One of the many exciting features of the Vermont Hand Crafters annual Craft Vermont Fine Craft and Art Show (November 22 - 24, 2019 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Burlington, Vermont) is the collaborations table. Two or more members of Vermont Hand Crafters join to create one-of-a-kind works of art that combine their respective talents.
This year, I approached Ellen Thompson and Jim Holzschuh of Yellow Dog Farm and Grand Isle Art Works and suggested that we collaborate on a project. Using their gorgeously colored and textured yarns, produced with fiber from their own animals, I proposed to design and knit a generous, luxurious wrap. I used eight yarns in all, choosing several colors each of Willow’s Wisps brushed mohair and looped mohair, Luigi’s Locks looped mohair, and South Hero Blend sportweight.
Their farm is located in South Hero, Vermont, in the Champlain Islands, one of my most favorite places, surrounded by the ever-changing and ever-compelling Lake Champlain.
I chose eight skeins of yarn in shades of blue, with a little green, smooth, mohair, and mohair boucle. Lake Champlain, of course, provided the inspiration.
Imagine a brilliantly sunny day, a crystalline blue sky, and a sprightly breeze raising whitecaps on the lake.
I cast on 250 stitches (US size 10.5 36” circular needles, approximate gauge 4 stitches = 1”) and dove in. I worked in linen stitch, of course, in random stripes and varying the colors and textures as the spirit moved me.
I wanted to convey the movement of the water, the ripples and waves, and so worked, again at random, bands of feather and fan lace, working the lace pattern over varying numbers of stitches so that the ripples would not line up or stack evenly.
I worked the wrap lengthwise and cut the yarn at the end of every row, leaving a 4” or 5” tail, then tied in the next strand, either the same yarn I’d been using or a different one, to make fringed ends.
I finished the knitting several days ago, then yesterday the weather cooperated and I set up my blocking mattress outside on the porch.
I spread out the wrap, then, using a mister, I thoroughly soaked it and gently patted and stretched it, accentuating the ripples and undulations, to a finished size of about 64” long (not counting fringe) and 21” wide.
The wrap will be on display and on sale in the collaborations booth in the Emerald Room at this year’s Craft Vermont. And all the yarns used to make it will be available also, at Jim and Ellen’s Yellow Dog Farm booth, in case you get inspired to make one, too.