Thursday, December 11, 2014

All about that Cloche (Oregon City Arch Cloche)

This is the story of my design, The Oregon City Arch Cloche.

Almost two years ago, I was asked to design (as I had done before) a couple pieces for two of the Rose City Yarn Crawl participating shops. These two shops were on either side of one of the bridge that was celebrating it's 100th anniversary that year. Wynona Studios was on the Oregon City side (Eastside and does not exist anymore except in cherished memory) and Wool N Wares on the Willamette Falls (West) side, also considered West Linn.

First of all, something that you may not know, Rose City is one of many nicknames for Portland, Oregon. Ah, you say, now I get it, ROSE CITY Yarn Crawl... One of the other nicknames is Bridgetown. The Oregon City Bridge is not in Portland, or even the same county, but it's still included in the list of bridges in the area.

When it was originally built, to celebrate it's completion, a young man walked across from one side and his bride walked to meet him in the middle and there they were married. How fun, huh?

So these two shops thought it might be cool to celebrate the anniversary of bridge by remembering the wedding with projects that commemorate that time period and fashion. Also, I wanted the two items to kind of go together. JJ at Wynona Studios gave me a fingering weight yarn and we decided to make fingerless mitts, lacey with nupps for a bridal, Edwardian-period feel. We named them Blushing Bride Fingerless Mitts. They are created with a braided wrist band (a three-fold braid is symbolic of marriage and, for me, girlhood) the mitt picked up and knit from one edge, finished with a picot edge, with an optional lace cuff picked up from the other edge.

The Cloche that this post is about, uses that same braided band so that they can go together, but it's knit of worsted weight yarn and continues to be very not-at-all like the mitts.

The word "CLOCHE" by definition (French meaning Bell) is a close-fitting BELL-SHAPED ladies hat. I did not create it to be felted, but I would like to see someone knit one over-sized to felted. Hopefully the stitch textures wouldn't be completely lost, by over-felting.   I began this again with a HAT BAND of the braid I mentioned, a little smaller than head size, hoping to help it stay on the head. To achieve the bell-shaped crown, stitches picked up (again similar to the mitts) the decreases start slow and pick up speed to the end. The brim, I thought should flare but only just a bit, so the stitches are picked up with only a few increases in number. and worked for just a short time till the brim and then for the neat finished edge, bound off with an i-chord. That final touch seems to me to make it also look tailored, but that may be my own pride.

Now, why am I telling you this story?  This little hat has been the most popular pattern in my designs sold on Ravelry. I love the texture, the shape, in my opinion it looks best in purple, but the one that appears in the pattern for the Yarn Crawl was done in a nice medium blue Cascade 220, still nice.

Some have not had an easy time of it, it's not an easy knit pattern, the pick-up and knit is intimidating for some as are cables. Many have not done the brim, have just created it as a beanie. Which is nice, too. I like the texture, but some have mistaken it for crochet and passed it by for that reason. I've discovered, as much as that would make me feel wonderful, I can't make everyone happy. I still love this little hat.

SO, because I love it so much and want to see more people knit it up with THEIR favorite worsted weight and PLEASE post it in Ravelry so I can see it and go back and admire yours over and over again, BECAUSE I WILL! I am offering it at half off through the end of 2014. Please click the link for the Oregon City Arch Cloche above, use code Blog2014

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