Natalie Servant headshot


This post comes to you from Natalie Servant, designer of the stunning Nalina hat and cowl set from our newest issue. Learn all about how she was inspired by a building in Guelph Ontario, and how a blurry photo became the chart for this lovely pattern. You can learn more about Natalie by checking out her blog, here.




I am a huge fan of Art Deco art and architecture. When I am going to be traveling to or through a city I tend to Google first to find out if there are any interesting buildings to see. If there are too many, I narrow things down to the ones that I find the most beautiful.


What I really love are the amazing details that I get to see in person. There are tons of pictures online for the more well-known buildings, but every time I see one in person there are decorative flourishes that I get to focus on that didn't show up in the other pictures. It's kind of like the difference between watching sports on TV and being there in person: you get to look at what interests you.


When I visited my parents in Guelph, Ontario in the summer of 2013 I was finally there on a weekday instead of a weekend. This meant that I had a chance to peek inside the old post office building: Guelph's Dominion Building. It was built back in 1935, in the Depression era, as part of a government works program. The outside looks fairly innocuous from across the road:



exterior of Dominion Building


The best bits of the outside are the metal spandrels:






I had to ask permission to take pictures inside. Sadly I only had my cell phone, but I saw some lovely details. There was a metal grille, some lovely work on the ceiling, and then I saw the metalwork.












Sadly, the only picture that didn't turn out was the one that I worked from! In 2014 I want to create a design based on this beautiful metallic lotus, and worked until I came up with a chart. I had to kind of squint at this.



image to try to chart



 It wasn't until the Twist Collective submission call for the issue that I finally printed the chart and started knitting in July 2015:






It's kind of funny to me that I knit the swatch in super bright contrasting colors and then the final design used tone-on-tone colors that are a lot closer to the original metalwork of the inspiration!



cowl Nalina hat