Review: Elemental by Woolly Wormhead

Once in a while, a collection comes along that profoundly affects the way that I look at my knitting. It doesn't happen very often, but it can feel like the ground under my feet has shifted somewhat. That's how I felt when I saw Woolly Wormhead's new Elemental collection.

Regular blog readers will be well aware of my admiration for Woolly. I've been a keen participant in many of her annual Mystery Hat KALs, and I've knitted a good few of her patterns over the years. Her approach to grafting in her first book, Going Straight, opened my eyes to the technical possibilities of knitting. Despite this admiration, and the high level of respect I have for Woolly, her latest collection (Elemental) still took me completely unawares.

 Azula featured flame-like shapes swirling at the brim of the hat. Image © Woolly Wormhead.

Azula featured flame-like shapes swirling at the brim of the hat. Image © Woolly Wormhead.

The 5 designs in the book are all inspired by characters in Nickelodeon’s Avatar - The Last Air Bender and The Legend of Korra. Each hat explores the ways in which yarn can be manipulated to create 2- and 3-D shapes. There is the natural 3-D nature of a hat, and all of these are knitted sideways, starting from a provisional cast on, shaped with short rows and then grafted together, but on top of that, Woolly has added 2-D manipulation of the fabric to create swirling, fluid shapes. The hats in this collection are a masterclass in bending and controlling stitches to transform simple garter stitch to a completely different form.

 Toph features beautiful leaf forms that climb towards the crown. Image © Woolly Wormhead.

Toph features beautiful leaf forms that climb towards the crown. Image © Woolly Wormhead.

As well as being beautiful designs, these hats use a rage of clever tricks and techniques, including short-row shaping and two-colour grafting. The pattern book includes full photo tutorials, with detailed instructions to ensure that you achieve the same results as you see in the photographs.

All of the designs use The Yarn Collective's Bloomsbury DK, which is a squishy 100% merino, with great stitch definition and a range of autumnal colours.

 The balance of colours in Opal focusses the eye on the movement of lines towards the crown. Image © Woolly Wormhead.

The balance of colours in Opal focusses the eye on the movement of lines towards the crown. Image © Woolly Wormhead.

If you already have plans to make Ruschia from A Year of Techniques next month, then I would highly recommend one of the Elemental designs as a great next step with the garter stitch short row technique. Indeed, these designs use a number of the techniques that have been introduced in AYoT: intarsia, provisional cast on, garter stitch grafting and short row shaping.

I am definitely hoping that we will see some of these gorgeous designs over on the knit along thread, once it kicks off officially on Wednesday 4th October. I certainly have plans to make Toph next month, so do come and join us!

To purchase your pdf copy of Elemental for $16.00, visit Ravelry: Elemental
Alternatively, you can buy a pdf copy of Elemental for £10 from Woolly's website (this adds it to Ravelry as well): Elemental
Or finally, you can buy a print copy from Magcloud for $20.00: Elemental in print

Many thanks to Woolly for all her fabulous designs - keep surprising me please. :)

Disclaimer: I purchased my own copy of Elemental as I am extremely enthusiastic about it, and I've not received any payment or payment in kind for this review. All photographs are © Woolly Wormhead and are used with permission.