Dear Intarsia

I am so, so sorry. My most heartfelt of humble apologies.

When we first met, I was a beginner knitter, and I had no idea how difficult my chosen project was. I wanted to make Martin Storey's Allotment Bag (that's the Ravelry page, and there's no photo and no projects...), so I bought all 8 shades of the required yarn (RYC Bamboo Soft), and off I headed. I was working my way through projects, and learning something new with each one. Intarsia, you were my first project in more than one colour, and I couldn't have chosen to make it harder for myself - lots of tiny motifs, a completely non-stretchy, and very slippery yarn. I had no experience of stripes, let alone Fair Isle, so jumping straight in to this intarsia project was (I now realise) a TERRIBLE idea. And it has taken me 10 years to understand that it wasn't your fault. I took grave offence at how impossible it was to make my knitting of that bag look anything approaching tidy. It was one massive uneven mess of yarn, and nothing I did made it better. With my (now well-informed eyes) I can see that even the very-experienced sample knitter struggled to make that bag look reasonable. How was I, with only 4 or 5 knitting projects under my belt, ever going to succeed? I wasn't. But I now realise that wasn't the fault of you, my dear intarsia, and for that I hope you will forgive me. I was young and inexperienced.

So why did things change?

Well, we have this wonderful friend in common, you and I do. She's called Bristol Ivy, and she is something of a knitting designer genius. She created a hap that I NEEDED to make. From the moment I saw the first swatch showing us her idea, I was besotted. I couldn't stop thinking about this clever, and beautiful concept - to use stripes, and a chevron pattern, with a smattering of intarsia to liven things up. I'll admit that when I saw your name, dear intarsia, my heart sank. I feared that my dream of making Bristol's hap would end in tears of frustration and the pieces of my broken heart, as I struggled to create something adequate, let alone as magnificent as Bristol's knitting.

Then everything changed.

I read the pattern, and realised that the work of the intarsia was relatively simple. A few stitches (always the same ones) worked in different colours, with the chevron pattern taking the strain of making interesting shapes. Added to that, my greater understanding of yarn, and I made choices that would help the stitches to behave - wool! It's stretchy, and forgiving! Who knew?? And I took a very deep breath.

Harewood Hap by Bristol Ivy, knitted by me.

Dearest intarsia, you are much-maligned, and I humbly apologise for my part in that. I now understand, that in the right design, and with the right yarn, you can spread the greatest pleasure! You may be slightly less portable than simple stripes or Fair Isle, but you are absolutely totally and utterly worth that small inconvenience. And who doesn't need a project that sits at home, to be enjoyed in front of the TV, or while chatting with friends?


See those stitches on my Harewood Hap? They, are even! And flat! And not a hint of tangling nightmare. Not so much as a rude word was uttered, even once, during the knitting of this beauty. In fact, I didn't want it to end. There's something I NEVER thought I would say. If you are faint of heart, you may wish to turn your head aside for the next photo, as I'm going to show you... gasp... the wrong side of my knitting!

The wrong side of my Harewood Hap.

EVEN THAT PART IS PRETTY NEAT! And it's not magic. Or particular talent on my part. It's just that the project, yarn and technique all worked together - pulling in the same direction - rather than being obstacles in each other's paths.

What more can I say? I apologise for all the hurtful things I've ever said about you. And I do hope you'll come and play again soon.

With all good wishes,
Jen (an older, and wiser knitter than when we first met)

P.S. If you would like to have a go at knitting the Harewood Hap from The Book of Haps, then you may find this tutorial video helpful: