It’s time to introduce the first of our new designs for July! The Poet’s Corner Shawl designed by Jess Gagnon for Valley Yarns and knit in Hatfield is a surprisingly lightweight and warm triangle shawl with a delicate lace and ruffle detail.
The 100% baby alpaca, laceweight Hatfield has a subtle lustrous sheen and slight halo that adds an extra layer of softness to your knits. With it’s mostly stockinette stitch body, a simple lace border and graceful little ruffle detail, the Poet’s Corner Shawl is a quick summer knit that you’ll love wrapping around your shoulders when the cooler air of Autumn settles in.
We asked Jess to tell us a bit about herself and what she enjoyed about working with Hatfield.
When did you learn to knit?
10 years ago, working as a children’s librarian, I was shelving books and noticed a children’s learn-to-knit book. I figured if a child could learn to knit from a book, surely I could as well! It worked, and I’ve been knitting since! At the time, I was an avid cross-stitcher looking to broaden my crafty horizons. Knitting fit the bill. I’ve neglected my cross-stitch for years – might be time to cross breed the two. Hmm…inspiration may be striking here…
What prompted you to start designing?
I continually want to learn new things, so I reached a point where designing seemed a good natural step to continue my learning process. And designing helps me create a precise garment or accessory that I can’t seem to find elsewhere – I can satisfy my own need for a particular piece, and then refine it in pattern form for others. Honestly, I used to be afraid (literally, afraid) of the idea of designing. Math is not my forte, so was frankly intimidated by the idea of it. Once I put a name to it, realized what I felt was fear, I make a conscious step to move past it. I feel like the floodgates of creativity have been opened, and it’s so refreshing!
Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?
Designs come at me from all angles. Typically when I’m my most relaxed, and when I’m not trying for it, a concept will hit me (while hiking, doing yoga, going for a run, petting my cat, etc.). Sometimes I’ll spot a design element out in public or on the news, and I’ll try to puzzle out how to take that element and translate it into knitting. I try to keep a notepad handy so I can draft a quick sketch as soon as possible to keep the idea fresh. I’ve been know to resort to using a sticky note and ball-point pen if those are the only resources available!
Tell us your favorite fiber related story.
In the 10 years I’ve been knitting, my husband has never asked for anything. Never. He will volunteer admiration, or ask about what I’m working on, but will never ask. Finally, he asked if I’d make him a sweater. He’s had a hard time finding a work-appropriate, comfortable, attractive sweater. So, we picked out a yarn color, and worked together on design elements, and I made him his very own sweater. Literally, his very own, as I designed it but haven’t written it up. I love that he finally asked for something, and that we could collaborate on something to meet his exact needs.
What did you love about Valley Yarns Hatfield?
The softness. It’s so important to me to have a yarn that feels good to work up. For me, knitting is about the process, and the tactile experience. The critical component to a fulfilling experience is the yarn touch. Hatfield fit the bill, and then some – so soft, and delightful.