Brandaris by Jeanne Long


February 2017
Sport (12 wpi) ?
24 stitches and 28 rows = 4 inches
in Stockinette
US 5 - 3.75 mm
200 - 240 yards (183 - 219 m)
23 inches (56 cm) around, 13.5 inches (34 cm) deep at the point
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Bolinus brandaris is the scientific name of the spiny dye-murex, a predatory sea snail. This humble gastropod is one of the primary sources of a dye, Tyrian or royal purple, that was prized in the ancient world for its rarity, vivid color, and colorfastness. The snail’s mucus is the source of the dye, but its protective shell, with its spiraling ridges and pointed end, is the inspiration for this knit.

Our Brandaris is a handkerchief cowl with raised, spiraling ridges that pull up a touch of color from the two rows below, beautifully showcasing hand-painted or gradient yarns. The point of the handkerchief is worked with short rows, the wraps of which are left intact to echo the yarn-wrapped spirals. The garter-stitch edges further enhance this motif and emphasize the color transitions in the yarn. Brandaris is a quick and stylish knit sure to make you feel born to the purple.

Errata: Round 10 of the written instructions should read, “Sl 1 st purlwise wyif, K8, sl 1 st purlwise wyif; repeat around.” A previous version erroneously read “K9.” The error has been corrected in the current .pdf.

Instructions: This pattern includes charted and written-out instructions.

Yarn: Why Knot Fibers’ deliciously squishy Spunky yarn, a sport-weight merino with the bounciest cable-plied construction you can imagine.

Options: The cowl is built on a 10-stitch repeat, so it can easily be expanded for a larger kerchief. It also could easily accommodate other gauges of yarn for a lighter or warmer effect.

Notes: Phoenicians may have produced dye from sea snails as early as 1570 BCE. A snail can be milked for its dye, which allows it to live, or crushed for it. By some reports, it took twelve thousand snails to make 1.4 g of pure dye, which was enough to color only the trim of a single garment. Left to their own devices, the snails use their purple-making mucus to sedate prey, ward off predators, and protect their eggs. Bolinus brandaris is edible by humans, a predator itself, and a cannibal. Yum?