St Agnes Eve
Beret – Circumference 60cm. Brim to crown – 22.5cm.
Scarf – Length (ex bobbles) – 176cm Width – 9cm.
This hat and scarf set is an interesting and quick project to knit using seven shades of Alice Starmore® Hebridean 2Ply. The beret is made entirely in the round, in the stranded technique, with the addition of a textured edging and little knots within the pattern. The beret pattern and textures are echoed in the scarf pockets, which are also knitted in the round, including the bobbles at each end. The main length of the scarf is knitted in colour blocks of a simple rib worked back and forth in rows.
This kit includes a colour-printed patterncard with full instructions and all the yarn required to make St Agnes Eve.
Jewels from the attic
The Eve of St. Agnes is a lengthy narrative poem written by John Keats and published in 1820. It was one of a number of narrative poems selected for study by my English teacher for our class of fourteen-year-olds. St Agnes was the patron saint of virgins and the story was based on the old superstition that a girl could see her future husband in her dreams if she performed certain ceremonies on St Agnes’ Eve, which fell on the 20th of January.
The tale which Keats weaves around his words is that of Madeline who pines for the love of young Porphyro, a sworn enemy of her family. It is a tale that many young teenage girls may have found bewitching, but it was not the story that captivated me. I was instantly entranced by the first verse of the poem. For me it was, and still is, a sublime combination of visual imagery and the pure sibilance of the words Keats put together. Ever since I first read it, I have recited it to myself as a perfect consolation when winter draws in and the nights are long and dark. I find it brings to life the magical essence of a still and sparkling winter’s night. I could use this verse to conjure up a host of designs, but to begin with, I felt that I should make something which offers respite from the pain of numb fingers when you are out enjoying the beauty of frosty days and nights.
Here is the verse that inspired my St Agnes’ Eve design –
St Agnes’ Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers was a-cold;
The hare limped trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
Numb were the Beadsman’s fingers, while he told
His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
Like pious incense from a censer old,
Seemed taking flight for Heaven, without a death,
Past the sweet Virgin’s picture, while his prayer he saith.