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A Shawl-Lover Special: Boo Knits

Shawl lovers will already know about Boo Knits.  With an extensive back catalogue of the most stunning intricate lace shawls as well as comforting, cold-weather shawls, Boo Knits has many devoted shawl-knitting fans.  But you may be less familiar with the woman behind the shawl knitting magic, Bev Johnson.

Last year Bev approached The Fibre Co. with an idea for a sweet collection of shawls and we were thrilled to collaborate with her. The result is The Heartfelt Collection, with four beautiful shawl designs inspired by the things close to your heart: home, kindness, and joyful activities.

We took the opportunity to chat with Bev about her inspiration.

The Heartfelt Collection

What inspired your Heartfelt collection?
I wanted to design a collection of patterns that I would wear on a daily basis and would fit my lifestyle. We live in the English countryside, miles from the nearest shop or store so there is a lot of focus on home; you are more likely to find me weeding the garden, walking the dog, or stacking logs than having a glitzy night out. A shawl is simple to throw on, keeps you warm, gives you a hug and can be popped in your bag should the sun come out. I love an accessory or garment that is versatile, and I hate wearing a coat.

Tell us a little about the designs in the collection.
Each shawl was specifically designed for the particular yarn. I always start each pattern with a seed of an idea, but it is only when I have the yarn in my hands that the design develops into something beyond the seed, and I use the idea and yarn together to create a coherent, aesthetically pleasing and comprehensive design.  I wanted a heavier weight shawl to wrap up in for quick trips out of the house,  something slightly rustic but not drab.

As soon as I saw the Arranmore Light yarn, I knew it was perfect for Homebody. And the name, well, I am a homebody.  I love being at home with a roaring fire (or the firepit lit in the summer), home cooked food, own-grown flowers from the garden and surrounded by my family.

The Confetti Farm, which is just a few miles away, was the inspiration for Larksmeadow. The Fibre Co.’s Meadow  yarn could have been created for this shawl, making it perfect for a country wedding. Light, flirty, simple to knit, easy to wear – what’s not to love?

Amble is such a lovely soft and gentle yarn. I love the emphasis on recycled nylon and its kindness to the planet. Falling in love with the yarn coincided with a friend of mine paying forward a kindness and knowing that the recipient also paid it forward. Kindness seemed the perfect name for the shawl. We should all be surrounded by Kindness; the world needs to be filled with kindness!

Cirro spoke to me about clouds and the fact that I have never grown out of cloudwatching; seeing faces, animals and shapes float across the sky. Cloudwatching warms the heart.  I enjoy the clouds rather than being disappointed that they might block the sun.

About Boo Knits

How did you get into knitting and designing knitwear?
I live in the centre of England with my husband. I have two children, both grown and married, and two grandchildren. I started knitting as I am one of those people who needs to keep their hands busy. I had been happily knitting from patterns, usually a private knit-along with my great friend Mindy Ross, and then I fell in love with a beautiful skein of yarn; there was only one skein left though and I couldn’t find a pattern for just the one skein; I decided to ‘make something up’. I knit Dragonfly Wings and posted the project on my Ravelry page. So many knitters asked me where I got the pattern, so I knit it again and wrote it up. It was the first design I made, and I have evolved since then, and though Dragonfly Wings is still available it is not an indication of my newer designs.

What inspires and influences your designs?
Inspiration is everywhere. From leaves on trees to flowers in the hedgerow to patterns in tiles.  Sometimes the basis for a design comes from a word or name.

Could you share your design process with us?
I might have an initial idea for a pattern, shape or even a name, but the main design almost always starts with the yarn. The yarn seems to let me know what it wants to be and is the biggest influence in any design. The choice of yarn can make or break any project or design. A seed of an idea can exist but it will only succeed if the idea and design work hand in hand with the yarn.

What is your favourite knitting technique and why?
I don’t really have a favourite technique; I just love the tranquility of knitting. Knitting calms the soul and soothes the mind. I love that with two sticks and good yarn something magical can happen.

What is your desert island knitting project?
Tough one! I knit Homebody twice, one after the other and that is rare, so it is a contender for the spot. I love Kindness, Tinsmith and Together; I think I have a thing for triangular shawls at the moment. If you ask me this question tomorrow, I might have a different answer. My favourite is always changing and my favourite to knit is very often different to my favourite to wear.

What’s your first knitting memory?
My Auntie Joan bought me a knitting set in a plastic basket that was shaped like a wicker shopping basket. She had the fabulous idea that she was going to teach me to knit but I held my needles wrongly and I let go of my needle to throw the yarn when I made a stitch. Auntie Joan gave up trying to teach me. It was many, many years before I picked up the needles and yarn again, but I still hold my needles wrongly and still let go of the one to throw the yarn. I knit slowly and know I could learn to knit faster but would it break the spell? Why change and risk losing the love?

You can buy the individual PDF of the pattern, or buy the whole collection of 4 patterns here.

If you are knitting any of the Heartfelt designs in The Fibre Co. yarn please do share it with us! We would love to see it. If you are sharing on social media, please use the hashtags #MadeWithTheFibreCo and tag us @thefibrecompany.

Special thanks to thyme for allowing us to use her beautiful photos.

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