Wednesday, February 05, 2020

True Confessions of a Former Knitwear Designer

I haven't knit in a very long time. My knitting needles in their zippered bag have sat next to my chair in our library/tv room for several years unused. I don't think I have knit anything since 2014 when I finished this Easy Aran for Kids

I was done with it. Done. Totally done. Complete. Nothing else to say. No desire to make anything on knitting needles. I have crocheted a few afghans. I have embroidered and sewed. I have made ceramics. I have written a couple books on crafting for interiors. But knitting - No - I haven't done that in years. That's my true confession. 

Two weeks ago, I relaunched my World Knits Collection in PDF Downloadable Format. I have been thinking about doing this for literally years and years. When CEY went OOB, I thought I might have an opportunity to purchase the rights to my patterns. I loved these patterns with all my heart. I loved how they made knitters think and design on their own. I loved seeing what they made and hearing what fun they had. This all was before social media and the internet and Ravelry. What if I got these patterns out there again? Would anyone like them? Would they catch on? With some luck, I got my rights back and in January, I had the patterns  scanned. I formatted them in Indesign into PDF documents that you can buy to knit yourself

Since I'm hoping to sell these patterns that have been buried in people's closets and libraries for years, I thought I had better break out my knitting needles. I desperately need a new hat so I began with the Moroccan Fedora pattern. Years ago, I had made myself one of these and I loved it. 

I grabbed some circular needles and cast on. I knit a solid section of rib and stockinette and then moved onto the Fair Isle colorwork. I didn't measure any gauge - I just got to it and knit and knit and knit. It felt pretty good to be experimenting again with the colors and the patterning and the shaping. 

I was whipping along and the over a few days I finished the hat. Off the needles it came and i went to try it on. OMG - it was a disaster. The base of the hat was so large that the hat fell down completely over my face. I wish I had a photo but it was dark and I didn't take one. I couldn't stop laughing to and at myself. There goes those hours - gone! Oh well. 

The next day I got out my needle gauge. I had used size 6 needles and my gauge was totally off. I had thought while I was knitting it seemed a bit loose but I just powered on. The thing was like a giant sack. 

I am not usually one to be defeated when it comes to my knitting. The next day, I decided to do a little hat surgery. I wish I had a video set up for this next part because it is really fun to do. I will try to explain it here. 

I turned the hat inside out. Using a circular needle, I picked up the loops on the reverse stockinette stitch round. Below, you can see that. 

Then I pulled on the tail of the maroon yarn tightly. You can see that thread making the  gathering of the stitches on the needles below. 

Next, I cut the maroon yarn and pulled it out of the stitches. Below you can see the pink stitches that are still on the needle and the maroon piece pulling away from the hat. 

I kept going all the way around the hat. Cutting and ripping, cutting and ripping. 

Soon my hat was in 2 pieces. Here is the top part still attached to the needles.

Here you can see the two pieces. The bottom part of the hat measured 28" around - large enough to fit a child! Way too big for my head!

I slipped the stitches to 2 circular needles and tried the hat on. It looked like I could save it. The next day, I went to buy some circular needles in the right size - 3's and 4's. 

I determined that I only needed a little bit of a rib on this hat to make it wearable. I worked a 2 color Corrugated Rib down from the pink stripe. I finished with a couple rounds of purl in chartreuse. Here it is. 

Here's what the top looks like. I am going to add some embroidery to it and then I am going to wear this hat the rest of the winter. 

Stay tuned for the finished project. We'll see how it goes. 

The Moroccan Fedora Hat Pattern is available on my website here and on Ravelry here. Don't do what I did - measure your gauge. 


knitting kitty said...

FABULOUS - -what a great tip! Enjoy your beautiful hat!!!

Lee said...

Can't wait to see the finished product!

Robin said...

It's beautiful! I'm glad you kept at it.


gale (she shoots sheep shots) said...

I love this! And welcome back to knitting ! Seeing these patterns is like seeing old friends (I know I have some of these in my Way Back pattern box).

Lynne said...

I am so glad to hear that you have picked up your needles again. I have followed you for years. I have some of your books and i have seen you on TV. i hope you get inspired to start creating again. I have always loved you baby patterns. What you have done with this hat is quite remarkable. I cant wait to see it finished. Happy Stitching!!!

Spiritedcat said...

Thank you for sharing! You made me a good way when you said that "The bottom part of the hat measured 28" around - large enough to fit a child!" Yes, a tiny bit too big! Congratulations though, your hat is beautiful! ������

Spiritedcat said...

I tried to put heart but it came out as ??? My apology. <3

Marlynne said...

Thought you might make it into a floppy hat or gather it? But I'm sure the way you did it is neat too!

Laura T said...

Oh my gosh that is too funny! I’m impressed by what you did to salvage it and it looks great so far. I’ll be watching to see the finished hat. I did that with quilting for a couple of years and then was finally able to get back to it. I hope you are enjoying the change.

Margo said...


JackieLemon said...

Used to be I knew a Kristen Nicholas pattern as soon as I saw it in a magazine. Your designs were always my favorites. So distinctive and colorful.
I love these hats!

Anonymous said...

So thrilled that you've picked up the needles again!! I share the "curse" of being a multi-faceted crafter and as you know, there's never enough time.
I've followed you for years and have several of your books. Color is such a boost for the spirit, especially during the long days of winter - plus, you can't beat the warmth of wool.
I think I would have tried felting your hat but there's more ways than one to fix our mishaps. (I don't like swatching, either.)
Congratulations on your relaunch World Knits Collection. All the patterns are wonderful and I hope your hard work pays off. KNIT ON......Roxanne

Mary B. said...

Thank you for getting me brave enough to do knitted colorwork all those years ago!! You are an inspiration whether you know it or not. Thank you too for being true to your color-self as it always makes me smile.

Kristin Nicholas said...

Awwww. Thanks. Hope you are still doing colorwork.

Kristin Nicholas said...

Thanks so much Roxanne. The hat fits and I’m going to wear it every day.
Yes color is so important this time of year.
As for the felting - it would have made the hat too stiff. The part that was a mess was the one color section. I fixed it now. Look for the embroidery I added on a recent post.

Kristin Nicholas said...

Oh so sweet. Made my day.

Two More Hexagon Afghans and Winter Restoration

I'm still in restoration mode as I call it. In the winter cold (and it has been cold this winter), I hunker down, try to keep warm (the ...