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Archived posts from December 2006 to December 2008 are missing their photos. Key posts will be updated as soon as I have time!

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Photography is the new procrastination

We tried a new background in our photoshoot yesterday, and we thought it worked rather well for this Hat. It's been a while since Bobble Beret had any love, even though it's a shape that suits just about everyone when they try it on. (and yes I know; knitted bobbles are like Marmite)

So here it is, looking enchanting on Alyx.

There's something about the stacks of objects in the background that work with the urchin nature of the Hat.



We're coming to the end of the photoshoot season here, although if I can get my models to hang around until about 8pm, we do sometimes manage to catch some good evening light. Or we could hope for a cloudy day, which has been known to happen from time to time. But otherwise it's harsh sunlight from now until late October. And I couldn't pay my models friends enough to have them up or out at the hours the summer sun would demand.

Between Charlie, Silvia and Alyx, we've managed to photograph most of the Hats I felt needed some extra attention, with the exception of a few, and for those few I'm still reknitting samples (ever the perfectionist). Those, I suspect, will be photographed over the summer when we're back in England for a longer period, and I have plans to find some willing models.

On the mens Hats front, Tom's decided to grow a beard, which takes all of a few days, and he has an ever so charming grey streak that creates the effect of smile across his chin, so he's booked for the camera in the next few days. Before he changes his mind.

I'm getting back on track with reformatting patterns this week, and having spent some time working with the fab new layout, I've been playing with ways to manage the photos. One issue that's been bugging me is those Hats that don't quite have 3 great shots for the pattern cover. Some have just one, and although three would be the ideal, if that one is sufficient to show the details of the Hat, then why not? Clare, it was very clever of you to devise a 3-photo layout based on a square.

One such Hat is Karenin:



Yes, it's only one photo. But you can see how it fits around the face, and around the ears and the neck, and you can even see how it fits at the crown. The chances of me getting such a good shot again are seriously slim, so working out an option with a single photo for impact has given this monday a sense of achievement. 

All the little achievements add up. Or so everyone says.

Anyhows, when the free patterns are ready to go into the new layout they'll likely only have one photo, too. And yes, even the free patterns are getting new photos were needed, especially those where I'd (very, very kindly) been given permission to borrow images, such as Bridget:



It does the creative soul good to see your old work through a fresh, sharper lens.


In case you were curious...

... as to what's been on my needles recently, and as to what's prompted thoughts of a different route for grading, here's a few images for you.

I only finished the grafting about an hour ago. It's a wonderful hybrid of short rows, tucks, decreases and grafting. It's not been blocked yet... I'm not so sure it needs it; it stands up by itself, the stitches are firm and settled.




It's not that it's impossible to grade, but that it doesn't lend itself well to it. There are formulas in place but they change with throughout the Hat, as it bends smoothly and effortlessly around the shape of the head, and they in turn aren't necessarily related in terms of the numbers.




I'm really rather chuffed with my short rows. 

I love short rows. However in the round they're a heck of a lot trickier to get neat and even, as our gauge naturally changes between knit and purl stitches, especially for any loose knitters like myself. Having spent a bit of time experimenting, I've a few tricks that help even things up.




The yarn is Wollmeise DK, a very springy, multi-plied yarn. The Hat is knit at a very firm gauge to support the shape, yet it's still comfy and has enough stretch. It's also really rather warm!

The feedback on grading by gauge is unanimous, so that's that sorted! I know it's do-able, but I guess I wanted to hear from my regular knitters/customers whether they'd be happy with that. It will need extra explaining and naturally it'll all be made clear, but I am pleased to have the green light on that.

This Hat let's me feel like a Hat architect again. I love it when my engineering and creative sides work it out together like this.


Buon viaggio

Last year, on the same evening as the infamous 10-Hats-and-3-models-in-one-hour photoshoot for Hatopia, Silvia modelled a very special piece of knitwear for me.



'Il Fume' is a scarf designed and knitted by my very good friend BabyLongLegs - you can find the project Ravelled here and blogged here. It's a stunning design, and I feel very honoured to have had it made for me, for my birthday. I was more than a little blown away when I opened it and draped it around my neck for the first time, let me tell you!

I know BBL has reknit the scarf with the aim of releasing it as a pattern, and I don't doubt that she'll have everyone queuing for it. Isn't it beautiful? (please don't nag her all at once though, eh?)

And I reckon Silvia totally rocked it in this photoshoot!

(the stuffed toy rat you can see in there was to commemorate one of her pet rats that had died the night before. Someone's bound to ask if I don't mention it!)



Yesterday, after 7 years of living on the Yard, Silvia left for pastures and adventures new.

Leaving only with her camper, her dog and her rats, and the minimum of belongings, a life on the road awaits. Her reasons for leaving are numerous, except to say that it's time for a new chapter in life. And if I'm honest, I'm a little bit envious of her freedom. Travelling with your own bed always within reach, and living on the bare essentials, alone, isn't a life for everyone, but it's one I respect. 



Thank you, Silvia for always being willing to be the camera's subject, and for lending your distinctive style to my photographs. 

Safe travels, Silvia. May your adventures be many, and we hope to see you in the not too distant future, somewhere in northern Italy.


Thoughts on Grading

One-size-fits-all or one-size-fits-most patterns for Hats are common, but I guess other folks whose heads are larger or smaller than average share my pain when it comes to finding Hats that fit. Shop bought Hats are the worst, the mens section rarely has anything to my taste. And yes, a knitted fabric does stretch (within reason; dependant on the stitch pattern) but if it's over stretched it just looks pants. Admittedly now that I'm dreadless and have a lot less hair it's not quite the issue that it used to be (having shrunk from 25in/63.5cm to 23in/58.5cm) but still. I want a Hat that fits and looks like it's meant to fit and look, y'know?

Hence I do what I do; it stops that bee buzzing under my bonnet.

Now here's a thing: I've started work on the sculptural and structural Hats that I've been doodling and dreaming about for an age. The collection is called 'Turning Heads' and I am absolutely indulging every bit of creative whim and every need to calculate and engineer and it's making me very, very happy. It's slow going but who cares when it feels like you're touching base with yourself again?

Except that some of the ideas I'm wanting to pursue are going to be rather tricky to grade through no. of stitches and repeats. And it's making me feel a little compromised. Even though I don't expect many folk to make, let alone wear, many of these new Hats, I want to make it possible, and that includes making them knittable in more than one size.

(and I'm even thinking of adding a few notes here and there on how to tone the Hat(s) down and make them a little more everyday and wearable. But that's still a maybe)

So I got thinking... if I included a section on how to change the size of a Hat through gauge, would that be acceptable? Most of the Hats are knit with a firm fabric so I'll be including ball band gauge to give an idea of how the density affects the form, and similarly, notes on dealing with that will be included in the 'grading by gauge' section.**

Would that do the trick?

Would schematics help? Hats don't always need them but these might, given the nature of them. A schematic showing how the Hat should fit the average sized head would be rather useful too, methinks?

**grading by stitch repeats and structure is my preferred method, but quite often there will be rather subtle differences between the sizes, which is generally unavoidable. When looking at it from another perspective, grading by gauge is a good method as it's simply a matter of scaling up and scaling down, rather than juggling the structural maths...though of course it has it's limits. It's impossible to get the larger sizes and smaller sizes to look the same whichever way you go about it, and quite often you wouldn't want to anyway...


Big Boy antics

It's pretty normal to suddenly discover Aran in the frame when we're doing a photoshoot...



... even if at times he gets a little help from his Dad.



And there are days when I wonder.....



... whether I've got two kids, not one.