Are you a sea person or a mountain person? I don't know what the theory behind it is, but I've always been told that you are either one or the other.
I think I might be the former. I did love the majesty and drama of the Alps (how could I not?) when we lived near them in Italy, and all the pretty little towns nestled around the lakes at the foot. If I had to choose though, I think I would always opt for the sea. The openness, the wind to blow out all the cobwebs in your brain, the freedom to just walk and walk and walk in a straight line. I get antsy when I haven't seen or smelled the sea for a while, even in the depths of winter.
Plenty to draw on then, when Crochet Now magazine announced "Beach Comber" as one their Spring themes for this year. The May issue is out now, and I've got not one but two beachy designs in it: the Sea Glass Shawl and the East Coast Treasures Wall Hanging.
Both took me out of my comfort zone - I don't design shawls much, the mandalas were a total first - but in the end they turned out exactly as I'd hoped.
Sea Glass is a lightweight shawl inspired by the treasures my Bean and I like to collect from our local beach here in the south of Sweden: stones and bits of driftwood (him), brightly coloured sea glass (me). Then, the rippling sea to wash it all in, represented by rows and rows of rhythmic TC filet stitch.
Made in Scheepjeswol Sunkissed (100% cotton 4-ply), it grows quickly, has a bit of fun with different colours and stitches towards the bottom, and is so easy to throw on over any spring or summer outfit.
For the East Coast Treasures wall hanging, on the other hand, I looked to the Norfolk beaches where my husband grew up and where we still try to spend some time each summer. Each of its three contemporary mandalas is inspired by a specific feature of this rugged coastline: the dunes, the sea and the (occasional!) sunshine, the driftwood.
For this pattern I used Vinnis Colours Nikkim, a hand-dyed, hand-balled cotton from South Africa which comes in the most delicious, vibrant colours. The maths in these mandalas in particular proved quite the brain bender; I changed colours and stitches and then hook sizes and HOOP sizes... and I ended up with a big pile of rejects before getting them right. But you know what? I'm not that sorry, because isn't it a pretty pile!
Issue 15 of Crochet Now is in UK shops now, or you can buy a digital copy through any of the platforms listed on CN's where to buy page.