This Thing of Paper: Introducing the Psalter Shawl

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Welcome to the third 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.

The Psalter shawl is knitted in two colours of DyeNinja camel/silk 4ply. You will need one skein of the pale parchment colour, and two skeins of the rich contrast colour. The shawl is a variation upon pi-shawls with an easy slip-stitch section (you never use more than one colour a row and the repeat is surprisingly small!) and an equally easy knitted-on border (again, a surprisingly small repeat). Psalter was my travel project last autumn and it lends itself very well to being an on-the-go project as the small repeats work up as satisfyingly tiny chunks. The just one more repeat mantra works so very well with Psalter. The end product is big and gorgeous.

This was one of the first patterns I designed for the book. I knew I wanted a big, sweeping shawl (because big, sweeping shawls are the best) and I knew I wanted it to look like an illuminated letter. Indeed, the Psalter shawl is a giant C if you look at it at a 90-degree angle! I loved the idea of wrapping myself in a piece of writing, and when I fell in love with the geometrical motifs in the Luttrell Psalter, I knew exactly what to do. The yarn choice was also a no-brainer. I am a big fan of DyeNinja's saturated, rich colours and the drape of Sheila's camel-silk made it ideal for Psalter. The sik content makes the colours look as though they are illuminated from within β€” perfect for this shawl.

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The photo shoot look place in front of a 15th century building. We styled it with dramatic, strong colours and a simple red linen dress so we could really make the shawl pop. Psalter did not really need our help though - it proved to be endlessly photogenic (as the 150 photos on my computer hard-drive can testify). 

The accompanying essay looks closer at the Luttrell Psalter and asks questions about who gets to make books, and who is allowed to have a voice within these books It is possibly the one essay that comes closest to my old mΓ©tier of writing about texts β€” but I also reflect upon the idea of agency and authority in a wider sense. I wrote This Thing of Paper during a period of personal upheaval, and I think this is where you might be able to tell.

I am very much looking forward to seeing people's own takes on both the Psalter shawl and the essay. This book is so much about giving you agency to tell your own stories through my patterns. 

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