the next pattern to be revealed in the “coming home” book is a truly unique colourwork hat by anna maltz, the “bounnet” hat. anna has a really unusual way of approaching knitting, using unconventional processes and techniques to create stunning projects that are true works of art.
I’m really excited to share my pattern with you and the fact that I’ve been involved with this celebratory project with a wonderful group of creative, accomplished women. While Lilith and I were hashing out my contribution to her colourful 10th anniversary collection “Coming Home”, she gave me the traditional Scottish song ‘The Elfin Knight’ (as sung by Kate Rusby) to listen to; in it a garland of flowers is to crown the betrothed on a blustery wedding day. This confirmed the floral direction I’d already been going in. It was fun to be given a soundtrack to help round out the feel of the collection she was going for. Words can get us only so far – sounds and pictures give so much more of a visceral understanding.
It took a while for Lilith and I to settle on the colours. Obviously they needed to be spread out across the collection, so I didn’t have carte blanche to choose anything I fancied. In the end, the colours she sent me became part of the inspiration for the hat. Lilith’s colours remind me of stained glass: fluidly mottled by being handmade and a little weathered and oddend (I know this isn’t a word, but hey) with age. Thinking about windows made me think a lot about light – I wanted to evoke the magical burst that happens when you open your eyes after snoozing in bright sun and all the colours and outlines are momentarily intense and almost reversed. Weirdly a little like leaded glass.
My hope is that wearing this hat will remind you of the hazy look of summer in a wildflower meadow when the weather outside is anything but warm (’cause let’s be frank, Scotland isn’t known as a sun destination!). However, at the moment, politically, it is looking pretty warm and rosy in comparison to many other countries, and it may become a welcoming home to those feeling unwelcome elsewhere.
Until 2015 I’d only been to Scotland once, so it doesn’t have personal associations of home for me. Since then I’ve brought my visits up to 4 and it’s become associated with my woolly friends who live there: Lilith of course and Jules, Ysolda and Jeni who also collaborated on this project. Outside of that there’s Mica and Jo, Ella, Donna Smith, Leona, and a host of others. My notion of it being ‘home’ is about it being the home of those friends.
I’m not a whiskey drinker (I’d love to enjoy its artisanal nature – maybe when I grow up), so the Scottish cultural export I’m most enamoured with is the Art Deco work of Margaret Macdonald and Charles Rennie Macintosh, especially their flowers. They were certainly part of the inspiration. I didn’t want to anchor the flowers too literally to any in particular, but I did have a coronet of tiny latyrus, aquilegia and iris in mind, which all grow well in Scotland. When Jeni told me that aquilegia are known as Granny’s Bonnet in Scotland, this sealed the deal. That’s also how I got set on the name. A bouquet on a bonnet = a Bounnet. It should be said in an approximation of a Scottish accent (if you don’t have an actual one). For some reason, soon after we got together, my beau decided to regularly do a terrible impersonation of Sean Connery and that’s probably what I have in my head.
Musically, if I’d been left to my own devices, my Scottish soundtrack would mostly featured Teenage Fanclub (with some Belle and Sebastian, Mogwai, The Delgados, The Supernaturals and Arab Strap thrown in for good measure). Because of the bluey nature of the colours I used, I had ‘The Concept’ on mental repeat. It starts with the lyrics “She wears denim wherever she goes” and the hat really is in multiple shades of denim with pink and purple to compliment them.
…listen to anna’s playlist on Spotify…
I got totally carried away with combining colour and texture: there are areas of garter, slipped and travelling stitches to create a densely textured, engaging knit. I had an especially fun time working out my own twist on bobbles to form petals and I can’t wait for you to knit them. Only two colours are ever in action in a single row with a third colour being slipped, making it appear as if 3 colours have been worked at once and increasing the textural movement in the hat (with less stranding hassle). Us knitters can get quite hung up on achieving smooth colourwork, probably due to historical precedent and feeling like we should be replicating the output of machines. This hat makes that impossible and suggests that there is an alternative worth embracing.
anna’s hat uses one of the superwash merino mini-skein packs in a colour combination especially chosen for this project, which will be available to buy in the new year! i’m so intrigued by the colourwork techniques used in this design, and everyone who was involved in test-knitting the hat kept using the same word to describe it – “fun”. i’m so excited to have this amazing knit in the book – thank you anna for your marvellous contribution! you can see more of anna’s work on her website or on Ravelry.