Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Green Hat

First, I want to thank so many of you for coming out to my book signing for 60 Quick Knits from America's Yarn Shops. I wasn't expecting that many people, and we quickly ran out of books. (No worries--more are on the way!) Kim and I appreciate so many of you buying them from us instead of online--more than you can imagine. Your kind gestures keep us here!

I thought you might have fun learning about how I designed the hat that's in the book.

It started out with a call out from Cascade Yarns to yarn shops for a design. I decided to try it, and to increase my chances, I sent about six different ideas to them.

Now, as a bit of a background, I am still a little scarred from having dealt with a publisher a long, long time ago; I knew I was in for quick deadlines. And I don't work quickly--just ask Kim. So I kept all my ideas fairly small. I did a little sketch and description of each project I had in mind.

Here's the sketch for the hat. There was a lot of trust from the book publisher, who accepted my idea from this:

I heard back a few days before a trip to Florida. They told me that I would be getting yarn soon--after I was down there. The deadline was about 2 weeks after I returned, so I figured I was okay. That said, I also knew I had to start right away. So I took a skein of yarn down with me, and I spent days and days there fussing to get the ribbed earflaps just right.

I got home, thrilled with what I had come up with and excited to begin the work on the real hat. I opened the envelope of green yarn waiting for me.

Then as a quick double check, I looked at my original sketch. I realized that I had said the hat would have garter-stitch earflaps.

I decided that I'd better stick with what I had said I would do, and I began again, figuring that the perfect ribbed earflaps could be in some other hat someday.

I wasn't worried at having to re-do. I expected garter-stitch earflaps would be easy. But for some reason, I ran into all kinds of problems: They were the wrong size, they were the wrong shape, they were in the wrong place on the hatband. I spent hours and hours and hours knitting and reknitting what should have been the easiest earflaps on the face of the planet.

After I finally got the earflaps working, the cabling fell into place reasonably quickly ... after I figured out that the cables as originally envisioned were too close together and I had to rip them out.

Oh yeah, baby, I was on the home stretch and feelin' gooooood.

And then came the top of the hat. I started in on my original plan, but it looked lumpy at the transition between the cables and the ribbing. I showed it to Kevin, who agreed with me by frowning and shaking his head no. I kept thinking about it and thinking about it--and then I bravely changed it to a decreasing cable rather than keeping what I had sketched. And then, while I was at changing the design anyway at this point, I added a big, huge tassel to the top.

I was finished the day before it was due, and with great relief, I sent it over-night to the publisher.

And that is all that happened until the book came out.

You have now learned the behind-the-scenes exciting process of publishing! If you are on Ravelry, I would love it if you would go make the hat one of your favorites!

To summarize the easy steps of designing a cabled earflap hat: (1) do a primitive sketch of the hat, (2) make the earflaps, (3) make the earflaps again, (4) make the earflaps again, (5) make the earflaps again, (6) make the earflaps again, (7) work the cables, (8) work the cables again, (9) make the top, (10) make the top again, (11) make a huge tassel with whatever yarn you have left just because you want to, (12) write up, (13) mail out via over-night mail, (14) party like a knitter!