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!