Saturday, April 5, 2014

No Longer Hapless

Thank you to everyone for your comments on Rebekah's guest post. I thought I should clear up something before I go on to the subject of this post though. Kate expressed it better in her comment than I ever could. She said "there is no 'perfect adoption' just as there is no 'perfect family'. There are just families, with stories."

Now, on to being hapless. Soon after Kate Davies' Colours of Shetland book came out last year I cast on for the Northmavine Hap. I am not a lace knitter. I am afraid of knitting lace. But I fell in love with the beautiful colours in this hap, and decided to gather up my courage and cast on. Except for one mistake early on, when I was knitting late in the evening and didn't notice I hadn't switched colours where I should have, I was making good progress. Then we put our house up for sale.

I put the hap aside for awhile, thinking that I would pull it back out once we got settled into our new home. But it's always a deadly thing to stop working on a project. All momentum is lost, and other new projects look so much more appealing than the stale one gathering moths in the closet. Then I thought for sure I would pick it up again after returning from Shetland, but then I got onto that Fair Isle kick.

Finally, after a year's time out, last month I pulled the hap out of hibernation. It took me almost as long to figure out where I was in the pattern, and what I was doing, as it did to actually finish it.


A hap is meant to be practical - something worn to protect against the cold and wind. It is long enough it can be wrapped around and tied at the back, keeping it out of the way while one works. This seems like a good feature, even if I don't plan to be out cutting peat for the fire any time soon.


It is the polar opposite of the fine knitted shawls one usually associates with Shetland. In fact, when we were in Shetland last September Jean and I were corrected when we called a hap a shawl. I'm still not sure what to think of the information that lady gave us though, as I have since seen haps called shawls. If anyone wants to weigh in on this I would love to hear if the lady was correct. Can you call a hap a shawl?


I had my doubts about just how warm this hap would be, given it is riddled with holes (intentionally put there, not the kind left by moths). It turns out it is perfect for cool spring days, and I think I will be wearing this a lot.

Ravelry details

I actually kind of liked knitting this, and would like to try it in a different colour scheme. I'm open to suggestions for colours. Except for yellow. I look like I have a tropical disease if I wear yellow.

32 comments:

  1. It's simply lovely and you wear it well. Looks like a shawl to me :)

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  2. Oh wow, that is gorgeous. I don't care what they call it! Those colors are great on you, and it looks so cozy, perfect to ward off a spring chill.

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  3. It's really beautiful. I love the colors and the intricacy of the knit. Well done!

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  4. WOW! That is a beautiful whatever you call it. I mean it's beautiful, whatever you call it.

    I don't do well with yellow either. I think I've only owned one--and it attracted bugs.

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  5. I think pinks/wine/maroon etc would suit your colouring. This shawl is a good size. I've never heard the word "hap" before, so that's something I've learned today.

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  6. I never heard the word "hap" before either. But a rose is a ose...and however you call that thing, it is beautiful!

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  7. We learn so much from blogs: I have never heard of a hap, and would have called it a shawl. A lovely friend knitted me a pink one two years ago, and it is always called the shawl. But maybe now I'll change its name! Yours is really lovely, and the colours suit you. Perhaps try the new Pantone colour of the year, Radiant Orchid, mixed with subtler colours, for your next one?

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  8. I have no idea about the name, but it is very pretty! I hope that you enjoy wearing it now that it is finished. xx

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  9. Looks great! I love that colour combo!

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  10. The only thing to stop it being a shawl is the tying in the back - have never seen a shawl do that. However, I am a complete newby to knitted things (apart from when I was little and my Mum and Grandma knitted me loads of stuff), so it's probably best if you ignore me!!!!!!

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  11. Hi Kristie, I did a search on "hap" and found this in the Merriam-Wesbster dictionary: dialect: something (as a bed quilt or cloak) that serves as a covering or wrap--first known use: 1742 The first known use of shawl is Persian in 1662. My guess, then, the key is the "dialect" -- hap is peculiar to that ladies' region for the past 250 years. For the rest of us shawl has been around longer having come through the trade routes probably. Of course, this is all speculation on my part as I'm not a scholar by any stretch!

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  12. It's lovely, Kristie - looks really cosy, and so practical to be able to tie it at the back. And I bet you'll soon be feeling the urge to knit another lace project, now that this one is under your belt! -- Ruth

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  13. I've never heard the term 'hap', but it is what it is, and you seem to wear it well. I love the shades of blue on you. Wendy x

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  14. I really like that, great colours and perfect with your sweater.

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  15. From what i know Hap is the Shetland word for a shawl of that shape so we wouldnt call it a hap shawl as that would be like saying a shawl shawl, if that makes sense. Either way, it is lovely on you! Ella x

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  16. Hap is a new word for me, I always like learning new words. I quite like lace knitting but it needs some concentration, doesn't it? Your hap is beautiful, I never thought of wrapping one around my body. In fact, the reason why I have never knitted a shawl/hap, is because the flappy ends would annoy me too much. There you go, I learnt a new word and of a new sensible way to wear a hap. I would probably choose purples, dark reds and orange for mine. Cx

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  17. I too have never heard of a hap and would call this a shawl without hesitation. Mill girls in Lancashire used to wear their shawls like this when my grandmother was young. It's gorgeous and in one of my favourite colour combinations. I too can't wear yellow even though I love it as a colour.

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  18. Oh that's beautiful. The colours work perfectly! Ros

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  19. That is one incredible shawl, I love it. I am thinking purples and maybe a pink would be lovely for number two.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  20. Whether hap or shawl, I love it! I'm with Meredith, I think purples and pinks or maybe my daughter's favorite combo, gray and pink. :o)

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  21. Love your hap shawl, beautifully done!

    I really like the colours that Kate Davies and you used, but an alternative would be autumn colours (brown, orange and red hues) or perhaps natural undyed colours? You could use the J&S supreme for that!

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  22. I have a shawl that ties in the back, I wear it around the house a lot. Could be striking in black and white and grey.
    (Thanks for the nice acknowledgement, btw.)

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  23. One of my mother's friends made one for her years ago though I have no idea where she got the pattern...she called it a shawl...and it is ideal to stop mother feeling chilly when she is sitting for long periods as it is both warm and light enough not to be constricting.
    I loved the colours...would green and grey be nice?

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  24. I have never heard of a hap, so I would be saying shawl too. The colours you have chosen look great on you. Unfortunately I am having a yellow time in my life. My winter coat is yellow, I have scarves of yellow and to be honest I'm tempted by anything in yellow. Burnt orange is another colour that is taking my fancy too. As yellow is not for you have you thought of plum, mauve and deep purple?

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  25. Oh, I LOVE this! I think the practicality of making it long enough to wrap and tie is brilliant! I think this is just lovely. I could see having a couple of these in rotation for cool summer nights and throughout the fall!

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  26. My mother recently used the expression " I could be doing with a good hap " I was stunned as she is not a knitter. She said it is an old scottish expression meaning to wrap or cover oneself. Her aunt would tell her when she was little to " hap herself up " meaning wrap up it's cold. My Mum and I are from Glasgow ( Scotland )

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  27. My gosh, it's pretty. I clicked over to Ravelry to add it to my queue (sigh), and realized how infrequently I visit my Ravelry account these days. I used to spend half my day on that site! I really miss knitting but can't seem to get anything done on my WIPs. But it's fun to browse my queue anyway, dreaming of what I'll eventually make. ~Kim

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  28. I haven't heard of hap before either! Your hap is fantastic and I love those colours! Sarah x

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  29. Never heard of a hap before but yours is gorgeous!!! Love the colours. I've only just finished my first lace shawl and it felt like I had climbed Everest at the end - tricky stuff! Mel x PS I really enjoyed Rebekah's guest Post too, very beautifully articulated x

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  30. A hap is a different beast to a Shetland shawl, generically a wrap and there aka a shawl but not called that, if that makes sense. Yours looks fabulous :)

    And I love the new look to your blog, I meant to say before :)

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  31. love the colours in your hap. I knitted one in a soft grey a few years ago (I call it my Tasha Tudor wrap) :-)
    your blog header is gorgeous!
    have a great weekend ♥

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