Inspiration for a design can strike at any time! I was watching the TV series Bones one day, when the background to the current scene suddenly struck me as more interesting than the dialogue. Two characters were holding a conversation in front of a trellis room divider. Luckily, I was watching a DVD and could pause and rewind so that I could start scribbling ideas.
And just like that, the Trellis pattern was born. Trellis is a warm and roomy tam, featuring a radiating all-over pattern of curves and straight lines. It is knit in two colours of Jamieson’s Spindrift 4ply yarn (shown here in Sky and Purple Heather).
Papaver rhoeasis the botanical name for this weed; common names for it include common poppy, corn poppy, corn rose, field poppy, Flanders poppy, or red poppy. It is a notable annual agricultural weed, appearing in cultivated fields during the summer all over Europe.
The leaves, stems and bud coverings are a blue-green, the four-petalled flowers are a rich scarlet with a purple base to each petal, and the seed capsule is an intriguing shape, a bulbous cup with a little cap to keep the rain away from the seeds and to help distribute them in the wind..
field poppy produces an enormous amount of pollen, one of the highest
pollen-producing plants in the UK, and is therefore an important food
source for pollen-collecting/consuming insects, such
as many species of beetle.
As far as human consumption goes, the poppy’s black seeds are
edible, and can be eaten either on their own or as an ingredient in
bread; oil made from the seed is highly regarded in France. The
petals contain a red dye which is used in some medicines and wines;
in traditional folk medicine, it was used for gout, aches, and pains.
The petals were used to create a syrup that was fed to children to
help them sleep, although there is no opioid content.
My design for this tam ignores the beautiful but overly-familiar flower and instead uses the nodding flower buds, the seed capsules and the tiny black seeds. The wheel of the tam is a representation of the cap sheltering the seeds in their capsule. The seeds can be worked as just colour, or you can add small black beads making this an unusual and interesting tam.
Wild oats, (genus Avena),
are a variety of tufted annual grasses of the family Poaceae, native
to Eurasia and Africa. Wild oats are sometimes cut for hay, and young
plants provide forage for grazing animals. All species have edible
seeds, and domesticated oats (Avena sativa) are an important
cereal crop in temperate climates around the world; several other
species are locally important food crops. A number of wild oat
species are considered weeds in agricultural fields and can be
difficult to eradicate.
oats are erect grasses with long flat linear leaves. The
inflorescences are typically large and loose and bear minute bisexual
flowers. The ovary is characteristically hairy, and some species
feature long awns (bristles) on the seeds.
of the best-known species is the common wild oat (A. fatua),
which has become a common field and roadside weed; originally native
to Europe and C and SW Asia, it has now spread throughout temperate
regions of the world. It grows in small tufts about 0.9 to 1.2 metres
(3 to 4 feet) tall. Mature spikelets are bell-shaped, with bent
Wild oats grow with abandon all over
my garden, popping up in borders and vegetable beds alike. I love
seeing their feathery heads dancing in a summer breeze. Some heads
are long and narrow, others, where the individual seeds within the
seed head have started to separate and mature, are wide and
As a food for humans, the seeds are
particularly valuable. The seed ripens in the latter half of summer
and, when harvested and dried, can be stored for several years. It
has a floury texture and a mild, creamy flavour. It can be
used as a staple food crop in either savoury or sweet dishes.
The seed can be cooked whole, though it is more commonly ground into
a flour and used as a cereal in all the ways that oats are
used, especially as a porridge but also to make biscuits,
sourdough bread, etc. The seed can also be sprouted and eaten raw or
cooked in salads, stews, etc. Roasted, the seed can be used as
a coffee substitute.
Birds love the seeds once they are
ripe, my chickens can strip a plant of its seedheads in seconds.
Medicinally, it is considered a diuretic. Cosmetically, a meal made from oats can be added to bathwater or used as a facial scrub. The straw has a wide range of uses such as for bio-mass, fibre, mulch, paper-making and thatching.
My design for this tam uses several elements of the wild oat plant; the three-part seedhead on its drooping stem, the leaves, and the opening head revealing the three seeds themselves. The interlocking elements create another fortuitous motif, heart shapes in different sizes.
This is the second in my collection of tam patterns based around the theme of Weeds, this pattern uses three colours of Jamieson’s Spindrift yarn to create a distinctive hat.
The teasel is a fascinating plant, very well
guarded by sharp spikes along stem and leaf margins, with a mass of
tiny lavender-coloured flowers bursting through the seed head in
bands, starting with the centre of the
flower head and then moving in waves down to the base and up to the
tip. They may be
little flowers but
they nevertheless provide abundant nectar
for bees, ants, and hoverflies, and once finished flowering the
goldfinches move in to feast on the seeds.
Although the teasel does not generally provide food for humans, the young leaves are edible although one must take great care to avoid the spiny, stout hairs. Teasel leaves can be consumed raw, cooked or added to a smoothie. The root can be used in a tea or for making vinegar or tinctures. The root has many health benefits as it contains inulin and a chemical that destroys the itch mite causing scabies.
have an important place in the history of fibre. Dipsacus
was widely used in textile processing, providing a natural comb for
cleaning, aligning and raising the nap on fabrics, particularly wool.
It differs from the wild type in having stouter, somewhat recurved
spines on the seed heads. The dried flower heads were attached to
spindles, wheels, or cylinders, sometimes called teasel frames, to
raise the nap on fabrics (or tease the fibres). By the 20th century,
teasels had been largely replaced by metal cards, which can be made
uniformly and do not require constant replacement as the teasel heads
wear. However, some people who weave wool still prefer to use teasels
for raising the nap, claiming that the result is better; in
particular, if a teasel meets serious resistance in the fabric, it
will break, whereas a metal tool will rip the cloth.
The brown, oval, spiky seed heads of
the teasel are a familiar sight in all kinds of habitats, from
grassland to waste ground, even cultivated in gardens for their use
as an ornament.
The the design for this tam was inspired by the spiny bracts that guard the seed head, and the overall pattern of tiny flattened triangles seen when you look deep into the seed head.
The European Swift is a much loved visitor to the UK, but one which is sadly in decline. This tam pattern celebrates swifts wheeling over the English countryside in summer, an iconic sight and sound. I have chosen a monochrome palette for this tam; you could use bright or muted colours. Instructions are given for four sizes, to fit small, medium narrow, medium wide, or large. The narrow and wide sizes refer to how full the tam part of the hat is. This tam is roomy and warm.
Suggested yarn: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift; 4ply; 100% wool; 105 m/ 115 yds per 25 g / 0.88 oz ball: 1 or 2 balls of each colour, depending upon size. Sample shown in 104 Natural White and 126 Charcoal.
Small, medium narrow, medium wide, large, to fit head circumferences 54 cm (58 cm, 58 cm, 62 cm) / approx. 21 ¼” (23”, 23”, 24 ½”) at the brim. Finished sizes at the brim, unstretched, 45 cm (49 cm, 49 cm, 52 cm) / approx. 17 ¾” (19 ¼”, 19 ¼”, 20 ½”).
Needles: circular needles or DPNs, sizes 2.75 mm [UK/Can size 12, US size 2] and 3.25 mm [UK/Can size 10, US size 3].
The Swifts Tam pattern is available from the Granary Knits Payhip Store. There is a 25% discount on all tams, just enter coupon code Tam25 at checkout.
This tam pattern features the beautiful leaf colours of the European Beech tree in Autumn. While the lower branches are still green, the middle and upper tiers graduate through yellow, russets, and rich red shades. Instructions are given for four sizes, to fit small, medium narrow, medium wide, or large. The narrow and wide sizes refer to how full the tam part of the hat is. The hat, being a tam, is roomy and warm.
Suggested yarn: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift; 4ply; 100% wool; 105 m/ 115 yds per 25 g / 0.88 oz ball. Sample shown uses 8 colours, no more than 45 m / 50 yds of any one colour:
Dark green 147 Moss Pale green 998 Autumn Pale yellow 230 Yellow Ochre Dark yellow 1190 Burnt Umber Orange 1200 Nutmeg Russet 261 Paprika Red 187 Sunrise Dark Brown 235 Grouse
Sizes: Small, medium narrow, medium wide, large, to fit head circumferences 54 cm (58 cm, 58 cm, 62 cm) / approx. 21 ¼” (23”, 23”, 24 ½”) at the brim. Finished sizes at the brim, unstretched, 45 cm (49 cm, 49 cm, 52 cm) / approx. 17 ¾” (19 ¼”, 19 ¼”, 20 ½”).
Feather Cowl complements the Feather Cap Beanie and Feather Mittens patterns previously published. It is worked in the round, in stranded colourwork, using ten colours of Jamieson’s of Shetland wonderful pure wool Spindrift yarn. The motif itself and the colours I have chosen reflect the feather patterns and colours of my flock of hens.
The pattern can be purchased from the Payhip Granary Knits Pattern store, either as the single pattern, or as part of the Chicken Knitting e-book containing all four patterns.
Of all animals, I think I have always like birds the best, probably influenced by my Mother, who kept Zebra Finches, Canaries, and Lovebirds, and avidly watched the wild birds in her garden. She even had a Silkie cockerel, rescued from a school egg-hatching program and given the run of the house and garden for many years. It was not until 2007 that I kept any birds of my own, and I started with hens. I liked the idea of fresh eggs for breakfast, but the day we acquired Hetty, Betty, and Letty, was the day I lost my heart to them. As soon as I held one in my arms, I was smitten, and the longer I have kept them, and the better I understand them, the more I see their individual characters, their behavioural traits, their likes and dislikes, their amazing colouring, the variation of comb and wattle shapes, their unique song.
When I started designing knitted textiles, my flock of hens (and one cockerel) featured very prominently in my inspiration. This first collection of patterns is a result of that inspiration, and covers the stranded colourwork designs based upon feather shapes and colours.
Designed to match the Feather Cap Beanie, and the Fingerless Feather Mittens released a few weeks ago, these full mittens reflect the patterns and colours of my little flock of beautiful Cream Legbar hens (and one cockerel).
Full Feather Mitts are stranded knit mittens, using ten colours of Jamieson’s of Shetland wonderful pure wool Spindrift yarn. The motif itself and the colours I have chosen reflect the feather patterns and colours of my lovely Cream Legbar chickens: Freddie, Sorrel, Sage, and Lavender. From a distance they look a like a dull brown, but close up, their feathers are a beautiful brown/grey, with touches of cream and pink. The four background colours and six foreground colours reflect this lovely effect.
Suggestions are made for other colourways, notably a lovely monochrome palette.
Feather Cap is a stranded knit hat, using ten colours of Jamieson’s of Shetland wonderful pure wool Spindrift yarn. The motif itself and the colours I have chosen reflect the feather patterns and colours of my lovely Cream Legbar chickens: Freddie, Sorrel, Sage, and Lavender. From a distance they look a like a dull brown, but close up, their feathers are a beautiful brown/grey, with touches of cream and pink. The four background colours and six foreground colours reflect this lovely effect.
The pattern gives three sizes; teen/small adult, adult, and large adult. In addition to the subdued palette I also provide suggestions for a more brightly coloured palette and for a monochrome colourway in shades of grey.