On the Threshold: Doggerland

October 2014 326Tomorrow I am releasing the last Doggerland pattern (more on the actual pattern when it's released!) and it is a bit emotional. I first started working on Doggerland in 2011. The first few sketches were rough outlines of motifs, but soon I began sketching all sorts of things: shells, driftwood, coastal outlines.. then I started reading about Mesolithic archaeology, I met with archaeologists, I delved into Land Art & psychogeography, and then set myself some parameters:

+ The Doggerland moodboard

+ A limited palette of colours:  I ended up using mainly undyed yarns and the only dyed hue is the vibrant green you see in the last shawl (and in the Gillean hat & wristwarmer set). I chose the green because it reminded me of seaweed - it'd be a colour that Mesolithic people would have seen. I did wonder about using wool rather than flax, as domesticated sheep for wool-production would still be a few millennia out.

+ A limited palette of stitches: I wanted to strip back what I understood about lace knitting, colourwork, and textures. I looked to Mesolithic artefacts like worked flint, carved bone, and late-Mesolithic pottery shards for inspiration. I was really interested in how Mesolithic people used geometric shapes and lines in their work. Garter stitch ended up forming the backbone in the collection and i also strove to use a pared-down lace vocabulary (which was one of the hardest challenges I set myself).

I ended up designing and writing nearly 25 patterns for the collection - most of which I also knitted. Obviously most of these designs never made it into the collection for one reason or another - and it meant an enormous amount of work on my part. Still, I wanted a coherent collection with a very distinct formsprog (mode of expression - though I like the Danish phrase better: "shape language" which contain the making and moulding aspect of creating your own creative idiom).

I got there in the end.

It was not all plain sailing. I became increasingly critical of the work I was producing. I also found myself being dragged in various directions because Doggerland was all me - and I still had other work commitments. I was working on some very non-Doggerland commissions as the same time and it was very, very hard to keep the various design vocabularies apart. I think I succeeded, but only through gritted teeth and a lot of determination.

Throughout my life I have continued ploughed  my own paths and Doggerland was yet another one of those endeavours. I could have made things easier for myself by hiring people or doing it through a publisher, but I wanted total creative control. So, from 2011 to 2014 and we are on the threshold. I am nearly there. I feel very, very odd about this.

Stay tuned tomorrow x