When browsing Ravelry for some project inspiration I came across this gorgeous shawl. When the Rainbow is Enuf by Mara Licole. It has brioche and it has lace and its inspiration comes from one amazing person.

Image by Mara Licole

The name of this shawl and its inspiration comes from American playwright and poet Ntozake Shange. Ntozake addressed issues of race in her work and her first theatre piece titled 'For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf' tells the story of seven women who have suffered oppression. It takes the form of a choreopoem which is a combination of poetry, dance and music. Twenty separate poems are performed by a cast of seven nameless African-American women identified only by colours they are assigned. Lady in red, lady in orange etc and explores the struggles and obstacles that African-American women may face throughout their lives. The colours of the rainbow becoming the essence of the women.

Mara Licole describes her inspiration for her design as this:

'This design was created to pay homage to the beautiful Ntozake Shange while highlighting her message that there is strength in individuals but when that strength is tested you can find love and even greater strength in communities that come together in solidarity. Using a rainbow as a brilliant analogy for community Shange gives us a glimpse into the importance of each individual color, as they are personified in the choreopoem, and the awe created when they bind together.'

Mara Licole

The shawl itself is knit side to side from cast on edge to cast off, giving you an off centre triangular shape. Starting with two colour brioche moving to a striking leaf lace pattern and finally ending with a picot bind off. A beautiful design with a beautiful message and a great project to think on as you knit.

I hope you find this project as inspiring as I have and how it has introduced me to the work of Ntozake Shange. If you need some more inspiration though I have put together some colour ideas from the shelves of Knit With Attitude. You will need three different colours of a 4ply yarn. Two for the brioche and one for the lace.

This combination combines Garnsurr Søkke Merino in Nuperose and Ørtle / Mihifar for the brioche and Fyberpates Vivacious 4ply in Burnished for the lace. Burnished is such a lovely bold colour against the paler brioche section it really pop.

This combination combines Socks Yeah 4ply in Quartz with Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in Pesto for the brioche and Black Elephant Merino Singles in Polana for the lace. I'm a sucker for greens and this one really speaks to me.

This combination combines Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock in Silence with Black Elephant Merino Singles in Plie for the brioche and Norne Yarn Singles in I'll be your bitch Gyda for the lace. Love this gentle combination with semi solids.

This combination combines Socks Yeah 4ply in Lepidolite with Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in Dune for the brioche and Norne Yarn Singles in Lord of the Isles for the lace. Blue and pink is always a winner with me.