the evolution of a hat pattern (part 1)

This is the story behind my new design, the Go USA Hat, that I just posted on Ravelry as a free pattern. I think many people are curious about how designs come into being and how many iterations of a project are sometimes necessary before a final product is ready.


When we heard that Imperial Yarn’s Erin was being used by Ralph Lauren for the USA Olympic Team’s Opening Ceremonies sweater at the Sochi Olympics, I knew right away that I had to make something out of that yarn! We didn’t carry the yarn, but we have carried other Imperial Yarn products.  It wasn’t difficult to get the yarn into the store!

At first, I was going to try to come up with a Mystery Knit-A-Long, but as I was driving cross-country (Minnesota to Oregon) with my daughter in mid-January, my brain started going through all kinds of ideas of what I could do with red, white and blue yarn – and a mystery KAL wasn’t one of them! Instead, I immediately started thinking “hat.”

I didn’t have the yarn yet from Imperial Yarn. I had ordered red, white and blue Erin (100% wool, raised in Oregon and processed in the US). And, I hadn’t even thought to bring something else with me in the same weight (yes, I did have two knitting projects with me and one needlepoint one, but nothing that would work for what I wanted to practice with). So, we stopped in Fargo at Prairie Yarns where I visited with my friend, Keatha, who owns the store,


and bought some worsted weight yarn there. Then, I made my daughter drive so I could play!

I wish I still had the swatches to show you, but being super efficient, I threw them away. I knew I wanted to do some kind of colorwork, but I didn’t want it too complicated.  I originally tried a couple of slip-stitch patterns that would allow me to incorporate all three colors fairly quickly. But it all looked too busy. So I decided to do simple stripes.

I opted to do a beret shape, because the US Olympic team outfits always have a beret as part of the ensemble. OlympicBeret

I spent some time looking at beret patterns on Ravelry and found the Colette Pattern which helped me to figure out the basic shape of the beret.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you my first attempts at the beret.