What Maya Knits - Filigree Sweater by Julie Knits in Paris
There is this saying I've kept coming back to throughout my adult life, which goes something like 'if it ain't broken, don't fix it.' the saying originates from Punk culture and the DIY movement, it is about sustainability, and a reflection on why 'replacing' and 'adding to' is quite symptomatic of our current culture. But I seem to be adding this attitude to many many more aspects in my life, also my knitting, and while working on this sweater it kept coming back to me again and again - 'if it ain't broken, then why fix it?'.
As makers we tend to get drawn towards the newest, most recent, the launches, the 'hot right now', like moths get drawn to the flame, and we easily forget what we saw, discovered or fell in love with last time we were looking. But then there is the complete opposite as well, certain projects deserve to be worked again and again. I know some knitters that have been making a multitude of versions of the same design for years, and that never stray towards the flame at all. They are completely committed to and deeply in love with the one sweater, the one hat the one shawl, and are perfectly content with having met 'the one', no need to search for anything else, the projects have been worked to perfection, to the degree that they know the patterns by heart and can make them blindfolded - with stunning results every time. I do not belong to this camp. Honestly I struggle with everything repetitive coming to my knitting, to the degree that finishing that second sleeve or that second sock always seems like a drag, and this is probably why my WIP pile mostly consists of jumpers with half a sleeve left to do...
Enters my dear friend Julie of Julie Knits in Paris, and what I call, if I may, a strike of genius! The Filigree Family.
Starting out with one of the most stunning designs I know of, the Filigree Wrap, originally developed for another dear friend of mine Tuva of Norne Yarn, and her unbelievably gorgeous hand dyed yarns. Julie developed this design back in 2019 to compliment Tuva's release of her Merino / Silk / Yak Singles, and can I just say that these two, Julie's design and Tuva's yarn were just made for each other, a true match made in heaven! We're talking a tiara inspired lace motif, brioche, golden hues, jewel like depths of colours. To this day I've never seen anything as stunning as this, and it really makes my creative juices flow like nothing else, but admittedly the size of this project makes quite a commitment - and it is still on my to-do list, however let me assure you it is just a question of time (and this is where it gets problematic for me because I don't have much of it) before this project finds its way onto my needles.
Speaking of time, and fast forward to last summer of 2020 when we were in the middle of lock down and I as many others found that I had more time between my hands than in like forever. Julie presented an answer to my Filigree-dreams and made a call out for test knitters for her then latest design, the Filigree Sweater. needless to say, I was all on it! 'GIVE IT TO ME!!!' I shouted at Julie (as far as one can shout in text messages). This design ticks all my boxes, it is sexy, it is boxy, it was shiny and new, and most importantly it has what Julie describes as the party proof tiara lace panel. Later I found this is absolutely true, wearing this sweater makes you want to hold a glass of Champagne in your hand - and what is more the pattern is easily adaptable.
I wanted a shorter version that the original and removed half a lace repeat at the bottom, and I wanted a somewhat more modest neckline so I removed another half repeat between closing the neckline but before dividing for the sleeves, adjusted the decreases at the neckline to make sure I ended up with the same stitch count at the shoulders - and voila (as Julie would say) a Filigree that fits me perfectly. I've been living in my sweater ever since, except from this week as I've had to lend it to my shop dummy - and I will tell you why in just a second.
But going back to my introduction and why this saying of mine kept popping into my head while working on my Filigree. If it ain't broken then why fix it? The Filigree Lace is what I will call a classic, the design that deserves to be worked again and again and again, because it is just as stunning and versatile every time, and party proof, it makes you feel gorgeous. Also, it is one of those that seems so much more complicated than what it is, quite easy to work but with an undeniable impressive result! Adding to my (and many others') need of variation, Julie has incorporated the Filigree into even more designs to fit both time, patience and also the costs. Included in the Filigree Family are now both the Filigree Hat and the Filigree Tee. What more can you wish for?
Finally, I've got a secret to reveal. I've lent my sweater to the shop dummy, because we've had a new delivery from Tuva of her stunning Merino / Silk / Yak Singles, and my Filigree is now shown off in all its glory towards our Norne Yarn wall! The secret is: we also have our very own custom dyed Norne colour in stock - the Hoddmime's Forest. Tuva and I have been developing this very special green through the last months of lock down, and the story behind it is so special it really needs a blog post of its own, so consider this a sneak peek. 'Someone' was not able to wait a second and just had to get his hands on this the moment it arrived, so to tickle your fancy I'll just throw in a little work in progress from George. He is working another gorgeous design of Julie's, what could be more apt than Tuva's Arrows? This one only takes one hank of the Merino / Silk / Yak Singles to complete. We'll tell you more about it when it is done, but for now - Hoddmime's Forest, our Filigree Kits, and all the incredibly gorgeous shades of Norne Yarn's Singles are back in stock!