Well, this post has been a long time in the making — my Kingfisher Hap is at last finished, blocked, dried, and photographed!
If you’ve been around for longer still, you might remember when I started my hap this past summer.
Though sometimes I get frustrated with myself when I take ages to finish a project, the bright side, I suppose, of a long term knit is that when you do finally complete it, it’s wrapped up with all sorts of memories — and that’s definitely true of this hap. It’ll always be a very special knit to me because of their circumstances surrounding the starting and making of it.
As a refresher (or if you weren’t around this past summer), I started this project with my lovely friend Kate of Rosalind Craft Supplies while I was in New Zealand this
summer well, winter there! Kate and Mr. N were friends from school, and she and I hadn’t met before this trip to New Zealand, though we’d chatted about knitting at a distance. Shortly after the release of Kate Davies and Jen Arnall-Culliford’s Book of Haps, we discovered our mutual love of the book, and of Jen Arnall Culliford’s Nut-Hap, in particular. After a bit of scheming, we decided to have a little knitalong while we were in the same country.
Since the colors of the original was based on a bird, we both decided we’d take New Zealand birds as our inspiration. I chose the Sacred Kingfisher and Kate the Kaka. We bought a New Zealand wool — Ashford Tekapo 8-ply — and cast on during a glorious weekend visit on the Kapiti Coast.
When I look at the hap now, I think of all the fun we had starting the project together — taking ages to pick the perfect colors in Wellington yarn shops, swatching over brunch, comparing notes as we progressed.
I also associate it with Mr. N’s mad dash to finish his dissertation — taking it down to the lcoal pub when I tore him away from his computer for a little break in the final week, working on the endless 1×1 rib while I copy edited the whole dissertation the day it was due!
I didn’t manage to finish the hap before we came back to the States, so first it went to California with me, then to Baltimore, then back to Los Angeles, then, finally, Philadelphia. A very well-traveled piece of knitwear! But when we were back in the US, at the height of the summer, I just couldn’t bring myself to sit with it in my lap! I finally finished it up at the end of October and blocked it right away … but it sat until last past week, waiting to be photographed, when Mr. N and I took it out on a post Thanksgiving walk.
So let’s get down to the details, shall we?
First, I’ll say that I love the yarn. But it does make for quite a heavy shawl. The pattern called for Rowan Felted Tweed DK, a merino-rayon-alpaca blend that I imagine is much loftier than the worsted spun Tekapo which, though technically also an 8-ply, probably knits up closer to a worsted weight yarn. Despite the weight of the finished project, I wouldn’t change the yarn for the world. I loved knitting with it — especially the natural color of the body. It was delightfully woolly and made me actually want to knit countless hundreds of stitches-long rows in 1×1 rib – no easy feat!
I also really, really like pattern. The details of it are just beautiful. Like, I wasn’t too excited by the prospect of doing a provisional tubular cast on for the silly number of stithces that make up this hap. But I just adore the neat, tubular edge it gives the finished piece.
And the tucks. Oh how I love the little tucks. So cleverly designed. A big undertaking, with all those stitches — I definitely found myself setting the project down and taking a break when it was time to rearrange the stitches to start a tuck! — but very, very worth it.
All that being said, I haven’t really worn the finished object yet. Part of that is definitely to do with wanting to get it photographed before I mussed it up somehow. But it’s also big. Really big. And heavy (see above). I feel like it’s a bit of a statement knit — when you’re wearing it, it’s going to be the focal piece of your outfit. And it’s so large that there’s no throwing it in your bag in case you catch a chill! But I really enjoyed wearing it over my shoulders as a shawl on the walk we took to take pictures and can imagine wearing it like that a lot as the temperature drops.
And I can also imagine, when it get’s really cold, being thankful to wrap up in a giant, woolly, and very warm scarf.
Despite trying to figure out just when and what I’ll wear with it, I’m really proud of this knit. It wasn’t hard, per se, but it was a bit daunting — working with so many stitches and having to manipulate those stitches to complete the clever tucks. Knowing myself, I can easily see a world where I would have set this down and never finished it — I’m glad I had Kate waiting for me to finish to urge me on. And I am also really happy with the colors I ended up using.* Some of my absolute favorites, together in one piece!
I have a spare ball of the Tekapo in the natural color, and bits leftover from the contrast colors — when I have a moment, I’m going to whip up a little hat with them.
I’m looking forward to getting some wear out of this and to trying some other haps from the wonderful book it came from. I’m thinking Houlland is next up for me — what do you say, Kate? Pop over to her blog and check out her absolutely beautiful finished version … hopefully, one day in the not too distant future, we’ll be in the same place again and can photograph our NZ bird haps hanging out together!
And just for fun, because it was a gorgeous day … here are just a few pictures of lovely Virginia in the fall that I snapped while we were out:
Thanks to Mr. N for being knitwear photographer yet again!
*Full yarn details: Ashford Tekapo 8-ply in Natural Light (207); Mustard (220); Azure (226); Chartreuse (221); Pine (225)