A hat and cowl design inspired by the sunlight filtering through trees.


Written by Kieu


Shivelight hat and cowl designed by Thien-Kieu Lam

Introducing my newest knit design – Shivelight! It’s a matching hat and cowl design that is featured in the 2015 winter collection of Twist Collective.

The idea for this design came from my obsession with language, specifically with my discovery of the Japanese word komorebi, a noun for the “sunlight filtering through trees.” I love these kinds of words (usually found in languages other than English), which encapsulate an entire situation, state of being, or phenomenon in a single word. So succinct!

With this image in my mind, I sat down with some graph paper and a pencil. My original swatch looks nothing like the finished design. I would show you, but that swatch seems to have disappeared into a black hole somewhere. It didn’t quite capture the feeling of komorebi so I filed the idea in a drawer in the back of my mind and worked on other designs. I’m a big believer in stepping away from problems and coming back to them later with a fresh perspective.

I never looked at that swatch again. I didn’t think about it much either, until I came across a stitch motif called “roots and branches.” This was the light bulb moment. I knew I could adapt this motif to create the look I wanted, and it became the basis for this hat and cowl.

And in the process of working on this design, I discovered “shivelight,” the English equivalent to komorebi. It’s a word coined by poet Gerard Manley Hopkins and it’s never quite caught on with the masses, but I think it’s a beautiful word. And thus, a design was born, complete with title and all.

For Shivelight, I had the opportunity to work with a new-to-me yarn, Lakes Yarn and Fiber Organic Merino Sport. It’s made from 100% GOTS certified merino and is hand-dyed in small batches by Ami Volz. It was lovely to work with, and Ami also offers other great colorways.

Shivelight was a joy to design, and I can’t wait to see your interpretation of it! Details for the pattern can be found here.

Shivelight design by Thien-Kieu Lam

All images are by photographer Crissy Jarvis and used with the kind permission of Twist Collective.