I just made the switch from my old Instagram handle @amyvdlaar (an abbreviation of my name) to @baroquepurls, which I’ve been using on Ravelry for years. Now that I’m using Instagram as much as Ravelry, I decided it was high time my names on my two favourite sites matched, so that people can find and recognise me more easily. And I realised that while I’m at it, I should probably explain why I originally chose the name!
Baroque Purls (or baroquepurls) is a fusion of two of my number-one obsessions: music and knitting. Music has been a big part of my life, and as I get busier with other things (hello, knit design) I don’t want to lose track of that part of me. My musical backstory includes piano lessons as a kid and teenager, and majoring in music and maths at university, where I fell in love with music from the 17th and early 18th centuries - known as the Baroque era - and focussed my studies on it as much as I could.
During my postgrad years I dove into singing, taking voice lessons and beginning my decade-long love affair with singing in choirs, including the Choir of St Mary of the Angels and the Tudor Consort in Wellington.
These days I mostly listen to music rather than make it, but I’m still fixated on Baroque music, and my absolute faves are still J.S. Bach and Monteverdi.
This is why I love baroque music: it’s complex, it's emotional, and it has a lot of scope for improvisation, so no two performances are ever the same and each musician has a lot of freedom to truly make the piece their own. I love this aspect as a listener, and especially as a singer!
And this freedom of variation is also one of the things I love best about knitting. When you knit, you might be using the same pattern as another knitter, but chances are you'll be using a different colour, or yarn, or making a different size, or making modifications to the pattern to make your project suit you perfectly. Just like no two Handel arias are alike, no two shawls or sweaters are alike.
Come to think of it, the adjective ‘baroque’ actually describes my knitting style pretty well - exuberant detail is definitely what I like to see in a stitch pattern!