Thursday, August 7, 2014

Oh Hats!

It just so happens that the knitting book I wrote is entirely hat patterns!  So for the lovely Style Crone's Hat Attack 13 I've put together this post all about the creation of the book from start to end with some behind the scenes peeks and nice little tid-bits about the people involved. 


Here's the photo of me for the back cover.  I'm wearing a simplified version of "Carmen" from the book.  I love this hat and wear it all the time in the winter. 

Hat Couture by moi!

I still can't quite believe that I up and decided to write a book and it actually happened!  To say I'd never done anything like this before is a major understatement, but somehow, working step by step, it all came together.

The idea for the book came about when a knitting friend, who makes the loveliest hand knit purses and bags, invited me to join her in a gallery show. “Why don’t you make some hats?” she said. And so I did. But I didn’t want to make standard knit caps. I wanted to make hats that hearkened back to the days when a hat was an event. I wanted to make true millinery style hats; confections to wear. The hats I designed had shape and structure, but were not felted, and were embellished to the nines. The hats were knit as one-offs just for the show but once they were together on display, I realized that I had a cohesive collection that simply needed to become a book!

I sent the proposal off to Shannon Okey/Cooperative Press who thankfully, said "yes." Next I contacted Cascade Yarns about providing yarn for the samples.  Again, I got a "yes."  So armed with a publishing agreement and plenty of lovely yarn, I got to work.  Based on those original hats from the gallery show, I created a collection of 13 stylish and unique hats.

And then it was time for the photos.  Oh the photos!  I hooked up with the very talented Melissa Mills-Koffel at Aedan Studio to do the photography and three of the most stunningly beautiful young women, Brandi, Natali, and Shannon to be my models.  There was a lot of scrambling on my part to sort out all the wardrobe options and get everything organized but by the time photo shoot day arrived I had things pretty well in hand.  Well, except for that last second stop at Goodwill on the way to the studio because I still needed a couple of more jackets.

An entire book's worth of hats boxed up and ready for transport.

The talented Miss Natali is a budding Esthetician and did hair and makeup for the shoot.  

Melissa hard at work doing her magic.

And now for the best part of the post, I get to tell you about my models and show you the stunning pictures.  The idea for the shoot was the Golden Age of Hollywood and boy did these ladies bring the glamor.  Natalie and Brandi are burlesque dancers and whoo baby! if you're ever looking for a model who knows her angles and isn't shy in front of a camera get a burlesque dancer.  

I don't know if I can say enough good things about Brandi.  Besides being about 10 feet tall, blond, lithe, and all around drop dead gorgeous, she's also a genuinely warm, outgoing, and funny person.  She knew exactly what she was doing and put everyone else at ease, setting the tone for the whole shoot.   

Each hat was named after an actress (or fashion icon in the case of Jackie Kennedy) and I had a picture printed out to go with each one to guide the photography.  I wasn't trying to make exact copies of the original pictures, just capture the feel.  I showed Brandi the iconic picture of Marlene Dietrich in a top hat and she gave me this.

Chills!  This is my favorite picture and my favorite hat in the book.  We cropped the picture to better show the details of the hat but part of the fun of having a blog is that I get to show you un-cropped photo. 

Carmen hat. (Carmen Miranda)

Brandi dances under the stage name Angelique DeVil and if you have an opportunity to go see her, DO IT!  Her routines are high energy, wildly creative, and often very funny.  

Here are a list of place you can see her over the next few months:
9/6/14 Geeklesque: Get Animated - Star Theater (Portland, OR)
9/20-28/14 Caribbean Burlesque Festival- Montego, Jamaica
10/17/14 The Fringe Benefits presents : Burlesque As F<3ck!- Crush Bar (Portland, OR)

(Oh hey, I can go to that show on the 17th!  Runs off to buy tickets...) 

Jackie hat (Jackie Kennedy) and one of the last minute Goodwill Jackets.

Gracie hat. (Gracie Allen)

Shannon is a sweetheart and did a really wonderful job capturing the coy innocence that I love so much about Gracie Allen.

Clara Hat (Clara Bow)

Natali dances under the stage name Stilletta Maraschino and is a delight to watch.  She captures the innocent sexy vibe of a 1950s pin-up girl.  Her routines are classic burlesque with just the right mix of sex appeal and humor and her facial expression and gestures are flawless.  She's adorable and if you're in the San Francisco area you should go see her.  Like, right now!

8/8/14 Hubba Hubba Revue- DNA lounge 
8/15/14 Trapeze- Rickshaw Stop

Greta hat. (Greta Garbo)

Lucille hat. (Lucille Ball)  It turns out that Lucille started out as a model and boy, was she a looker!

If you're still here, thanks for reading all the way through and letting me show off a bit.


  1. Oh wow, these hats, and the photos, are stunning! You are very talented, congratulations on getting the book of patterns published - it was well-deserved. xxx

  2. What amazing hats and so beautifully modelled, including by you. Wishing you loads of success! x

  3. Wow! how utterly fantastic! congratulations on being published and your hats are wonderful, I really do wish you every success with your book! x x x

  4. Gorgeous hats! Congratulations on the book and your artistry. The photos are thrilling. Thank you for sharing your beauty with Hat Attack!

  5. Wow, belated congrats on your gorgeous hats and lovely book!