Pom Pom Quarterly first appeared in 2012, and right from the start, its meaningful curation of knitting, crochet, craft projects and thoughtful features has been warmly embraced. Take Heart is the first book from the founders and editors, Meghan Fernandes and Lydia Gluck, featuring the designs of Fiona Alice.
Fiona is originally from Nova Scotia, and after an exchange semester at the Glasgow School of Art, dreamt of ways to return to live in the UK. She wrote to some UK yarn companies, which led to a summer at the yarnmakers Toft, who produce alpaca yarns in their Warwickshire farm. That led to an internship at Pom Pom, and today, a designer’s life. She now travels between London and Halifax, Canada.
The book is a tactile beauty and handsomely produced; the intimate format sits nicely in the hand when you’re reading and is good to work from when you’re ready to pick up the needles. The uncoated paper shows off the images by Juju Vail well, and lend them a beguiling warmth. The patterns are clearly set out, and all charted patterns come with written instructions.
Take Heart’s eleven designs have in common a love of texture and classic stitches and techniques. Ribbing, slipped stitches and cables come together to create geometric patterns.
The versatility of a large, rectangle wrap knows no bounds, and Three Cliffs is one of those pieces that promises to get lots of use in the cooler months. The slipped stitches in alternating columns are set out in a chevron pattern, and there’s enough that changes from row to row to make the knitting interesting, even for those with shortened attention spans. Use your favourite DK yarn for this.
Martinique Beach, named for one of Fiona’s favourite places on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia, is a colourwork cowl is worked in the round, with a provisional cast-on grafted onto the end with Kitchener stitch. Pick four worsted weight colours in your choice of neutrals, darks or brights, and you’re away.
Caswell Bay Hat and Fingerless Mitts are thoughtful studies in texture, from the twisted rib of the hat brim to the raised geometric pattern set against the reverse stocking-stitch background. Splash out on a merino and silk blend for this, and watch the finished piece come alive as you knit.
Nothing connotes winter cosy better than handknit socks. Fiona’s Lunenburg Harbour socks, knit from the toe up with an afterthought heel and a sweet picot trim, would look beautiful in an alpaca yarn that blooms with use, such as the ones by Isager or Shibui.
A favourite piece is Ketch Harbour, a textured wrap with mesh and ribbing, worked seamlessly in short rows and finished in a whale-tail motif. Best of all, it’s seamless. This is another one to make in a luxurious wool and silk blend – and one that is going on my queue immediately!
Finally, the titular Take Heart toque. This is knit in the round and composed of cables that bloom into interlocking hearts to make a heavenly winter hat. Rowan Cocoon would be a good substitute, or Debbie Bliss’ Cashmerino Aran.
From an internship to published author, Take Heart shows what happens when you are brave enough to take the first step, and to allow yourself to be encouraged.
We have copies of the book instore for $33. Come and be inspired!