|Louisa Harding's Poppy hat and rosette from her new book Knitting in the Details|
Nothing finishes off a project like a bit of bling. I always like a little sparkle, but I find myself increasingly drawn to glittery goodness in the winter months.
So I need a little pick-me-up right about now. How about you?
Designer extraordinaire Louisa Harding has just come out with a new book called Knitting in the Details: Charming Designs to Knit and Embellish. Louisa is an amazing artist whose work tends to be wonderfully feminine. When I was working at my local yarn shop, we had a corner that showcased Louisa's yarns, pattern booklets, and samples we had knitted up of some of our favorites. I loved a pair of fingerless mitts that were embellished with a crocheted lace edging. They were simple and beautiful. I'm lucky enough to have had a peek at Knitting in the Details, and I can tell you that it's as fabulous as anything Louisa's ever done!
Here's an excerpt from Louisa's introduction, where she talks about why she loves embellishments:
My desire to collect all things that sparkle or glisten is insatiable. I love anything that looks as if it has a hidden story, such as a vintage brooch at the thrift shop, a jar of old belt buckles in the dusty corner of my local haberdashery shop, and my mother's jewelry boxes filled with broken trinkets.
I am compelled to collect and surround myself with these castoffs, waiting for a flash of inspiration to give these once-loved items a continuing story.
This book, Knitting in the Details, is the beginning of the story I want to tell about using beautiful embellishments for knitted projects. Knitting is a wonderfully creative pursuit that is both meditative and relaxing, and while there are many patterns and yarns for fantastic projects, I believe that a bit of personal history or added creativity enhances each piece.
For me, embellishment is about adding buttons from an old shirt to the edging of a scarf or the charms from a broken bracelet to the flounce on a purse. It is about rediscovering techniques that my grandmother's generation used to add decoration to their work— embroidery, beading, and appliqué—all skills that make a project unique. In our world of availability and mass production, it is comforting to revisit these techniques to make appealing projects.
Gilding the Lily
Louisa's Poppy hat design, shown above left, is just lovely without the rosette, and many people will choose to make it with just the ribbon laced through the eyelets.
I love, love, love the rosette, though! It transforms the hat from a very pretty cap to a beautiful eye-catcher. I thought I'd pass on the rosette pattern to you—I think it would make a wonderful pin or hair clip, too. Or how about a holiday package topper? Can you imagine getting a gift with that beautiful rosette attached to the top?
Use worsted weight yarn and size 8 needles. Choose two colors, one for the cast-on, which is A, and one for the rest of the rosette, which is B. You can really use any yarn for this project—if you use thinner yarn, your rosette will be smaller and it'll be larger if you use a bulkier yarn! Just choose needles that are appropriate to your yarn choice. The example photographed here is knit with Louisa Harding Thistle (60% merino,40% suri alpaca) #8 Berry (A) and #12 Winter (B).
With A, CO 222 sts. Change to B.
Row 1: Knit.
Row 2: K2, [k1, sl this st back onto left-hand needle, lift the next 8 sts on left-hand needle over this st and off the needle, knit the first st again, k2] 20 times— 62 sts rem.Work short-rows as follows:
Row 3: K54, wrap next st, turn work.
Row 4 and all even-numbered rows through Row 14: Knit to end.
Row 5: K46, wrap next st, turn work.
Row 7: K38, wrap next st, turn work.
Row 9: K30, wrap next st, turn work.
Row 11: K22, wrap next st, turn work.
Row 13: K14, wrap next st, turn work.
Row 15: K6, wrap next st, turn work.
Row 16: Knit to end.
Cut yarn, thread tail through sts on needle, pull tightly to create a rosette, and secure with a few stitches.
I think I'll use a metallic yarn for the cast-on to really give the rosette some glitz! Have fun with this, and be sure and order your copy of Knitting in the Details.