August 2, 2011

Mystery hat revealed: Terrapin!

Here it is, my mystery hat knit-a-long design – Terrapin (on ravelry here):

mystery hat, revealed!

That above is in a sport weight (Brown Sheep’s Lanaloft Sports Weight), and then below is in a bulky weight (Malabrigo’s Chunky), for a very different look (but I love them both!!):

mystery hat, revealed!

And then there’s a no-buttons version as well, making it a bit more gender-neutral, as you can see on Pete below (in worsted weight – Imperial Stock Ranch’s Columbia).  And a close-up of the twisted stitch pattern on the body:

mystery hat, revealed! Terrapin!

Want to hear a bit about my design process?  After designing this argyle cuff last year, I wanted to take the whole solid color argyle-inspired pattern concept further… so eventually, I sketched+swatched up this design proposal for a magazine submission last year:

Terrapin original sketch Terrapin original swatch

The basic idea of the design ended up being pretty identical to my final Terrapin pattern – that swatch is trying out 2 different yarn types, with the different hat sections in swatch form.  The argyle twisted stitch pattern has changed a bit since that swatch was made, but the concept remains the same – interlocking diamonds with stockinette and reverse stockinette acting as the different colors in a classic argyle colorwork design.

Terrapin original sketch

Those are my other submission sketches – pretty close to Terrapin, again, though lots of details have changed.  So, the magazine didn’t take it, and the idea sat there for awhile, until the beginning of this year when I decided to re-address it and see how it went…

Terrapin prototype

That’s my first prototype.  I started the green brim kind of as a swatch, just working out the twisted stitch pattern with the sideways edge cast-on, but then I kept going and realized I wasn’t going to have enough green to finish the hat.  I did, however, have some orange of the same yarn (Brown Sheep’s Lanaloft Worsted), so I grabbed that and switched colors for the body!

Terrapin prototype

There are lots of minor differences between this prototype and the final design, but the shape and look of it are the same, so you can see with that how it would look if you wanted to make a Terrapin with 2 different colors.  (Ravelry user wonderfulone made a 2-color hat for the knit-a-long, so check that one out too!)

mystery hat, revealed!

And then I decided to turn it into an any-gauge pattern, so my next prototype was in the sport weight – some more minor changes happened during and after the making of this one, but it’s basically the same hat.  I love the orange with the blue buttons!

mystery hat, revealed!

Now that the design was finished, my next step was to make one in bulky weight, to make sure the any-gauge aspects of the pattern would work – the bulky did work, but the decreases got a little weird, which is why I recommend not going much heavier than an aran weight.  I do love this hat though, so soft and squishy!!


Next, I decided to make a version of the brim with grafting instead of buttons, to make it more guy-friendly.  So, I made a third sample, in the worsted weight, finalizing the design for the knit-a-long:


That one was made to fit my guy perfectly, but his head isn’t that much bigger than mine, so we can share it!


I tried doing a quick little photoshoot of the two of us wearing our Terrapins together, but it didn’t work out so well… this is the best shot I got:


As for the pdf… I added quite a bit more than what was in the mystery version of the pattern.  Photos, of course, including many process shots, charts of all the twisted stitch sections, a full 2 page photo tutorial on how I do twisted stitches (the easiest way I’ve found), a how-to on blocking hats… Here are a couple screenshots of the pdf:

a couple pages of Terrapin pdf a couple pages of Terrapin pdf

Since I always format my pattern pdfs for easy reading on your computer (or iPad, Kindle, iPhone, etc) screen, all this makes for a 25 page pdf!  If you do like printing your patterns, the pattern itself has only small photos so it won’t use up too much color ink.  The pattern costs the same as the knit-a-long ($6) and is available on my site or on ravelry.  Hope you like it!!

Filed under: hats,knitting,self-publishing — leethal @ 7:18 pm
  • April

    I always love seeing the creative process. Sketches, swatches, prototypes…It’s all so inspiring and fun.

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  • Katie

    This is so brilliant Lee!  Thanks for sharing your design process, it’s great to see where your thoughts start and where they lead on to.  Very exciting – and what an amazing pattern!  I hope to find the time to try it out one day soon!  :)  xxx

  • Jessica & Lindsey FoxBlem

    Thanks for sharing your process. It’s great for a beginning knitter like me to see how more complex patterns come about. 

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