unleash the power of inspiration...

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Paisley Shawl

Standing in front of the beautiful Kashmir shawls exhibit at the Textile Museum of Canada a thought struck me: “I wonder if it’s possible to create a paisley motif in cables”. This kind of thing happens to me often, so I filed it away in my mind to work on at a later date.

Then visiting family who live just outside of Glasgow I decided to go on a little pilgrimage to the Paisley Museum (a very short train ride from the center of Glasgow) and my obsession with the motif was sealed.

When I did sit down to design a cable paisley I drew on my previous work, on what I call “drawing lines with cable cords”. It is basic geometry at play – looking at the angles of the lines & figuring out the combo of those angles to create the curve of the motif.

​ If you need a steep angle for your line you move the cord over by just one stitch at a time, if you need a shallower angle then you move the cord by two or maybe three stitches at a time. The real fun begins when you use them in combination with each other to create many different shapes. For more on this see my Twist Collective blog post

At the urging of my friend & colleague Kate Atherley I worked on a Paisley shawl design for a “full-circle” – I love how she pushes me sometimes.

I worked with Kim at Indigodragonfly to develop the pattern specifically for their yarn. I was keen to work on a collaboration project having been inspired by the "David Bowie is" exhibition and noticing how Bowie often works in this way. So I explained my thoughts to Kim and let her do what she does best…dye the yarn. This is what she had to say about it:
“I love collaboration. Working with designers to develop new colours that will fully reflect their vision is one of my favourite things to do. When Fiona talked about "sari silk colours" for her Kirkingwood Shawl, I had a very clear vision of dyeing yarn to look like shot silk: layers of subtle colour seeming to float on top of each other. Ashes to Ashes, Stardust to Stardust does exactly that.”
​ I hadn’t mentioned my obsession with Bowie to Kim but part way through knitting the sample I went to pick up a second skein of yarn, it just happened to be sitting in my studio next to my “Bowie shrine” (don’t ask). I was thrilled to see that the shade that Kim had come up with matched David’s hair perfectly. This in turn gave rise to the shade name of course.