2012 wasn't a bad year, work-wise.. here we go with the annual review of the year in Hats.

We saw the release of Classic Woolly Toppers:

I enjoyed working on this book. It turned out to be quite a different project than originally planned, and this was a very good thing. The initial idea of CWT was a different play on 'classic', more along the lines of 'familiar' or 'tried & tested' yet the designs had other plans; I just couldn't stick with that theme. It was interesting actually, to try and set myself the task of emulating that kind of style, and failing. I like the result though! Each Hat took on a different construction angle and it reassured me that *my* style has it's place, that it's OK to just go with my own flow. For a few years now I've been uncertain of my identity and this book gave me back a bit of confidence in that area.

Classic Woolly Toppers was also a good photography project - I used more models and even flew in the lovely Charlie for a couple of shoots! I put more thought into location and lighting and actually *planned* each shoot (though I never got right down to mood and position boards) and I reckon that proved successful.

Here are the Hats from CWT..

From top left we have:

Ravine, Sumner, Karenin, Camden Cap, Taboosh, Corbelle, Bobba, Annular, Imagiro and Alternato.


Besides the book, there were a bunch of single patterns, too. Not as many as previous years, a total of 17 besides the book designs, but still a fair production.

From top left we have:

Arkanoid, North Lyme (beanie version), North Lyme (slouch version), Mushroom Cap, Bóithrín (square top version), Bóithrín (beanie version), Sarah's Slouch, RainbowretTangled River, Buzzba, Ledger (Aran), Ledger (Tom), Niamh, Retro Beanie, Bias Slouchy Hat, Sideways Pinstripe Beret, Runway, Kabouter, Encircle and Minikins.

Compared to previous years, 2012 didn't see *that* many new designs published - 27 in all. 2011 saw 35, 2010 saw 34, 2009 saw 14, 2008 saw 24 and 2007 also saw 35, with 2006 at 30 - which would make 2012 a relatively quiet year! 

In fact, 2 of the 2012 releases (Mushroom Cap and Bobba) were old, old designs that needed revisiting, and several were designed the year before and published in 2012. The balance between self-published and published-by-a-3rd-party changed, too - of these 17 single patterns, 6 were published in other books or magazines. 4 of these 17 were free patterns.

Other highlights include exhbiting at TNNA - whilst this was costly and exhausting, I thoroughly enjoyed it and have every intention of doing it again. In fact my booth and display is already planned, as well as my 2 super-lightweight suitcases! (they're not quite packed yet, but they're as good as...) There was no summer tour this year but there was an autumn one, and that was great fun too, and a chance to catch up with a few sorely missed woolly friends.

The Mystery KAL saw record numbers - we had an amazing number of participants! - and a switch from 2 patterns to 1. That seemed to work - it was at least more manageable for me, and the feedback seems to be that only having the one pattern was a winner from a KALer point of view, too. 

2012 was definitely a different kind of year, but there were reasons for that; it may have been good work wise but on the personal front, as you'll likely know, it was a rather different story, and I had to somehow make work fit in around that. Financially, 2012 was my best year ever, which was a surprise, and that makes such a difference - knowing that I've received tremendous support from all my readers and customers makes it so much easier to cope with all the not-so-good stuff. I don't have to stress as much about keeping food on the table or paying the bills, and that really is a big weight off my mind. For that, I could never thank you enough :)

And 2013? Well, there are no great plans. That doesn't mean I'm not going to be doing anything (!) rather that I'm going to be kind and not pile it on so much. Playful Woolly Toppers will be finished and released (this was one book meant for 2012) and I will be running off to TNNA again this June, but otherwise, I'm going with the flow. There are some designs due out with magazines this year, so keep an eye out for those. I want to work more on big, sculptural Hats but I'm making no deadlines. There are more experimental designs I want to play with but there's no time limit. There are a few places I'd like to run workshops, but there are no promises. 

I want 2013 to be a kind year, not a stressful one, and I really do hope it's a good year for all of us.

AuthorWoolly Wormhead

This past weekend I took sunday afternoon off, and spent my time spinning up the yarn for my very own Camden Cap.



If you look closely, you may notice that it's not the best bit of spinning ever. It's awful, really. Full of lumps and inconsistencies and it's pretty obvious that I'm out of practice, and perhaps also feeling a little stressed about actually finishing it. Yet when plied, it looks much better. Far from perfect, but certainly knittable. The overall tonal effect, the mixing of the various colours and fibres, is exactly what I was aiming for, which pleases me muchly.


I've been trying to remind myself that this project is not about being perfect. I'm wanting to let go of the perfectionsim I apply to my normal fibery work, as this Hat will be for me and no-one else. But it's hard to not notice the faults.

If I'm honest, I haven't enjoyed spinning this as much as I think I should. It's no fault of the batt, which was lovely to work with, but, I think, down to the fact that the pressure is on. And I realised why I felt like that. Because as much as I'm saying this is about the spinning and a chance to relax some, it's really about making myself a Hat. A great Hat that will fit me and that I'll wear. It's become about the product, not the process, and that's where the stress is coming from; I'm totally not a product person.

Funny what a change in perspective can do, huh?

All that said, I do love the colours of the yarn, and it will knit up not too far from gauge, and it will make me a loverly Camden Cap. It's all ready to cast on and I hope to get it on the needles in the next few days. My plan is take some photos of the how the Brim is constructed for a blog post, as one or two members of the KAL have been a little unsure, and I'd like to offer some help.


In other news: some visitors may have noticed that this website has been a bit wonky this week. A transfer for my main domain was all set yet for some reason, it kicked in a day early, and I was unprepared for that. It didn't take long to straighten out, and the internets should all be caught up now (it can take 24hrs+ for things to filter through).

Of course when a domain is transferred, so is the domain email, and that only got straightened out yesterday. Now that that's done I've been tackling my inbox, but there's still a fair few waiting for replies. I apologise for any problems or delays encountered, and hope to have gotten back to everyone before the coming weekend.

AuthorWoolly Wormhead
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I'm spinning!



This is a gorgeous batt from Hilltop Cloud which I'm (slowly) spinning up so I can knit my own Camden Cap and join in the KAL over in the Ravelry group. It's a blend of 50% BFL, 20% Welsh Mountain Black wool, 20% Bamboo & 10% Recycled Bottle fibre. The colours are spot on for what I wanted; the point of this project is to make *me* something I will actually *wear*.



So, I dusted down my Hitch-hiker and had a wee practice spin. It's been a few years since I've spun anything and I'm more than a little rusty. But hey, this isn't about perfection, right?



And this is it so far. I haven't spun a great deal yet, only about 1/6th of the 105g of fibre. It's too tempting to sit and spin all day and there's a mountain of work to be done, so I'm squeezing in a bit of spinning here and there as time permits. The plan is to not only get a lovely yarn with which to knit my Hat, but also to have something that doesn't need to be perfect or meet a deadline or demand anything other doing something for the sake of it.

I'm loving it so far, lumps and all.

AuthorWoolly Wormhead
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To celebrate the recent release of Classic Woolly Toppers, there is going to be a blog and podcast tour that includes some fantastic folk who love Hats just as much as I do. The line up of those broadcasting and writing about Classic Woolly Toppers is really exciting as there are some very talented writers, designers, podcasters, and bloggers whose work I have enjoyed for some time.



Here is a line up of who you can expect to find talking about Classic Woolly Toppers

9th September 2012 - The Electric Sheep Podcast hosted by Hoxton Handmade

13th September 2012 - Subway Knits Podcast hosted by Maria MN

17th September 2012 - Stolen Stitches Blog hosted by Carol Feller

21st September 2012 - Tot Toppers Blog hosted by Kate Oates

25th September 2012 - More Yarn Will Do the Trick Blog hosted by Jean Moss

29th September 2012 – TheKnitgirllls Videocast hosted by Laura and Leslie

3rd October 2012 - Sand And Sky Creations Blog hosted by Simone Van Iderstine

7th October - Susan B Anderson Blog hosted by Susan B Anderson

11th October 2012 - Dull Roar Blog hosted by Alex Tinsley

15th October 2012 - rock+purl Blog hosted by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud

19th October 2012 - Sheep to Shawl Blog hosted by Donna Druchanas

23rd October 2012- do stuff! leethal Blog hosted by Lee Meredith

25th October 2012 - Knitspot blog hosted by Anne Hanson

27th October 2012 - Bricoleur Knits blog hosted by Cirilia Rose

31st October 2012 - Just call me Ruby Blog hosted by Susan Crawford

Also, listen out for the Paula’s review in late October for the Knitting Pipeline Podcast that she’s squeezing in between lots of travels!

Each host will feature the book in a different way that will really help you to get to grips with what makes this book so special. The variety of different blog posts and type of presentation means that you can learn about the book in new ways and perhaps meet some new bloggers and podcasters along the way. Many of the hosts will be celebrating with discount codes or giveaways of all shapes and sizes so be sure to check each post out so that you don’t miss out on any fun!

Of course, if you cannot wait to get your hands on a copy of CWT, you can purchase the book over here, as well as find out more about the book and the individual patterns. Camden Cap is this months knit-a-long in the Wormhead's Hats Ravelry group - we'd love to see you over there too!


AuthorWoolly Wormhead

It's that time of year again, when we start thinking towards the colder months and increase our woolly Hat production! And that also means that we start our monthly knit-a-longs over in the Ravelry group.

For September, we'll be knitting the Camden Cap



This Hat has proven to be the most popular from Classic Woolly Toppers and it's the ideal Hat to kick start the KALs. Incorporating a whole bunch of techniques, it's a fun Hat to knit. 4 sizes are included, making it ideal for the whole family or seasonal gift giving. Furthermore, it's a Hat that looks just as good in a variegated yarn as it does in a solid.

The style of Hat - with it's roomy beret like body and that peaked brim - makes it a Hat that suits a whole lot of people. It's very wearable, and looks just as good on short hair as it does long, and on all face shapes. 



You'll find lots of little attentions to detail... one being how the columns of twisted stitches line up in relation to the brim. If you've closely looked at a stitch version of this type of Hat, you'll notice that the seams don't fall at the centre front, and instead the half way point between the seams is at the centre front. When working through this design, this detail was an important one to maintain; the design would have been much easier without that.

Camden Cap differs from other knitted caps of this style in other ways, too. Here, we knit the brim *first*; it isn't an add-on or after thought, and there's no picking up of stitches to be done. The brim is shaped using short rows, a technique that I love for so many reasons, and they prove really effective here. For stiffening the brim you could use craft plastic, yet I recycled a plastic bottle, and tips on how to do that are included. 

Rarely do I get to knit and wear one of my own designs, yet I'm determined with this one. I've even ordered some fibre from HillTop Katie so I can spin my own yarn and make myself a pretty special Hat. I'm really looking forward to doing something for me, and having a Hat I can wear for fun - you wouldn't believe how rarely this Hat designer gets to do that!

So if you fancy knitting along with us, please do come and join us

AuthorWoolly Wormhead
CategoriesCWT, Hats
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