Beautiful Knitting

Where Mt.Mom knits, crochets, designs, and seeks Beauty as food for the soul.

Posts Tagged ‘tam’

Galaxy Tams — Design Process, Part 1

Posted by mtmom on January 25, 2011

I thought I might share a bit about how my design process went for the tams I just submitted to Cast On magazine.

The Idea.

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.

Pink Swirl Tam, side view

Pink Swirl Tam, top view

The Opportunity.

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.

The Swatches.

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.

Swatch in white alpaca/wool worsted weight

Swatch in purple mohair/silk laceweight doubled



The Sketches.

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 Decision.

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.


Posted in Cap/Hat, Design, Knitting | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Links I’ve Liked This Week

Posted by mtmom on January 9, 2011

Work continues on the 2 tams for summer 2011 Cast On, but in the mean time, here are some links to a video, a photo tutorial, a clever product, and a lovely poem.  The first 3 were referenced in a recent Berroco KnitBits e-newsletter, and the last, from Nicky Epstein’s “Talks from the Yarniverse” interview by the folks at the Lion Brand studio in NYC.

(1)  Berroco video about attaching a buttonband that has been knit separately (Norah Gaughan) (embedding not working today);

(2)  Photo tutorial by Sarah of the “Live and Let Knit. . . and Craft” blog, about a Japanese version of 3-needle bind-off;

(3)  Make your own fabric-covered buttons with a kit, recommended by Cirilia Rose of Berroco;

(4)  Loved this Knitter’s Christmas poem when I heard interviewer-Patty and Nicky Epstein read it at the end of their “Yarniverse” video interview.  It was written for Nicky by her husband as a Christmas gift!

Posted in Videos -- made by others | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Citius, Altius, Fortius — Part 1

Posted by mtmom on February 16, 2010

The Olympic creed:  “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

The Olympic motto: “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (Latin for “faster/swifter, higher, stronger”)

Both are attributed (by Wikipedia and to frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin, as inspired by speeches he heard from Dominican Father Henri Martin Didon (the motto, 1894), and Bishop Ethelbert Talbot (the creed, 1908).

So much knitting (and so little blogging, either writing or reading) has been going on, mostly in conjunction with the Knitting Olympics/Ravelympics.

First night's work

During the Opening Ceremonies, I cast on for Lion Brand’s free pattern, the Inishturk Tam, a simple cabled hat, using a gifted ball of mystery yellow-orange acrylic that gives me 4 stitches x 6 rounds per square inch on US 9 needles.  I have made a few modifications. . . .

1) 6 multiples of the pattern instead of 7, to get a child’s size.  Leading to….

2) casting on 80 stitches for the ribbing.  I had to cast on 3 times before I got it right!

3) fewer rounds of ribbing and of cabling, again because I want a smaller end-size.

4) working my left-twists without a cable needle.

5) twisting the knit-1 columns on either side of the braids, by k1tbl, because it looks better to my eye.

as of Monday afternoon Youngest DD wants you all to see her first-ever square of single crochet!

I taught her on Monday while she and her sister were home for Presidents’ Day school holiday.

She has since moved on to double crochet.

You can see some of the patterning in my hat, too.  🙂






On Sunday, I switched gears.

I decided to see if I could start and finish a cap in one day!

And I did!  😀  LOOKIE!!! I GOT A MEDAL!

for Charity Chunky Hat-in-a-Day

(What follows is basically an overview of my Square-Top cap pattern.)

Start by working a 1" stockinette square. Then pick up stitches on all 4 sides.

Work paired increases at 4 points eor until "big enough".

Put onto 16" circular needles, if desired.


Work even until "long enough" to begin band: rolled, ribbed, or other.

Work bottom band and bind off stretchily. Tuck in ends.

Gift and enjoy!

Posted in Cap/Hat, Knitting | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »