Chilly Times call for a Warm Headband; its time has certainly come… yet again…

Few items of clothing demonstrate how vintage style and everyday practicality can be so effortlessly combined more than a headband. It’s no surprise that they are repeatedly on trend. Today I want to share with you another pattern uncovered from my archive of ‘almost there’ patterns, the Houndstooth Headband.

In knitted form headbands do that amazing thing of combining classic style and a touch of glamour with total practicality and warmth. That was what I was aiming for with my headband. I love a knotted headband, for me it channels both movie star glamour and the strength and capability of working women, often pushing at the boundaries of what was regarded as ‘women’s work’. Capturing both these images it reflects the complexity of womens’ lives and roles, and how this is reflected in what we wear.

This pattern also reflects for me, the strange duality of knitwear design, a duality that can all too easily generate an unproductive tension. Reviewing my ‘archive’ of pattern designs all at different stages of readiness for publication, I saw this tension so very clearly. There are, I think, 2 distinct elements to pattern design.

There’s the idea, the design, the combining of yarn, stitch pattern, gauge and structure, seeing it all come together in the swatching and the sample, then the modifying and trying out alternative elements to the point you have the finished thing just as it was in your mind. This is really fun, and exciting and CREATIVE.

Then there’s the Pattern Writing. The tying down and holding stable all the different elements of the pattern and the photoshoot and the photo editing and the layout and the tech editing and all the rather dry tasks that need to be done. These tend to come just at the point where the excitement of the creative element of the project is beginning to wane. This is when the real WORK of publishing knitting patterns takes over.

For me, over the years I now realise that this is where things have stalled. Publishing knitting patterns has been something that I’ve always done alongside a ‘day job’. Also freelance, that was the work that actually paid the bills with greater certainty and regularity. That work also involved a lot of similar processes to pattern writing. It was also undertaken at the computer and included a mixture of writing, editing, laying out, putting all the numbers in spreadsheets, writing formulae, manipulating data, managing colleagues, time and competing priorities, writing up and presentation. The day job and the needs of clients always took priority. When I needed a break or change of gear from the day job, I would find that in the creative elements of pattern design, not in the pattern writing side. As a result the designs piled up far quicker than the patterns.

The Houndstooth Headband was one casualty of this tension. Looking back, the original pattern and even the photographs date back to 2012. Rest assured, I think this is the oldest pattern in the archive that had yet to see the light of day.

It’s a simple pattern, a tube knitted in a slip stitch pattern so you only use one colour at a time. This makes it a great meditative knit, but also the double thickness, and nice tight gauge that produces great pattern definition, also means it’s both really warm and won’t stretch all out of shape.

The tube can be sewn together, but full instructions are also given on a ‘Techniques’ page for starting with a provisional cast on and then grafting it together using Stocking Stitch Kitchener Stitch at the end for an invisible join.

It works fabulously with gradients as shown, or with strong contrast. You could go with the classic black and white beloved of fashion designers or your own favourite colour combination. You just need 50g of 4 ply/fingering (400m=100g) of each colour.

I would say this is a great take along knit, it’s basically like knitting a sock without the heel, but who goes anywhere these days. So it’s a great TV knit, the pattern is so simple even Bridgerton won’t have you dropping sttiches! If you’re a new knitter, give it ago,

Houndstooth is a classic design for woven fabric, so classic in fact that wikipedia suggests that the earliest example, the Gerum Cloak, was uncovered from a Swedish peat bog and dates back to between 360 and 100 BC. It is also so beloved of modern designers that it regularly finds its way into designer collections and onto the high street. An example of true style never going out of fashion perhaps. Certainly if headbands are your thing you’ll find yourself reaching for this one time and time again.

The pattern is available on Payhip and Ravelry with 50% off for blog readers with the code CHILLYTIMES. The links, and all the detailed pattern information can be found on the Store page here.

Until next time, stay warm and happy knitting,

Tess xxx


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