A warm welcome to today's hap designer: Lucy Hague
Lucy's work may be familiar to you, thanks to her wonderful book of Pictish and Celtic inspired shawls, Celtic Cable Shawls, which she published last year. Lucy grew up in the Orkney Islands to the north of Scotland, and now lives in Edinburgh. She wonders whether there may be an inherited interest in yarn and textiles, following a discovery on a recent trip to visit relatives in Lancashire that many of her ancestors worked as weavers. Lucy studied music technology at university in Edinburgh and loves the city so much that she has never left. Whilst at university, she discovered beautiful yarn shops, and rekindled an interest in knitting. As Lucy explains, "I started publishing patterns in 2011. Before then, I used to quite happily modify patterns and make up a lot of my own stuff, as many knitters do, but I'd never tried out pattern-writing. I received a lot of great feedback on Ravelry about some of my knitting, so I decided to have a go at writing patterns and found it was something I really enjoyed. I love how knitting design requires both artistic and mathematical thinking - it engages so many different parts of your brain that you can never really get bored of it!"
When she's not knitting or designing, Lucy also plays a number of instruments - "Pictism is the band I play with most frequently, we play a lot of Scottish and Irish folk music. I also play keys and tin whistle in Jacob's Pillow, which is an original experimental folk-rock band."
Here's Lucy to explain where the inspiration for her Uncia design came from:
In the summer of 2015 I travelled across France and Germany, and whilst there I took the opportunity to visit many fine examples of Gothic and Romanesque church architecture; most notably the abbey of Mont St Michel in Lower Normandy, the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire in Carcassonne and Cologne Cathedral. I’m entranced by these places for their sense of stillness and grace – there’s something about the immensity of space contained within such structures that draws your eye upwards in wonderment. There is a feeling of balance in the structure of the whole, which reveals increasing (but never overwhelming) complexity in the details the longer you look.
The intricate lace and cable patterns that I developed for this hap were heavily influenced by this style of architecture; I wanted to evoke a sense of the solidity and grace of huge stone pillars gradually curving upwards into an elegant airy tracery, and the slow shift from a heavily textured cabled fabric into the openness of lace seems to evoke this. I also wanted to give a sense of stacked arches, reaching higher and higher into the heavens. The organic, almost plant-like shapes in the lace towards the end of the edging were inspired directly by shapes found in the windows of the abbey of Mont St Michel.
A rose window at the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire in Carcassonne (image © Lucy Hague)
The unusual shape of this hap was inspired by the geometry of a typical rose window (a type of circular window often seen in Gothic and Romanesque churches, with regular segments radiating out like the petals of a flower). Often the main segments are based on one-twelfth divisions of the circular area. Whilst experimenting with different shapes to use for this hap, I found that a one-twelfth-circle arc produced a hap that was very easy to wear, whether draped across the body or rolled in over itself slightly as more of a scarf. I found also (with a bit of trigonometry!) that the measurements and area of fabric produced are very similar to that of a traditional top-down triangular knitted shawl, so for knitters who are used to making and wearing that shape, this provides a style that is familiarly wearable but with a bit of a twist. The shape of the hap also gives it its name – uncia in Latin means ‘one-twelfth.’
Many thanks to Lucy for creating such a beautiful hap for our collection!
All images © Kate Davies Designs unless otherwise stated.