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 is the birthday request that took all that cabling. I prefer to think of it as an homage to the Burberry version, rather than a rip-off! I’m really pleased with how it came out. The cabling pattern was from the ‘Helsinki’ wrap in Rowan magazine 42 and I made it using Sublime organic merino- so soft! Apparently the birthday girl is pleased, and I’m looking forward to pics of her modelling it.
Next up was the hat promised to my brother. If you’re reading this T I’ll get it in the post tomorrow! The request was for dark colours and stripes. I know red is a bit of a bright, but the tones of Rowan Felted Tweed (I know, again! And wait until you read on, you’ll think I’m sponsored by them or something!) are quite soft and subtle and it knits up very soft but with a sort of…integrity I suppose, certainly a good structure. Any way, hopefully it will fit and will please the wearer to be.
So then I should be cracking on with the tea-cosies I’ve been planning for oh, ages then? Well yeeeesss, but noooooo. The thing is, the red of the above hat was so lovely, but I had quite a lot left over. Then I got to thinking that I was pretty sure that the slipover that I really liked in Rowan 42 had some red in it and I was fairly certain it was in Felted Tweed. It was, so somehow on a dark and dreary night I found myself ordering a rainbow-ette of other colours and then a few days later scooting out to Williams Wools in Kendal for some new 3.75mm Brittany needles and before you know it, I’m tackling some serious fairisle. Well, I haven’t knitted anything for myself for ages, so those little brown teapots are just going to have to stay chilly for a bit longer!