Sorry, no actual New Years Hats this year. I was going to make one but it changed away from the original concept on the needles. That sometimes happens.
This will be one of the last of the alpaca hats. I used Rickrack Ribbing, pg 44, then Blister Check or Coin Stitch, pg 69 and ended with Reverse Double Cable, pg 243. I actually made it before any of the Christmas hats but didn’t show it till now.There were 15 cables, I got rid of every 5th cable, then every 4th, 3rd and 2nd and then the final 3. I was actually pleased with the effect.
Look at the fabulous new hat form my friend Jen gave me! Her brother found it in her grandmother’s basement. Apparently, Jen’s great grandmother was a milliner and this may have been hers. Anyway, it is shiny and ceramic and I love it, no matter who owned it before, but I do hope it was a historic milliner. I have decided to go Christmas, so I am only going to knit with red, white and green until then. I saved the last balls of red and white alpaca for this hat and have purchased some Cascade 220 Superwash in each of the colours to continue with. I am going to put the rest of the alpaca on hold until after Christmas.
Everyone at the knitting guild seems hepped up on fancy cast on and offs these days so I got a book from the library by Leslie Ann Bestor called Cast On Bind Off and used her two-color braided cast on. I think the alpaca may be too fine to show this cast on to full advantage, but I had already cast on twice so I left it. I cast on 120 stitches again then did four rows of red garter stitch followed by two plain white rows before starting the pattern. I used Two-Color Cable Rib, pg 70 for the main part of the hat. This pattern has an 8 stitch repeat, so there were 15 cables. I got rid of 5 of them first, did two full repeats, then got rid of 5 more, did two and got rid of the rest.
I had knitted the Santa hats into the decorative band, but I felt that they weren’t standing out as much as I would like, so I outlined them in red.
This weekend I went to my mum’s for a birthday party for my niece Laura. A couple of years ago I had started this shawl for her because she loves skulls, so I finished it up. It was modified from a Ravelry Pattern by kungen och majkis. I decided to put the picture up because I thought it was a nice panorama of my mums house too. The photo was taken by her boyfriend Andrew and I thought he did a nice job.
The Tweed Knot Stitch, pg 68 at the bottom of this hat was another with huge lateral spread. Barbara didn’t warn me this time, but maybe I should have known. You purl one round, then knit 1, knit 1 in the stitch below in the second round. This knitting in the row below loosens things quite a bit. Tensions got back to normal with the Broken Diagonal Rib, pg 24. I continued with the dark blue until I thought I would run out, then I finished the top of hat off while trying to stay as close to the pattern as possible. I had about ten inches of dark blue at the end so yeah me. At this point it looked like a hot mess, dogs breakfast, pile of pooh, whatever your favourite negative phrase is.
I went inside the hat and picked up a round of stitches from the back of the transition between the Tweed Knot and the Broken Rib and did an inch of k1p1 ribbing, then joined back to the cast on edge as I cast off, simulating a three needle cast off without one of the needles. I think it is OK, given how bad it was at one point, but it is pretty standard in shape for me.
I have done a count. I took a highlighter and went through my blog posts and the table of contents of my very adulterated copy of A Treasury of Knitting Patterns to make sure I hadn’t inadvertently missed anything. I had actually done a couple of stitches twice but c’est la vie. I crossed off 135 stitches. I started in February, so I think I am doing ok
This uses just one stitch, Grecian Plait Stitch, pg 131. It was a very interesting stitch to do. You switch needle sizes each row. You knit round with a needle 4 sizes larger than normal (6mm), then use the regular size needle for the yarn (4mm) to lift one stitch up and around the other as you knit it. It was pretty slow going for quite a while before I developed the knack. In the variation, you stagger the stitches that are pulled over as they are knit.
This is a two stitch repeat, so I decided it was easiest to do a double decrease. I did a slip one, knit two together, psso for the decreasing. I used 6 points of decrease and decreased every second row on top of the last decrease.
Originally my plan was to do three repeats of Clustered Cable or Cable Check, pg 274, then move into Coral Knit Stitch, pg 130 and use its property of lateral spread to make a slouchy hat. As I did the Clustered Cable, it became apparent that the cast on edge was a bit unsightly and waved up and down, distorting the first pattern repeat. I decided to cast off after the third repeat to make a nicer edge, then pick up from the cast on edge to do the Coral Knit. I realized after I had started the Coral Knit that three repeats of the Clustered Cable was too many, but two wouldn’t be enough so I flipped the whole concept upside down.
I had to use Jeny’s surprisingly stretch bind off so that the bottom edge of the Coral Knit would not pull in. I then took out my cast off again and finished the hat in Clustered Cable.
Clustered Cable has a 12 stitch/8 row repeat with 6-stitch blocks of cables alternating with 6-stitch blocks of reverse stockinette. To get rid of the stitches, I did a k2togtbl on one side of each cable block and a k2tog on the other, for the reverse stockinette blocks I did a p2tog at each side. This decreased my number of stitches by 40 (to 80). I now had 4-stitch blocks so I did the cabling over 6 rows instead of 8. I did a full repeat of the pattern, then decreased again giving me 2-stitch blocks, decreasing my stitches by 40 again (to 40). On the second row, I did a knit into second stitch then first stitch instead of a cable, then did another row. After these, I did k2tog, p2tog around to get down to 20 stitches, which I got rid of over the next 3 rows.
But you can make it behave as you put it on your head, so it is not bad. I am pleased with the graphic look of the hat. I realize it is my usual shape. I have been thinking a lot about why that is, and I have come up with two reasons. Number one, hats need to sit on a head and stay there, so a functional hat has to conform to certain restrictions. I believe absolutely in function over form, and I always have as a craftsperson. We used to talk about this perennial debate in pottery school and I was always four square for function.
The second reason is that I am fascinated by the process of getting rid of the stitches. I mentioned a long time ago I learned much of what I know about knitting hats from the hat book (Hats On! by Charlene Schurch I worked my way through a decade or so ago Lots of friends and family own hats designed by her, because I made way too many of them to keep for my small family. Alan still wears one of them every day of the winter, and has never replaced it by one of my design. One line in the book bothered me and it was when she was trying to get rid of a heavily patterned set of stitches and she got rid of them all in a couple of rows by doing k2tog so she didn’t loose the pattern effect, then put a pompom on top. I felt at the time this was a cop out. As I knit a pattern, I am constantly trying to figure out how to get rid of the stitches in a (hopefully) elegant manner. Iff that is not possible, then I put a decorative element on the top. I find I am putting decorative elements on top less and less. Usually if I put them on now it is because of other design considerations, like the fact that squiggly bits on the top are fun to make and look at, rather than hiding something.
The stitch is Clouds and Mountains, pg 68. I did 15 repeats of the 8 stitch pattern, which covers 8 rows. I did a k2tog through back loops, k2 ,k2tog on the dark parts every 5th repeats, did one row plain following the pattern then k2togtbl, k2tog above the previous repeats. I did this twice more so I had got rid of the entire repeat. I did this 5 times on top of each other until I had used up all the stitches.
If you have more than 500 patterns in a book, some will have to be also rans. I have been avoiding the Arabic Diamonds, pg 22 and Double Woven Stitch in two colours, pg 95 for a while. I did manage to use the arabic cross a hat or so ago, but this one seemed even worse to me than that.
I had a bit of fun playing with the top. I used 6 points of decrease and did an ssk on every other row until I had 30 stitches left from the 120 I started with. I cast off and then cast back into the back of each stitch and did some swirls and some spikes. For the swirls I cast on 17 stitches, then knit back 12 of them. I turned round and did k,p,k in each stitch back up, then cast it all back off to the base. For the spikes, I cast on 15 stitches and cast them right back off. I picked up and knit the other half of the cast off stitches and did a couple of roll backs where I garter stitched 8 rows and joined back into the base, I decreased from 30 to 20 between the rolls so the second one was smaller.
I was walking with my friend Jen who I went to pottery school with a couple of decades ago. She said all my hats are the same shape. Looking over my Pinterest page (gillianknits on Pinterest), I can see that I do tend to make a lot of hats with a similar shape. I do a smaller percentage that are quite different, but I definitely have a comfort zone. I have decided I am going to try to be more “creative”, a term she actually happens to dislike. She claims artistic people are often called upon to be spontaneously “creative” and demands are then made for the creative person to make a silk purse out of an available sows ear. I am no artist, I leave that to others, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to leave my box once in a while. I realize this isn’t too far from the box, but I will try to keep the box exterior in mind in the future.
I cast on the usual 120 stitches and did a few rows of garter stitch to make the bottom behave before I did one and a half repeats of Hexagon Pattern, pg 67. I then increased to 152 stitches and switched to Basket Cable, pg 274. In the last row, I decreased back to 120 and did an I-cord rope cast off. I then did a 31 stitch square of Plaited Basket Stitch, pg 118 and sewed it inside, one repeat of the Basket Cable down.
I have a group of friends that I have been meeting for coffee once a week for a very long time. Originally, we were all quilters, most of them still are. At this point, I don’t see myself ever sewing little pieces of fabric together again, but I am not willing to get rid of my very expensive stash yet just in case. Who knows, maybe the quilting bug will strike again. There is a joke in the group about brown because one of our members, Albertina, hates brown. She loves nature in all its forms but I guess not plain dirt. She loves all the plants growing in it and the animals that live amongst the plants. When we get together for coffee, often people peruse quilting books and magazines for inspiration. Whenever there is a predominantly brown one we say it is for Albertina and have a laugh.
For this hat, I again started with 120 stitches. I did one repeat of Woven Transverse Herringbone, pg 96, then one of Arabic Cross, pg 22 before returning to the herringbone pattern. The herringbone was a lot tighter than the other pattern, so the crosses stand out in relief. I was originally just going to do the herringbone all the way, but I am glad I changed my mind. This hat has a lot of yarn in it because the herringbone is so dense.
When I was a kid, I loved Neapolitan ice cream. I eat my foods one kind at a time. I work my way round any plate, eating one thing after another, so Neapolitan ice cream was perfect. Eat the strawberry first. I am not really fond of strawberry, but it is still ice cream. Next comes the vanilla, which I quite liked, but the chocolate was the pinnacle. Alan, on the other hand, can be a bit glass half empty. I asked him if he liked Neapolitan ice cream when he was a kid and he said no because 2/3 of it was not chocolate. Heather, also not a fan, says “who wants strawberry ice cream getting in the way of enjoying your chocolate and vanilla”. She says they had the same tub of strawberry ice cream for 6 months when she worked at Baskin and Robbins. My sister Melanie also mentioned the anathema of the strawberry ice cream in her dislike of Neapolitan ice cream. So there you have it. I think it is just there for the pretty colour.
I cast on 120 stitches and used Organ-Pipes pattern, pg 23 as the ribbing, then switched to Chain Stripes, pg 66. In this case, I decreased in the second of the two plain knit brown rows between the coloured chains. The first time I did k2, k2tog around (90 st left). I switched the pattern from k6 slip 2 to k4, slip 2 at this point. Next time i did k1, k2 together around (60 st left) and stayed with the k4, slip 2 on the pattern rows. The third time I did k2 tog around (30 st left). After the final chain rows, I just got rid of the rest of the stitches in 6 rows.
I originally had two repeats of the Organ-Pipes Pattern , but I thought it was visually too heavy with the Chain Stripes, so I hemmed one repeat under.