IS #75: Under the Sea

My apologies for missing my Inspiration Saturday posts over the last couple of weeks, I finally have a moment to breathe today! Let’s dive right into it, shall we?

I don’t know how it’s possible that I got to my 75th IS post without featuring Hunter Hammersen. I’ve mentioned her designs plenty of times on this blog but have apparently failed to write a comprehensive post about her work, which is ridiculous since I instantly purchase every book of patterns she publishes. I love her design sense and in particular I love the inspiration behind her Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet series.

“Curiosity cabinets were collections of wonderful objects brought together to inspire, delight, and inform. I loved the idea of assembling a knitter’s curiosity cabinet—one full of fancy edgings and captivating stitch patterns and fabulous shapes instead of shells and fossils and seeds. These books are the result.” – H.H.

Curiosity cabinets (full of shells, bones, plant specimens, fossils, preserved animals, etc.) have always appealed to me… they encapsulate everything I love about museums, science, natural history, and the sense of wonder with which insightful people view their world. Marrying that idea with knitting patterns was a stroke of genius. Hunter has designed 2 patterns — one sock and one accessory — based on each vintage illustration in her books of either plants (volume I), butterflies (volume II), or marine life (volume III).

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My copy of volume III.

When I read that the third volume would be based on marine illustrations, I was particularly excited (my job involves researching marine organisms). I confess that after flipping through, I was a teensy bit disappointed with how some of the prints were interpreted into knitwear — but perhaps I had particularly high expectations. Some of the sock designs feel a little bit repetitive (many have a similar look) and there were a few designs for which I couldn’t really see the relationship to the print. I think some of the gorgeous prints could’ve been interpreted in different ways that might have made for more interesting designs. That said, the book is and admirable piece of work and is full of lovely things that I have already queued to knit someday. Here are some of my favorites.

Copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

The cover sock, Zostera marina, is absolutely wonderful. I want it in my sock drawer right now. The color, the wavy lines, the BFL sock yarn it is knit from… sigh. I want it. The difficulty with a pattern like this (for me) is finding the right sock yarn. A vast majority of my stash consists of variegated colorways, which just won’t work well with all the vertical lines and stitch details in this sock. Looks like someone will need to enhance her semi-solid sock yarn stash! (Aw, shucks.)

Copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

In truth, the stitch pattern used in this Padina pavonia sock is nothing new (it’s a variation of the Old Shale or Feather-and-Fan stitch) but it still looks really great in this sock and I think it’s one of the few patterns in the book that would actually play really nicely with variegated or stripey yarn.

Copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

I really dig the funky stitch used in these Planorbis corneus socks. This is one where I don’t quite see how the pattern was inspired by the print, perhaps because the stitch used reminds me so much of rotifers (microscopic aquatic organisms) and that’s all I see when I look at it, not shells. However, it’s still a fine-looking sock with a basically simple pattern and really fun detail, so I’m bound to make it someday. It’s also available free on Knitty.

Copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

I have nothing really to say about this Fucus asparagoides socks except that I am a sucker for lacy socks, thus, I love them.

Copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

Finally, I am a big fan of this Pelagia noctiluca hat. It’s lacy, slightly slouchy, does an excellent job of evoking its inspiration print, has great crown decreases, and is knit with DK weight yarn which is a perfect weight for stylish hats. This one is very likely to happen.

Do you have a favorite Hunter Hammersen pattern? What’s been inspiring you, lately? Leave a comment and/or share your blog post with us below!

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