Introducing the Maian Shawl


As a designer, my ideas often flow from or build on a previous idea. Picassco had a blue period, I get obsessed with colorwork, or texture. But usually, because of the diversity of my publishing outlets, this is less obvious because the order I design something and the order they're released are often vastly different.

This past week's release of Maian by Quince & Co. makes for a rare exception, as it was both designed and released on the heels of Lamassu. Like it's predecessor, Maian was inspired by an ancient culture. But where Lamassu looked to the Near East, Maian takes its inspiration from the areas due south of the US border.

Maian is knit in Quince's new's yarn, Piper, which is an entirely Texas-sourced wool/mohair blend. With that info about the yarn and ancient cultures on the brain, it only seemed natural to make a shawl inspired by Aztec and Mayan stair-stepped temples.

Maian is worked from the tip up, with 1/2 the increases in each section worked as end row increases, and the other 1/2 worked as cast on increases at the end of each section. The lace is a super-easy chevron-style repeat that results a graceful and not overly-literal take on its inspiration.

If you'd like to make one for yourself, the Maian pattern is available in the shop for $6 USD.

All photos courtesy of Quince & Co. by Emma Sampson

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Introducing the Lamassu Shawl

Iran 2007 081 Persepolis Gate of all Nations

What is a Lamassu?

  1. A winged, human headed bull frequently seen in ancient Mesopotamian (modern Iraq & Syria) myth and art - most frequently as looming sentinels at the gates of major cities.
  2. My latest shawl design for Quince & Co. yarns

How does one morph into the other? Where that's where the fun of designing comes in!

Back when I was in college, I was a Theatre major and the midst of my Senior year, I decided to swap my English minor for one in Classical Studies, following my increasing interest in the topic. I had an excellent Latin professor (Ortwin Knorr), who got me interested in the subject beyond the language and introduced me to Roman Cookery and the Archaeological Institute of America (of which there are sadly, no Maine chapters).

I had taken a lot of Latin courses, but to complete my minor I took two additional classes: Introduction to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Art History.

My textbook for the Art History class is the only one I regret selling back, but it was the Old Testament course that has had one of the longest lasting impacts of any of my school courses. Taught by professor and archaeologist David W. McCreery, this 100-level course was the hardest course I took in my college career. But, as they say, nothing worthwhile is easy.

One day while discussing Noah's flood in Genesis, Professor McCreery mentioned that there was an much earlier, but very similar, version of a Great Flood story that appeared in the Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2100–2000 BCE). Following class that day, I stayed late to express my interest in the Gilgamesh tale, but as the professor was busy with another student at the time, I merely stated my interest and left conversation for another time.  It was to my surprise then, when at the next class session, he handed me one of his personal copies of the tale (Herbert Mason's verse narrative), with the following inscription:

October 2004 Dear Leah There is a lot to learn from this "oldest story ever told." Enjoy! Dave McCreery

I fell in love with the Gilgamesh story, particularly his adventures with the wild-man Enkidu, so much so that I wrote and produced a play about it. It's a story that's stuck with me ever since. So when I was talking to Quince about doing a new shawl design, it was Gilgamesh, and his Mesopotamian brethren that sprung to mind.

As is the way nowadays, I started collecting some images on Pinterest and I kept coming back to two things, the lamassu and king's beards. There was a distinct texture and style of the beards that the more I looked at it, the more knitterly they seemed. A stitch dictionary provided the trinity stitch that mirrored the curly portion of the beard by the mouth, and some time with swatches and graph paper yielded the banded columns and feathery bits I call Gilgamesh's Beard and Lamassu Feathers.

Since Mesopotamia was part of the fertile crescent, a gentle crescent shape  for the shawl seemed only natural and of course, when given the option to pick my yarn, I had to go with that ancient near-eastern fiber: linen.


And that is a long story behind a fairly simple shawl.

If you'd like to knit one for yourself, the pattern is available now in the shop or you can queue it up on Ravelry.

And to make the long stretches of trinity stitch go faster, I suggest you listen to the following while you knit (I did!).

Photo Credits:

  1. Quince & Co.
  2. Lamassu  by Jasmine Ramig
  3. Quince & Co.
  4. Iran 2007 Persepolis Gate of all Nations by David Holt
  5. Quince & Co.
  6. Untitled by E.N.K
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Introducing: Sakura

Back in February, I set out to design my idea of the perfect spring sweater and the Sakura cardigan is result. Delicate, airy, and sweetly pink without being saccharine, Sakura was inspired by my visit to the Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring of 2011.

Cherry Blossoms

Knit in Quince's springy sport-weight Chickadee yarn, Sakura features elbow-length sleeves, an a-line silhouette and a petal-like lace scallops along the button band and collar.


Sakura is knit in one-piece from the top down and utilizes round yoke shaping.

Washington Monument

Sakura is written for sizes 31 ½ (33 ¼, 35, 37 ½, 39 ½, 40 ½, 43, 44 ½, 47, 48 ¾, 51, 53 ¼)”  and uses 905 - 1810 yards  of Quince & Co. Chickadee in Dogwood or another sport-weight yarn.

Sakura is available for download on Quince & Co. for $6 USD or you can queue it up on Ravelry.

 PS – Did you know about my mailing list? You’ll receive notification about all new patterns as well as special discount codes and offers.  Sign up Now!

All modeled photos © Carrie Bostick Hoge courtesy of Quince & Co.

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Introducing: Westwood


Now that I completed my squealing with excitement over being physically published, I thought I'd share some of the details and design inspiration behind the Westwood Blouse.

I was initially attracted the Knitscene call for submission when I came across the "southern comfort" prompt. My brain started thinking of hanging moss and Gone with the Wind and I ended up looking at a bunch of photos of corset covers, which, along with a tank I had from Banana Republic,  served as the starting point for the design.

I was specifically drawn to the blousey shape and sometimes embellished necklines.  I ended up choosing this very simple openwork (two-sided lace) pattern and starting thinking about construction.

VIvien Swatch Scan

This top couldn't be easier to knit. It's knit in the round to the armholes and then split at the armhole to work the lace and then seamed at the shoulders into a boatneck. Even if you've never knit lace before, the stitch pattern  is an easy two-row/ four-stitch repeat that gives a lot of visual bang, for a small amount of complexity buck.

The swatches above where done in Quince & Co's Lark, but the final design was done in Kollage Yarns Riveting Sport, a recycled denim yarn. I'm always a bit wary about recycled yarn, but I found this to be lovely to work with. It's not splitty and very light.


I will note that the yarn is machine washable/dryable, but my gauge information was based on a swatch/sample that was hand washed and blocked flat, so if you have plans to machine wash/dry your final garment, do so with your swatch and adjust needle size as necessary.

The magazine is currently on newstands or is available as a digital download from the Interweave store. Eventually the pattern will be available as a stand-alone download in the Interweave store (presumably after the magazine is off shelves).

You can also queue it up on Ravelry.

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The Postman Cometh

I had all these plans for writing a long post of reflection on my Lenten vegetarian experience, and then the mail came. IMGP5289

Look, it's the summer edition of Knitscene.


With a two page spread of my design!


My name in print!

This hasn't happened since I got a byline as an intern for an article on August Wilson's play cycle in the Jan/Feb 2007 edition of the Goodman Theatre's OnStage Magazine (So totally different).


And there it is again!

I was pretty much doing a little happy dance all night long!

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Introducing: Ferrous

Like I said, last week was a big week for me and today I'd like to talk about the inspiration behind the third and final design released last week, Ferrous.

Ferrous is my second design, and shawl for the locally-based Quince & Co. yarns. Going into fall, I wanted this shawl to be a little bit denser than Alaria and I wanted to feature strong lines.


So my first thought went it came to motifs for the lace was wrought iron fencing (hence ferrous= iron).

The yarn is Quince's brand new 100% wool fingering weight yarn, Finch, in kumlien's gull, one of the limited edition winter heathers.  When Pam asked me if I wanted to work in a yet-to-be released yarn, in a yet-to-be-released colorway,  I was super excited and Finch is springy, cozy and lovely to knit with.


The shawl uses two skeins of the Finch, but if you wanted a larger shawl, you could continue out the lines until the desired length then complete the arrowhead patterns.

Ferrous is available for $6 USD from the Quince & Co. website, or you can queue it up on Ravelry here.

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Introducing: Shoots & Ladders


I'm pleased to formally introduce Shoots & Ladders, the design I teased a few week back. Shoots & Ladders is an any season cowl, inspired by the orderly rows of plantings in gardens. I wasn't able to plant a big garden this year, but I did produce a few of these cowls.


The spring/summer version of the cowl features Elsebeth Lavold's Hempathy, which results in a drapey cowl, with well defined lace motifs


The more ethereal Winter version is knit in Rowan's Felted Tweed DK, resulting in a more structured cowl with a bit of halo.


Both cowls utilize approximately 300 yards of DK weight yarn and is knit in the round. The lace pattern is charted and decreases in the "ladders" section give the cowl a pleasing tapered shape.


The pattern is available for $4.00 USD

or you can queue it up on Ravelry


Photos, except detail shots, by Bristol Ivy.

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Introducing: Alaria

photo © Carrie Bostick Hoge

Yesterday, I had the absolute and distinct pleasure of releasing a pattern with Quince & Co.

Every since this Maine-based yarn producer opened up shop literally up the street from where I work, I've been a hugefan and when the opportunity arose to publish this shawl pattern with them, I leapt at the chance!!

I still can't believe that that's my shawl up there. It's more to do with Carrie's photography than anything else, but man, I love the Quince photos.

photo © Carrie Bostick Hoge

One of my knitolutions for the year was to design a shawl and I knew I wanted to do something ocean-inspired, without leaning on my usual oceanic blues and turquoises. (Not that I've given up on those). When I picked up these skeins of Tern and saw the colorway was called Seagrass, that settled it.


Alaria (the name is from a genus of seaweed) flows between three simple lace patterns reminiscent of aquatic foliage. The shawl is a traditional triangle shape and all lace work is done on the right side rows only.


The sample was knit in two skeins (about 440 yards) of Quince & Co.'s Tern - a fingering weight silk/wool blend. It blocks beautifully and the silk gives it just a hint of sheen. (I will note that when I knit the sample, it used up all the yarn except for a teeny-tiny amount, so depending a knitter's gauge, it could sneak into a third skein).

As designed, the shawl is a great size for throwing over your shoulders or bunching up as a scarf, and should a larger shawl be required, additional repeats of 24 rows can be easily added to the first and/or second lace patterns.

photo © Carrie Bostick Hoge

You can queue up the pattern on Ravelry, or purchase the pattern via Quince & Co ($6 USD).

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On the Wires, On the Needles

Wednesday night I finished my lace project and put it on the blocking wires. Getting a project like this wet is awesome and terrifying, awesome because the lace really opens up and becomes truly lovely, terrifying because I had no idea how big it might get. (I generally only do gauge swatches for sweaters). Border & Waves

Fortunately this "scarf on steroids" project, as I've come to call it, ended up wider, but not substantially longer than the pattern. Not to say it isn't huge anyway - for a sense of scale, the orange strip on the ground is a yard stick.

On the wires

This weekend I'll pull it off the wires and do some wearing demo photos and then it'll be packed up and shipped off to my mother in Northern California.

Reaching to Infinity

My long-neglected second sock not piquing my interest enough, I immediately cast on a new project (after swatching!) yesterday morning and I've already knit through a ball and a half. Lord love bulky yarn!!

Knitting Bulky

Here's what I've done so far. FLOGS Collar

Must knit more!!

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Work In Progress

Lace in Progress

In the midst of all the painting, packing and scraping, it's nice to have a simple lace pattern to turn to at night.

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