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.
Oh crap – I think this has to be my next shawl… DAMN YOU! (But I love you still!)
Gorgeous! Your background information of Layla was interesting, thank you. And, all this time I thought George Harrison’s wife, Patti, was called Layla by Eric Clapton. Patti and Eric married. Then divorced.
Love that song. Love your shawl, and bought it! And, I have a hank of Lost City Silk in Extra Virgin that will be ‘unobtainable’ to anyone but me!
Denise wrote me the following:
**Oh and I keep meaning to reply to your Layla/Clapton comment…
It’s my understanding that Clapton referred to Patti as Layla in the same vein as the myth. He was in love with her and she was unobtainable (at least for a while) as she was married to Harrison.
“Unattainabilty is always attractive.” a quote from the book Her Fearful Symmetry.**
Now I know the rest of the story! Thank you, Denise!!!
I talked to you at Stitches South. I loved this shawl then and still do. I will have to wait for a bit to get the pattern though since I spend all my extra at the show! Do you have a reference to look at for the long stitches and the nups.