I awoke one morning this winter with a vivid dream still in my head of a fabulous formal garden in the pasture outside our house on the farm. Don’t get me wrong — the pasture is beautiful, but it’s full of native grasses and, to be honest, some weeds and thistles. It will never be a formal garden.
But I appreciate those magnificent gardens, and I’ve always planted pretty things and enjoyed seeing them grow. How to obtain what I know is unobtainable?
As is so often the case, I turned to lace. The garden from my dream was sketched out in the geometry and negative space of lace. Four paths lead out from a central point to a transitional chart which is filled with flower motifs and the pop of nupps.
The first shawl was charted and knit before I came up with an appropriate name. “This shawl is from that dream of the garden, right?” Chris said as I held the completed shawl, fresh from blocking. “Yea,” I said, “the one in the pasture. Ppppttthh…that’ll never happen, will it?”
“Nope…not on my watch, anyway. You should call it ‘Layla’ — something you want but can’t have.”
I knew the Derek and the Dominos song with the famous opening guitar riff, but I didn’t know the story behind the name Layla. It’s a Middle eastern fable of unrequited love. Majnun, a boy, loves Layla, a girl, but they are forbidden to be together. Majnun goes crazy without his love, and is denied permission to marry her by her father. Layla marries another man.
It’s not exactly a happy story, but I’m not one for being told I can’t do things. Everyone should have their Layla if they want, and if Layla wants, of course.
To obtain this Layla you’ll need some mad skills with the size fours (fives if you’re a tight knitter) and about 1000 yards of laceweight. The two pictured here are done in Lost City Silk, but it’s been knit in Oak Barn Merino as well.
Should a non-knitter come up to you and say, “OMG that is so beautiful…where can I get one?” you can tell her sorry, it’s unobtainable.