Suggested Yarn: Kettle Yarn Co. Islington Fingering – Turmeric
Yarn Weight: Fingering
Fibre: Silk & Blue-Faced Leicester
Hook size: 5.0 mm (H) & 5.5 mm (I/9)
Yardage: 820 – 880 yards (750 – 800 m)
Wingspan: 215 cm / 85 in
Crochet terminology: both US and UK
Release Date: 29th October 2020.
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A Lunula is a Bronze Age, pure gold crescent shaped object that was made by hammering pieces of gold flat and smooth. They’re big enough to sit around the neck and rest on the shoulders so it’s believed they were pieces of ceremonial jewellery.
The surface of a lunula is typically decorated with little delicate cross-hatch and diagonal lines that have been tapped into it. The whole effect is incredible.
Originally, this shawl was going to include a nod to those surface decorations, but as I worked I realised the main attraction for me was the simple, shining golden surface and how incredible the craftspeople must have been to be able to tap the metal as thin as they did, so instead of adding lace, I decided to play with the difference between TKS (Tunisian Knit stitch) and TSS (Tunisian Simple Stitch).
The yarn I chose for this shawl is a fingering weight yarn produced by Kettle Yarn Co. in the UK.
I had the good fortune of meeting Linda, the woman behind Kettle Yarn Co. several times over in England and I was impressed by the thought and care she put into her various yarn blends.
Choosing the correct fibres and blending them to get the best out of them is a passion of hers and it shows in her yarn.
I’ve used her yarn for a pattern before, Nuada, in 2017, and I’ve wanted to work with her again since.
When the idea for Lunula came to me, I immediately knew which of her yarns I wanted to design it in.
I wanted to create a shawl that echoed the properties of my original inspiration. I wanted it to shimmer and shine like precious metal but still to be soft enough to wear comfortably against the sensitive skin of the neck and shoulders.
Silk is always a good bet for me.
It blocks beautifully and catches the light delightfully. I knew I wasn’t going to be blocking this shawl too hard – there’s no lace eyelets to hold open after all, and Tunisian Knit Stitch doesn’t thank you when you over-block it – but I still wanted to use some silk for the help it gives to a yarn’s stitch definition.
Definition was key to this shawl since it uses both Tunisian Knit and Simple stitches.
Bluefaced Leicester is an excellent sheep breed with a long, soft staple (the individual strands of wool). It was the fleece I first learnt to spin yarn with, so it holds a special place in my heart. It’s also a lovely, lightweight and warm fibre which blocks pretty well independently, too.
Then I saw the semi-solid colour Linda had created for her Turmeric colourway and I fell in love. I could chose no other yarn. That was it.
The yarn arrived and it was better than I had hoped. I still smile, months later, remembering how happy I was as I unwrapped that parcel.
Part of my desire with writing this collection was to highlight Ireland’s cultural and sartorial past, so it may seem odd that I should chose a yarn made and sold in Britain. But really, it makes a lot more sense than you might imagine;
You see, there’s a bit of an on-going mystery surrounding where Ireland’s gold was mined. For the sheer volume of Bronze Age treasures we have, there is no evidence yet found of a mine it could have come from. There are scraps of gold to be found in the Wicklow Mountains in the East, on Croagh Patrick in the West, and in the Sperrin Mountains in the North, but the gold in our antiquities has yet to match to samples from any of these locations.
So, it’s currently assumed that it was part of a pre-historic trading cycle with the inhabitants of Southern Britain along with Cornish tin we lacked to make bronze (they would have got our copper in exchange. We had plenty of that on Ross Island in the South).
So, it’s almost too perfect that I, too, should look to the east across the Irish sea for my own stash of beautiful, shimmering gold.
You can find the exact colourway I used here (you’ll need two skeins), but I urge you to have a browse.