Welcome to my inaugural blog post! As I thought about what to write in this first post, I recalled a conversation when someone asked me what my favorite part about designing was. I quickly realized how much I enjoyed the connections I make with knitters around the world. My first pattern, Haruni, is a testament to the magic that happens when modern social media converges with traditional crafting. Originally published in 2009, Haruni continues to be popular with knitters around the world. Every handknit item has a story behind it; I’d like to share some of these incredible Haruni stories with you.
Sometimes the story is as simple as finding the perfect match between yarn, pattern, and knitter. As someone who rarely re-knits a pattern, I find it very gratifying to hear from knitters who have made 2, 3, or like the self-proclaimed Haruni addict Waywardstitch, 12 (!!!) Haruni shawls.
Often I get snippets of stories, as knitters write asking permission to donate their Haruni to a charity auction. Haruni shawls have raised money benefiting everything from elementary school arts programs to brain tumor research. I am constantly amazed at the generosity of knitters who donate so much time, expertise, and love. It is humbling that this simple pattern I created has played a small part in raising thousands of dollars for so many great causes. I also love to see all the lovely Haruni shawls that people are selling on Etsy.com. This gives people who don’t knit the pleasure of wearing a handmade lace shawl, and provides deserved income to knitters around the world.
As a zealous lace lover, I enjoy introducing new people to the joys of lace. I love that this pattern has been used in lace knitting classes from Alabama to Iceland. Soon after publishing Haruni, the Beginning Lace Knitters Group on Ravelry chose it as their monthly KAL project. Claire, as a recently self-taught knitter, chose Haruni as her first lace project. She shared the following with me:
“It is totally true that Haruni made a huge impact on me. You showed the patience of a saint with all of us and we learned lots of things. For me, the learning curve was huge because I was a really new knitter. But that KAL was such a positive influence on me that I honestly consider it the pivotal moment in my knitting and moved me forward to more challenging things.”
Claire has since gone on to knit some stunning lace shawls, and actively helps many other knitters who are struggling with lace. How cool is that?
Some shared stories are difficult ones. Many knitters have made a Haruni as a prayer shawl for friends or loved ones dealing with prolonged pain, illness, or grief. A warm and beautiful shawl is a tangible sign of love and concern, and I hope these shawls provide comfort.
I’ve always used knitting to relax, (I knit most of a baby hat while in early labor), many people tell me how knitting helps them through tough times in their lives. I was blown away by a knitter in Tokyo, who told me knitting her Haruni helped her stay calm during the chaos following the earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011.
Since my entire designing adventure began while knitting shawls for my wedding, some of my favorite stories are wedding related. Hundreds of beautiful brides have worn Haruni shawls. It has also been worn by lucky bridesmaids, beaming mothers, and proud grandmothers. Rachel even knit an amazing square Haruni as a chuppah for her brother’s wedding!
As a third generation knitter myself, Jo’s story about knitting a Haruni for her daughter Auna (quite an accomplished spinner and knitter herself,) particularly moved me. Jo wrote:
“I love starting a knitting project with the person I’m gifting it to in mind. I like to think of each knitted stitch as a symbol of my love and caring for that person. And so, knitting a gorgeous lace shawl for my only daughter and first-born gave me time to think of her and revisit the stories of our shared life together. You can’t ask for a better knitting experience!”
You can’t ask for a more heart-warming story. Thank you to everyone who shared their stories with me. What is your Haruni story?