Pattern spotlight: Quarry Shawl by Bristol Ivy from MAINE knits
It was important to me to include small yarn producers in this book. Rachel, from OnTheRound is someone I've seen at craft fairs around town, selling her yarns, sometimes bouncing a baby on her knee. The mom in me feels an affinity to other crafty ladies who are trying to help put food on the table while juggling family life - it's no easy feat! When Bristol and I were putting our heads together about what yarn to use for her project in the book I mentioned OnTheRound. "I love her yarns!" was Bristol's reply. And so a match was made. It couldn't have been a lovelier match! I think Bristol's amazing shawl and Rachel's amazing yarn were meant to be - it was a lovely pairing. The two things I love most about this shawl are the amazing use of texture, and the generous size of this shawl. I've wrapped it around myself more than once and considered stealing away into the night with it...
Here is Bristol to tell us more:
Bea: Where did the inspiration for this design come from?
Bristol: I had wanted to find a way to represent the shoreline of Maine for a long time, and I had also wanted to explore this construction idea for a long time. It was a big duh moment when I realized that they were one and the same! To me, the Maine shoreline is all about contrast: soft and rough, wet and dry, smooth and jagged. I love exploring those contrasts in knitting, and this shawl was the perfect opportunity!
Bea: What are your favorite Maine fibers, yarns, products, etc.?
Bristol: Too many to name! I’m always endlessly excited when I find out about a new shop, designer, or yarnie in Maine. It’s such a crazy hotbed of creativity and talent, but also with that self-reliance and grit that Mainers are famous for. The combo makes for some really wonderful, thoughtful, and inspiring work!
Bea: What people, places or things in Maine inspire you and your work?
Bristol: The sea—always the sea. I get antsy if I’m too far away from it! But I also love the farmland here; it’s such a tough place to carve out a bit of arable land that seeing working fields always fills me with joy. Wyeth has a few paintings of farmland overlooking the ocean, and that’s totally my idea of heaven.
Both landscapes for me share certain features: calmness, power, and simplicity. I love trying to capture those essences in my work.
Bea: What is your favorite time of year in Maine?
Bristol: Probably the first days in the spring where the temperature climbs into the 50s and 60s and we all cautiously crack our windows open for the first time in months. The quality of the sunshine, the smell of melting snow and wet earth in the air, the sound of the birds as they start to return. . . oh, it’s breathtaking. But I also love the fall—it has a similar ephemeral and beautiful quality, as if the air is so rich with loam and decaying leaves and low sunshine that it’s hard to catch your breath.
Bea: Describe your perfect Maine day.
Bristol: It would involve at least one swim, some time in a hammock, a wander through downtown Portland, and a sunset clamber on the rocks at Two Lights. And then a fire and a cup of tea to warm back up at night!
Thank you Bristol!