Tag Archives: design

Prototype: Mushroom Hat

My general design set-up works as follows:  I sit down with some yarn and a hook and decide I’m going to make something.  Sometimes it’s a purse.  Sometimes it’s a shawl.  Sometimes it’s a hat.  When I do this, I wing it.  I used patterns early on to figure out how to make things, but once I figure out the basics of how to make something, I usually throw patterns to the wind and throw myself headlong into whatever project I’m making.  There’s a lot you can learn from a good pattern, but I learn really well by screwing up and back tracking, so that’s my general way of doing things.

The Mushroom Hat is one of those projects. I had an I-hook, some red heart acrylic, and I wanted to make a slouchy little hat that I could tuck my hair into (as we’re offically in the season of 95 in the shade on a cool day).  Thus, this:

Mushroom Hat -- Side View

Mushroom Hat -- Side View

Super cute, right?  Of course it is!  I worked from the top down, and I made the hat in a spiral (meaning no turns at the ends of rounds), and I alternated between half-double and double-crochet stitches.  I think the basic shape of it is really good.  I can get my hair into it, and it has a place to stay.  The brim is a bit wider than I had intended, but that’s an easy fix if I make the hat again.  I like the little shell stitches on the final round, but I’m very partial to shell stitches anyway.  A couple of more shots:

Mushroom Hat -- Back View

Mushroom Hat -- Back View

It’s interesting to me that from the back, the hat looks a little floppier than it actually is.  Red Heart acrylic is not a soft yarn when you first use it, so it tends to keep its shape pretty stoutly.  If I wash this hat, I know it’ll soften up a bit and probably be about as malleable as it looks in this picture, but for now, it’s a pretty structured hat.

Mushroom Hat -- Brim Detail

Mushroom Hat -- Brim Detail

Last but not least, a close-up on the brim.  Like I said above, this brim is a bit too wide for my tastes, but that’s easily fixable for the next time I make the hat.  I can either take out a round or two of the half-double stitches, or I can switch the entire brim to single crochet, so the brim has the same number of rounds as it does now, but it’ll be a little smaller.

There may be some of you reading this who find the idea of making a hat just to figure out how to fix a hat really annoying.  I like the trial and error process, because frogging can sometimes teach you just as much as following someone else’s directions.  It’s all personal preference, which just reflects the whole point of making things yourself.  You can make what you like, even if it takes a second try.

Divine Design Inspiration

The more I write patterns, the more I find myself seeing ideas in the everyday.  I’ll stop and check out machine-made scarves and sweaters with interesting stitch patterns to see how I can make a variation for my own use.

I like that I’m honing my design skills to the point that I can now look at certain things and almost immediately get an idea of how to make my own.  Take, for example, the following pictures:

Cobweb tights on the runway

Cobweb tights on the runway

I got this picture in an e-mail from a family friend [Hi, Teri!], and my first thought was, “That’s what I’ll do with all those skeins of Patons Lacette!  Patons Lacette is a super-fine, slightly fuzzy yarn that Patons has discontinued.  I’d planned to try and make a sweater from it, but then they cut off my supply, and I had to rethink my options.  I want to use the basic construction of the tights as the starting point and make, perhaps, a shawl or openwork scarf.  I don’t want such gaping holes [like on the upper left thigh], but I do very much like the idea of playing with the placement of stitches to get some sections that are more open than others.

Very chic, no?

Very chic, no?

That buckle is just fun

That buckle is just fun

And then there’s this sweater from Express.  I happened upon it while browsing one day, and my very first thought was, “I can make that’.  I really like the shape of it–the way it just skims the body, and the shape of the sleeves–and the sleeves have little silver buckles that I think take the whole look up a notch.  I feel like, having accomplished my first sweater, I’m ready to tackle another, and I think this would look divine in a sportweight yarn.

My biggest concern, I think, will be the way the sleeves puff before they cinch into the cuff with the buckle.  I get the feeling I’ll spend a bit of time frogging and re-stitching, but I know the final result will be well worth it.

And then there are the pictures that simply make me want to design more:

Chirstina Hendricks is fabulous

Chirstina Hendricks is fabulous

Being a busty, hippy, small-waisted type, I absolutely adore this dress [and the actress in it].  I’ve been staring at this picture on and off for days wondering if it’s possible to recreate it with yarn.  Even if I can’t, there’s so much well-placed shaping on display that I know it’s going to inspire me for days.  Possibly weeks.  Maybe even months.  It’s an interesting, unique-looking dress that makes Christina Hendricks look like even more of a bombshell than she already is.  How could that not be inspiring?

What inspires you, dear reader?