Introducing the fifth Element: Bocote

The Wuxing: 5 Elements collection has been a long time coming — I released Agni Deus in March of 2020, just as the pandemic was beginning. I had finished one more pattern from the collection when my home burned down a few months later. This slowed my creative process (to say the least) but finally, about a year and a half later, all five hats in the Wuxing collection are complete!

Bocote has been a journey, and not always a smooth one. The hat is very complex, so I decided it needed test-knitting before the pattern was released (3 of the 5 hats in the collection fell into that category). I released the pattern to them in chunks while I was designing it, expecting to complete the crown decrease planning well before any of my testers got to the decreases. With their feedback, I made a number of changes to the pattern, and all three of them finished their respective hats before I’d even cast on for the final version of mine.

My own hat was slow in coming because I made some math errors along the way — a couple of glaring ones right in the pattern that none of my testers caught meant that their hats ended up quite a bit larger than expected — as did my own. Once I fixed the errors, I had to rip out and start fresh, which was disheartening and I had trouble restarting with as much enthusiasm (this was also during the hottest part of the summer, which made it harder to spend a lot of time knitting). Finally I hit my stride and made some true progress — but as I reached the decreases, it became clear that I had made still further measurement errors in both directions. The hat that I was expecting to be a 21.5″ circumference ended up closer to 23″ around. The height of the hat was also considerably taller than I expected, despite the round gauge matching my original calculations — another case of sloppy designing (now rectified in the final pattern). I did do some livestreams of me working on the pattern for my supporters on Patreon, so if you’d like to see the recordings of those (and now that I’ve got a good setup for doing livestreams of me working on knitted pieces, probably more in the future), join my Patreon!

But those two mis-measurements went together to make a hat that’s still quite wearable for me, because the need to roll it up twice means that it now hugs my head a bit better (and even fits my wife pretty well). So even though it wasn’t exactly what I had intended, and if I had figured all this out earlier I could have saved quite a bit of time, I’m happy with the final result (especially the crown). I opted to model it myself for simplicity’s sake.

The yarn I chose for this is 3 natural colors of Bare Naked Wools Stone Soup Fingering. I was able to do the largest size with the equivalent of three 2-oz skeins!

Thank you for your patience through this journey — if you’ve already bought a copy of the collection, thank you! If not, and you’ve been waiting to see all five patterns before biting the bullet, it’s available to purchase now!

In the coming months, I plan to put all of the patterns together into a single eBook rather than five individual patterns, and I might even consider printing it (similar to the Parallax collection). If I do that, I’ll make a discount code available for anyone who purchased the digital version.

In other news

I have some workshops coming up in December, both my own and a couple for VKL. Especially if you’re interested in the techniques around the Wuxing collection, I recommend taking the Off-the-Grid workshop on Dec 4th. All times are in Eastern Time:

If you’re waiting to hear about January virtual workshops (and beyond), stay tuned; I will have a dedicated post for that soon. In addition, my (in person!) workshops at Red Alder in Tacoma, WA are up and taking enrollments:

Thanks for your continued interest and stay tuned for more soon!