Korra is the fifth and final design from the Elemental collection, and represents the Fifth Element. This element is different things in different theories - it's balance, or aether or the spirit. Either way, it's an element that combines or compliments the other four.

 
 

Korra was the first Hat I designed for this collection, but having worked through Toph, I went back and redesigned it, and defined exactly what I wanted it to be. In keeping with the theories, this Hat features a little of each of the other Elemental Hats.

 
 

Within this design you'll find the short row forms that feature heavily within Azula and Toph. You'll also find the strong lines from Opal and Katara, which are also influence not by the short rows of the background, but by the short rows of the foreground. It also features a distinctly different coloured brim, although it doesn't require a two colour graft.

 
 

It also features a slightly different, more gathered crown. It doesn't demand to be flat, and instead asks that the fabric collects more organically. The overall shape is that of a comfort slouch, yet if you were to look closely at the pattern, the maths is quite different from the others.

 
 

The construction is different from the others, too, or at least in it's approach. Yes, it's knit sideways with short row shaping integrated within the short row patterning, but the way you work the panels asks you to think a little for yourself within a given set of parameters. There are warnings not to go off piste else the fabric won't be balanced, but there is an element of build-your-own here, allowing you to making the Hat unique to you.

Korra is by far the easiest of the five Hats to knit, provided you follow the guidelines for maintaining a balanced fabric. The short row forms are small and easily memorised, and are a good stepping stone towards the more complex Hats

 
 

When it came to the photoshoot, this was the first Hat we shot and the only Hat we didn't need to reshoot for optional extras. Considering this was the first time Beth had ever modelled, and given her nervousness about that, I think these photos are bloody brilliant and carry a hint of purity, innocence? with them.

 
 

Korra herself is an avatar, which means she is a master of all the elements. She's the Avatar of the second series, and as was the case with her predecessors, her job is to maintain balance between the nations. There is also a spiritual element to all avatar characters, and it makes me really admire the creators of this series, and the thoughtfulness they placed into each and every character and role.

 
 

Yarn wise, Korra uses one skein of of Soot and Russet of the Bloomsbury DK. I got both Azula and Korra from the one skein of Russet, but the dark grey fell a little short when I was working on Opal, so do bear that in mind.

And there we have the five Hats in the Elemental collection! There's lots more I want to talk about - the photoshoot location, Beth our wonderful model, and the yarn itself - as we lead up to the release date. Publication isn't long away now and I'm getting pretty excited :D

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead

This November I'm heading back to Lyme Regis to do a retreat with Devon Sun Yarns and her fabulous knitters.

Last year was my first year working with them and we had such a relaxed weekend with plenty of laughs and I'm really looking forward to doing it all again! I will teach a 3hr workshop, be on hand for knitting advice, and generally talk woolly Hats. Also included in the weekend is a yarn dyeing workshop, and extra craft workshop run by a very talented local creative, and tasty home cooked meals.

This year's workshop hasn't been decided and I'm open to suggestions... I suspect that it may have a sideways element to it, considering that everyone last year saw me knitting some of the Circled designs.

This year I've a treat for everyone coming along - a new design will be published that weekend, and it's a Hat designed from one of the DSY skeins I purchased last year. Everyone will get a paper copy to knit from while we're there.

 
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This Hat uses a whole host of techniques and it's the perfect knit for someone that likes a mixed up construction. There's a top down element and a bottom up element and it all comes together rather nicely.

 
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As well as hanging out with a small group of keen knitters, you also get to spend the weekend in Lyme Regis out of season. I've always felt there's something rather special about seaside resorts during winter, it's like you see their soul against the cold winter tides. Lyme Regis is special enough by itself, let alone with the views, the rented house (which is stunning) and the resident cat.

 
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If you fancy joining us, do pop over to Devon Sun Yarn's website for more details and booking information. See you there?

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead

Toph is the fourth Hat from the Elemental collection and it represents earth. It's the last of the classical elements as proposed by Empedocles, and is probably everyone's favourite.

 
 

Here earth is literally represented by the leaves adorning this Hat. The short rows form the pattern, and the fabric moves around them, almost like leaves moving in the breeze. Each leave within the panel has a different length stalk, as they each move and grow with the fabric to maintain balance.

 
 

This was the second Hat I designed for the collection, and it really determined for me exactly which direction this collection would go. I'd several different ideas and options mapped out, and originally they were going to be much more graphic and minimal in nature, and this Hat changed all of that.

 
 

The crown on this one is very pleasing, as the leaves gravitate towards the centre. Like Katara, it's almost a perfectly flat circular crown, but isn't quite. That's OK though, the garter stitch forgives.

 
 

I really found my stride with balancing the fabric with this design, and thoroughly enjoyed trying out different ways to define the leaves and the spaces around them. Designing short row colourwork where the short rows form the motifs is a lot easier than working the other way round, where the short rows create the background. There are some short rows in the background with this one, but they're few, and they're really only there to balance things up and give the brim some support.

 
 

Toph appears in the first series of Avatar, and is an incredibly skilled earth bender. She's strong, determined and resilient, and is credited with developing metal bending. The absolute best place to shoot this Hat was within the remnants of what appears to be a mine, with the metal tracks that used to carry the gravel evident. I loved everything about this location with this Hat.

 
 

This has been without a doubt everyone's favourite Hat from the collection, and I suspect it will continue that way. In my mind it's not the strongest design, but I do see it's appeal - it has the classic short row colourwork feel to it. And it's a good Hat to start with, too - the forms are memorable and are relatively straightforward to knit.

 
 

Shapewise it's not dissimilar to Katara, in that comfort slouch way. Yarn wise you'll want a skein each of the Bloomsbury DK in Cooper and Oz. I used one skein of the Copper for both Azula and Toph, so you'll definitely be able to get two Hats out of two skeins with this one.

There's only one more Hat from this collection to meet now!

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead
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Katara is the third Hat from the Elemental collection, and represents water.

 
 

Katara and Opal share a key feature, and that is is that it's not the short row forms that create the details, but the lines around them. It'll become evident more going forward, but the types of short row forms used in these patterns (i.e. the shapes created by the short rows) are generally used as the detail, the colour that stands out. With these two Hats, those forms sit back and shape the lines around them.

 
 

Katara was the first Hat I designed this way, thinking about line, and the effect on the line by the short rows. It took a little juggling at first but once I'd got to grips with it, I rather enjoyed looking at the short rows differently. The easiest way to manage this would be to have the lines run the full length of the Hat (which you'll see later in the final design) but doing it this way affects the balance of the fabric quite differently.

 
 

The effect is that of gentle waves, or lightly drifting sea plants, being directed by the ebb and flow of the water. I'm really pleased with this deign, it has a strong yet gentle effect; striking but not overpowering.

 
 

I'd say we photographed this one Hat more than any of the others. We shot it against three different murals, in different lights. Tom shot these and had us use the reflectors, as the light was still so strong at 8pm. I don't like reflectors, I don't like the result of flat light on the face, and we shot extras to give us more choice. The best photos of the Hat with the best light (in my opinion!) had a large mural that ended up looking very odd within the frame, so they got ditched. My absolute favourite shots were taken inside one of the old structures with the most amazing graffiti, but the shots are too grainy and not so sharp, even if the mood, light and environment were perfect. I've settled on these now, though - they show the Hat off well which is the most important thing.

 
 

One of the things that strikes me as I look through all of the Hat photographs together is the way Beth lends her mood so well and yet so differently to each. There's something so gentle and natural about these, yet strong and powerful at the same time. 

The crown is softly gathered leaning towards flat, and the longest lines from the body reach in towards the centre like tentacles. Did I mention already that I really like the way the lines dance around the body of this one?

 
 

Katara is a water bending master, and one of the original characters in Avatar. Infact, the very first scene opens with her, and the story unfolds around her and her brother. She's arguably one of the more mature characters with a strong sense of what needs to be done. Kind brave and passionate, she's an early heroine of the series.

 
 

Shape wise, you're looking at slightly slouchy - a little longer in the body and not so roomy in the circumference, but just enough room not to squash the head. The crown isn't mathematically a flat circle, but it's close-ish (there's only so far you can push those short rows at gauge, y'know!)

Yarn wise, this one uses a skein of Bloomsbury DK in Surf and a few yards in Sand. And like all the others, it's graded through gauge, so you'll want to check your needle size and gauge before starting. The sideways knit garter stitch makes for an incredibly stretchy rib, and the not-so-rabid short rows don't really tighten up the fabric (the same can't be said for Azula) so there's definitely some forgiveness in the fabric.

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