“Maybe far away, or maybe real nearby. He’s sittin’ pouring her coffee, she may be straightening his tie…” – from Annie

One year deserves an anniversary tribute, dontcha think? How I remember…

The bright red lettering contrasting the white LP cover. I don’t recall the lyrics being written on the glossy sleeve insert. What I do remember, though, is playing this song (and the entire album, really) over and over and over again; starting and stopping just long enough to jot the next phrase in my notebook. Once the entire song was dictated, there I stood, toes crunching in the dirtied white shag carpet, staring into my full length mirror and somehow seeing Annie’s tight red curls staring back rather than the dirty blonde haired girl with a mouthful of tangled teeth. And the singing began…

Maybe blue yarn, maybe purple? Maybe cables, maybe not. Maybe fitted, maybe slouchy? The design process for me is simple and yet incredibly of the moment. I recently saw a page from a designer’s inspiration book, and some people just put way more intention into their designs. Perhaps that’s why they get paid the good money. For me, my likes tend to be classic and simple, nothing overly ornate, nothing too complicated. I tend to be quite intuitive in nature, and I feel my designing follows in a similar manner. An idea pops into my head and it either sits well with me and excites me, or I wrestle with the idea, changing my mind over and over again, until I realize if it’s that much of a struggle, I should just put the idea way far away into the depths of my “never think of that idea again” pile! 

This week I’ve been charged with the task of designing some hats for a friend-of-a-friend going through a brain surgery. She wants to gift her with one-of-a-kind, post-surgery, warm and comfy hats. And so my simple design process began…

  • Color: this is usually part of my initial inspiration. Often color evokes particular stitch patterns and fibers for me. In this case she wanted blues or purples. 
  • Texture/stitch: I imagined an extremely soft, almost chunkier looking stitch. She lives in Chicago and I keep seeing the blue waves of Lake Michigan. Some sort of weaving, large scale cable.
  • Yarn: I wanted to stick with something soft for her sensitive skin. I anticipated exploring some new fibers, and after lots of consideration I went back to an all-time favorite, Malabrigo Worsted. Love the stitch definition and the color is just perfect for crashing waves.

Once the details are decided upon the knitting begins. I knew my gauge (sweet) as I’ve worked with this previously. No fuss, so I thought. Until I got halfway through and just didn’t like the outcome. Because the cables were so large, it really pulled and the body had very little ease. So, I took out and went up to US 8. Nope. US 9. Nope. US 10. Finally!! (I hope). 

This process brought about a question: At what point do you just stop increasing the needle size and increase your stitches? I feel it’s a question of how you intend the fiber to act. I’m wanting a slightly slouchy hat; one that has some give and isn’t super fitting (less restricting so as not to bother the incision scars). I’m hoping for very slight drape and that’s why I kept increasing my needle size. It’s not that I necessarily needed a significantly larger hat; just wanted the body to be less stiff with more ease. Hoping third time is the charm… 

Funny how quickly time passes. The top is a picture taken today. Liam snuggled up with me while I try to figure out this hat. I was immediately transported back to a time, not long ago, when he would curl up with me on a daily basis and knit with me. (Bottom photo) It definitely doesn’t happen as frequently these days, and so today, I just had to stop, put the needles down and indulge myself with this mid-morning snuggle. Maybe it just might happen again tomorrow. Maybe not. Either way, the memory’s mine.


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