After so many months of hard work, Doggerland: Knits from a Lost Landscape is finally available to pre-order through Ravelry. The first pattern will be the Ronaes Shawl (as seen in the photos) but I will write more about the shawl when I release it on June 10. The idea for the Doggerland collection first came to me when I was looking at artefacts in the National Museum of Denmark's Prehistory section.
I was looking at a bone antler fragment carved with beautiful, simple designs when my partner started reading aloud a piece about the lost region of Doggerland – a Mesolithic landscape now lost to the North Sea between the UK and Scandinavia (Mesolithic means "Middle Stone Age"). I loved the simplicity of the carved antler and I loved the story of a lost landscape that once formed a land bridge between Denmark (where I grew up) and Britain (where I now live).
The prehistory sections of The National Museum of Scotland and the National Museum of Denmark yielded much inspiration: worked flintstones, carved antler bones, well-preserved fykes, and excavated shell middens. Motifs and textures are either directly taken from Mesolithic artefacts found in the Doggerland region (or surrounding areas) or use them as visual cues. The Mesolithic period was characterised by very geometric designs: lines, dots, circles and simple shapes. Shapes and motifs you will find throughout the collection, both in the knitting patterns and the illustrations.
It is difficult to determine what types of textiles Mesolithic people made, what materials they used and how they wore their clothes. Textiles are made from organic materials and therefore they decay over the thousands of years between the Mesolithic Era and today. Occasionally archaeologists unearth tiny treasures: a maritime excavation off the coast of Denmark discovered one single thread of spun plant material, for instance.
The Doggerland collection does not seek to recreate Mesolithic textiles - but it wishes to prompt the imagination. Choose your materials with care - and think about the landscape and environment to which they belong.
Designing this collection was an exercise in psycho-geography for me and I would like to think that knitting these designs will become a journey through your personal landscapes too. I wanted to tell the story of a lost landscape but also remind you that we all walk in landscapes like Doggerland. Where we live was once covered by sea and in time will once again be covered.
The Mesolithic hunter-gatherers who lived 10,000 years ago were not all that different from you and me.
Doggerland: Knits from a Lost Landscape is available to pre-order until June 10. It costs £12 which is a special pre-order price (on June 10 going forward it will cost £15). The patterns will be released every few weeks and will be available as single downloads at £3 each.
Phew. I feel emotionally drained now!