As I warned you yesterday: please sit down before reading any further. I know from experience that there’s simply too much wonderful contained in Herriot for an ordinary knitter to resist. It’s named, of course, for James, whom we invoke so frequently in our farming lives that he might well be our patron saint.
Back in February, when the UPS man dropped off the box from the mill, I had to use a wheelbarrow to get it into the house, it was so overwhelming. When we showed it off to the attendees of our Lizzy House Quilting Workshop– “Wanna see what awesome things we’re working on for fall?”– they were knocked flat, then begged us for some. Our test-knitters went nuts over it. It stopped traffic on the floor at TNNA.
You heard it here first: Herriot is going to be a kind of a big deal. What is it, exactly?
Herriot is a DK-weight yarn made of 100% baby alpaca that comes in 10 natural shades (ie, undyed, never-gonna-bleed, straight-off-the-alpaca gorgeous). The colors are:
Talc, Bullrush, and Heartwood,
Walnut, Ghost Fern, and River Birch,
and Eucalyptus, Sycamore, Travertine, and Granite.
Have I gushed enough about this yarn?
Well. Let me tell you about the knitwear collection.
It’s a collection of 14 patterns designed by Pam Wynne and myself. The only guideline Susan imposed was that she wanted a colorwork book– we were otherwise left to our own devices, completely free to design what we wanted. I’d never designed a collection in collaboration before, but Pam was great to work with, and I had lots of fun planning the whole thing out with her. After grouping our ideas into chapters, we realized that our designs were arranged in increasing complexity.
That is to say: if you begin with the first pattern in the book, and knit straight through, cover to cover, the designs in this book will help you build your skills as you work until you are just about the most skillful, competent, amazing colorwork knitter this side of the Andes (the Peruvians, in my opinion, take the proverbial knitted cake).
I could go into crazy detail about the genesis of each design, or tell a cute story about what happened in each photo on the shoot, or maybe talk about how much I like the pants that a certain sweater is styled with, but that would be a bit too much birth story, and I have a feeling you’re pretty eager to see what we came up with. For now, I’m going to let our designs speak for themselves.
Bessie, designed and modeled by Caroline Fryar, test-knit by Melanie Clark.
Edie, designed, test-knit, and modeled by Pam Wynne.
Cora, designed by Caroline Fryar, test-knit by Marci Lavine Bloch, modeled by Caroline Fryar.
Here are all three of us sitting on a fence, swathed in alpaca and tweeds, as one does in the first week of June.
Amy & Emily, proving just how strongly beauty runs in the Karasz family.
Hattie, designed by Caroline Fryar, test-knit by Krysta Harty, modeled by Emily Karasz.
Ida Mae, designed by Pam Wynne, test-knit by Gail Defendorf, modeled by Amy Karasz.
I’m allowing myself to gush (and use multiple photographs), because these last two are our capstone pieces. This is Maeby, designed and modeled by Pam Wynne, and test-knit by Eve Ramos & Daisy Blinn.
You look at it and think,Oh, wow, what great colorwork! And elbow patches!
and then you turn around and the sweater’s like,Bam! Drawstring funnel neck! Kangaroo pocket!and it’s everything you ever wanted in a sweater, ever.
I’ve already cast on for this sweater, because I want it something fierce.
Okay, and, lastly, this is Esther, designed, test-knit, and modeled by Caroline Fryar.
It’s a double-knit coat done in a traditional Swedish brocade pattern. There’s loads of i-cord trim, and an attached fair-isle scarf that grows out of the left lapel and wraps around the front to become the collar.
Did I mention? The whole coat is double-knit!
And, just in case some of you live in some crazy dreamworld where there isn’t ample time to knit not one, but two coats (when it comes to double knitting, there’s the rub), the scarf is also offered as a stand-alone pattern. It is named Margaret.
I barely know where to begin with the thank-yous.
Susan came up with the yarn in the first place. Pam was a joy and an inspiration to work alongside, from inspiration photos to styling the garments on the shoot. Alison was a phenomenal technical editor. Caro kept us laughing throughout the several days she shot the garments. Our amazing team of test-knitters created each and everyone one of these garments, and our beautiful models sweated it out in their alpaca without a word of complaint. Zac anticipated our every need. Lauria helped us hold the whole thing together. Michelle gracefully put up with a thousand nick-of-time revisions, and made the book look super nice. And everyone who put up with me while coat-knitting reduced me to a shriveled and embittered husk of my usually-nice self– you know who you are.
Here you go, world. Here’s Herriot.