all sizes in the shop, and the pattern download is of course on Ravelry, where you can also see the fabulous range of finished projects that have been made from the pattern, by brilliant knitters all over the world.
I’ll finish this post with two things: another shout-out to Lynsey Walters, whose lovely necklace I’m wearing here, and an explanation of the title of this post, a corruption of the Shetland tune – All Dressed in Yellow and the great album of the same name by Fiddler’s Bid – of which there’s a flavour below.
enjoy your weekend!