We have an amazing treat for you today! If you’re an avid Rav-o-phile (i.e. addicted to Ravelry), there’s no doubt you’ve come across Alicia Plummer. You know, classic, wearable, dare we say beach-y, just plain gorgeous designs. Well today we’re the luckiest knitters in the world, because she’s sharing her newest design, Campside, with US, right here, free, on the Pom Pom blog.
Alicia is basically our newest knitting bestie and that was all down to a rather serendipitous meeting in the old Ravelry forums. You see, Alicia was looking to find some testers in her group for a gorgeous new pattern. Someone happened to mention that there was another shawl out there, called Campfire that looked kinda similar. You may remember Campfire from way back when – two autumns ago! – we released it. Alicia, being the ever-so-gracious lady she is, got in touch, not wanting to step on any toes.
Well, you can imagine that our first thought was “Great minds think alike!” (as we consider Alicia a great mind, and like to flatter ourselves sometimes). The second thought was, Campside is quite different to Campfire, being of a top down construction and with more texture in the form of varying stitch patterns. As we got to talking, we were so happy to have found a kindred spirit, who is, like us,
A) into camping
B) into knitting
C) into making triangular-shaped knitted shawls with camp-themed names
D) into Julie Asselin.
And so enters the third party in the knitting love fest that was born out of a random obsession with knitting and camping. Julie Asselin is the unstoppably effervescent hand-dyer behind her eponymous line of yarn. We met Julie back in May and immediately fell in love with both her an her colours and have been waiting for the perfect moment to share that love with the world.
That moment has come friends! And we are so excited to share this special collaboration with you. You can download the pattern at the end of this post, but first – a story.
Being lovers of stories and storytelling, and knowing that every design, every piece of knitwear, and yes, every stitch tells a story, we thought we’d share Alicia’s story behind her Campside shawl with you. We think you’ll agree, it’s so lovely, and perhaps a very fitting way to close out the summer.
You see, Alicia’s family owned a cabin where she spent her childhood with her father. “It smells rich and warm like earth in the summer. It’s just far enough from the shore that you can hear the water faintly lapping, but close enough that the sparkles of sunlight reflect off the water and dance on the walls in late afternoon. On colder nights, the woodstove crackles in the central living room, radiating heat,” she told us.
Unsurprisingly, a place like that generated a lifetime of memories for Alicia. After her father passed away in 2007, she would go back to the cabin to feel close to him again. Over time though, the neighbourhoood began to develop and change. “While time stands still when you lose someone in your world, the world decides to keep going,” says Alicia. After a long period of thinking about it, she and her family decided to let the cabin go and find a place of their own.
It’s a small cabin on a little pond. “It’s quiet, peaceful, and ours,” she says. “This is where we will spend our summers with our children, continuing on the tradition. Camp is a magical, special place for a child.”
In a tribute to the memories, and “to help myself in letting go” Alicia decided to design pieces that would help her work through her feelings. The first of those designs, Briquette, was inspired by grilling, but Campside has more to do with her favourite memories of the cabin.
“Campside is the moment you arrive back home, drenched to the bone from pouring rain and booming thunder, knowing what’s waiting for you inside. Warm, dry clothing that soothes as only it can when you’ve been so wet. Rust & Olive plaid wool blankets that smell of rich, dry wood. The dancing flames of the woodstove, leaping and turning against the glass as the glow spreads warmth. The hushed whisper of the rain as it pelts the roof, rising to a chorus and echoing across the beams. This shawl is a picture of that moment. When you can see the storm, its raw power, be shaken by the booms, and be completely sheltered simultaneously.”
Alicia says she hopes that knitting this shawl “gives you a moment of your own Campside – that safe, dry place sheltered from the storm yet still exposed to it enough to see the beauty and wonder.”
We can’t help but think about the importance of thinking through your knitting – who it’s for, why you’re making it – when we read back Alicia’s story. Here’s to all the stories our stitches can tell!
Thanks so much to Alicia and Julie for this very special collaboration, and for sharing it with Pom Pom!
Ready to get knitting? Go ahead and download the pattern.
N.B. This pattern PDF has now been updated (April 2016) with charts and written instructions, plus all the errata has been fixed, Hurrah!