From my Sketchbook: Comfort & Joy
When I started knitting as a teenager I dreamed of making a fairisle - or, more correctly, stranded colourwork - jumper. Alas, neither my skills or my patience were up to the task, but it's still an endless source of inspiration. and I've come as near to my ambition as I'm ever likely to with my new project, Comfort & Joy.
A gentle nod to the colour-work knitting that adorns many a Christmas jumper, my inspiration for this row-by-row quilt is the vibrant craft traditions of the tiny island of Muhu in Estonia.
Their fine gauge knitting is embellished with embroidery, cross-stich and crochet and its traditional colour palette of reds and greens is enlivened by hot-pink, or Muhu pink as it’s become known. The 2020 exhibition of traditional stockings from Muhu at the Estonian National Museum revived interest in its extraordinary craft heritage. Scottish knitwear designer, Kate Davies, has also written beautifully about Muhu on her blog, which is well worth a read.
Photo by Eesti Rahvusringhääling
Using those knitting techniques as my starting point, I made lots of strip sets, sub-cut them to create my 'stitches' and then chain-pieced my rows...
I found some prints from an older Lori Holt collection for Riley Blake called Cozy Christmas, which had the just the right shade of pink, along with red, aqua and green - I bought mine here - along with the perfect gingham binding fabric. And I was particularly pleased to embellish my fabric pull with a cross-stitch print from another of Lori's collections, Stitch, which felt very true to my inspiration.
Jayne quilted Comfort & Joy with swirling snow and sparkling stars.
I appreciate that pink might not be everyone's go-to Christmas colour, but a dash of your favourite colour would be an easy way to add a personal touch to your Christmas decorations. The key is maintaining a contrast in colour and tone between the rows to achieve the colour-work knitting effect (and there are plenty of vintage fairisle knits about to inspire you).
If you're already well supplied with Christmas quilts - although that never stopped me making another - rustle up a few rows to make a runner and add some festive sparkle to your kitchen table or the end of a bed.
You can find the Comfort & Joy project in issue 107 of Today's Quilter, which is presently adding some festive sparkle to our newsagent's shelves,