Custom Canadian Style

Another happy Garnharmoni customer!

Marie has very kindly sent me a picture wearing her brand new, custom design hat in yummy Nepal yarn.  As a Canadian living in Sweden she wanted a reminder of home so asked me if I could design a hat to incorporate the symbolic maple leaves.  Marie had the neat idea of having a white motif on red background for a reverse twist of the usual colour scheme.

Making sure I found a picture with the right number of points on the leaf, I charted a design with a few extra bits in between to make life easier in the double-stranded knitting technique.  As a rule, it is a lot harder to weave the ends behind the work when there are a lot of stitches in a row of the same colour.  Adding a few white decorations in an otherwise large background area of red made for easier weaving between repeats of the pattern; practicality as much as design.  Likewise, the white motif itself was tricky because there were a lot of white stitches in a row with the red carried carefully behind the work, being extra careful not to pull too tight on the tension.

This type of design might well warrant a go at intarsia knitting.  This technique is used for “block” motif patterns like these leaves and it means you can avoid the usual weave behind the back of double-stranded knitting.  However, to be honest, I haven’t yet learned that way of knitting!

After I had carefully woven behind the large leaves of the hat I had a go at doing the same on the much smaller handwarmers.  It didn’t work. With much fewer stitches it was getting far too tight and the woven ends on the inside were tending to catch on the hand while slipping it on and off.  I had to come up with another solution.   After a fair bit of trial and error, I moved away from contrast colour knitting and instead made a relief pattern.  I just varied between stocking and garter stitche to create an inverted image of the leaf on each handwarmer.  Using the same white edging detail as the hat brought the two garments together as a designed pair.  It does require a closer look at the handwarmers to notice the subtle detail of the leaf highlighted by stitch instead of contrast colour.  This did practically make for a much better knit and much more ease to slip on and off the garment over the wrist.  I can report – with relief (haha!) – that Marie is happy with the results.

Marie is up in Jämtland where the spring weather is a little slower to catch up than down here in Stockholm.  Hopefully there will be a freshness in the air just a little while longer so she can cosy up in her extra soft hat, showing off her national pride, holding her toasty warm head high!

Sometimes a project goes really smoothly.   Sometimes not. This was more the latter, but that is where challenge and fun lies.  I still have much to learn in the art of knitting and design, but I love to make customised items.  It is so rewarding to see my humble offerings being enjoyed and appreciated as one of a kind.



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