PixelChick asked me to knit her a hat because her ears get cold when she chases wild horses in the winter time. She's a would-be professional photographer, that's why she's chasing wild horses. She surely doesn't want to catch them, just have them smile pretty for the camera.
"What color?" I asked.
"My coat's black, so I guess black," she answered.
Okay, black... I never quite understood my Mom's reaction for so many years when I told her I wanted black mittens -- Mom knits the best mittens in the world. I lose mittens like it's my avocation, so Mom's knit me a bizillion over the years. Now that I knit, I understand her "Are you sure you wouldn't like some other color?" It ain't easy to see all those little stitches on black, plus it just doesn't have a whole lot of pizzazz.
So I munged it around in my head trying to think of a way to make black more interesting.
Hmmm... PixelChick has a cocker spaniel. More accurately, she is owned by a cocker spaniel. She is a devoted slave to a cocker spaniel. She has cocker spaniel themed everything.
The dog is black and white. Cold ears. Stranded color work -- if you can call B&W color.
Now we're getting some place.
So I scribbled around until I came up with the concept drawing. An ear flap hat with a parade of cockers around the circumference.
How many stitches do I have to work with? Measure the head, make the swatch, get gauge, do the math. How to do the cocker spaniels so that they're recognizable? First draw some simple cocker outlines then translate them to graph paper.
But regular graph paper has square holes and knitting stitches are wider than they are tall. I've done my swatch, I know my gauge -- go to that Japanese web site and print out some knitting graph paper. (Pay attention gentle readers, this is an excellent resource, http://www.tata-tatao.to/knit/e-index.html.) Draw cockers on graph paper.
Knit them puppies.
Note what works and what doesn't.
One of the things that doesn't work is my eyes.
Draw the dang thing bigger. Figure out how to do the ear flaps without seams. I'm not real fond of seams.
Now... Start Knitting.