It was an especially cold winter in Oregon when I got my first custom knitting order. My brother Matthew had retired his old beanie made by our grandmother, and he asked if I could make something similar.
I had made plenty of hats before, so I knew the drill, but I couldn't find any patterns that looked quite right. He wanted a hat with lots of cables, and he wanted it to be warm. Knowing my brother, I also knew he wanted it to be a bit understated, because he never wore anything too flashy or different. So, what I needed was something classic, casual, and not too complex.
Unfortunately, all of the patterns I found had complicated woven cables, lace detail, or a slouchy body. That was not going to work.
So, I brainstormed until I had a rough idea of what I was making, and I began to knit it freestyle. I started with a 2x2 rib, and then graduated into repeating cables. I let him choose the color he wanted (dark grey, of course), and I doubled up the yarn to make it extra thick.