Meet the Danio Hat from Graphic Knits!
Alexis Winslow's book, Graphic Knits, is so wonderful. It's a collection of twenty patterns featuring innovative colorwork inspired by geometric motifs. Alexis's approach is bold and fresh; she uses many different techniques to achieve fashion-forward designs that you'll love wearing.
I've invited Alexis to share the story of one of the patterns in Graphic Knits, the Danio Hat. Here she is!
Designing the Danio
The Danio Hat was the fourth pattern I wrote for my book, Graphic Knits. I took a break from working on my (then) disastrous Rook Pullover pattern to write this one, because I really needed a fun and easy project for my mental health!
It's funny how so much sentiment can be tied up in an object. This hat was fun and easy, but the times were not!
When I sat down to write this pattern it was November, 2012. I was three months into writing my book and three patterns behind schedule. I had yet to solve my Rook Pullover problems and was having serious doubts about the feasibility of my August 2013 deadline. I felt demoralized as a designer, and frankly a little bitter about my overwhelming workload and dismal incremental progress. Not to mention my 30th birthday was only days away, which seemed to exacerbate the feeling that time was slipping through my fingers. I felt a little like life was burying me alive. Danio was exactly what I needed in that moment, quick, adorable, and best of all I only had to knit it once—a real confidence booster!
I wrote the pattern and knit the sample all in one day. The next day was the day before my birthday—the last day of my twenties, and everything seemed to be whirling around me. I wore the hat to work and a stranger on the street stopped me to say, "That's a great hat!"
I nearly kissed him. My eyes filled with tears right there on that bustling windy corner of Broadway and 32nd street. I squeezed my eyes shut to fight off the emotion and opened them to a new perspective on things.
I guess the hat seemed like a metaphor at the time. All the years, all the hard work and self doubt, everything I had sacrificed—it all laid right there on the top of my head. It was such an intense feeling that I'm getting emotional writing about it now!
Getting to the point where I could so quickly produce a pattern and sample of course took many years of practice. I didn't go to school for this. I just love to do it and figured it out through much trial and error. I'm absolutely passionate about design, and being a designer is intrinsically part of who I am.
When I stumbled over my Rook pattern, it shook me to my core. I wondered about my worth as a designer. How could I have been so foolish to tackle something so ambitious with such a tight deadline?
When that man stopped me on the street, I really needed to hear something positive from the universe about my direction, and the universe delivered!
The man on the street was right; Danio is a great hat. It's simple and adorable, but has opportunity for creative flair with that cute button detail. I chose to make my own knitted covered buttons for the sample. If you're curious about how I did that, check out my knitted covered button tutorial.
I hope if you make your own Danio hat, that you will experience all of the joy, and none of the tumult that knitting can bring!
—Alexis Winslow, author of Graphic Knits
Get your copy of Graphic Knits today and cast on Danio!