I’ve been working on a delicious project lately – a Mystery Knitalong with my dear friend and talented designer, Stephanie Earp. Her innovative patterns combine structure and stitches so creatively, and I knew she could work magic with the little spark of an idea I had, several months ago, to create an advent calendar with a difference.
Advent calendar yarn kits have become so popular over recent years, and I see the appeal. The thrill of opening a little yarny surprise every day. An indulgence that isn’t edible or disposable. A chance to play with one-of-a-kind colours without investing in so many skeins, and a chance for dyers to get creative and experiment.
But I wanted to take a slightly different route. I love creating palettes – curated colours that fit together, in quantities that can work across a range of patterns. Yet I still wanted to play with the advent theme: the surprise of opening a mystery yarn, the camaraderie of joining with others in the surprise, the chance to offer an accessible yarn package with a lower price tag.
With my Humble Fantaisie yarn, I think I found a good fit. At 57g, these skeins are perfect for combining colours without too many leftovers. The surprisingly soft untreated single-ply texture gives a light, lofty, and warm fabric and takes dye in beautifully soft tones.
As soon as I started thinking of this idea, I thought of Stephanie. And she didn’t disappoint: the pattern she created is decadent yet cosy, challenging enough to give a sense of achievement, yet simple enough that you won’t be glancing at the pattern every few stitches. Without giving too much away, this is a rectangular stole with structural lace throughout. If you can (yo, k2tog), you can knit this!
By offering only four colours in a mystery kit with a dedicated pattern, I also want to embrace a slower pace of knitting. So many of use don’t have the time to knit even 10g per day, and advent minis can quickly mount up around us during a season that already pushes us to consume more. A season of increased social engagements, and more stress as end-of-year work piles up. I feel so much pressure around the holidays to find the perfect gift, accept every party invitation, agree to cover work shifts, etc. etc. I adore the holidays, I love the chance to see my family, but sometimes I need a quiet moment to knit – just a couple rows, by myself, snuggled up in the quiet by a glittering tree with some soft music and hot toddy.
This is where Nirah comes in. A mystery knitalong with a difference, designed to be taken at its own pace. No deadline, no clue releases – the pattern comes all at once! Work it at your own pace, in one colour or four, or more. I’ll be launching kits at the Espace Tricot Maker Fair on Saturday December 7, and any leftovers will be online on my Etsy shop on Monday December 9. The pattern will also be available for individual purchase (link to come).
Nirah is a messenger deity in the Ancient Mesopotamian pantheon. When Stephanie told me her choice of name, I thought it perfect for the advent season. But wait, I hear you thinking. We’re too late for an advent mystery kit! Well, that’s true. However, I’m sticking with the theme, because I feel we can always celebrate that which is to come.
In that spirit, I’ll be bringing in the new year with a Nirah KAL on Instagram from January 1 to February 29, 2020. (To be honest, with everything I have on the needles for Christmas projects, I think I’ll be casting on January 1 myself…) All projects are welcome to join in, no matter when you started and no matter what yarn you use. There will be prizes! One winner will be picked from the #NirahKAL hashtag, and one winner from the #NirahKAL_FO hashtag – make sure to post your finished objects there! I look forward to seeing your posts and knitting along with you!