Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Focus: Aaron Matthew

Seattle has had an enormous fog bank settle over it for the past few days. It's really eerie. The fog coupled with the sudden cold really makes me want to curl up by the fire with my husband, my cat, a hot drink, and my crochet. All of the people in the city are wearing their cold weather gear.

I once mentioned the lack of options for men in crochet. I am excited to report that I have finally found some legitimately bad-ass crochet menswear. Aaron Matthews hats are the perfect projects for the men in your life as the cold starts to set in. They are geometric and dynamic. He's here today as our Friday Focus to give us the scoop on his designs.

Who taught you to crochet?
I taught myself all that I know about crochet design. A long and difficult journey, but it has all been well worth the effort.

How long have you been doing it? It has been about 11 years to date. I started while I was still at university in Fort Collins, Colorado and kept going from there.

Why do you crochet?
I crochet to create pieces of artwork - I am a geometric yarn sculptor. It starts with a new idea, which then becomes translated to paper and is finally looped into reality.

When all is done, and the final product is realized, it is on to the next pattern conception. I do not create more than one hat from a brand new pattern. The piece of art has been finished, so why make it again?

I have continued to progress and have found motivation in the simple fact that I am designing and creating patterns that no one else is able to even fathom. I have my tiny spot of being the best at something in the world. I like that.

Crochet Favorites
My favorite yarn to work with is Frog Tree Merino Wool, but unfortunately they do not produce it anymore. I create all my work with natural fibers, and merino wool is my favorite. I only crochet with Boye brand crochet hooks – it is just a tool with which I have become accustomed. And my favorite stitch is the Front Post Half Double Crochet.

What are you working on right now?
Most recently I have been working on what I call VIP designs. These new designs involve taking an existing simplistic design and conceptualizing the many ways that it can be changed to make it more complicated. The term VIP stands for Variation In Production. It is quite interesting to see how many VIP designs can grow from a basic design structure. With many possibilities for the new design, it is always fun to work out a few and see which ones really do look the best.

A few finished objects...
This is a Special Edition beanie called the Diamond Cadet Front that I created several years ago. It features a cadet style flat top and a small diamond front with many patches machine sewn into the fabric. This one took a great deal of time to design and complete.

This VIP beanie is called the Large Diamond Zig Weave (XZW). It is a play on the basic single ribbed Large Diamond structure with a triple ribbed zig weaving that goes in and out of the main pattern. This one was a new challenge to cross three ribs with one rib – much harder than I ever imagined.

This VIP beanie is called the Double Ribbed Large Diamond Complication 1 (XXC1). It is a play on the basic Double Ribbed Large Diamond structure with a whole set of double ribs inset to create an extravaganza of diagonal weaving. This took a great deal of effort to concept on paper, but turned out to be better than I had ever imagined upon completion.

Seriously though, how cool are those hats? As a designer myself, I can really appreciate the hard work that goes into planning and executing something that complex. You can find the rest of Aaron's awesome patterns on both Ravelry and Etsy. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and patterns with us today, Aaron!

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