Yesterday, I discovered the Generic Norwegian Hat and Generic Norwegian Mittens charts at Hello Yarn. Printed out the hat chart, took it home, started playing with the colored pencils. Realized this charting is trickier than it might first seem. I have lots of ideas, but then when I remember that I’ll have to knit this hat in the round and that I don’t want to be stopping and starting yarns all the time and weaving ends in for fifteen years after then project has been knit… well, things get complicated.
Basically, every row needs to use both colors, and colors should change at least every seven stitches or so. I started by charting a cat. Whoops! Too many yellow body stitches in one horizontal stretch. So I made my cat a tabby with stripes to break up the body color. The tail presented another problem, as it rises above the head and is only one stitch wide and surrounded by overly-long stretches of my main color. I haven’t solved that one yet.
Maybe, I thought, I should start with a background pattern of some sort, simple checks or diamonds. Then I could superimpose my primary design on top of that. But by then I had scribbled over the one chart I’d printed out, so I had to wait and stare at the thing in frustration.
Today, I have printed out half a dozen charts to play with myself and a few more for Melissa as well. I’m imagining a blue-on-blue hat with a convoluted, William Morris-esque octopus (did William Morris ever do octopi?) and a waves-spitting-foam sort of decorative band.
I want to go through all my books of Morris’s designs and just think about the mix of detail and simplicity he could conjure up and what my own version of that simple intricacy might be like.
Given that these will be trial runs, once I start knitting I’m thinking of using ribbing at the base of the hats instead of doing a provisional cast on and knitting in lining afterward. I can get fussy like that once I’ve come up with a truly satisfactory design.