When I was at Make Do & Knit earlier in the year I had a lovely chat with the folks behind Jamie Possum yarns. They kindly asked if I'd be interested in designing something for their yarns and having felt the gorgeousness they had on offer it would have been utterly pointless trying to resist.
So I came home with some of their 4ply and DK in solid colours (amongst other things - that was a show for collecting buttons and yarn!)
After some swatching and playing around with stitch patterns and shaping, 2 new designs were born. The first of these is Ivydene and is knit in the Jamie Possum DK.
This beret uses a garter stitch base and a defined lace pattern which works it's way up the body towards the crown, where a star like pattern is formed as the decreases integrate with the pattern. I like the contrast of the garter stitch brim and strips with the lace panels - it gives it a strong, geometric structure that is complimented well by the softness and slight halo of the yarn.
The pattern is provided in 3 sizes, and is charted throughout as well as having written instructions. By that I mean the stitch repeat for the body is charted and the crown shaping is fully charted, which is the way I prefer to work for this sort of project - it helps visualise how the shaping works. I don't think I'd be able to design these types of crown shapings without fully charting them (and you know I'm currently obsessed with pretty shapings so that means a lot of charting)
Regarding the yarn - I love it. I do have a fondness for yarns with a slight halo and by that I mean yarns with just enough so as to hint at their luxury and softness, not the hairy course stuff (you know I can't help my fibre snobbery, yes?) If you've never felt a possum (blended with merino) yarn the best I can compare it to is an angora/merino blend. It's harder wearing, in my opinion, than angora and doesn't shed as much, although I haven't used the possum in any heavy use projects. But it's that soft and that desirable and I'm pretty sure you'd love it.
With the 4ply I went for something a little softer in it's patterning. With the DK I found the gauge was easily adjusted with needle size without really affecting the fabric, and the gauge for Ivydene isn't the usual DK gauge. With this 2nd pattern, Vernalis, the gauge is much more typical of a 4ply yarn.
Although the stitch pattern repeat for Vernalis is shorter than that of Ivydene I'd rate this pattern as more complex. It has a non standard cable mixed with some lace and this combination makes some rounds fiddly. The cable isn't one that is easily worked without a cable needle, and will need a little practice, but it isn't especially difficult once you get into the flow.
The crown for this one is worked differently - the shaping is worked as precisely but isn't integrated into the stitch pattern - rather the stitch pattern is fitted into the shaping. I could have worked the shaping into the pattern but it wouldn't have been as pretty.
The name for Ivydene came quite readily - whenever I see names that interest me I jot them down in my notebook, and that was one such name. Yet there wasn't anything that suited this design. I posted the above crown detail shot on Twitter and received lots of great suggestions! Most of the names suggested where spring or plant like, and from there I decided upon Vernalis which is Latin for "of spring". Kinda fitting huh?
I'm chuffed to be publishing these 2 designs, their detail presses my Happy button. I would happily work with the Jamie Possum yarns again too, so all in all it's worked out to be a great venture.