Sometimes one idea leads to another, you find yourself charting crosses this way and that, and that you are unable to stop playing with your blue and green stash of J&S 2 ply Jumper Weight. Sometimes you find you cannot stop knitting FLAG HATS FOR YOUR NEPHEW.
…based on this…
…morphs into this…
…based on this…
…and sometimes this…
I am reminded of a time when I found two similar but not quite the same lace knitted scarves in a second hand shop. I bought them both because I found the pair of them so intriguing as knitted records of process. The knitter had so clearly made scarf no. 1, examined it, had more ideas and immediately cast on scarf no. 2.
So it is with Barney’s Hats.
I like trying to solve problems in stranded colourwork and conveying both the Scotland and the Shetland Flag have given me some nice chewy problems around representation in this medium. The Shetland Flag presents some similar issues to the Scotland Flag, as it involves a strong asymmetric cross which, if faithfully reproduced in stranded colourwork, produces long strands on the back of the work (boo) and tall vertical columns of inflexible stitches (double boo). Attempts to chart the flag on the diagonal, as if waving, looked very pretty in my journal, but would have almost immediately lost their visual reference to the actual Shetland flag once repeated many times around a hat.
A third colour introduced in the background would have perhaps helped my charts based on sideways, wind-blown versions of the Shetland flag to retain their reference to it, but a third colour means faff in the knitting process and more thickness in the fabric – both things I assiduously try to avoid! In my last post I touched on how X and O patterns are especially suitable for dispersing tension through the fabric of stranded colourwork, which is why they are the building blocks of so many patterns and motifs in this medium.
How about a smallish and quite flat/simplistic version of the Shetland Flag (all straight sides and some long-ish strands over nine stitches) interspersed with X and O patterns to counteract the effect of all those verticals on the flexibility and stretch of the fabric?
Then: how about more blue space around the flags and Xs and Os, and instead of just two little lines of green and blue patterns, another X and O pattern made of peerie (little) shapes, to bisect the flags marching up the hat?
Then: how about making a totally symmetrical decreasing crown cross, rather than a slightly asymmetric one?
So many little decisions leading up to a second hat for Barney that is similar, but definitely not the same as his first!
I really can’t stop knitting hats, and for some reason the prospect of blocking them in THE KITCHEN OF DREAMS fills me with joy. Don’t ask me why, but I just think there is a really nice affinity between the moment of completion when a loaf of bread is baked, cooled, and ready to eat and when a hat has had all its ends woven in and blocking has occurred.
Is it because both end products are ROUND and TASTY? Is it because both LOAF and HAT turn agricultural produce into useful daily items of joy? I don’t know but hat-blocking is now my favourite kitchen sport…
…YOURS IN LOAVES, FLAGS AND HATS,