Looking back at 2020, one of the designs of which I am most proud is the Together Stole. It was a wonderful experience working with Jill Leary from Jilly and Kiddles Hand Dyed Yarn. We thought it would be fun to share a little bit about our process with you.
From the Designer:
Jill and I met about 18 months ago. I was in the middle of making dinner, and I noticed that she had put out a request for designers interested in collaborating. In a very uncharacteristic move for this shy, introverted gal, I stopped what I was doing and reached out to her. She took a look at my work and agreed that we should work together. We met in person a few weeks later at Rhinebeck, and I got to squish her wonderful yarn and see the colors in person. Our first collab was Ringer Tee. (The release of Ringer Tee was also delayed by COVID. We had planned to release it at Stitches in CT.) You can find it here.
After Ringer Tee came out, we began talking about working together again. We settled on the idea of designing a big cozy wrap timed for either a pre-NYSW KAL or a Rhinebeck release.
COVID made 2020 a very solitary year for so many of us. What I miss during this year of quarantine is coming together with other like-minded knitters and fiber artists. That connection with kindred spirits is so much a part of why I do what I do. Yes, in many cases, knitting is a solitary pursuit, but it is also something that ties us together with both our ancestors and with other knitters.
I knew that I wanted a very textural stole, and that I wanted it to feel luxurious and cozy. I started playing around with lace charts based on the word, “together”. After I had a few options, I began swatching them in a skein of Ideal DK I had in my stash. At the same time, Jill was working on a special colorway that I would use to knit the sample.
One of the hardest parts of working on this secret project with a big reveal at the end was that I couldn’t share my pictures of Jill’s gorgeous yarn. All of my in-progress pictures had to be posted in black and white. I loved the yarn so much when I wound it up that I took several pictures of the yarn by itself. Now that the pattern and the yarn have been revealed, I can share the images with you here.
Because this pattern was basically a big rectangle, I was able to write the pattern first. Next came miles and miles of knitting. The largest Together stole measures 36”/ 91.5 cm x 72”/ 183 cm. I would send progress pictures to Jill along the way, and she seemed happy with them. Somehow, the stitch pattern and the yarn have been very hard to photograph. It has been difficult to capture both the color in the yarn and the stitch pattern and how they work together. When you see it in person, they work in perfect harmony, but it seems in the pictures that one dominates over the other.
When NYSW was cancelled, we decided to move the pattern and yarn release to the Virtual Knit and Escape event. I sent the hat and shawl to Jill, and she did a “live” reveal for her virtual audience at the show. I designed and knit the Together Hat in the time between finishing the stole and the Knit and Escape event.
From the dyer:
Ideal DK is my biggest seller. It really hits the sweet spot where it's not so thin that a project like a sweater takes forever, but it's not so thick that it's super hot and weighs a ton. It's my go-to yarn for most of my own personal projects, from hats or mittens to colorwork sweaters and blankets! My favorite thing about Ideal DK is the bit of nylon in the blend. You would never guess it was there, because the yarn's so soft, but it extra structure to the yarn and fabulous durability to your finished object.
Meet Me on the Hill gives me ALL the feels! I love the moody autumn colors that bring me straight back to the Duchess Fairgrounds. It feels like I'm in Rhinebeck, NY--right where we met for the first time! I used this Design Seeds photo palette for inspiration and I love how close the colorway represents it:
I'm so proud of our collaboration on this pattern and colorway. We met in person at Rhinebeck in 2019 and I LOVE that the NY Sheep & Wool inspired this pattern and colorway! Trying to recreate the vibes of that festival in terms of color was fun and challenging in so many ways. I wanted to capture the hues you see around you, but also include the feelings and energy of the event as well. I handed my colorway to deb so she could create her vision, and I couldn't wait to see how it worked out. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought of all the details included in the stitch patterns. It's perfection! The pattern and yarn just work so well together and create a squishy hug that feels just like you ran up to a fiber friend and embraced each other. Little did we know how important that would be as the year unfolded, and how rare!