Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a ... sea urchin?

For me, designing stuff is a process, a journey, an unparalleled opportunity to expand my capacity for swearing... LOL! I'm sure that there are fabulous designers out there, who have way more experience than I do (which is why I keep trying, maybe one day I'll be one of them) who just think of a design, start working and with only a few small "frogs" get the thing out there to the testers. As yet, I'm not "one of them". :P

I do get there in the end. Or, it goes into a deep dark drawer for six months while I look at something else. So, I thought I'd share a bit of the journey for this pattern, which is going to be two patterns, because one of my "failures" was so beloved in the group, I can't not let it get out I guess. ;)

My Sea-Urchin.

It all started with a hat. Yes, a hat. (I'm laughing so hard at the memory right now, that I've had to walk away from the keyboard and get a cup of tea).

Ok, yes, it all started with a fabulous hat. I'm going to call it the "Hot Cross Hat". I've not seen anything like it before or since. There was a chap on a documentary who wore it. I think he said his Nan made it for him. He wore it most of the time on the show. It was crochet, a kind of newsboy hat, but the cup part of the hat was a ripple and basically ended up being a cross. I'm going to have another go at making one.

It looked so easy. (They always do). At times, I can be over-confident. "I'll have a go at that." is more often than not where my design process starts, although it's usually preceded by either a dream, or a thought or idea that just won't leave me alone.

So, one evening, I start to make this hat. My best friend is online, and as I work up a round, I give it to her, and she makes it as well. We laugh and chat as we are working, clarifying what's being done and suggesting this or that. It's a pleasant evening that ends when I yawn so hard I think I've popped my jaw - it's nearly 2am. Oops. Ok. I end up frogging most of it and starting again, but it was a good start and there were some solid concepts there. For added understanding, I convince my eldest son to model it for me - he's very reluctant (I wonder why?).

Can you see all the strings hanging down to the right? I hadn't cut a single strand from the ball at this point, which allowed me to frog it without guilt (although with much vexation; giggle). I complete one more round and it's hopeless. It curls too much to sit on his head anymore, it's just useless.

I vent to my girl friend and she suggests making it into a ball if it curls that much. OOh! Ok. not the outcome I wanted, but hey, at least it isn't a waste of time, right? The yarn is super soft with lovely drape, so I set to work with pins to see how it looks (keeping in mind, I still haven't cut the yarn!).

It squishes fantastically in your hands - a great toy for a baby! Yay! Except it's a little squat, and I know that as I worked around, two of the petals had completely different stitch counts. So I know I've "done something" there. So, to be safe, I get out some cheap acrylic. Copy the conversation from facebook into a word document, and start sifting out the LOL's and the, "no wait, try it this way instead" things and I'm left with a rough idea of what to do. I begin hooking. Shortly after that, I begin muttering. Then swearing and hair pulling. After several lots of frogging, I have it. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY. I eagerly sew it up and stuff it... only... well, plain acrylic is a lot less forgiving than soft acrylic - the ball is squat and square, and the four main petals kind of "dip" in the middle. The whole thing is crenelated. 

 So I had a wee vent on my group wall with a picture and I was VERY surprised by the response. Several people said it was a great looking sea-urchin, and many asked me for the pattern. I couldn't believe it! My failed hat, that turned into a failed ball, that has turned into a sea urchin!

Now, I'm as stubborn as all get-go, so don't think I've given up on the other ideas. I'm in the middle of writing up the urchin for the testers, but I've already begun working with another version to have a go at making the ball. Attempt number one has halted. I've done a bit more mathematics and physics studies, and have the concept for a better working one. So I've got something that would look like a tulip bud if sewn up lol, or a wacky starfish. Take your pick of humorous names.  ;) We might as well go with a sea theme though right? Maybe I can work it up into a star fish. :P


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