January 28, 2009

vortex! and a journey through my design process…

vortex, no-point

surprise! the secret pattern i thought i’d get to share with you when the spring knitty went up in march just got released today as a surprise in the winter issue!  so exciting!

vortex with point

there are two different versions – with a point, and without (although the no-point version does have a little bit of a peak).  each version includes adult and child sizes.  (my first time designing a child size hat – i’d love feedback from anyone who knits this for their kid!)

vortex with point vortex, no-point

so, i wanted to take you on a kind of journey through my design process that led to vortex.  i originally started designing the hat over a year ago!  i wanted to submit a design for the spring ’08 knitty, but couldn’t finish it in time.  since i didn’t want to submit a wool hat for the summer issue, i used the extra time i had to keep re-designing until i got it just perfect, and submitted it for fall ’08, and now you finally get to see it in winter, which is good because i think of it as a winter design more than any other season.

vortex, no-point

when i first starting designing, i knew i wanted to make something involving aspects of my spiraling stripes hats, but crazier and more complex.  and i knew i wanted to design with noro, because, at the time, i had never even knit with noro, and i had seen so many gorgeous noro project on ravelry that i knew i could do something great with it.  i worked out a concept, with a ziggy-zagging brim, swirling colors, and a roomier shape, and ended up with this:

pre-vortex hat #1

pre-vortex hat #1 pre-vortex hat #1

way too big – it could be worn as a beret-style hat, but that wasn’t what i was going for.  so i ripped out a section to bring it in, resulting in this:

pre-vortex hat #1 reshaped

pre-vortex hat #1 reshaped pre-vortex hat #1 reshaped

i liked it, a lot, but… i needed to take it further.  i decided a few things: i wanted to stripe between two noro colorways to bring out the design, and i wanted a bigger point!  and the brim wasn’t quite right, something needed to change there…  so this was my second version:

pre-vortex hat #2

pre-vortex hat #2 pre-vortex hat #2

i loved it! but still, it needed some changes.  first of all, if you’re gonna have a hat with a swirling point, why not make it a serious point?!  and then the brim… that subtle wave was nice, but i wanted more.  and then the method of increasing made for all those bumps; something needed to be done about that.  so my next redesign ended up being my final pointed version!

vortex with point

big fat wavy brim, huge point, no more increase bumps, perfect! well, perfect for me… i knew it wouldn’t be for everyone, and i wanted to make more people happy, so i’d need to make a no-point version.  my first attempt at that re-design resulted in a major failure!

pre-vortex "no-point" version pre-vortex "no-point" version

not only did it still have a little point, but it was waaaay too small! so, that one got frogged, and i managed to get it right on the next try…

kid size vortex from top adult and kid size vortex hats

that’s the kid’s size next to the adult size.  success!  so, that was how vortex came to be.  i thought this journey might be helpful to any aspiring designers who get frustrated when an idea doesn’t work on the first (or second, or third, or fourth) try!  just keep at it!!

here’s another example of the no-point version, knit with my recycled hand-dyed self-striping yarn for a pretty different look:

hand-dyed vortex

hand-dyed vortex hand-dyed vortex

oh and a question… any interest in the patterns for the older versions? that first non-striping one, and/or the first striping version with the smaller point?  i have the patterns all written up, so i was thinking about posting them here in case anyone’s interested, probably after vortex goes into the knitty archives in march.  just let me know.

anyway, i hope you like the pattern!  now i need to go get all these hats into ravelry!

Filed under: hats,knitting — leethal @ 4:35 pm
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