Lost City Knits’ Denise Bell with new book Ultima Thule visited the Yarn Thing podcast with Marly Bird. Such lovely knitted lace closes out August and all it’s delightful adventures.
Denise Bell began crafting with embroidery (at about age 6) and cross-stitch. About eleven years ago, her friend Danny learned to knit and came home to share with Denise. They went to a shop in downtown Tulsa, OK and were encouraged to keep going. At the time, she and her husband, Christopher, grew lavender on 250 acres and sold at farmer’s markets and festivals. She attended the Taos Wool Festival and time spent learning more about dying yarns at Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch, at first for herself, but after a time, she put a basket out when they were at the farmer’s markets. The basket was often emptied and she received requests for her hand-dyed yarns.
When Denise dyes yarns, she likes mostly solid, deep colors. As she loves knitting lace, most of her yarn weights do not get heavier than fingering weights. Her husband continues to assist her with Lost City Knits, manning the booths (usually in a kilt!) with her. At Stitches Events, she also teaches and Christopher takes over on the market floor. She enjoys getting to teach what she loves, that lace knitting on the skinny yarn is not scary (I’m sure her enthusiasm would get the hardest to convince to give it a try) lace with the traditional elements like nupps and how to make them look good and with consideration for the right and left-handed knitters.
Ultima Thule: Patterns Inspired by the Shetland Islands (pronounced Thu-Lay) came about after they traveled to Scotland in 2014. In planning, Denise thought it would be fun to also get as far as Shetland too, was invited because of the times they would be there by Hazel Tindall (we’ve heard this name before — Hazel is considered to be the World’s Fastest Knitter) to attend the local weavers, spinners and dyers guild meeting. Thule is Latin and means the furthest out, in this case the islands furthest out of Shetland. While they were on the adventure, they also enjoyed hiking, kayaking and Christopher was out taking pictures in the area.
When they got home, Denise was so inspired, she began to create patterns based on the things they saw. The cover shawl is called the Kishie Shawl, it’s based a basket that folks in Shetland used to carry around with them, a utilitarian device used for fish, or peat and on market days. Denise begins this design with a woven texture and the main body of lacework depicts fish in the water. Imagine creating this shawl with 100% silk fingering weight yarn’s drapey luxury, it’s really not hard to imagine Denise’s fun in putting these projects together. The book is a treasure, a knitter’s travelogue with Chris’ pictures included, like this beautiful fishing boat and rainbow image.
Denise Bell can be followed through her website: www.LostCityKnits.com, the Lost City Knits’ Facebook page and Ravelry page. Just for fun, if you can be at Stitches Texas in just three weeks (Sept 22 to 25) Denise is teaching classes and Chris in a kilt will be in the booth! She also gets to teach at Camp Stitches in New Mexico. Ultima Thule can be purchased as a hard copy (a book) through this link, the e-book is available through Ravelry. If you purchase the book you will also get a link so this can be an extra value!
If you missed getting to hear this episode LIVE you can still listen to it as an archived episode where it aired originally: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/yarnthing/2016/09/01/lost-city-knits-denise-bell-with-new-book-ultima-thule or with your favorite podcast catcher like iTunes or Stitcher Radio. There is also Marly’s behind the scenes video posted as a Facebook Live cast to check out.