Monday, April 30, 2012

How a Calligraphy Passion Inspired "Lovepod" Love Knots

Top half of my first business card
When I was a teenager some decades ago, I learned how to do calligraphy. The old-fashioned kind appealed to me the most -- gilded ornate first letters and flowery scripts. I learned about fine old parchments and vellums and 'aged' them with tinting. I even tried charring the paper edges.
Lovepod inspiration

Lovepod Boa
I loved calligraphy so much that my mother's friends paid me to "write pretty" on invitations and on framed parchment as gifts. More requests came from their friends of friends, and I soon had the start of a calligraphy business in my little midwestern town.

When I moved to Seattle in my twenties, I worked first in a flower shop, then at a dessert cafe and catering company where my employers put my calligraphy to new uses.

1980's promo dessert price list

When I look back on it now, the spidery lines that I could make with fine pen tips and ink bottles felt a lot like crocheting lace with fine thread. Thinking about where to embellish lace with beads or special stitches is like adding little flourishes on and around formal lettering.

A big difference between crochet and calligraphy is that I can just rip out a faulty stitch, whereas with calligraphy, I often had to start over completely!

These love knots have something of a
botanical look too. Palestrina Lace
Love Knot Nakshatra Wrap

The reason my old calligraphy days have been on my mind lately is that I've been bringing together all of my crochet experiments and ideas for my upcoming Love Knot Adventures class
(Sorry--that class just sold out. But here's the recent newsletter issue I wrote on Love Knots. See the image gallery links in it. Here's another link too, if you're a Ravelry member: I just created a Love Knots-only category of my Ravelry projects, which are the not-yet-published designs.)
One of my early calligraphy pieces
The Lovepod Boa is one of the first crochet designs that I was excited to publish myself. It was directly inspired by my favorite method of embellishing my calligraphy, especially the fancy initial letter: I loved adding leafy, budding vines and sprigs, and tinting them. Sometimes I gilded them with a bit of silver or gold, such as the "Irish Lullaby" title at right (the entire poem is embellished like this!).
Close up of Love Knot network
Lovepod Boa, 'gilded'
I remember travelling to another place in my mind while I added these ethereal little sprigs and flowers. When I first crocheted love knots* with fine mohair yarn, the same daydream came over me again. The idea for the Lovepod Boa came from this place. 

*Here's the usual string of alternate names for this stitch: Lover's Knot, Solomon's Knot, King Solomon's Knot, Knot Stitch, Hail Stone Stitch; in Portuguese ponto segredo). It's used in Turkish Oya crochet too, but I don't know what the stitch is called.