Pattern spotlight: Cresting Waves Shawl by Leah B. Thibault from MAINE knits
Each time I look at this piece (or a photo of it) I'm lost in that color! This hand dyed yarn from String Theory is just as lovely to feel in real life too! I wanted to include some hand sewn garments in the book for styling purpose - a mirror of how my real life wardrobe tends to be. This little shawl, with it's beautiful stitch pattern and vivid color called to be styled with a little black dress. (This one is self drafted.) I can imagine the shawl in any color with my little black dress.
Here is Leah to tell us more:
Bea: Where did the inspiration for this design come from?
Leah: Though I grew up in a coastal state (California), I didn't really access the ocean all that much until I moved to Maine. When I first moved to Maine back in 2005 for an internship, I drove cross-country with my high school best friend, making the trip in a hurried 4 days. The first thing we did when we reached Maine, was pull off the highway and follow the signs to the beach. I think we were supposed to go Old Orchard, but we ended up at Ocean Park instead, which looked exactly like every imagining of a Maine Beach I ever had, with it's beach umbrellas and sand dunes and lifeguard towers. I took off my shoes and put my toes into the Atlantic for the first time. My first real job in Maine was in an office building located on a pier, where you could see fishing boats and seals from the windows. Maine has always been tied to the sea for me.
Occasionally, I get really literal with my design inspiration, and this is one of those times. To me, the lace pattern was just a perfect representation of the ocean waves. Because you work the border separately from the body, it's an nice introduction to lace, if you're not super-comfortable with it, because if you mess it up, you only have to rip out ~ 20 sts per row. So it knits up super quickly too.
Bea: What are your favorite Maine fibers, yarns, products, etc.?
Leah: I loved working with the String Theory yarn for this pattern, and I've also had the good fortune to do some personal knitting recently with yarn from On The Round and One Lupine, both of which I loved. My new project bag from Madder Root has become indispensable too. As for more general products - Maine Maple Syrup - we go through a crazy amount of this in my house and Little Bigs in South Portland makes a great pie.
Bea: What people, places or things in Maine inspire you and your work?
Leah: If I could take one book to a desert island, it would be E.B. White's One Man's Meat, his essays from living on a saltwater farm near Brooklin, ME. I also found visiting the Olson House to be incredibly inspiring. I'm endlessly fascinated by the combination of utilitarianism and beauty, which is in abundance in Maine. I'm also obsessed with a lot of New England folk bands, like the Ghost of Paul Revere.
Bea: What is your favorite time of year in Maine?
Leah: That brief window of perfection that is Autumn.
Bea: Describe your perfect Maine day.
Leah: It's an early fall morning and I'm going for a walk with my family somewhere woodsy, but not too far away like Mackworth Island or the pond around Evergreen Cemetery. Afterwards there are hot beverages and warmed baked goods for a snack. I get to harvest and eat some of the last morsels from my garden with my daughter or maybe we bake something together, then I sew while she takes a nap. In the evening, I meet friends for dinner at the Great Lost Bear or Nosh and then go see an New England folk/American band at One Longfellow or Port City.
Thank you Leah!