Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Top Haps

Shortly after I knit my first Hap, I failed to manage everything I was carrying with me effectively, and dropped it en route to the railway station. It was found, and all is well, but in posting my loss on social media (in the hope someone local would spot it and know who it belonged to), I found a particular fact of note: the majority of responders thought I must have mis-typed, and had instead lost a hat. My husband is proud to state that thanks to KnitBritish, he now knows what a Hap is.
It was for Louise's wonderful Hap-Along that I knit said Hap – Brooklyn Tweed's Kelpie. This was rather a serendipitous happenstance: I had been bought an Eden Cottage Yarns yarnling sampler set for my birthday; have a signficant stash of sock-leftovers for the final stripe, which I didn't dare risk a yarnling on; and came across a sale in the Isle Yarn shop just before the cast-on date. It was a pleasing and steady project – the construction of a hap means you've plenty of simple lovely garter stitch to help you familiarise yourself with the yarn before you begin the more intricate lacy sections.

My second Hap of 2015 was in fact not finished until 2016, but it was perhaps my most impetuous project ever – I saw Karie's publication announcement* for the Mahy (rav link) on Twitter, decided it had to be made, and arranged a detour from planned events on a weekend away to ensure yarn was bought. Pattern, yarn and cast-on all came together within 2 days of publication, and progress only stalled as I hit the Christmas knitting crunch. Helpfully, the size of the Mahy is also such that it finally justified the long-delayed purchase of blocking boards: children's play pieces from John Lewis (handily delivered to our local Waitrose) which can be configured according to the shape of the garment. I was very pleased to finish this in time to meet Karie at Joeli's retreat in February!

And the latest, possibly greatest news of 2016 in terms of haps? Kate Davies has turned her attention to the hap shawl for her very-very-nearly-published book project. With essays and historical research alongside contributions from Gudrun Johnston, Lucy Hague, Martina Behm, Jen Arnall-Culliford, Veera Välimäki and other absolute stars of the knitting galaxy, this project is one which has been murmured about in hushed tones over the last year until the news of pre-orders opened, and since I placed my order, and started seeing the designs being featured on Kate's blog daily, the anticipation has only been building. Words do, at this point, fail me, and I can only direct you to read the blog, pore over the beautiful designs, and perhaps order the book.

(ETA: since I first published this post, I have also become aware of the lovely Louise Tilbrook's beautiful Hebridean Hap design, recently published and inspired by the amazing tale behind Rachel Atkinson's Daughter of a Shepherd yarn.)

The moral of my tale? Haps are amazing. They can be simple, they can be stunning, they can be striking; they speak of hard work, of comfort, and of style. And they mean you can talk about being Hap-py to your heart's content!

*if you haven't seen her more recent publication announcement - that of the Kickstarter campaign for This Thing of Paper - head over here to find out about it. (Brilliant and inspiring, in my opinion)

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