Shawl week interview #2: Paula Emons-Fuessle

Jun 23, 2015 :: by Jerusha Robinson

Paula Emons-Fuessle takes us behind the scenes for a deeper look at her new shawl, Cave Point:

I chose Chickadee because I knew I wanted to do a lace/texture pattern. The roundness of Chickadee makes a clear stitch definition. It may just be my favorite of the Quince bases--but don’t tell the others! I wanted a larger shawl, too, and I knew Chickadee could pull that off easily with fewer stitches than fingering weight. My prototype was in Clay, but when Pam suggested Lichen I knew that was the perfect choice. I already was thinking of Cave Point, a place we love in Door County, WI. There are lichens all over the rocks there. Lichen is an unusual shade of green and I knew it would work with my theme.

My favorite feature of Cave Point is the way the body of the shawl coordinates and flows with the border pattern. I planned that and did a lot of swatching to make it happen. My favorite shawls are those that make sense and aren’t just a stitch pattern thrown into a shape. I do believe this is my favorite design to date.

I decided on a crescent shape and remembered an all-over stitch pattern in a Japanese stitch dictionary. I found that pattern and tweaked it through swatching and charting. Originally I wanted to have a garter stitch body with vertical rows of slipped stitches that would merge with the double decreases on the stitch pattern. I swatched that idea several ways and it just didn’t grab me. I was about to abandon the concept and start over when the words of Tim Gunn came into my head, “Make it work.” At that point I decided to stick with that stitch pattern as I already had put a lot of time into it.  I knew the stitch pattern would make the rows of garter undulate above and below and that adds interest to the pattern and reminds me of waves on a beach. So I worked those rows of garter stitch into the body of the shawl. You might say the design went from the bottom up although it is knit from the top down. I would like to say that I planned the lace pattern to look like dragonflies but that was actually a happy accident. After knitting the prototype I sent a photo to my friend, Pat, and she replied, “Dragonflies!”.  If I had worked more sequences of the stitch pattern it would not have worked out that way. I thought of changing the name to include the dragonflies but I looked on Ravelry and found, not surprisingly, that there are a lot of patterns with dragonfly in the name and even the scientific name, Odonata, so I stayed with my original title which merges lichen, water, and dragonflies.

Tomorrow, Melanie Berg gives us insight into her new shawl, January Skies.

Related posts in: Chickadee | Collection | Designers | Lace | Paula emons-fuessle | Shawl week | Shawls
Back to article grid