Monday, September 28, 2009

Evolution of a design

Tomorrow? Did I say tomorrow? I knew it was a bad idea even before I finished typing it.

Between the promise of a next-day blog post and the looming grant deadline, things were perfectly poised for a smiting by the internet gods. We've had a wonderful few days of unwittingly paying .15 euros per minute for internet (on what was supposed to be an unlimited plan) because the salesguy forgot to tell us that we have to prepay the card and then call the company to get them to switch it from super-expensive to unlimited access. We couldn't figure out why it kept turning off when we'd just refilled the card...

So, yeah. Sixty euros later, and after our first experience of German customer service (there isn't's our fault that we didn't understand, and has nothing to do with the guy that didn't tell us there was an extra step), we have internet again. And my grant is now uploaded.

And soon there will be a blog post! Will wonders never cease.

It's not often that finished objects appear on the scene fully formed on this blog. Usually it's a more in-depth (excruciating?) trek through the wonders of designing. But the latest project kind of flew off the needles, and I suddenly find myself wondering why it hasn't yet made a real appearance here.

So. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

Tams are basically circles, so I started with a pie-like wedge. I was planning to have 5 or 6 pattern repeats, so I shaped the wedge accordingly.

I started filling in the wedge, but ended up with a squashed diamond design, and I knew that the actual knitting would look even more squashed, since the stitches aren't really square.

I decided that I really wanted the knitting to get a little wider at the tips of the diamond, so that it would look more star-like and less flattened out.

I borrowed a page from the quilting world, and made it into a Bargello pattern, like this quilt that I made a few years ago.

For a knit diamond, the Bargello pattern turned into this:

Then I started filling in the details:

These sketches turned into the hat that I have nicknamed Bargello Blues:

It is decidedly un-tam shaped. Turns out that I needed more increases than I used, and so it can't be be blocked out to flatten into a tam. My swatch gave me the right gauge for four pattern repeats, so I knit it in a fourfold pattern instead of the originally-planned five-fold. The four repeats were a 20% stitch increase over the ribbing, but I guess I like my ribbing fairly snug, so the extra increases didn't really do much. For a tam, I should have added in the extra 48 stitches to make 5 repeats.

Since I don't wear hats (except for possibly tams), Branden has now scored a second addition to his hat collection for the winter. Since his head is a little bit larger than mine, it fits him perfectly.

I didn't get my tam, but I have a feeling that this isn't the last we've seen of the idea, or of this stitch pattern.