I was fortunate enough to participate in my first ever test-knit this spring: the Eomer Shield Tam by designer KYMaggie. It was a terrific experience!! Using several shades of KnitPicks Palette from my stash (mostly leftovers or unused colors from the Bunny Mittens), I got to indulge my love for Celtic scrollwork, not to mention The Lord of the Rings, and to put all my academic proofreading skills to good use in service of the fiber arts, especially to ensure that the line-by-line written instructions accurately mirrored the complex chart.
The design was based on an unused concept drawing for Eomer's shield from the LOTR movies. It is knitted seamlessly in-the-round, starting with a band of corrugated ribbing for the brim, followed by a colorwork panel running underneath the crown, and then the crown itself, worked inward toward the center.
I had great fun with this project, and enjoyed learning new techniques for combining stranded colorwork with cables. The colors kept weaving over and under each other, to create an intricate embossed texture reminiscent of fine metallurgy. There was marvelous attention to detail throughout. The one element that I found slightly tricky was the motif similar to a fleur-de-lis that appears at the four cardinal points where the brim meets the crown, but it came out beautifully by carefully following the detailed instructions. Past that point, it was incredibly smooth sailing to the end. For some reason the magic of blocking a tam on a dinner plate never seems to grow old for me. I love how this piece turned out, and it fits great.