I blame Lady Penelope for my latest oddball knitting obsession. Had she not dropped the word "inscape" into this recent post about stranded knitting, I might not have gone off on the train of thought that began with "Oh, Hopkins! I should reread those poems again" and quickly led into "Wouldn't 'Goldengrove Unleaving' be a terrific name for some knitted thing?" and then "If I design a Goldengrove Unleaving pattern, I should do something similar for 'Pied Beauty' and 'The Windhover' and 'Inversnaid' and..."
(Then again, the idea had probably been in the back of my mind since a friend for whom I made a pair of multicolored wristwarmers thanked me with a line from Hopkins: "Glory be to God for dappled things!" And I'd also been thinking about Dante Gabriel Rossetti's poems and how one might design a shawl to be called "Willowwood." If this becomes a project, I might work my way through any number of poets. An Easter Wings wrap for George Herbert? A fisherman sweater that riffs on Elizabeth Bishop's "At the Fishhouses"?)
I'm still at the stage where I fantasize a lot about designing knitting patterns but haven't yet actually tried to do it. But this might be the project that propels me into action. I have a fairly clear idea of what I'd like Goldengrove Unleaving to look like: a long rectangular stole, deep yellow with tinges of orange, more or less like the "Golden Glow" colorway in this yarn. I'm envisioning a leafy lace pattern, like Double Vine or Vine Lace or Bleeding Hearts, at one end, and a few trails of eyelet holes going up to the other end, to suggest leaves falling.
"Pied Beauty," I think, should be a circular shawl. (Circular to make a pun on pi, of course.) And because the poem praises "dappled things," one would have to select the yarn with care: variegated enough to form patches of color instead of long streaks, and in colors that suggest the things in the poem. The only disadvantage is that I'm not sure what color Hopkins' finches' wings and trout scales would have been. But these things can be found out (and, in the process, I've noticed something I hadn't before about the way Hopkins evokes color without naming any actual colors except "rose" in line 3).
And "The Windhover": I was thinking of a Fair Isle hat with a kestrel motif, but I see someone's already designed something like that. I may have to master stranded knitting, my as-yet-unconquered frontier, before I start in on my own version. As Hopkins would say: the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!
I have a feeling that if I really wanted to get obsessive about Project Knitting With Hopkins, I'd read up on sprung rhythm and try to translate that into stitch patterns. But I suspect that that way lies madness. So I'll start with Goldengrove Unleaving instead.
[Edited to add: I think I've found the yarn for Pied Beauty. I mean, look at this gorgeous yarn!]