Today we're turning over the blog to Romi Hill, lace designer extraordinaire, to discuss her latest design, the Simee Dimeh Shawl. Created together with Babs' color development in two special colorways, it features a variety of lace, textured stitches, and mosaic knitting.
Babs adds: developing colors is one of the things I love doing the most, especially when it creates a result like this. The combination of colors, letting them play off one another, makes each of them stand out and have greater depth.
Read on to learn more about Romi's inspiration for this shawl:
Three years ago, my family and I moved from our home in the California wine country to Northern Nevada, on the eastern slope of the Sierras. Even though I'd grown up next door, so to speak, it wasn't until more recently that I chanced upon the incredible area where we now live. The light here is different, the air is crisp and clean, and the clouds roll over an endlessly brilliant blue sky. Hardly a day goes by without sun, and it even peeks out during storms, giving us some of the most amazing skies I've ever seen. This part of the west has a newness and a wide open feeling to it that is completely different from the west coast, where I spent most of my life. At the same time, it has a rich past, and it's not unusual to come across ghost towns and ruins out in the high desert.
Long before European settlers stood on this soil, native Americans made their home here. Calling themselves Pau Wa Lu (people of the valley), they gathered pinion pine nuts from the forests and hunted game across the Carson Valley floor and into the mountains. Among the first European settlers here were the Basques, who brought with them their shepherding heritage. Minden was a center for the Basque population, and today there are still numerous Basque restaurants and businesses. And sheep. I pass by one flock every day on the way into town, but even more fun are those I come upon in unexpected places. Much of the land here is open range, which means it's not unusual to find a shepherd watching his flock graze on the sagebrush, rabbitbrush, and native bunch grasses. Sometimes I wake to the sounds of sheep in a field across the way. The local wool used to be stored in the Minden Wool Warehouse and sent out via the Virginia & Truckee railway. (Did I mention my orthodontist even has a small flock of Shetland sheep?)
My Simee Dimeh Shawl - named after a nearby mountain pass - is the product of a merging of ideas, inspiration, colors and patterns from this extraordinary place, with the two colorways based on some favorite cowboy boots in my collection. My family jokes that I've gone native, adding to my beloved boot collection - and that may be. The truth is that the big sky and wide open feeling here make putting on a pair of boots completely irresistible, and they're a must for the local cowboy poetry festival.
But wherever you live and whatever you choose to put on your feet, I hope you'll join me in knitting up a little bit of my beautiful part of the world.
- Romi Hill
The Simee Dimeh Shawl pattern is available as part of an exclusive collaboration through December 24, 2015.