Introducing: Foursquare

While working on a couple of upcoming Blueprints For Sewing patterns I thought I would put together a treat for you all:

A free knitting pattern for a hat called Foursquare!

The backstory:

I've been sewing since I was approximately 12. I definitely did what could be called sewing at a younger age, but at 12 I got my first sewing machine and I never looked back. Knitting is a more recent passion. In high school I taught myself to crochet and decided my first project would be a bikini from a 1970s pattern.... In pink and black acrylic yarn. Luckily, it never came to fruition.

But the seed was planted! In freshman year of college, a girl in my dorm (who would go on to be a friend and roommate) taught me how to knit, among other things (like making mix tapes and vegan Mac & cheese ). I learned what I would later discover was called "continental" style. It took me a few months to realize I was twisting all of my stitches. I went through knitting (and crochet) spurts, but without much regularity. Later on in my college career, I made another two friends who became very close and were also knitters.

This was the first sweater (any maybe 4th object) I ever knit. I taught myself stranded colorwork and went to town plotting out a modernist house on graph paper (do you see a common theme here?). One sleeve is, indeed, longer than the other. The project took me 1.5 years from start to finish.

This was the first sweater (any maybe 4th object) I ever knit. I taught myself stranded colorwork and went to town plotting out a modernist house on graph paper (do you see a common theme here?). One sleeve is, indeed, longer than the other. The project took me 1.5 years from start to finish.

I'm not sure if this falls into the category of a 'personality type', but I'm a self teacher. I learn by doing things and I also learn by deviating from the given instructions. When I used to be in a band, I taught myself to play the drums by experimentation and improvisation and that continues to be the way I enjoy making music best. I have a hard time following a pattern or a recipe...I always end up 'improvising' certain elements, or making edits on the fly.

This is one of the reasons pattern making (in all areas) is so appealing to me. It speaks to my proclivities towards invention but allows me to create order as well. Don't get me wrong, I can follow a recipe and a pattern when I want or need to (though it requires self restraint!) but my natural mode is to deviate.

As I became a more facile knitter, I began doing what I've always done with sewing: Developing my own patterns, techniques, and habits.

As a sewing pattern designer primarily, I find knitting patterns to be a nice change of pace! So flat, so mathematical, so fit-flexible. I have a collection of home-grown knitting patterns in various states of completion and detail and I would like to begin sharing them with you all, starting with a beloved hat pattern.

Here's the back story:

I have this acrylic hat and I don’t know where I got it. It is machine knit, pilly, baggy, and after a winter’s worth of wear, gets very “stinky”. My husband actually calls it the “stinky hat”.

Whenever I wear this hat, I receive compliments. It drapes just so. The color - a fawn brown, the color of an old table, or the interior of a 1970’s motorhome. It frames my face in the most pleasing way.

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It’s so great that my husband decided that HE wanted to wear the stinky hat sometimes. Then, sometimes became often.

I decided I needed a more refined version of this stinky hat, so that I could bestow the original upon my him. What better yarn to use than Tosh Vintage? The color is similar, but more rich.

Here's the hat at Rock City, Chattanooga TN.

Here's the hat at Rock City, Chattanooga TN.

I don't like knitting ribbing, but I didn't want a hat with a rolled brim. I wanted something solid and flat, like the original.

For the pattern, I focused on perfecting the close fit and soft drape combo that the original provided. The decreases mimic the “tube-sewn-shut” crown of the original.

I knit this hat 2 years ago and wrote the pattern down as I went, which was good foresight on my part. It is still going strong and looking beautiful...thanks Madelinetosh! The hat photographed in the pattern is the original!

I decided I wanted to tie in the theme of home architecture to these patterns...a sort of sister knit accessory line to Blueprints. While this hat was not exactly inspired by its namesake architecture, the next few patterns definitely were.

I decided to name the hat after the American Foursquare, mostly for it's boxy shape and it's similarity in 'roof' construction: The crown of the hat and it's decreases look just like the pyramid shaped roof (a type of 'hipped' roof) on a foursquare.

This is a plan for a 'kit home' in the foursquare style and is a great example. For more fascinating house plans in different styles, check out Antique Home Style, an amazing resource for these types of house plans and more (Image Source: http://www.antiquehomestyle.com)

This is a plan for a 'kit home' in the foursquare style and is a great example. For more fascinating house plans in different styles, check out Antique Home Style, an amazing resource for these types of house plans and more (Image Source: http://www.antiquehomestyle.com)

The building that gave the hat its name is a fairly ubiquitous sight across America, especially in the middle. My recent trip to Denver was filled with them, packed onto cute city blocks with all manner of decoration.

Here's a cool Foursquare in Denver

Here's a cool Foursquare in Denver

I hope you enjoy this pattern and that your Foursquare becomes your topper of choice! You can download this pattern on Ravelry.