hap – like happy?

What is a hap?
Hap like happy?

I saw a lot of great pattern on ravelry in the last months and fell over the term “hap”. I didn’t know what a hap was until I began a little research. It all began with the Book of Haps, I first heard about it at the knitting group I attended once and gave him little observance, but after this book was published they were everywhere.

I red a lot about traditional forms of shetland haps and came to the conclusion that this means that they originally have a center panel and are surrounded by a lace section and an edging. The most one’s I’ve seen are in muted colourways, like white, browns and greys. Originally they were made with thicker heavier wool, todays haps’s are often made of laceweight yarns. I also learned that these garmets were for everyday use and were folded in the half to cover the shoulders or to be worn as a shawl.

I learned more about haps from these blog postings and I would reccomend them to you, they have stunning pictures of historical haps and more!

In the last posting I found a very accurate description of haps from Kate Davies, she published this on her blog mentioned above:

“As knitters, we may have come across the word “hap” in reference to Shetland (or Shetland-type) shawls featuring simple openwork, but what precisely does it mean? “Hap” is a word common to Scots and Northern English dialects, as well as Shetland, and means to wrap, to cover, or conceal. From the 14th century on, the word “hap” crops up frequently in a wide variety of Northern texts, its usage ranging from the quotidian (the protection of crops in cold ground, the repair of a thatched roof) to the sombre (the wrapping of a corpse or the burying of a secret). In Scots, to be “weel happit” means to be well wrapped-up against the cold, and, it is perhaps in reference to colder winter weather that the word has been most often used. In The Brigs of Ayr (1786) for example, Robert Burns summed up the time of year as “when the stacks get on their winter haps”, and James Hogg memorably captured the atmosphere of a chilly evening: “When gloamin o’er the Welkin steals / And haps the hills in sober grey” (Forest Minstrel, 1810). More recently, ‘hap’ appears as a singularly Wintery covering in Edinburgh author, James King Annand’s lovely poem, Purple Saxifrage (1991).

So I learned about those haps and guess what – I have a favourite design I really want to knit soon. Take a look here! It’s called my Ancestress Hap Lace Shawl from Martha Marques and I think this will be a project for 2017.


Picture by Martha Marques, as seen on the ravelry pattern page – all rights belong to her. A offwhite and grey large rectangle hap, folded and covering the shouders of a woman with a lovely grey bun. The hap has a lacey textured inner panel followed by amazing details in the lace section, which is about as long as the panel itself, ending in a half as wide edging section. 

I don’t know if there’s a rule to stick to the traditional colours, if there is one I have to break it because I’ve fallen in love with a more rustic yarn from Countess Ablaze. I ordered it today and I think it will be perfect for the hap of my dreams.


Copyright by Countess Ablaze – the English Gentleman Fingering in the colourway Kite Flying OOAK, all rights belong to Countess Ablaze. Two skeins of yarn on a grey background. They have the black and white Countess Ablaze Banderole and the colour in the skeins shifts from a soft watery blue over to more turquoise blue, ending in deep watery blue, like I would imagine the deep see on a sunny day

I saw this yarn and the description from the Countess Ablaze page states about this base:

“Do you have a desert island yarn? I have finally found mine and this is it. Soft, buttery, rustic without being scratchy, this is my perfect yarn. The undyed base is a rich oatmeal colour from the brown Masham so the dye results in a rich and textured coverage. Everything about this yarn is British and it is spun down the road from here in Yorkshire.”

This sounds perfect for this project. What do you think of my interpretation?
Do you have a hap or do you plan on doing one in the future?



3 thoughts on “hap – like happy?

  1. rainicorn says:

    That yarn will make a wonderful hap. I think it suits the pattern, and the result should be quite a glory. I’ve been looking at haps as well, though nothing a spectacular since I’m not a lace knitter yet. Attaching a border to a knitted square just seems so interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • kathi says:

      Thank you!
      I could show you some beginners lace pattern if you’re interested – I never thought of myself as a lace knitter and never thought I could manage it, but it’s the best thing! ❤
      Ps. I removed the other comment ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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