Designing may require some fairly accurate maths, but it’s not by any means an exact science. Or more specifically, designing things that other people like is not easy to predict. For me, having fallen at least a bit in love with what I’m making seems to help, but there have definitely been times when I’ve thought ‘Wow! This is great, it’s got to fly!’ only to find the response when it’s out there is lukewarm.
The Mimi Clochette demonstrates how the reverse can also be true. It started off as something of an improvisation. I had a generous amount of Artesano Aran left over after making the sample for Colour Pop Snood and wanted to make a hat for my little girl, then aged 18 months. However, the yarn being at the thick end of the aran scale, I thought that a beanie style would end up looking too bulky, so I dreamed up this cloche and named it ‘Mimi’, since “me! me!” was one of the things she said a lot at that time.
This first version was made by knitting a double width strip for the brim, then picking up stitches along most of the top edge and working in the round up the crown while doing some fairly rapid decreases. With the thread pulled tight through the top I then folded the brim under and stitched it in place, doing the same with the ends of the brim and putting a faux-button closure on the overlap.
I was pleased with the result and considered releasing it on Ravelry. Then my knitting group saw it and the common response was ‘It looks so warm on your ears! Perfect for dog walking! Make a grown-up version!’ Shortly after that my MIL saw it and her response was ‘It would be perfect for lambing season! Make me a grown-up version!’ So, before long various members of the knitting group were pattern-testing a version that included baby, child and adult sizes and my MIL had a hat complete with the ‘I Love Granny’ buttons she happened to have lying around…
By the time I found myself writing up the design for Knit Now Issue 8 (in the shops now), I’d realised that I could simplify and improve the design by knitting the brim in the round, meaning even less sewing- which as far as I’m concerned is always a bonus- as well as a neater finish.
Its evolution might have been a bit of a happy accident, but when it comes down to it, this is a warm and cosy hat with a bit of a difference. It knits up in next to no time and would be easily tackled by a confident beginner. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that this was a formula that worked…
So here it is, my second pattern to make it into print! Appearing in Issue 3 of Knit Now magazine- out later this week, and with previews on Ravelry here, this is the Colour Pop Snood.
While the design turns out to be totally on the button for the grim weather we’re having just now, the inspiration for it came way back in those far off days of summer. I spent a few days down in London and found splashes of vivid colour amongst the city greys, which I wrote about here. I knew that I’d appreciate the energy and warming effect of a ‘pop’ of colour when the grey skies descended. This was the result.
The idea of the oversized snood came from one I made for my younger sister a few years ago, when she coveted, but couldn’t afford, those on the Burberry catwalk. Being able to have great neck coverage without the weight or trailing ends of a thick scarf was a bit of a revelation for me, so I went for similar chunky cabling in this design.
It would actually make a good project to begin with if you wanted to try cabling, as there’s no shaping to contend with- it’s basically a long rectangle knitted flat, then grafted together to form the snood.
The yarn is Artesano Aran in Meadie, which is a gorgeous purple/blue shade hard to do justice to with either photos or words. Sometimes it looks like a real ‘royal’ blue, other times it’s like the purple of my favourite chocolate brand wrapping. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a fabulous shade and the yarn is super-warm without feeling too heavy, even in chunky cables. So far it’s yet to show signs of pilling, although this sort of garment doesn’t get the pill-causing friction other might I suppose, and as the pattern is knit quite a tight gauge, it doesn’t seem to get saggy, maintaining its height and keeping those winter chills out.
Here’s hoping that lots of people like it enough to buy the magazine, so we can enjoy colour pops all over the place this winter.