Ravelry Design Spotlight
So, just in case it’s escaped your notice, it’s all gone a bit baby mad here at Olann and. So it should come as no surprise to find that we’ve decided to highlight another favourite baby knit in this our Sunny Summer Days issue.
Designed by Justine Turner, the Aviatrix Hat is one of those patterns that you’ll find yourself knitting time and time again. Suitable for both boys and girls, there are six different size options and it includes instructions for three weights of yarns.
Justine no longer designs knitwear so we’re thrilled that she managed to find some time to talk to us about her most popular pattern.
Who taught you to knit and how old were you at the time?
I was 5 years old, and my Mum taught me. I re-taught myself a number of times over the next few years using a children’s book; when I purchased my first Kaffe Fasset book I learnt that I was knitting incorrectly…which was why my sts were twisted. Once I learnt how to ensure my sts were correctly seated on my needles I realised I actually understood my knitting.
Can you tell us a little bit about the first thing you made or one of your favourite knitting memories?
When I was little we had a wool shop down the road from my house. It was a huge treasure trove called “Cambridge Wools”. One year I bought one ounce each of 20 different colours of their DK weight yarn with my birthday money and made a sweater for my doll, changing colour whenever I felt like it. I kept the little balls of yarn in a box and loved lining them all up and mixing all of the colours up.
Where did the idea for the Aviatrix Hat come from?
I was at the mall one day and saw a little girl wearing a cute rainbow hat made out of knit fabric. That prompted me to try to figure out a way to work a hat straight from the front of the head to the back, instead of from the brim up or top down like we usually do. I worked my first sample in Rowan tweed and my husband said it looked like a little pilot hat…we are a family of girls, so “Aviatrix” was born.
What do you think makes it such a popular design?
I think it is popular (and timeless) because it is quick, fun and you can’t stop at one! There are also a lot of committed Aviatrix knitters who have cast a spell over their knitting friends, so they catch the bug too. I’ve been told numerous times that it is one of the few baby hats which stays on (well for a while anyway…because we all know how much babies like hats).
How many have you made?
Around 50…I make them for almost every baby in my circle, I have made loads for classes, and at least three each for our five grandchildren. If I knit one I usually knit two or three because they really are fun.
You have many designs on Ravelry, is there an unsung hero you’d like to draw our attention to and which is your favourite?
I think Riverstone is my favourite, it knits up super fast, and the construction is fun (just be sure to read the pattern carefully!). It fits for ages and doesn’t even use that much yarn, so it is good if you only have one or two skeins of gorgeous Malabrigo.
Urban Decay is a bit of an unsung hero, I love the way the mohair sections collapse under the weight of the chunky cables, and it is SO warm. It is a wonderful pattern for using up those single skeins of lovely yarns that we all seem to accumulate.
You no longer design knitting patterns; do you have any advice for anyone wanting to start designing knitwear?
Get yourself a superstar tech editor, someone who “gets” you and your designs. Work with them to develop a style sheet for your patterns, it makes life so much easier. If you have problems with grading get an expert for that too. Learn everything you can about sizing and fit. Stick to your style when writing patterns…you will never please everyone, some knitters like everything written out, others like more pithy directions. Follow your heart, not fashion, go off-piste and leave all of the designer’s groups, forums and Facebook groups for a while if you find them overwhelming. If you design for babies and children remember that they have REALLY big heads, so make the neck shaping stretchy!
Do you still enjoy a spot of knitting and if so what project is currently on your needles?
I do, I love yarn and love knitting, I just don’t enjoy designing as a career anymore. I photograph babies and families, so create a lot of knits for the baby photos, usually simple classic little mohair bonnets or cable nappy covers. As I write this it is snowing where I live and I am knitting myself a self-designed matching hat and mittens using Zealand Rimu DK in a lovely saffron colour.
A little Aviatrix Hat trivia for you.
- There are over 10,000 Aviatrix Hat projects uploaded on to Ravelry.
- The Aviatrix Hat Ravelry design page was created by Justine on September 21st 2008.
- Interestingly, the most popular yarn for knitting an Aviatrix Hat in is currently Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, which is a sport weight yarn. Coming in a close second is Malabrigo Worsted Yarn, which demonstrates the versatility of the design.
- The colour most often used to knit the Aviatrix Hat is blue.
- The Aviatrix Hat loves handspun yarn. If you look at the project pages where handspun yarn has been used, you’ll see what we mean. The combination of design and yarn seem to be a perfect marriage.
- Great for stash busting, the Aviatrix Hat can be made using either sport, DK or worsted weight yarn.
- The pattern includes instructions to turn it into a Fox Hat! If you search through the project pages you will see some clever knitters have used the Aviatrix Hat design to great effect (see the two examples opposite).
- There is a Just Jussi Group on Ravelry and it’s the best place to go if you have any questions regarding the Aviatrix Hat.
We love this dinosaur version made by Joybulger. It’s knitted completely in garter stitch and is adorned with stocking stitch scales in various sizes.
The Leia Redux version by Craftypuppylover was too ingenious not to show you. A massive fan of the Aviatrix Hat pattern, Carrie skipped the purl bump rows and added a central purl stitch as a “part” in the hair. To make the buns, she split a second skein in half, re-skeined and just wrapped and wrapped tight, anchoring the buns to themselves first, then to the sides of the hat, slightly back from the halfway mark.
Fabulous don’t you think?
(Just in case you’re wondering, we ask permission before using any project photos here, especially if they contain a little person)
We had great fun looking through all of the Aviatrix Hat project pages on Ravelry and got in touch with some of the makers to see if we could feature their projects here.
Space in our gallery is limited, so we would urge you to pop over to the project pages to check out lots more fantastic photos.
Justine has very kindly created a discount code for readers of Olann and.
To receive a 50% discount on any of Justine’s designs use the code OLANN on Ravelry before you check out.
- The discount is for 50% off any Just Jussi pattern.
- The coupon is limitless, you can use it against as many of the Just Jussi designs you want.
- The coupon must be entered before you check out on Ravelry. No refunds can be issued after, sorry.
- The coupon can be used between now and the end of July 2018