As a Knit Designer, I treasure the fact that knitting is an expression of my taste, my background, and my own experiences in life. Every piece I design or work on from other designers shows my love for the beauty of this Art.
Lace and Cable knitting are my weakness when I knit... How engaging it is to see the designs taking their form with every yarn over or every cable, and it is so hard to stop on the next row or round. I can get lost in a project like that.
But, Fair isle knitting, well... Fair Isle Knitting brings me back to the Art I grew up admiring, the Art I saw many Indigenous communities working on. It brings me back to my childhood, the Craft Fairs my parents took us to, our vacations at the beach, and where the streets were a delight to the eyes. Artists were all over with tables filled with fiber pieces, jewelry, and paintings, and many sat on the floor with their Art on a piece of cloth as they worked on new pieces. I think of those days and can get lost in the memories.
I went to a Private School where we were taught a specific Art for a year or two. My hands have always been busy, I have always been learning, and I cannot find myself not doing Art. Even after High School, I took classes on other techniques, like Wood burning and painting, Folk Art, and even became a Summer Art teacher.
From a very young age, I learned that we do not have to go with the trend and that Art is meant to be enjoyed by the Artist. Yes, we face the fact that some may not connect with it or even like it, and as a Business owner, I have to consider that. I hope some would love to have my pieces on their needles and that working on them adds to their Making time, inspire them to try certain techniques, or even learn a little more about the Art that comes from Colombia.
About The Esteban Cowl... late last year, I was chosen to be part of the Blue Sky Fibers Maker Program. If you are unfamiliar with this Company, I invite you to read about its story here.
When working on the first project with them, I chose Woolstok in Midnight Sea and Drift Wood.
These two specific colors reminded me right away of the Sombrero Vueltiao. This is the typical hat on the Coast of Colombia and one that has been part of my History and the one from every single Colombian that grew up on the Coast. To know more about the story of the Sombrero Vueltiao, please read here.
The Sombrero Vueltiao is a National Symbol of Colombia and if you go to any city on the Caribbean coast you will see it very often. At school, when we all get Dance class, we are taught the typical Cumbia dances where we wear the Cumbia dresses and you see the men wearing their typical outfits, including the Sombrero Vueltiao. Now, you see both mean and women wearing it when out and about as this is a piece that so many enjoy. I remember the first time I took my first son to Colombia, when he was just a few months old, and I asked my family to find me a baby Sombrero Vueltiao for him and once we were there, he wore it all the time. I have the cutest pictures with him wearing it.
If you have seen my Podcasts, you know that I could talk at length about Colombia and I am trying not to extend too much now because I know you would like more details about the Esteban Cowl, but, I had to share what this design means.
The Esteban Cowl is a design where the colors are Inspired by the Sombrero Voltiao.
If you have not seen my Podcasts, you may do so here. On Episode 6 I talk about this project as well. Make sure that you bring your favorite drink or a project you are working on while you watch.
Back to the pattern, The Esteban Cowl is a design where the colors Inspired by the Sombrero Voltiao and the designs remind me so much of the ones I saw growing up in the different indigenous communities. There is no right or wrong when working on a Fair Isle piece, you play with shapes, contrast in colors, I can work on a Chart for quite some time and see that everything goes. It feels liberating, it feels like painting with yarn, it feels like home.
I see this cowl and think of the Sombrero Vueltiao, typical hammocks and bags and jewelry I saw around. I worked on it having the best time ever and with a flow of memories of my parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, so many moments surrounded by Vallenato music and Colombian art.
You might think that I am just sharing too much and that in your busy schedule, you cannot read a lengthy Blog Post, but if that is the case, you can always come back to this Blog and take your time going through the links.
You may be asking what this Vallenato Music is... also part of Colombia, especially from the Coast, especially in the area I grew up in. Vallenato is one of the genres of Music that we also grow up around. The players and singers would wear the Sombrero Vueltiao. Now, to be honest, I did not like Vallenato music when growing up. It was part of every gathering or just part of your daily life. It is common to hear it in the background on almost any home and, well, part of everything. My brother even plays the Accordion, but I started listening to Vallenato because it was my choice once I married and moved from Colombia. Up to this day, 20 years later, I still shed a tear or twenty when I hear this music. Carlos Vives is one of my favorite singers, and through the years, he has done a marvelous job sharing Vallenato with the world. Some of his songs are now part of my history, like when I was dating my now husband, and we would dance to his songs. Every anniversary includes his music and if you look for him on YouTube or Spotify, you will see and hear the wide arrange of instruments and get a feel, I hope you get this feel, that is Happy Music that makes your body want to dance.
If in doubt, let me share the link to one of his songs. Watch and listen here. In this music video, you will get a clear picture of Vallenato, its lyrics are stories, you could turn every song into a movie. You will also see a little of how some of the Colombian coast looks. Sadly, there is a sharp contrast between the rich and the poor. When I was still at school and later at the University getting my Bachelor's degree in Education, I went to poor communities to teach how to read and write and to teach pregnant women how to stimulate their babies during pregnancy and teach their children at school. Many of these communities do not have schools, and mothers would gather daily at a certain place and teach the children. When I went along with other students, we would help them classify the subjects by grades. Yes, this was sad, but at the same time, it was so fulfilling. I taught them how to make materials for the kids with things they already had and how to be resourceful. Up to this day, every time I go, I bring materials to at least one school and have coloring books and colors ready to share with some of the kids that are on the streets.
My grandfather always told us that the left hand should not know what the right one does. I will not go into too many details about other things I do when I go there. Still, I will tell you that a percentage of the sales of The Esteban Cowl will go for my nephew Esteban and another percentage will be to buy school supplies for a group of children of limited means whose families fled from Venezuela. So, in advance, I thank you all for your support towards this pattern. When I go, I will do my best to document what was bought and when it was given to the schools so I can show you.
Now, a few details about the pattern:
Woolstok Worsted from Blue Sky Fibers (100% Fine Highland Wool; 370yds / 338m / 150g).
MC: Midnight Sea (183yds/ 167m / 74g)
CC: Drift wood (127yds/ 116m / 51g)
Size US 5 / 3.75 mm – 24”/ 60 cm circular
Size US 6 / 4 mm - 24”/ 60 cm circular
13” / 33 cm long unfolded and 27 1/2” / 69.8 cm circumference without being stretched.
GET THE PATTERN HERE:
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When you make this pattern, please send me a picture to my email: email@example.com, or if you post it on Instagram, tag me with the hashtag #estebancowl, so I do not miss it and Share it in my Stories.
Thank you for your time reading and commenting.