Meet Ester, the new hat I’ve designed with Shilasdair

Ester is a comfortable, slouchy beanie, designed to make the most of three beautiful shades of plant-dyed Coara – a springy blend of BFL and Shetland.

The three natural dyes used here are birch, madder, and alder – whose soft and subtle palette I really wanted to make the most of . . .

So I brought all three shades together with a motif which combines slipped stitches and double wraps to create an unusual knitted fabric . . .

. . . there’s texture, there’s colour and there’s interesting little stars. We put together a wee video to show you how to make them.

It’s an addictive stitch to work once you’ve got the hang of it. (If you find the beats too smooth or too distracting, just turn the volume off!)

To test the pattern, I also knit a version with just two shades, in which madder-pink predominates a little more.

It’s very interesting to see how the pattern works in different shades. Kirsty has put together kits in three different naturally dyed palettes. As well as my original Birch colourway, there’s indigo . . .

and bog myrtle

You can finish Ester with a giant fluffy pom, or make one with your remaining yarn . . .

or, indeed, go for no pom at all.

it’s up to you.

I named the hat Ester – the Scottish Gaelic form of Esther – because the motif and colours really made me think of vintage bathing attire, and Esther Williams.

I did briefly consider a water-borne photoshoot . . . but I think Fenella and Jane were really quite happy when I abandoned that idea.

I loved working with these beautiful, soft, naturally dyed shades and, in all respects this was a really fun design to create. Thanks, Kirsty, for this gorgeous yarn, thanks to Fenella and Jane for modelling, to Tom for photography, and Frauke for editing. Hat season is just around the corner – I hope you enjoy making Ester too!

Ester pattern in my Ravelry store
Ester yarn packs at Shilasdair

P.S Bold Beginner Knits – our twelfth knitting book – has just been delivered from our printer – if you’ve ordered a copy it will be with you soon!