FINALLY I get to tell you about this! Do you know how hard it is to record a podcast about knitting design, and the goals that I have been setting for myself for my Year Of Goals… and then hit one in the first two months and not be able to tell you about it?! Heehee….. it makes me laugh now, but I really suffered for a while!
The story of the hat:
I was working on a collection of hat designs in Fall 2008, and I had picked a couple handfuls of suede-covered buttons from Button Button as inspiration. I had been imagining button-trimmed hats, though more of a handful of smaller buttons scattered or lined up on the brim rather than the one-chunky-button styles that were already making the rounds. After a delighful hour of realizing that almost all of the buttons had a perfect colour match available, I had an armful of Cascade 220 Heathers from the glorious wall of Cascade at Three Bags Full - browns and rusts and greens and lighter teal-ish blues - to take home.
The heathered brown yarn was one of the few yarns I had picked out that didn’t have a button match, but the heathered orange had a perfect mate, so I already had an idea of using the two colours together, and on a scale where the brown was used in larger amounts and the orange would be the trim. After a bit of swatching, I knew that I wanted to create piping for the hat.. and after some manipulating of the piped swatch, the image of buttoned pleats came to me! The pleated and piped hat was born!
When the Call for Submissions for the Fall 2009 Twist Collective came out in January, I looked at the style boards and realized that this hat would be a good fit for one of their ’stories’, and put it together with a couple other design ideas to submit. Here’s the project description that I sent in with my submission package:
Pleated and piped hat
-Worn with the button to the front, it is a quirky turban, with the button to the side or back, it resembles a vintage cloche
-Circular construction, knit top down
-Contrast colour is knit for a few rows, then knit together to form piping
-Hem is worked on smaller needles and then stitched in place Hat is shaped with short rows to minimize bulk within pleated section
-Pleated section is stitched in place and trimmed with a coordinating button
-Bottom up construction is also an option
-Other colours (deep navy or plum with silvery grey) and button choices (vintage metal or cut glass) would look great, too!
…and the sketch (drawn over a face/head shape that I traced from a “How to draw Fashion” book from the 60s):
.. and the photo:
I had sent the package via email before the submission deadline arrived at the end of February. Mid March, an email from Kate Gilbert arrived, accepting the design! Whoop! I was pretty excited, and ran around telling all of my friends and family that I GOT IN!!! I was going to be PUBLISHED!!! This would make me FAMOUS!!! Heehee
I asked Kate if I could blog/podcast about the submission and acceptance process, and she asked me to wait until the pattern had gone live - sometimes unforseen glitches happen and patterns don’t get used, and there was also the delightful element of surprise that readers get, when they open a new issue and see patterns that haven’t been previously leaked! Fair enough… so I sat on it. (okay, I may have mentioned it a teeny bit on the podcast, but I didn’t name names, or describe designs, or anything!)
The hat as-knit didn’t actually fit me, though it suits Francesca (co-owner of Three Bags Full and my boss) perfectly… so I asked her if I could knit up a shop sample to display once the issue went live, and we picked out some delicious Ultra Alpaca by Berocco to use. As I started working on the sample, I decided to play with the sizing and shaping to get something that WOULD fit me… and so a second circumference and depth option became available.
Even though the design work and writing was done, I still needed to format the pattern to match Twist Collective’s style guide. Easy enough, as the guide was very thorough: I knew where periods did and didn’t belong, when to use ‘k’ instead of ‘knit’, and how to write a pattern key to use their common terminology. When it came time to work with the technical editor, Sandi Rosner, our main challenge was to accurately describe the disconnect between the stitch count (and the width it would provide, when knit to gauge) and the actual hat measurements (once the finished hat was thoroughly blocked). Sandi had some great suggestions, and the edited pattern moved on.
The next stage was to take a look at the finished pattern as it would appear in PDF form. Mary Joy Gumayagay was the person responsible for pattern layout, and she had a brilliant system set up for group editing, using Google Documents and a table in which the to-be-edited chunk could be identified by location in the pattern, labeled ‘Major’ (pattern will not knit correctly if we don’t fix this) or ‘Minor’ (would it look nicer over here?), and the suggested correction added, along with an area to discuss the correction if needed. At this point there were a few easy catches of glitches that had come through when the pattern was reformatted, and then a bit of a discussion again about how best to describe the sizing options and help the knitters to have a finished product that would fit!
After a couple rounds of editing the PDF, I made my last few requests and signed off on the final version, and then waited.. and waited.. and waited… and oops, here’s an email from Julia Farwell-Clay asking for the designer headshot that I THOUGHT I had sent in back in July when it was due, but apparently did not… and then finally late last night, as I got back from a delightful mini-vacation in Seattle, it was live!!
I am really thrilled to have a pattern in Twist - hopefully this will only be the first of many - and I’m giddy reading everyone’s comments on Ravelry and elsewhere about how much they love the issue, and that they think Piper is pretty cool! Hooray!
A final note: the name “Piper” didn’t come easily, but when it did, it was a perfect fit: I wanted something to describe the hat (which began life as “the pleated and piped hat”) rather than just an unrelated name.. but I was hoping for something a bit less.. bland. I spent an evening playing with online dictionaries and thesauri, looking for words that meant ‘piped’ or ‘pleated’ or ‘folded’ or ‘gathered’.. and wasn’t coming up with anything brilliant… … but somewhere along the way, perhaps while taking a break to catch up on blog reading, I ran across something written by Kim Werker, crochet and editor goddess… (who has been mentoring me on building my knitting design business) .. Kim *P* Werker…. Kim PIPER Werker!!! .. and it all fell into place. I had a hat with a fun, quirky, suitable name, and I could honour the woman who had coached me through the submission process and gotten me to this point probably two or three years earlier than I would have made it on my own. Thanks, Kim!