Shore Hap by Martina Behm

If you look back through the blog archives, you'll see that I'm a bit of a Martina Behm fangirl... I've knitted both Hitchhiker and Miss Winkle, and I love the simple but interesting way that she uses stitches. So it is with delight that I can share the final design for The Book of Haps - Shore Hap by Martina Behm

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Martina's designs are what some might describe as potato-chippy. You can't just knit one row, you have to keep having another and another. This beautiful hap starts at the point of one side and increases up to the neck. You then work another piece in a similar way, before joining the two halves together to create the kite-like shape at back neck. This is one of those designs you could wear in any number of ways. Head over to Kate's blog to read more about the maritime inspiration behind the Shore Hap, and to see many more pictures of this versatile piece.

I've so enjoyed sharing all of these fantastic haps with you all. There is such variation in the approaches taken by our fantastic team of designers. Now I can't wait for books to start landing with knitters - it's going to be fun watching everyone cast on.

Over in our Ravelry group we will be running a Book of Haps knitalong, starting in mid-late June. There will be prizes! So do join the group and keep an eye out for more details.

You can now see all of the patterns on Ravelry: The Book of Haps

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All images © Kate Davies Designs.

Hapisk by Hélène Magnússon

Today, the penultimate hap has been unveiled - Hapisk - an Icelandic take on the Shetland hap. Hélène Magnússon has taken inspiration from traditional Icelandic knitted textiles, and applied them in her lovely Hapisk - an Icelandic hap.

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Hapisk uses Hélène's own Gilitrutt Tvíband lace weight yarn in garter stitch stripes, with a lace edging pattern. Like all of the lace and cable patterns in the book, the instructions are provided in both written and charted formats, so you can choose which you prefer. For the larger charts, the written instructions are provided in the download Appendix to The Book of Haps, which forms part of the complimentary eBook accompanying all print copies.

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You will find a fascinating interview with Hélène over on Kate's blog today. And all of Hapisk's technical details can be found through Ravelry: The Book of Haps

The next design will be revealed tomorrow on Kate's blog, so don't forget to stop by. You can see all of the patterns as they are released on Ravelry: The Book of Haps

Keep up to date with all we're doing:
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All images © Kate Davies Designs

Hamegaet by Hazel Tindall

This lovely pre-launch period of sharing a hap a day is drawing to a close, with today's and just two more designs remaining. Today's beautiful Hamegaet Wrap by Hazel Tindall is shared in detail over on Kate's blog: Hamegaet by Hazel Tindall

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Hazel's design features lovely Fair Isle shoulder panels, from which the body stitches are picked up and worked downwards. This is the book's only 3-dimensional design, with a lovely shoulder capelet / wrap shape. The perfect garment to keep the chill off your shoulders!

This design uses charts for the colourwork, and written instructions for the remainder of the pattern. The texture is a simple to work, but very effective stitch pattern.

It is now the half-term holidays in the UK, so I have my hands full with the children for the week. The last two designs will both be introduced over on Kate's blog, so do be sure to pop over them and read all about Hélène's and Martina's gorgeous haps! Jim and I have been working hard behind the scenes to get some short videos ready for publication on our YouTube channel - and we will of course post them here too. In the meantime, have a great week! Happy knitting!

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All images © Kate Davies Designs.

Uncia by Lucy Hague

A warm welcome to today's hap designer: Lucy Hague

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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.

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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.’

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Many thanks to Lucy for creating such a beautiful hap for our collection!

Uncia uses 2 skeins on Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply, and you can find all of the pattern's technical details over on its Ravelry page: Uncia by Lucy Hague

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The next design will be revealed tomorrow on Kate's blog, so don't forget to stop by. You can see all of the patterns as they are released on Ravelry: The Book of Haps

Keep up to date with all we're doing:
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All images © Kate Davies Designs unless otherwise stated.

Houlland by Donna Smith

Today's fabulous hap is from the lovely Donna Smith - Houlland.

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Image © Kate Davies Designs.

Be sure to head over to Kate's blog to read all about the inspiration for this design - it's incredibly special: Houlland by Donna Smith

Lovely Donna has also recently joined our client list, and her first pattern download was released earlier this week. It's a fabulous colourwork cowl worked in dramatic black and white. The design is called Shallmillens, which means smithereens in Shetland dialect. The cowl (or snood) uses a series of short repeating motifs - making it the perfect project for someone new to colourwork - and just two colours.

Image © Donna Smith

You can read more about Shallmillens over on Donna's blog: Donna Smith Designs

Or head straight over to Ravelry to buy the pattern: Shallmillens

I'll be back tomorrow to reveal another stunning hap, so in the meantime, happy knitting!

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Lang Ayre by Gudrun Johnston

It makes me extremely hap-py to introduce the fabulous Lang Ayre hap from Gudrun Johnston! I've enjoyed working with Gudrun for a number of years, and her Hansel and Half-Hansel hap designs were among the most popular designs in the KnitBritish Hapalong last year - she's hap royalty! Having been born in Shetland and growing up in Scotland, Gudrun is steeped in the knitting heritage that The Book of Haps explores. Having lived in the States for much of her adult life, Gudrun is now in the process of moving her family from Edinburgh (Scotland) back to Western Massachusetts (USA), where she will continue her work as a full-time knitwear designer. Before taking up designing around 9 years ago, Gudrun trained as a classical singer and home-schooled her children. When she first moved to Western Massachusetts her daughter Maya had lost a much treasured blanket that someone else had made for her as a baby. As Gudrun walked past a knitting shop in the area, she spotted a cute poncho in the window and decided that she would knit it for her daughter as a replacement. That was it! She was totally addicted straight away and produced copious things, mostly given away as gifts. Fairly quickly Gudrun started to adapt patterns and experiment with her own ideas, which led to her first design being published in Knitty in 2007. The rest has become knitting history...

I caught up with Gudrun to find out more about her influences and knitting inspiration.


Jen: As evidenced by my project pages on Ravelry, I’ve loved making quite a few of your designs, and I greatly enjoy working as your technical editor. Shetland clearly provides a rich source of inspiration for your beautiful designs. Could you explain what you think it is about the islands that are so irresistible?

Gudrun: I would have to say that the fact that you are constantly surrounded by long open views and never far from the ocean are two pretty irresistible aspects of being in Shetland. I find that when I visit the first thing I feel is this incredible sense of space and the calm that it provides. I almost feel that my brain can take a big sign of relief and think clearly!

Lang Ayre beach, Shetland. Image © Gudrun Johnston

Depending on the time of year the light and weather also play a huge impact on the vistas and create ever changing colours and hues across the landscape. You can’t help but be inspired by the incredible palette on offer everywhere you look.

I would say that, having been born there, Shetland is just in my blood. But I know from my trips how instantly other people - with no similar connection to Shetland - fall in love with the place for just the same reasons!

Jen: That's exactly how I felt after my visits to Shetland in 2012. I long to return!


Jen: The technique of creating a hap centre starting with a single stitch is one you have used before to great effect (shawls such as Aestlight, Flukra and Havra all use this technique). Could you describe what it is that you love about this method?

Gudrun: I just love how simple yet effective it is. It’s also very meditative to knit! The little yarn overs popping out the side of the garter stitch fabric are pretty darn cute too. I have enjoyed experimenting with it a little, as evidenced by Lang Ayre, where the center diamond is formed in this way but then two further triangles are attached by picking up the yarn over loops as they are worked creating a sort of modular effect, one which could keep on being added too really.


Jen: I may have mentioned a few times that choosing colours (particularly more than two!) is something that I don’t find easy. I’m sure that I am not alone in this. Do you have any words of wisdom, or rules of thumb to help me out with choosing 6 shades for Lang Ayre?

Choosing colours is always a challenging thing, particularly when doing so for Fair Isle knitting. I still need a lot of practice with that! However, for something like Lang Ayre, where the colours are interacting in stripes, it’s a little easier. When I was thinking of colours for this shawl I did have a specific palette in mind and that was of the various shades that granite can be found in the Shetland landscape. That meant all the shades of pinks and greys I could find in J&S jumper weight. I then picked a main colour that they could play off of without being in competition with it. My old favourite shade of 202 was the best option!

My advice would be to either start with a main colour you like and then add in the contrasts based on that or vice versa. Really you can play around with this a huge amount, being quite bold in your colour choices or choosing more soothing shades. Whatever speaks to your personality! Have fun with it.


Jen: You regularly take groups of knitters on tours of Shetland with Mary Jane Mucklestone. Where else, and with whom would you most like to knit?

Gudrun: Gosh, that’s quite a difficult question to answer as there are so many places and people that come to mind! I’d love to travel to Japan. I’m very drawn to the knitting aesthetic coming out of there, and I’m interested in the culture in general. New Zealand is another place I’d love to spend time in and find out more about the wooly side of things happening over there. Finland, Estonia, Russia to name but just a few!

Of course I’d want Mary Jane to come on all of these adventures with me!!


Thank you so much Gudrun for sharing more about your wonderful design and the inspiration behind it!

Gudrun's Lang Ayre hap uses Jamieson & Smith 2ply Jumper Weight in 5 shades. For full technical details see the pattern page on Ravelry: Lang Ayre by Gudrun Johnston

The next design will be revealed on Kate's blog tomorrow, so don't forget to stop by. You can see all of the patterns as they are released on Ravelry: The Book of Haps

Keep up to date with all we're doing:

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All images © Kate Davies Designs, unless otherwise stated.


Quite some time ago, I wrote Knitting Ruined my Wife: an occasional column for Simply Knitting magazine. One of the articles was entitled The Girl Who Cried Tubular Cast-On; a nearly true story of my being kept awake because Jen just couldn't stop thinking about "this wonderful technique".

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Jen loves exploring the relationship between techniques and construction and her Nut-Hap is no exception. Inspired by a tiny woodland bird, the Nut-Hap incorporates tucks and, yes, the (in)famous tubular cast-on. Find out more about the design on Kate's blog.

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Keep looking here and on Kate's blog for the other haps in the collection that are still to be unveiled. Why not subscribe to this blog and join our Ravelry group to keep up to date with this and other projects we're working on? 


Photos ©Kate Davies Designs


Theme and Variation by Veera Välimäki

Huge and exciting drumroll for Veera Välimäki's design from The Book of Haps: Theme and Variation
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Finnish designer Veera (to rhyme with fairer), has been designing knitwear for 7 years. She learned to knit more than 20 years ago, and it has been her passion for the last decade. Having studied architecture, Veera turned to publishing knitting patterns, and soon patterns such as her Still Light TunicFolded and Stripe Study shawl were going viral among the knitting community. I caught up with her to chat about her hap design...
Jen: I am a big fan of your aesthetic! Your designs have an inherent simplicity (both in the knitting, and in the finished design), without being trivial. How do you bring something fresh to each new design, without losing that? Do you ever get tempted to throw in 5 extra techniques, or a bonkers complicated stitch pattern?
Veera: Oh, such a good question! I think this might have something to do with me being a total process knitter - and designer! If I'm not enjoying the knitting, I really will not enjoy the finished piece. This is why I want to make the knitting process smooth and fun, and often it will show in the finished piece too. Partly, I started designing knitwear because at the time I couldn't find patterns I liked. My style has always been quite simple and I wanted my knits to be like that too!
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Jen: One of the things I love about the collection of haps in this book, is the variety of shapes the designers have all chosen. You’ve designed over 70 neck accessories - what’s your favourite shape to knit, and is that the same as your favourite shape to wear?
Veera: I tend to choose the shawl shapes based on how I most often like to wear them - and I like my shawls wrapped around my neck multiple times! Only rarely I keep my shawl just on my shoulders or fasten it with a shawl pin. That's why my most favourite shapes are always longer in wingspan! But sometimes I just want to try out a shape that I find not so easy to wear. 
Knitting-wise I like the shawl to start with just a few stitches and end with gazillion. That way I can keep my interest in the actual knitting; first the shawl grows super fast and when the rows are getting very long and tedious, I will already see how awesome the shawl will be in the end and that will keep me going!
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Jen: I’ve got a confession to make… I cast on Theme and Variation a couple of weeks ago, when we were working on the final book proofs. I was lucky enough to have some help (from the yarn shop where I bought my yarn) in choosing two shades of Tosh Merino Light. Choosing colours is something many people find tricky. Do you have any advice for knitters planning shade combinations for your design?
Veera: Choosing colours is one of my favorite parts of designing and knitting in general! Since colour is perceived in such an individual way, there really aren't wrong or right answers. But whatever colours you choose, make sure you know what you are choosing or maybe more accurately know what you want! If you want to have a very dynamic, bold and flamboyant hap, choose high contrast colours or complimentary colours. For a more subtle outcome, choose colours accordingly - maybe with less contrast or analogous colours!
Jen: Thank you so much for being part of Team Haps, and for talking to me about your design.
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Theme and Variation comes in three sizes (modelled shots in the largest size, my knitting photo in the medium size), and uses 2-3 skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light. For full technical details, see the Ravelry pattern page for Theme and Variation

The next design will be revealed tomorrow on Kate's blog, so don't forget to stop by. You can see all of the patterns as they are released on Ravelry: The Book of Haps

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Final image © Arnall-Culliford Knitwear, all other images © Kate Davies Designs.

Hexa Hap by Tom van Deijnen

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To find out all about Tom van Deijnen's amazing Hexa Hap design, head over to Kate's blog to read his interview. This hap (along with Bristol's) will get me doing intarsia, I'm sure of it!

The next design will be revealed here tomorrow, so don't forget to stop by. You can see all of the patterns as they are released on Ravelry: The Book of Haps

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Harewood Hap by Bristol Ivy


Bristol Ivy's design for The Book of Haps is revealed today: She is an extraordinarily-talented designer, whose approach to knitwear on occasion defies explanation (Astragal, Newsom and Wainwright are all good examples)! Born in Oklahoma, but a resident of Maine since early childhood, Bristol now can't imagine leaving the beautiful coastal state. Bristol learned to knit as a child, but took it up seriously as a teenager, and from the start wanted to make things her own way. She first experimented with creating her own designs in 2008, but we had to wait until 2010 for her to publish her first full knitting pattern.

In her own words:

I’ve been working in the yarn and fiber industry since 2007, in all sorts of capacities. I’ve worked as a production weaver, a dyer, a spinning and weaving store employee, a sample knitter, a tech editor, a photographer, and most recently behind the scenes for the yarn company Brooklyn Tweed. Before I went all yarny, I had planned to take my degree in anthropology and continue through to a PhD and then to non-profit work in the fiber arts. Deciding to skip graduate school and go directly to fiber arts was a really liberating move! Now I work as a designer and travel around the world to teach knitting. I couldn’t ask for a better life!

Without further ado, here's her Harewood Hap - an unexpected take on the chevron pattern.


Jen: I am a huge admirer of the way that you approach your designs. You clearly think about garment construction in a totally different way to most knitwear designers - taking things in unexpected directions and using clever techniques. But you manage to do so without losing sight of the knitting experience, or its finished look. How on earth do you do that? And what would constitute “going too far” (is going too far even possible)?

Bristol: I love coming at things from unexpected directions! One of my big things with knitting is that I want people to realize that their work is theirs to command and to manipulate. We come into knitting with all of these preconceived notions of what garment construction has to be, but when you really think about it, there are no rules. Just because sweaters have been knit for years from the top-down doesn’t mean they have to be. Just because intarsia has been worked in organic, pictorial shapes for years doesn’t mean it has to be. Everything is malleable, for the greater good of your own creativity and your own vision. Once you let those preconceived notions go, you get to construct things in whatever way gets you exactly what you want.

Within that, though, I try hard to make sure that it’s never at the cost of wearability or knittability. Stephen Sondheim has this set of rules that he uses for lyric writing, as follows:

“There are only three principles necessary for a lyric writer, all of them familiar truisms. . . . In no particular order, and to be inscribed in stone:
content dictates form
less is more
God is in the details
all in the service of clarity, without which nothing else matters.”

I think those rules are applicable to any art form, and especially knitting design for me. I am always super happy to go down the rabbithole of a “what if?” moment - what if I played with the increase rate? What if I messed with intarsia and chevrons at the same time? But I always try to make sure that at the end of the rabbithole is something that has purpose as a garment and stays simple enough to be both conceptually approachable as a knitting project and as a wardrobe item. I want my work to push boundaries of what people think is possible with knitting, but I also want it to be something they enjoy knitting and enjoy wearing!


Jen: Browsing through your designs on Ravelry, I noticed that Harewood isn’t the first of your patterns to use chevron or zigzag motifs - is it a shape that you’re particularly connected to? And if so, do you have plans to take it in even more unexpected directions?

Bristol: Oh goodness, I just love chevrons. I think we all have certain things as knitters that click with our brain pathways - some people have a deep affinity with short rows, some with cables, some with colorwork, stuff that they understand intuitively down to their bones. For me, chevrons just make sense. Knitting is so fundamentally fluid and organic, and I love that chevrons and diagonals bring a linear and architectural dimension to that. It’s such a good interplay of soft fabric and sharp line. I can’t get enough! There’s definitely a lot more in the pipeline!

Jen: That's great to hear!


Jen: Many people (myself included) feel daunted by intarsia, or have had bad experiences of picture projects with too many tangled ends. I am very keen to make Harewood - as I am sure many others will be too - so can you offer any advice on starting again with intarsia. I have a sneaking suspicion that with the right project, it doesn’t need to be the frustrating experience that many see it as.

Bristol: I think we all got intimidated by the idea of intarsia and the overwhelming bird’s nest of tangled ends that was the wrong side of our work! Then there’s the drama of gaps at the join, trying to make sure that the floats were long enough when we moved over a few stitches, attempting to weave in ends discreetly... it looks like a whole handful of trouble. But! The thing I love most about Harewood is that, while it looks complicated, the chevron increases and decreases are moving the intarsia rather than the intarsia shifting stitches on its own, so it’s a very clear-cut and simple execution. You get to concentrate on the increases and decreases doing the hard work! What I did to keep the colors straight was to lay each bobbin or butterfly in a row, and then just make sure to flip the work in the same direction every time. After a single right side row, it looks like you’ve made an unholy mess, but when you work back on the wrong side, it’ll untwist as it goes. I will also confess that detangling is a total guilty pleasure for me, so I never quite mind if I get a little bit of straightening-out time!


Jen: Many, many thanks Bristol for sharing your insight and the ideas behind your beautiful Harewood Hap.

Bristol's hap uses 2 skeins each of Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply and Shilasdair Luxury 4ply. Full technical details can be found on the Harewood Hap Ravelry pattern page.

The next design will be revealed tomorrow on Kate's blog, so don't forget to stop by. You can see all of the patterns as they are released on Ravelry: The Book of Haps

Keep up to date with all we're doing:

NEW! You can sign up to have our blog posts delivered to your email inbox - see sidebar on the right.
Arnall-Culliford Knitwear on Ravelry | JenACKnitwear and VeufTricot on Twitter | JenACKnitwear and VeufTricot on Instagram

First image © Bristol Ivy, all other images © Kate Davies Designs.