Welcome to the fifth of ten posts introducing the patterns in This Thing of Paper. We are close to launching, so I want to take you through the patterns and their stories.
Majuscule & Minuscule are colourwork hat and fingerless mitts, respectively. Both are knitted in the round and the colourwork pattern uses standard stranded knitting techniques. The hat has an optional pompom (although, in my head, pompoms are never optional) and the fingerless mitts have integrated thumb shaping. Both the hat and mitts are worked in Blacker Yarns Swan 4ply, a beautifully plump yarn that comes in a saturated colour range.
This hat & fingerless mitts set was among the first patterns I ever sketched for This Thing of Paper. I have an entire sketchbook filled with drawings, watercolours, and words. When I first got the idea for a knitting book about knitting and books, I sat down to look at illuminated manuscripts and early printed books. I would sketch interesting patterns and make notes on colours. This was .. 2012? Later as I began to grow certain that I wanted to do this book, I revisited my sketchbook and found it overflowing with ideas. Ideas that were obviously perfect for colourwork.
I really love designing colourwork. Figuring out where to change colours so they hit-just-so, trying to get all the colours balanced within the design, and thinking about a pattern working across a 3D object. It is good fun. I took patterns from my sketchbook — all decorative elements in early printed books — and messed about with them until I was happy.
The names Majuscule and Minuscule were suggested by Amelia Hodsdon after a long editing session. I had first wanted to call the set Upper Case and Lower Case - did you know that those names are derived from how THE BIG LETTERS and the small letters were sorted by type-setters? THE BIG LETTERS went in the upper case and so forth. However, I felt that Upper Case and Lower Case felt somewhat prosaic next to Incunabula and Rubrication. When you looked at the pattern names on the page, they just stood out for the wrong reasons. Amelia understood what I was worried about, and suggested Majuscule and Minuscule. They mean the same thing, but work better within the context of the book. Thank you, Amelia
Finally, I look at this shoot and I cannot help but think of the day I bought the coat I'm wearing. It is a woollen tweed cape/coat I picked up in one of my favourite vintage shops the day after the Kickstarter campaign finished. I saw it and thought it looked almost like a monk's robe. It was perfect for the photo shoot — you will see it in the next pattern preview too — and whenever I see it or wear it, I think of that summer's day I dragged a big, brown woollen coat across Glasgow whilst being excited about the book I was about to start writing.
That was a good day.