Saturday, 17 October 2015

Jane Austen Vest - Part 1: Shetland

No, as far as I am aware, Jane Austen never went to Shetland.  However, in October last year, I was fortunate enough to go to Shetland Wool Week, and that is where the story of my vest begins.  My parents spent their honeymoon on Shetland and so I was keen to see the place as well as to have the opportunity to spend time with wool.  And it is indeed a beautiful place.

When I was booking, I looked at what classes and trips I might want to take and I decided to take the Quotidian Colourwork course taught by Felicity Ford, aka Felix, or Knitsonik.  In some ways, this felt like a bit of a cop out as I know Felix from the knitting group in Reading.  On the other hand, I was heading to the other end of the country and beyond on my own so it would be nice to see a friendly face.  And Felix's face is always friendly.

The idea behind Quotidian Colourwork is to take inspiration for stranded colourwork knitting from everyday sources - but from sources that the knitter finds beautiful.  Felix has knitted some amazing swatches that I had been lucky enough to see in person, and I wanted to have a go.  So I headed of to Shetland with some warm woolies, more knitting and crochet projects than I could possibly get through in the time I was going to be there, and copies of two of Jane Austen's books.

I have read all of Austen's novels several times and have very battered copies sitting on the shelf, but I had recently discovered these rather lovely Penguin editions of, among other things, Jane Austen's works.

Sense and Sensibility, and Emma came to Shetland with me, and it was Sense and Sensibility that I took to class, where I started swatching.
 We were provided with squared notebooks and coloured pencils and started by charting elements of our chosen objects.  I picked out one of the larger flowers on the book cover, "drew" it and then started swatching.  During the class, I tried two colour combinations for my flowers and then at the end of class we were able to take yarn away with us to try more options.  So, then I started on the chairs on the cover of Emma.

By the time I left Shetland, I had a start on how some of the colours worked together and how some of the patterns were working.  But none of the colour / pattern combinations that I worked up while I was in Shetland will actually feature in the final garment - there was much more swatching to be done!