Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Behind the design of the Snowy Penguin Hat and Mitts!

This has been a busy month for me design wise.  I'm really excited to share with you my notes behind the Snowy Penguin Accessories (a hat and mitts for a toddler.)  You can both accessory patterns and the vest in the Snowy Penguin Set for $10, or purchase a single pattern individually: the Snowy Penguin Vest Knitting Pattern for $6.00, the Snowy Penguin Hat Knitting Pattern  for $3.00 and the Snowy Penguin Mitts Knitting Pattern for $3.00.

Snowy Penguin Accessories

Frequently I jot down my design ideas inside of my notebook.  This time I started designing the vest and then jotted it down in the notebook.  It is helpful to have paper to keep track of my notes, even if I did my doodling in Excel.

When I cast on for the Snowy Penguin Vest I had a vision.  What if I designed a hat and mittens to go along with the vest?  I knew that I would have enough yarn left over from my original balls of yarn to complete this goal.  I sat down and got to work.

I really liked the way that Lucky's Foxy hat fit his head, so I started with the same stitch number when it came to creating my chart.  I then picked out my favorite penguins and snowflakes from the vest and incorporated them around the brim of the hat.

I really wanted to get the vest into testing, but I was so excited about this hat that I took a break from finishing up the vest written pattern to create this hat.  Vogue Knitting Live Chicago was the next day, and I knew that I would have trouble keeping up with a Ravelry thread while I was at the conference in classes.  Therefore I may as well work on the next part of my design.

The hat was a simple design.  I did stranded knitting for the entire hat. There are some long floats in the hat, but I carried the yarn through the entire time.    Here is a wrong side view of this cute little hat:

When it came to the mitts, I started by looking at the Penguin Mitts I made Lucky last year before he was born.  When I tried these mitts on his 12 month old hands they fit, but slipped off easily.  The width was right, however, so I used that as a starting point for my design. Since Lucky is still a baby I didn't want to worry about a thumb to fit his hand, just little bubble mittens to keep his tiny fingers warm.

Penguin mitts from 2013 - 26 g combined.  I wasn't sure I have enough yarn left to make a pair of mitts...  Scratch that.  I 100% have enough yarn to make a pair of mitts for Lucky, but I may not have enough yarn to make them in the same Reverse color pattern as the hat.   I'll  have to mill on this as I'm at Vogue Knitting.

The first mitt
Why did I invert the colors from the vest to the hat and mitts?  I did this for two reasons.  1) I wanted them to be more coordinated and less matchy and 2) The real reason I had more purple yarn than white and I wanted to make sure I didn't run out when I was creating the set.  I realized through this that I needed to adjust the way I referred to the colors in the pattern.  I couldn't call them MC and CC if the main color for each pattern swapped.  I therefore changed it to C1 and C2.  

I worked out the mitts by laying Lucky's hand over prat of the hat design.  It looked like if I made the mitts the size of the large penguin that they would fit his hand nicely.

To make sure, I cast on the cuff and knit 7 or so rounds of ribbing.  I tried this on his hand and saw that there was plenty of room to fit, but also that maybe they  would actually stay on.  I have no pictures of this WIP because having 3 DPN's on my 12 month old's hands is a dangerous enough situation without me trying to take photos.  If I were doing these mitts without trying to keep the entire set in 2 balls of yarn, I would have knit the cuffs in purple like the brim of the hat.  But I wanted to complete everything in two balls, so let's see if that really works!

Mitt #1 is done and it weighs 17 g.  20 g remain of the yarn (11 g white, 9 g purple remain).  I should have JUST enough to finish the second mitt.  I will have to be careful in that there is not necessarily enough yarn for everyone to knit the whole set out of two balls of yarn, but it is possible.  (Note that some of my white yarn is in the Foxy hat, so there would be some extra white.)

4 rows left and I still have 2 little balls of yarn.  There is some white loose ends I can pull of of mitt 1 if I need to.  cross your fingers for me!  I did it!   7 feet of yarn remain.  Phew!

I managed to complete the ENTIRE SET out of two balls of yarn!  How is that for some stash busting?