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Friday
May132011

Geko Beanie

This is the 2nd of three designs that I've done for The Little Knitting Company. Inspired by a woolly Hat that I purchased in Greece many moons ago, I played around with a stitch pattern I thought close to the original, and the design grew from there.

There are very few photos of me wearing the original Hat, and the few that I have are totally cringe worthy; I did consider sharing them then thought better of it. Trust me though when I say that I was super happy at having found a local Hat in 40 degC temperatures for my personal woolly Hat collection. I try to collect woolly Hats (as well as other local textiles) from the various places I visit on my travels, and finding one in such a warm climate during the height of summer was both magical and bizzare.

And this is how that Hat looks these days. Rather worn and stretched, yet it's texture and form is still there. As far as I could find out, this was the local fisherman's style, and they had the self same Hat for sale (hand knitted by the woman who sold it to me, in pure wool no less) in natural white and black - no dyed yarns, simply as they came. You can see it was knitted flat and has no crown shaping - a basic tube stitched up and gathered at the top.

Tom has taken a liking to this Hat and slowly, it's been growing old and tired. When the lovely folks at TLKC told me that their Geko yarn was one they'd like me to work with, I figured now was the time to revisit this Hat and create a design inspired by it. Y'see, Santorini, the island where I found this Hat, is one full of Geckos. The memories of Gecko and lizard inspired ceramics, crafts and souvenirs around the island are still with me, even if the hand made pieces I carefully bought back have been lost over the years. I couldn't think of a better use of this yarn, rather apt wouldn't you agree?

And here we have Tom sporting the new design, Geko Beanie. You can see that I kept the garter stitch band, as I felt it worked well with the stitch pattern. In the original it was there simply as an edge to prevent curling but for my design, I wanted to change the proportions and add a deeper brim. One thing I was keen to do differently was the crown shaping, as the gathered crown look doesn't do it so much for me. It has it's uses but in general, I like the challenge of the crown shaping, and the pattern it can create adds a whole other dimension.

Tom was very specific about the length of the Hat, and his input was muchly appreciated. He didn't just want a Hat that would cover his ears, he wanted one that wouldn't let him down during the height of winter. And the extra length does suit him, so he'd be right about the styling. The pattern can of course be knit slightly shorter, should that be a preference. Infact, Geko Beanie is pretty customisable like that - there are 4 sizes included but you could easily adapt to suit your needs.

When swatching and knitting in the round, I found the stitch pattern to be rather nice on the reverse, and that's something a bit special about this pattern, something that the inspirational Hat doesn't have. For the Geko Beanie the crown shaping was carefully planned, so that whichever way it was worn, even the crown looked fab. Often, even if a stitch pattern is reversible the shaping might not be, and so a Hat or garment might not look so great if turned inside out. You probably know by now that I'm a bit of a stickler for details and as I worked through the crown shaping, I ripped out several possibilities as they didn't look as perfect as I'd like. And it didn't elude me for long - with this Hat, the brim, the stitch pattern and the shaping are all truly reversible.

There aren't any charts included, as the stitch pattern is super simple. Simplicity and clean lines are the key elements here, and Tom is pretty chuffed with the result. So there you have it, the Geko Beanie, full of practicality, memories and comfort :)

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