a half way point

Our Argyll’s Secret Coast club has reached a half way point, and our journey around the landscape and history of the Cowal peninsula over the past couple of weeks has been particularly fun . . .

© Michael Hartley

. . . because we’ve been travelling with our friend, Michael Hartley.

© Michael Hartley

Michael took us across Loch Eck by kayak, to find the Paper Caves – the secret location where the chest containing the family papers of Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll were once safely concealed.

Because of the part he played in Monmouth’s Rebellion, Campbell was executed, but his deeds and documents – stored in their hiding place in a cave above the loch – secured his estate and his inheritance.

Paper Caves scarf

I created a cosy scarf for Michael’s trip to the Paper Caves, featuring twisting rope-like cables, neat, integrated i-cord edges, and a reversible design (useful for a scarf)

Paper Caves, with its reversible cables
Glenan, from above

In Michael’s second essay for Argyll’s Secret Coast, he took us on a walk to the abandoned village of Glenan.

Glenan is a deeply, atmospheric, and thought-provoking place – qualities which are definitely reflected in Michael’s essay

. . . and Tom’s photography as well! Tom is very interested in Glenan, and has revisited the village at different times of the year, with different cameras and lenses.

Tom also made a short film of the village . . .

Click through to view Tom’s short film of Glenan, from above.

. . . and I designed a Glenan gansey for Michael.

The Glenan gansey

This is one of those designs that actually looks fairly simple, but whose development involved a lot of thought and care.

We are often asked for “interesting men’s patterns” – and I wanted to design a gansey that felt masculine in style and vibe, but which women might also want to wear. Mel and I took a long time charting and swatching different panels, assessing their drawing-in-effect, and calculating different ratios between cables and stockinette.

The shoulders are defined by broad cable panels and a smaller panel continues around the hood . . .

Glenan’s criss-cross neckline

. . . Mel and I were particularly pleased with the lie and shape of the neckline, with it’s neat i-cord twist.

I love the boxy shape and outdoor feel of this design – indeed, a new sample for me might well be on the needles . . .

I have to say a huge thanks to Michael for being such a fantastic model, writer about, and guide to, Argyll’s Secret Coast. Tom and I are enjoying working with him immensely – and you’ll hear more from Michael later in the club.

We are all enjoying our Secret Coast project, and I am especially happy with the range and variety of the designs I’ve created for this collection. My first six patterns featured solid shades and texture . . . the next six are a wee bit more colourful . . .and that’s the only hint I’ll give!

If you aren’t a club member, but are interested to knit any of these patterns or read the essays, the Secret Coast book will be published later in the Spring.