For one reason or another I haven't knit another Reflect Echo since I introduced it back in 2012. In part it had to do with not having very much of this black merino to work with, but I also knew that the second would be for me (the first one sold rather quickly). Since it was slated as a personal project, it just got backburnered, and ultimately forgotten. I'd pass over this yarn from time to time while digging out other yarns for shop production, and now it's been three years.
I've done a few things differently this time. Firstly I sized up the needles from US2 (2.75 mm) on the original to a US3 (3.25 mm). Aside from making the fabric more fulled, it made the physical act of knitting much easier on the hands. Mainly I just wanted it to be more stretchy, and the four strand structure fluffed out pretty well in that regard.
Another change I made was to the narrow banding. In the original it was a simple band of seed stitch. Due to the angularity of the transitions, the seed stitch bands leaned slightly. Since I found them to be a bit too pronounced anyway, I decided to try alternating purl columns with them in an attempt to keep it all leveled. The result is a more subtle banding that doesn't lean as extremely as the initial version. You can visually tell that there is something different going on in there, but it's not as obvious as the original. I like that. I especially like how the purl stitches align to make thin horizontal lines in these areas.
|Here's a shot of the inside. Note the verticality of the seed bands.|
I've been steadily incorporating this into various designs over the past year or so, and now the technique I've been referring to as the "full trefoil" has been incorporated into Reflect Echo. What this means is that the columns that comprise the crown decreases at the top are carried throughout the knitting process from the very beginning at the brim. In fact, these decrease columns are plotted in the very first cast on row. This creates some mathematical discrepancies that I won't get into, but visually what this translates to is columns that span from brim to crown, and like in all my hats, they are in sets of three. I like to think of them as support columns because they typically carry the pattern stitches found in the central body of the work. In a lot of ways, these columns unify my work as a whole.