Category Archives: techniques

posts in which techniques are descibed

For the knitters…Cotton lined brims, Barbara

Heather can happily wear the cotton lined brim for hours

Heather can happily wear the cotton lined brim for hours

Heather was itchy and unhappy the first day she wore her Santa hat to work, so I picked up stitches off the back of the cast off edge with Bernat Handicrafter cotton and did a k1 p1 rib on the inside of the brim which I reconnected and simultaneously cast off at the top of the white. This was easy because the purl bumps at the transition of the colours were easy to follow.
retrofit with cotton inside the brim

retrofit with cotton inside the brim

It did the trick for her. I guess for anyone who is not sensitive to wool, or has bangs, or wears their hats pushed back above the hairline, it is not an issue, but it was pretty simple to retrofit the hat in this way for anyone who is sensitive. It worked ok to use the handicrafter stitch for stitch because it is close enough in weight to the Cascade 220. Its not a precision deal.
I was doing this green and white hat for her to wear at work after Christmas, so I picked up from the back of the cast on edge with cotton and built in the cotton ribbing as I changed to green at the top of the brim. I knit my first row of green through the brim and the corresponding cotton stitches together. This hat uses Swiss Check, pg 90 which FINISHES THE COLOR-CHANGE PATTERNS CHAPTER…YEAH!!!! and Travelling Cable, pg 280. You would have to know the travel is there to see it. It moves over one stitch per repeat. It may be more obvious on a longer item like a scarf or something. I topped it off with one of my i-cord roses. Follow the link for detailed instructions.
Cotton lined headband

Cotton lined headband


Mum needed a headband, so I made one for her with a cotton lining too. I did it the same as the brim of Heather’s hat but I ended the hat early. It uses Round Cable, pg 247 and Triple Gull-Stitch Cable, pg 248.

Decreasing differently

from the back

from the back

Surya and the boys (Sam and Jay)

Surya and the boys (Sam and Jay)

This shows three very simple hats made with knit 1, purl 1 rib.  One has no brim, the other two a simple folded brim.  The difference lies in the decreasing at the top.  The one in the middle uses the simple spiral I explained before.

The hat on the right uses a stacked double decrease.  In this one, you do a slip one, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over, or slip one purl 2 together, pass slipped stitch over (depending on whether you are getting rid of a k1, p1, k1, or a p1, k1, p1) in the places that you decrease.  Every 4th row, you do a decrease, using the same middle stitch each time.

For the hat on the left, I unfortunately did not make notes (because I thought it looked like a mess and didn’t think I would want to repeat it).  This one has double decreases which, instead of staying separate, converge on each other further up the hat.

Simply by changing the placement of the decrease, you get very different looking tops on the hat.

Elegant fireworks…i-cord ropes

Heather in Elegant Fireworks...i-cord edition

Heather in Elegant Fireworks…i-cord edition

This, the 3rd edition of the elegant fireworks series. (see the first and second) (and I STILL haven’t finished the balls of eyelash yarn!).  This one uses i-cord to make a rope effect around the bottom and top.

I knit the basic hat casting on 104 stitches and doing a k2, p2 with a fake cable every 4th row (k2tog then knit first stitch again on each of the k2’s).  I stopped when I had decreased to 18 stitches to make the top

To make the i-cord rope along the cast on edge, I used the eyelash yarn and with the first colour, I picked up and knit into the first 3 stitches along the cast on edge, then used them to make a 3 stitch i-cord for 12 rows.  I reduced to one stitch with a  slip one, k2tog psso. I left this while I worked with the other two colours.  I used the next 3 cast on stitches to make an i-cord with the second colour, then reduced to one stitch and left it too.  I used only 2 stitches from the cast on edge and picked a stitch up between them for the third colour and made a third 12 row i-cord

attach third colour into place

attach third colour into place

I then took the first i-cord and brought it in front of the other two and picked up into the next two cast on stitches and made a new I-cord.  I then brought the second colour over and in front and picked up two stitches…I continued until I had gone around and joined into the beginning,

For the top, I did the same technique, using live stitches instead of picking up from the cast on edge.  For the first i-cord of each colour, i used two live stitches and picked up a third between them.

Elegant fireworks…entrelac edition

elegant fireworks..entrelac

elegant fireworks..entrelac

This is the second of at least three hats I will make with the three eyelash balls of yarn.  The first one  can be seen in my first Elegant Fireworks post.

Entrelac often involves very short rows.  On this hat the rows were only four stitches long. This would involve turning your work every 4 stitches all around the brim…  I knew I couldn’t both put off figuring out backwards knitting AND keep my sanity if I was going to do this.  I looked it up in A Gathering of Lace and on Youtube, then I forced myself to do it.  Backwards knitting  will be good to know for turning heels too.

put left needle into back of stitch on right needle and wrap wool from top to bottom

put left needle into back of stitch on right needle and wrap wool from top to bottom

finiah stitch by pulling loop forward and off

finish stitch by pulling loop forward and off

To knit backwards, you put the left needle into the back of the stitch on your right hand needle, then wrap your yarn from top to bottom and knit it off.  I have it down pat now, and I am pretty sure it will be in my wheelhouse from now on.

One thing I learned is that you have to hold the yarn in your right hand, or else it is impossible to make the stitch correctly.  You have to wrap the yarn from top to bottom, and this can’t be done with the left hand at this angle.  If right handed yarn holding is not in the cards, it is not actually such a big deal, you just have to knit into the back to turn your stitches as you knit them forwards again.

Roll up the rim to win! Winter’s coming to the Great White North

How many Canadian cliches can I get into one post title, eh?  But this is a topic that is almost as dear to my heart as coffee itself…okay I’m done…

Although I make hats pretty much constantly, I often forget to wear them.  People that know me well, know that I am pretty impervious to external temperature (the hot flashes I had a while ago notwithstanding).  For this reason, I often don’t wear what I should in the winter.  Last year, I was commuting to downtown Ottawa and had to pass a bit of a wind tunnel on my walk to the transitway to catch my bus.  One day as I was holding my mittenless hands up to my frozen forehead, I realized how important the covering of the forehead and ears truly are at about 15 below and colder.  Having said that, I have never much cared for the folded up brim on a knitted hat.  They often go skew-whiff as my mother would say, especially if you change colour or pattern after the ribbing and want the fold to be exactly consistent.

These are two variations on the rolled brim that I use all the time.  I suppose that you could sew the brim up, but I consider the sewing up needle my mortal enemy and usually avoid seams at any cost.  I have also found that you have to be careful with tension when you try to sew up the rim or you can easily end up with it being too tight.  Knitting the seam together solves these problems.  I worked up two hat designs this week to demonstrate the process.

put needle in live stitch AND the corresponding stitch on the cast on edge, then knit them together

put needle in live stitch AND the corresponding stitch on the cast on edge, then knit them together

If you just want a normally warm hat, go with the single roll. For this, you will need to make your ribbing twice as high as you want it to finish at.

Fold up the cast on edge inside your knitting, and hold it so the stitches on the cast on edge match up with the same stitches on your needle.  If you are doing a regular k1 p1 rib, remember that what is a knit stitch on the front will present as a purl stitch on the rolled up cast on edge behind your work.  Put your needle into the stitch on your needle, then into the front loop of the cast on edge.  Wrap your wool and knit them off together.  This will give you a nice double thickness over your ears and forehead.

run a guide thread 1/3 of way up the ribbing

run a guide thread 1/3 of way up the ribbing

roll over twice to the inside

roll over twice to the inside

For the second (warmer) variation, you will end up with a triple thickness of ribbing.   You will need to do about 7″ of ribbing if you want it to cover your ears.  You can do less if you want a narrower brim.

I have found it helpful to run a guide thread just below where you will connect into your work.  I tried it without the guide thread, but it is too easy to connect one stitch too high or low randomly.    Run the guide thread through all the stitches around the hat in the row that is 1/3 of the way up the ribbing.

Roll the brim up twice inside your work so the first fold is behind the working needle, inside the knitting.

knit into live stitch AND into stitch on fold just below the  guide thread and knit them together

knit into live stitch AND into stitch on fold just below the guide thread and knit them together

Put the needle into the live stitch then pick up the corresponding stitch off the fold, immediately below the guide thread.  In this case you will be picking up a knit stitch off the brim with a knit stitch off the live needle.  This is because in the single rolled brim (above), you are picking up into the back of the ribbing, whereas for the triple thickness, you are picking up into the front of the ribbing.

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rolled rim hats...from the front

rolled rim hats…from the front

rolled rim hats...from the back

rolled rim hats…from the back

Here are the finished hats:

the halloween hats – bats

side view

side view

top view

top view

This is the third in the series I made last week for Halloween.  My nephew Jay was very impressed when I started it in the evening and had it finished when he got up.  And no, I didn’t stay up all night.  It is just that it is pretty much straight knitting with a few rows of ribbing and a few rows of colour work, so it only took a few hours.  If you haven’t taught yourself how to hold one colour in each hand to do colour work, I would highly recommend figuring that out.  Here is a silent video that shows it.  Lucky you guys, I had to figure it out for myself (decades ago pre internet)!

I did a spiral on the top because there was nothing else I really wanted to ‘say’ for the top of the hat.  I think a spiral is a nice, simple ending that looks good without any topper, so it can be used on any hat to end quickly and simply,  I chose to do a 6 arm spiral because there were three bats, so the spiral arms start above the heads of each bat and above the spaces between the bats.

It is easy to figure out how make your spiral.  It is a series of decrease rows separated by single rows of plain knitting. To figure out where to put the decreases, you count the number of stitches you have and divide by the number of arms in the spiral.  If it is an even number then you don’t need a set up row.  For instance, if you have 102 stitches and you want to do a 6 arm spiral, 6 x 17=102 and you need no set up row. The decrease pattern for this would be k15, k2tog around, k one row, k14, k2tog around, k one row.., etc,, so you are losing every 17th stitch around, then every 16th, etc.  After the row that is just k2tog all round, you cut the end, thread through your stitches and draw it together.  (n.b. make sure the leftmost of the two stitches you knit together is the same one that was the leftmost in the decrease below so they line up).  If, on the other hand, you have 105 stitches, you will need a setup row to get rid of 3 stitches first.  the set up row in this case would be k16, k2tog three times, then knit plain to the end of the round (effectively starting 3 of the arms one decrease early to get rid of your 3 extra stitches).  Knit one round plain before starting the actual spiral or you will have a jog in the end of your arms.

I usually use 5, 6, or 7 arm spirals.  A five arm spiral has a rounder top, and a 7 arm spiral, being more aggressive in the decreasing, will have a flatter top, ending the hat more quickly.

Technique: I-cord rose (aka go big or go home)

One row of petals in each of two colours

Alternate between two colours as you make the petals

First row green, 3 rows pink

First row green, 3 rows pink

Alternate rows within the petals in each of two colours

When I started designing my own hats 7 years ago, I played around with i-cord toppers.  Last year when I started designing hats again, I first made what is now the first round of a rose.  I asked my daughter Heather if there was enough loops and she said “go big or go home, mum”.  I kept going for two more rounds, then corralled the whole thing.  I was very pleased with the result and I have used it on many hats.  I have played around with it a lot as you can see.  Many people have said they liked the effect.

It is quite versatile and can have many different looks depending on the hat.  I have shown a few here,  I have also used variegated wool to good effect (see below).  You can also see another variation on the ‘elegant fireworks’ hat from yesterday’s post.  On that hat I did one row of petals in each of the three novelty yarn colours.

The three stitch i-cord rose replaces the traditional pompom on a hat. It can be used to cover up a bad ending to a hat, when the top just doesn’t look quite right, or to bring back a colour used lower down in the hat.  It is a bit more work, but to me it makes a hat look much more finished than a regular pompom.

Technique:

1.  End the hat with 15 live stitches in the last round.  You may have to fudge the last round by either not decreasing as many, or decreasing a few more stitches than you should to get to the magic 15.  Not to worry, the last couple of rounds are hidden under the rose anyway.

2.  Make an i-cord with the first 3 live stitches. Distribute the remaining 12 on your other two needles. Knit the i-cord for 15 rows, then for row 16 slip one, knit 2 together and pass the slipped stitch over so you have only one stitch left.

begin second petal

begin second petal

3.  Use this stitch and pick up the next two live stitches from your spare needles.  This action both finishes the first petal and starts the next one.  Make 15 rows again, reduce to one stitch, then take up the next two stitches, etc.  Repeat until all the stitches are used and you have 7 petals around.  Join the last petal in beside the first one with a slip stitch.

finish row 1

finish row 1

4.  Slip stitch over to the middle of the first petal then pick up 2 more stitches at the base of the first petal and use these three stitches to make an i-cord.  Join into the base of each petal from the previous row to make 7 petals for the second row, To make a third row, you join the petals to the point where a pair of petals from Row 1 meet.  This way you have three staggered rows on top of each other.

5.  When the third row is complete, cut your yarn with a 10″ tail and thread it onto a darning needle.  Make a series of running stitches twice around the base of the rose and tighten up (see below).

begin row 2

begin row 2

finish row 3

finish row 3

make running stitchesmake running stitches

finished rose

finished rose