We're just back from Ireland, and as well as having fun and running around looking for fields (explanation to follow, I promise) my chesty cough became a chest infection, but not before it spread itself to Tom and Aran, giving Aran a chest infection too :(
I do have some lovely photos to share of our travels, but before I share those, I must tell you about a new design!
This is the Star Beanie, and is available for free until the 1st October - it will be it is the October KAL pattern in the Wormheads' Hats group on Ravelry, and it's free to encourage more knitters to join in! After the 1st October it will revert to it's normal price of £2.75. There are 4 sizes included, and the instructions are provided in both written and charted format. It uses a skein of worsted (Cascade 220 in this sample) with a typical gauge of 20sts to 10cm/4" over 4mm needles.
Remember some time back, I wrote a blog post about how this classic textured stitch could be adapted for knitting in the round? Despite all that work, this stitch has eluded me so many times... it has nearly become a design & pattern 3 times, and I'm really pleased that it has finally evolved into something workable!
Originally, I used this stitch on a design intended for Going Straight - a sideways knit, cloche like, that was beautiful on the needles, where the short rows hid themselves beautifully, and the structure gave support and shape to a wonderful brim. All perfect, except the graft was an absolute horror. So horrible it would have needed a chapter unto itself, and even then I think I would have had hate mail. So the sideways version was dropped.
When Susan asked if I would design a Hat for Knit On The Net, the theme given instantly made me think of this stitch again, and look at the Hat style first attempted sideways. This time I approached it vertically (hence the technical blog post mentioned above) and it all seemed to be working well... except the brim wasn't happy. Whether I knitted it all in one go or did a provisional cast-on for the body and knit the brim down, it just wouldn't sit right. Being a great believer in a design being 'happy' before it leaves the needles, it was frogged again and another sideways design attempted, which became Molly in the latest edition of Knit On The Net. And would you believe me if I said Molly worked first time, and was finished in under a day? A happy Hat, was Molly.
Not to be defeated, I thought I'd try a brimless Hat, more beanie like, only sideways, because I like this stitch sideways. It has a lovely bias that works vertically or sideways, yet working sideways gives it an extra something. A submission call for Twist Collective came out that fitted this Hat perfectly (in my mind at least!) and so the submission was sent. The design was rejected, and it was starting to look like this stitch may never make a Hat design for me.
3 times unlucky. Not to curse the stitch and lose all of my hard work, I tackled it again, bottom-up, as a regular beanie shape. It was certainly much happier this time, as the bias of the stitch fitted the beanie nature. Approaching the crown shaping I wanted something a bit different from the standard, and the maths gave me the option of a triangular decrease pattern, which I went for.
Finally, the Star Stitch was happy, and a new design was born. It only took 4 attempts! Quite often I'll abandon something if it fails after the 2nd attempt; I won't over work a design or force it, but somehow this stitch got under my skin.
I think it's a bit more subtle than some of my other designs, but that may be because it is a beanie based design, or maybe it's because it's had such a long journey, and it hides it's secrets. I'm pleased with it, and I hope you'll download it and enjoy it too - the KAL is there and should be fun if you want to join. (come join us!)
I did fail on giving it an imaginative name though..