Monday, April 30, 2012

How a Calligraphy Passion Inspired "Lovepod" Love Knots

Top half of my first business card
When I was a teenager some decades ago, I learned how to do calligraphy. The old-fashioned kind appealed to me the most -- gilded ornate first letters and flowery scripts. I learned about fine old parchments and vellums and 'aged' them with tinting. I even tried charring the paper edges.
Lovepod inspiration

Lovepod Boa
I loved calligraphy so much that my mother's friends paid me to "write pretty" on invitations and on framed parchment as gifts. More requests came from their friends of friends, and I soon had the start of a calligraphy business in my little midwestern town.

When I moved to Seattle in my twenties, I worked first in a flower shop, then at a dessert cafe and catering company where my employers put my calligraphy to new uses.

1980's promo dessert price list

When I look back on it now, the spidery lines that I could make with fine pen tips and ink bottles felt a lot like crocheting lace with fine thread. Thinking about where to embellish lace with beads or special stitches is like adding little flourishes on and around formal lettering.

A big difference between crochet and calligraphy is that I can just rip out a faulty stitch, whereas with calligraphy, I often had to start over completely!

These love knots have something of a
botanical look too. Palestrina Lace
Love Knot Nakshatra Wrap

The reason my old calligraphy days have been on my mind lately is that I've been bringing together all of my crochet experiments and ideas for my upcoming Love Knot Adventures class
(Sorry--that class just sold out. But here's the recent newsletter issue I wrote on Love Knots. See the image gallery links in it. Here's another link too, if you're a Ravelry member: I just created a Love Knots-only category of my Ravelry projects, which are the not-yet-published designs.)
One of my early calligraphy pieces
The Lovepod Boa is one of the first crochet designs that I was excited to publish myself. It was directly inspired by my favorite method of embellishing my calligraphy, especially the fancy initial letter: I loved adding leafy, budding vines and sprigs, and tinting them. Sometimes I gilded them with a bit of silver or gold, such as the "Irish Lullaby" title at right (the entire poem is embellished like this!).
Close up of Love Knot network
Lovepod Boa, 'gilded'
I remember travelling to another place in my mind while I added these ethereal little sprigs and flowers. When I first crocheted love knots* with fine mohair yarn, the same daydream came over me again. The idea for the Lovepod Boa came from this place. 

*Here's the usual string of alternate names for this stitch: Lover's Knot, Solomon's Knot, King Solomon's Knot, Knot Stitch, Hail Stone Stitch; in Portuguese ponto segredo). It's used in Turkish Oya crochet too, but I don't know what the stitch is called.


  1. I too had a teenage love affair with calligraphy, but my skills never developed as far as yours! I'm reminded also of learning to make/embellish quilt labels (and blocks) by drawing on cotton with fabric pens. So much fun.

    I really like the Rosebriar Mesh photo on your newsletter.

  2. Yet one more thing we have in common - I taught myself calligraphy as a teen and also earned money doing it many years later. My lack of patience did not allow me to perfect the finely detailed work that you have done. This extends to my crochet - I love detail work, but can't sit still long enough to do it. Congrats on your classes!

  3. It's nice to know other crocheters who have also enjoyed calligraphy!

  4. When I registered for chain link, I noticed that ALL of your classes, except the love knot one, were SOLD OUT! I am glad to say I did manage to get into the love knot class in time. Congrats on all of your classes selling out, Vashti! I look forward to seeing you in Manchester!

  5. Great, Renee', I'm glad I'll get to see you in Manchester!

  6. Are those more difficult to execute in Mohair? They look so beautiful...:0)

  7. I've always been fascinated by calligraphy, though never was very good at it. But - I, too, am fascinated by the many things one can do with love knots in crochet. I always love knowing others out there in crochet-land share my geeky enthusiasm for a certain type of stitch or pattern, or whatever is striking my fancy at the moment. Thanks!

  8. Jill--If crochet is a mansion, the Love Knot type of stitch is the room that opens onto a garden!
    Angela, if anything, Love Knots are *easier* in mohair because you have the most control while making the stitch. And, it's one of the few times that mohair is easy to rip out if you make a mistake. When I look at it this way, mohair + Love Knots = perfect pairing.


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