Today I'm ecstatic to tell you that I have a new design out and it's in Twist Collective! Please meet Pixel, my new trapper hat and mittens pattern done in stranded colorwork. I've been on a total colorwork kick lately and this set is one of my absolute favorites so far!
Not only is it super exciting to have a pattern accepted into Twist, but this little baby made the cover. Such an honor! Here's the beautiful cover photo:
Lovely, isn't it? The amazing Carrie Bostick Hoge was the photographer for this section of the magazine, and she did a simply beautiful job.
Want to hear more about the pattern? Read on after the jump!
This pattern actually started its life as a completely different mitten-and-hat idea, inspired by some Spanish tile I had seen and wanted to translate into stranded colorwork. After many unahppy swatches, I gave up on translating that idea into reality and instead switched to my current obsession, which is playing with traditional patterns by blowing them way up and leaving them pixelated. I worked out this blown up argyle and decided to keep playing with traditional elements by combining them in unusual ways.
I came up with the mittens first, as they're one of my favorite items to design. Here's a picture I took of them before mailing them out:
As you can see from the picture, there are actually two colorwork patterns here, the offset argyle that makes up the hand and the checkerboard that is the cuff and thumb. While finishing those thumbs I got really obsessed with the elongated checkerboard and may have started a new design featuring that . . . but that's a post for another day.
Continuing the theme of playfully mixing up tradition, I added red accents that evoke super traditional netherlands-style colorwork, but I did it in an unusual fashion: a crochet edge and some duplicate stitch. I love that the red accents make the mittens playful and cheeky rather than serious (or even boring).
The mittens came together in no time and while I did end up knitting 3 of them (my stranding sucked on the first one and was simply not photography-worthy) they were a dream to work out. The hat, on the other hand . . . not so much.
Initially I had thought to do mittens and a scarf, but decided that this graphic pattern would be too overwhelming to wear both at the same time. So a hat seemed like the obvious choice, but what kind of hat? I didn't want anything too traditional but I also wanted to make something I would wear (because Twist does return the samples to the designers when they're done with them!) and I don't look good in many hats . . . and I also wanted the hat to be "interesting," not just a plain skullcap shape.
After going through the above process I thought I would maybe do a chullo-style hat, but I wasn't totally convinced. And what's worse, I didn't think it was unusual/original enough with the colorwork. I wanted something more fun and funky!
What I usually do in these situations is browse higher-fashion sites to see what the big designers are doing. In this case, I went to net-a-porter and looked at non-knitted hats and stumbled on a trapper hat. I never wear the real thing because I think they're too bulky for my already-huge head, but in a thin knitted fabric? That had promise, and I had never seen it done before in colorwork!
It took a lot of trial and error to figure out a simple construction that I could easily explain in words, but I'm very happy with the end result. I'm particularly proud of the fact that the argyle repeats so smoothly even as you start decreasing the crown! It's one of my pet peeves when the top of a hat doesn't look as good as the main section, so I knew I was going to work extra-hard to make that section work out well in this pattern.
And the best thing about the hat? It fits great!
But don't worry, I've included "normal people" head sizes in the pattern, too. The sample is the 21" size to fit my 22.5" head, but the pattern also has sizes for 17" and 19" finished hats, which will fit teens and regular-sized adults too. And the colorwork is pixel-perfect on those sizes too!
To purchase the pattern, click here to go to the Twist site where you can check out with PayPal or a credit card. The pattern includes the mittens (in 3 sizes) and the hat (also in 3 sizes), and is priced at $6.00.
So, do you like the Pixel set? Please let me know in the comments!
PS - In case you want to favorite or queue it on Ravelry, here's a link directly to the pattern page!