I thought I might share a bit about how my design process went for the tams I just submitted to Cast On magazine.
Years ago, I borrowed a copy of Barbara G. Walker’s book, Knitting Counterpanes — about preserved examples of an old tradition of bedspreads handknit of tiny cotton yarn. (Interlibrary loans are a WONDERFUL thing!) In it, I saw several spreads/counterpanes constructed of small, repeated medallions. I recall swatching a few of them, and sketching several others. I made a child-size beret out of one of them by working a center-out medallion for the top, then a sort of turning ridge of several rounds of reverse stockinette, then I decreased back down while trying to maintain as much of the patterning as I could. A plain ribbed band finished it off.
Cast On sent out a call for designs for the summer 2011 issue, with a special emphasis (among other topics) on tams and berets. I remembered the pink tam and the gears started turning.
I no longer had the Walker book, and I didn’t keep the pink tam in front of me to check. I went from (fallible) memory while also keeping in mind some changes I wanted to make. I started knitting at the center, and when the swatch was large enough I began to think of an edging that would lie flat. I decided on garter stitch, but didn’t want the spirals to just STOP at the edge of the border — hmmm, could the spirals continue THROUGH the garter st background, as they had over the stockinette? YES! I liked this very much.
I had 2 different yarns I was considering working with: the white yarn was new to me, but came highly recommended; the purple was left over from a shawlette KAL 2 autumns ago, and I had thoroughly enjoyed working with it back then. I made a swatch from EACH of them and decided to send both. I would let the committee consider both and choose.
I figured the different yarns would make different fabrics that would drape differently, so I sketched out the 2 options: one floaty, one droopy. I traced the bare essentials of 2 faces from a clothing catalog and added in the hats freehand. The results were not bad, and they communicated the ideas. I described how I would construct the hats and how I expected each version would look. I filled out the rest of the paperwork (yarn brands and alternatives, gauges, sizes, etc.) and mailed it all off to Ohio.
The editorial committee wrote back and asked if I would knit BOTH hats, to show the different looks! OK, I’m in!
Next chapter (Lord willing): the yarn, the pattern-writing and the prototype knitting.