A Glorious Backpack to Knit, Felt, and Embroider

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is delving into exactly what inspired a designer to make a specific project. As a few examples from projects featured in past issues of PieceWork illustrate, inspiration is found in myriad places:

I was lucky enough to see the original cap that had been excavated from the General Carleton, an English merchant ship that sank in the Baltic Sea in 1785, “in the wool” when it was on loan to the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, in Whitby, England. I reconstructed the cap from my notes taken at the time. . . —Penelope Lister Hemingway, “The General Carleton Cap,” January/February 2014

For this pattern, I used two elements from a face towel stitched by my grandmother Tatiana in Russia when she was eight years old. . . —Irina Stepanova, “Traditional Russian Hand Towel to Embroider,” March/April 2014

• This tasseled scarf is made from knitted tubular cords sewn together and embellished with tassels of the sort that decorate llama ears, sling braids, hats, and dance costumes throughout the Andes. . . — Linda Ligon, “A Peruvian Tasseled Scarf to Knit,” September/October 2014

Our kit includes all you need to make your own glorious backpack.
Photo by Joe Coca.

• Stitch your own Alençon-style lace bee inspired by those adorning an Alençon lace bed set (équipage de lit) commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) for Empress Josephine (1763-1814) in 1804. . . -Carolyn Wetzel, "An Empire Bee in Alençon-Style Lace to Stitch," May/June 2011

Leigh Radford’s spectacular backpack inspired by traditional Moroccan textiles and clothing.
Photo by Joe Coca.

And this leads me to Leigh Radford's introduction to her glorious knitted, felted, and embroidered backpack that appeared in the January/February 2005 issue: "This backpack is inspired in part by images of robes, rugs, scarves, and shawls from a stellar book: The Fabric of Moroccan Life published in 2002 by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. . . . The color palette is emblematic of the colors used in ancient and modern Moroccan textiles and clothing."

I’ve carried the backpack with me to the biannual trade shows sponsored by The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) and various other venues. No matter where the backpack goes, it always elicits oohs and aahs. And now, you can make your very own backpack with our handy kit! It includes all the yarn for the backpack, the tapestry wool for the embroidery, and a digital edition of the January/February 2005 issue of PieceWork, featuring Leigh’s complete instructions.

I so hope you fall in love the backpack—I have!