There has to be a knitting Muse. I am not quite sure what she is called: there are a number of options. For example, there is a Greek Goddess, Clotho, who specialised in spinning and weaving. There are also medieval images of the Virgin Mary with knitting needles. Whatever – I need the Muse right now.

I don’t normally do a lor of designing but I have this design going round in my head. Last year I bought some wool from Brackenside Farm in Northumberland. We go there every year so the sheep that provided the yarn are, if not close friends, then at least of my acquaintance. I also rather liked the thought of knitting a garment in yarn from a Cheviot cross sheep which was born and raised within view of Cheviot, which lies to the west of the farm.

Brackenside sheep

Brackenside sheep

Anyway, this has led to the current bout of inspiration because, if you look east instead of west from Brackenside Farm there is a pretty good view on the North Sea. The farm is really close to Holy Island (which translates as Lindisfarne for those who don’t know any better). In fact, the cattle from the farm are taken to graze on the island from time to time. So the design had to be called Holy Island and it is going to be a cabled wonder.

Don’t argue. It just had to be. One glance at the sinuous beauty of the Lindisfarne Gospels and the justification for cables is complete. But there are also the upturned boats which have been transformed into huts down by the harbour and the snaking ripples of sand revealed when the tide goes out and the island joins the mainland for a few brief hours each day. The cables are therefore a given. I know what they look like and I know where they are going on the garment.

The real problem has been the shape of the jacket, which wasn’t even a jacket when I started out. It started life (in my imagination, of course) as a shawl-collared jumper with long sleeves but has somehow gradually been transformed into a short, swingy jacket with a fitted bodice. This thing has a life of its own. I convince myself I have everything settled but then I see something and the design alters. Right now I am waiting for the Knitting Muse to let me know what sort of collar is approriate. I thought Peter Pan (ish), but I could well be wrong. I think the sleeve are mid-length – sort of down to the elbow – but are they wide or fitted? And just when I was fixated on collars and sleeves – and had written half a bog post on the subject – another idea nudged itself to the front of my brain…

Do I really REALLY need to incoroporate a horizontal pleat of stocking stitch at bodice level to give the illusion of braid??? She has to let me know.

The problem is, I know the Greeks didn’t have much to do with Holy Island, which may be making the life of my Greek Muse a tad difficult. Then again, the links between Cheviot sheep and Nazareth don’t seem to be all that obvious either. And neither Greece nor Israel enjoy the balmy climate of North East England, so maybe the Muse is having a few problems sorting the inspiration thing out.

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