Imagine this: It is the depths of winter, snow lies on the ground, the candles of the roadside lanterns are flickering in an attempt to ward off the coming night and your horse drawn sleigh awaits. You are wearing your finest ball gown with a hooded cloak thrown over your shoulder for warmth and are looking forward to spending a happy evening in the company of good friends, wine and song. Around your neck hangs a pendant of finest sapphires, their sparkle only to be matched by the glistening ruby earrings and emerald tiara. As you step into your sleigh, you wrap a fur lined blanket around your legs and wait for the horses to begin their canter.
Since being a small girl, I have been told that I have a very active imagination. And it is this imagination that is to thank for the inspiration behind my Winter Jewels Lapghan. Maybe I had watched the BBC adaptation of War and Peace too many times, but I just couldn’t shake the idea of the finest precious stones lying on the crisp white snow. I just knew that I must somehow translate this vision in my head into crochet in the physical world.
And so the seeds of the Winter Jewels Lapghan were sown back in May. Before I even got my crochet hook out, I wanted to do some research on my subject. I have been lucky enough to visit the jewellery collection of the V&A in London a couple of times, but what really caught my eye was a large coffee table book entitled “The Jewels of the Romanovs” by Stefano Papi. It details not only the history of the last Russian Tsar and his family, but also that of their vast collection of jewellery. There are many fine photos of their brooches, parures, medals, cigarette cases, crowns and almost every other luxury item. These images were the starting point for my crochet squares.
I wanted to use texture to emulate the contours and shapes of jewels designed by some of the greatest jewellers in history while pops of red, blue, green and purple are to represent rubies, sapphires, emeralds and amethysts. The cream background reflects the pure winter snow. The intricate patterns of the four granny squares are intended to represent the opulence of these jewels. The crochet squares give each jewel its own setting and when all four squares have joined, they are elegantly framed by the border.
At just over one metre squared (approx. 40 inches), the size of this blanket would be perfect for wrapping around your lap in a sleigh on a cold snowy night, plus backing it with fleece will make it even cosier. But I think this lapghan would be just as good to cover your legs when watching TV or elegantly draped over the back of your sofa.
The Winter Jewels Lapghan has been a long time in the making and I would like to thank the many people who have helped me complete this pattern: my team of 7 pattern testers (including Nawar and Sam, and others who are too shy to be named), my partner Richard for his unending support in every way imaginable, Kay for introducing me to crochet, my Mam for her enthusiasm about my crochet work, my Dad and Gordon for their approving nods and encouragement, my lovely sisters and their equally lovely partners for fuelling my yarn obsession, and my friends (most of whom do not crochet) for listening to me bang on about crochet. And also you, my readers, (if you have got this far, well done) for giving me a purpose and a place to share my ideas and my passion.
And now all that needs to be said, is roll on Sunday, when part one, the Amethyst Flower Square will be released. Until then, happy crocheting.
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