Monday, April 30, 2007

Double Knitting Part -2

Shaker Knitting
-Aka Double Knitting or 2 color Brioche Stitch
Shaker knitting is deeply textured, reversible knitting. It is excellent for warm sweaters. (It uses about 50% more yardage of wool than the same size of standard knitting.) It is a bit difficult to gauge, because it is very stretchy.
Shaker Double knitting uses a brioche stitch--the K1B (knit in the stitch below method--or alternately, a YO/slip 1 in row 1, followed by K2tog (the yarn over and slipped stitch) in row 2.

No matter how you describe it, it sounds harder than it is. In The Big Book of Knitting (Katrina Buss) has complete directions for making a shaker-knitting sweater--. With all the details you need to know--including increases, decreases and picking up dropped stitches (a feat of magic if you ask me!)

Shaker knitting can also be done in with two colors of yarn.
When worked with 2 colors, it creates a knitted fabric with a predominately different color on each side of the knitting. But like slip stitch patterns or simple double knitting, you have to knit each color on a row separately. This requires that each stitch be 'slipped or knit'
--each stitch is processed 2 times per row of knitting. First you work in color A (slipping the alternate stitches), and then you work each stitch in row (or round) again, in color B, slipping the stitches knit first time across or round.

This is why this type of knitting is sometimes called double knitting. It creates warm, deeply textured, two toned effect on the front and back to the work, with one color predominating on each side.

In Weekend Knitting, (edited by Pam Allan,) Wendy Easton has a pattern for a 2 color shaker (brioche stitch) knit hat, scarf and neck warmer. Along with information on working in this processing there other fun details, including an I-cord cast on! The collection of patterns feature instructions for knitting in the round or flat.

Personally, I have never much like this style of knitting, and haven’t got past knitting swatches!

Meanwhile, in the world of lost and found--I found--put away precisely where they belong--the fingerless gloves that inspired the tri-color linen stitch hat-- I was sure I had lost them, and was very annoyed at myself.

I have knit a crown for the hat, but it doesn’t look the way I envisioned it--it’s close, but no cigar.
I was demoralized when I thought the fingerless gloves were lost, but now I am energized and will frog the current crown (30 or so rows--with ever decreasing number of stitches, and try again.) Frogging and re-knitting the crown shouldn’t take much more than an hour --two at the most.

Currently the crown is too flat. (too pill boxy.) I would like the crown to swell out over the the tri-color linen stitch brim. I need more stitches, and more rows. (fortunately, I have lots more yarn! )
I also thought I had lost a sock--one of a new pair, worn just once-- but again the gods have smiled on me. It fell behind the hamper, and now has been washed and returned to its mate.

Mean while, I have been working on samples of my favorite sort of double knitting--Interlocking Jacquard. With instructions, (including my first (and poor) attempt at a video clip) and patterns for learning this sort of knitting.. Here is a sneak preview of the sort of patterns I'll be featuring.

Link to Part 1--Simple Double Knitting

To Part 3—Casting On for Jacquard Double knitting

To part 4— Getting Started with Jacquard Double knitting

To Part 5— Knits and Purls on each side

To Part 6— More Pattern Ideas for Jacquard Double Knitting

To Part 7—Scandinavian 2 yarn, Single Color Double Knitting.

To Part 8--The Momentary end to an Obsession--tally: 18 Double Knit Potholders

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Tit for Tat, and this for that!

Katherine Misegades was kind enough to provide a link to this blog, (in reference to my comment on her blog. )
Here are some images of the V shaped scarf I knit from a Nancie M. Wiseman design, featured in her book Knitted Shawls, Stoles, and Scarves, Martindale Press, 2001---this book should still be readily available, I recently saw it for sale (in a Michael’s or was it an A.C. Moore? well one of them!)
This first image shows the scarf with shown with V shape (as knit). The second image, shows the scarf as it might be worn, with center of scarf in front with tails tied, and the last image, show it with the tails just hanging , untied.

My version was knit with Filatura Di Crossa‘s “College” (the color number is lost to mist of time.. It was a soft grey with blue and other colors)I I used (2 skeins) of the College. The pattern called for 3 skeins of Kid Slique by Prism. This is a very simple pattern (a double seed stitch!) but the beautiful yarn makes the scarf.
(I made this scarf long ago (2003 or 2004) with my old (and inferior camera), and gave it to my sister as a present. (She loved of the reasons I knit for her, is she appreciates hand knits!)

Ms Wiseman has several other scarves/shawls in a similar style, --each V shaped, (some short and wide, some long and narrow) Each done in different yarns, stitches, and as well as proportions.. It was fun--and inspiring-- to see all the variations on the theme.

I like the book, but haven’t followed a single pattern --as written!
Many of the yarns features are luxury yarns, and I have substituted other yarns, some almost as luxurious, that better fit in my budget.

If you haven’t seen Katharine Misegades’ blog, (and don’t know what I am talking about), go look and see!

You can also follow this short cut to see images of all the all Scarves and Shawls in my album.

Part1--Simple Double Knitting

Double knitting. What does the term mean to you?

Like all to many knitting terms, the term Double Knitting is used for several different techniques. (and for a weight of yarn!)

Do you know any of them? Or some of them?

Most of them require only intermediary skills and learning them will increase you options for customizing or designing a knitted garment. Learning about double knitting is a fascinating experience, and will open your mind to new ways of thinking about knitting.

I happen to love double knitting. I know of 4 basic forms of knitting that are referred to as double knitting:
Single Yarn double knitting. (Tubular)
Single Yarn double knitting (Shaker knitting)
(There is also a two color Shaker knitting variant.)
Jacquard or Interlocking double knitting
Scandinavian 2 yarn, single color double knitting.
Similar in execution to Fair Isle knitting. - But not in appearance.

Each form of double knitting has its uses, and each is worked in a different way.

Starting with the easiest--Single yarn, simple double knitting.
This is the simplest. But like all double knitting, it can be hard to understand what is going on by just reading the directions.

The Basics:
Single yarn double knitting is always worked over an even number of stitches.
Row 1 and all rows: K1, bring yarn forward (as if to purl) then slip 1
Be sure as you work, that you bring the Yarn forward (NOT A YARN OVER) but just to front of the work (as if you were going to purl) before slipping each stitch.
Single yarn double knitting is actually a way to knit in the round on straight needle. The double knitting creates a tube, (the top of the tube is ‘closed’ by the stitches on the needle, but you can reposition them onto 2 needles and see the tube.

Here, the stitches have been repositioned onto 2 needles and my fingers are inside the tube of double knitting.

If you use a tubular cast on, and grafted cast off, the knitting looks magical, with no clear starting, stopping or edge! It creates a fabric of stocking knit, on both sides, and it is tubular. It is very straight, and curl free--making it an excellent choice for the classic stocking knit scarf.

Single yarn double knitting has many uses:
Straps -on sundresses or halters
Straps on children’s rompers
Belts--as an add on, or for belted ties on wrapped sweaters
shoulder straps for bags.
Double layered headbands (narrow, decorative ones, or thick hat like ones)
Simple (plain or striped) stocking knit scarves (that don’t curl!)

Simple Double knitting can be used to create a knit 'ribbon' for a tie on a sailor's shirt, or even a man's tie.

As a neckband on a button-less cardigan, it can be used for tie closure.

You can use a standard cast on and bind off if the edges of the knitting will be hidden, such as by a fringed edge on a scarf .

Or a provisional cast on to make a headband (and graft cast on edge to bound of edge to make seamless piece of knitting.

Or you can use a tubular cast on and matching cast off to give every edge of the Single Yarn Double knitting a very neat appearance.

If you start and end with an invisible/tubular cast on, and a matching cast off, the knitting looks magical.—with no clear beginning or ended, and no seams!
The invisible cast off, is really just a form of Kitchner stitch so you might already know be half way there! If you have problems doing the cast off from a single needle, (a bit tricky!) reposition the stitches onto 2 needles (as shown here)
and use a standard kitchener stitch to graft the stitches.
(there are links below to on-line and hard copy sources for these cast on’s and casts off below)

After you master the Single Yarn Double Knit, you'll realize that the knit stitch doesn't have to be knit, but can be purled.
The important things to remember are:

  1. Slip each alternate stitch,
  2. Move the yarn into the Purl position before slipping!

To create a single yarn double knit seed stitch, work with a multiple of 4, and a pattern of :
Row 1 and 2 : *K1, Sl1, P1, Sl1,
Row 3 and 4: *P1, Sl1, K1, Sl1,
Repeat these 4 rows

With practice, you can do many of the numerous stitches that are created with combinations of knit and purl stitches exclusively, such as a waffle stitch or a basket weave.
Single yarn double knitting does not lend itself to use with patterns that have yarn over's, but you can make simple eyelet button holes, with some effort. You will need to a cable needle to first rearrange the stitches, 2 knit stitches must be placed together (the slip stitch temporarily held on the cable needle) and then:

YOarn over, K2tog, then rearrange the stitches so as to have,

YO, slipped stitch, the K2tog stitch, before continuing with the rest of the row.

On the next row, you need to repeat the operation, and have another YO in in the same position on the other side of the knitting.

There are many other uses and techniques for simple double knitting.
I have (as an experiment) knit gloves, by starting with a eyelet cast on, and working from finger tips to finger base (making all 4 finger FIRST) plus the thumb (held aside on a seperate needle till needed)

After finishing the 4 fingers, join them to gether to knit palm, add the thumb, made a gusset with decreases, and ended at the cuff… all done in simple double knitting --seamless gloves knit on 2 needles!
Seamless mittens are easier--and a good way to experiment with the simple double knitting technique.

Links to the rest of tutorial
Part 2: Double Knitting Other types of knitting sometimes called double knitting
Part 3—Casting On for Jacquard Double knitting
Part 4— Getting Started with Jacquard Double knitting
Part 5— Knits and Purls on each side
Part 6-- More Pattern Ideas for Jacquard Double Knitting
Part 7—Scandinavian 2 yarn, Single Color Double Knitting.
Part 8--The Momentary end to an Obsession--tally: 18 Double Knit Potholders

Here are some links to tubular cast ons tutorials and Kitchener bind off tutorials:
Tubular cast on--Provisional method or this one
Tubular Italian or kitcheners
Tubular cast on, YO method
Figure 8/Turkish cast ons 1 2 3

These reference books are good sources for information on tubular cast ons and grafted bind offs.

The Big Book of Knitting, Kateria Buss
Sterling Publishing
Long tail, Doubled long tail, Provisional, Tubular (Italian/Kitchener)
The Knitter Book of Finishing Techniques, Nancy Wiseman
Martingdale & Company
Long Tail, Knitted, Cable, Picot, Provisional, Crochet, Tubular
The Knitting Answer Book , Margaret Radcliffe, Storey Publishing, 2005

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

More Repositioning in Progress

I am continuing on my quest to move one bag of stash (ie most of my kitchen/craft cotton) to linen closet.
This week I have been knitting wash cloths. --Next week I intend to do double knit potholders.
This first one is knit, but not finished --I still need to graft the last row to the provisional cast on, (top center you can see the needle) and weave in the tails (that are just tucked under for the photo) This cloth was inspired by one saw last week (but realize now, I never book marked the site.. So if you are reading this.. Let me know so I can update!).
It’s a over sized cloth (almost 12 inches square!) --and matches everything! Its going to have a hanging loop in the Center.
Fully finished are these 2, and of the solids--obviously, I still had more of the blue/yellow/white ombre after finishing the bath mat--(I think I am going to keep the blue’s for the pot holders) But I have still more ombre and more yellow, so there will be more wash cloths from these yarns to come--and at least 1 tribble. (an other blog I visited and failed to book mark)--but directions can be fount here (Note this is a PDF)
The Ombre cloth is slip stitch pattern and Yellow a knot stitch --it looks nice but what a pain to do in cotton-- the knot stitch is K3tog, but don’t let them drop off needle. YO, and knit the same 3 stitches together again. No much fun in cotton!
I ‘m thinking of joining Anne’s wash/dishcloth swap, and I have led Sarah, astray--

Sarah is a relatively new knitter, (but onto her third pair of socks!) and she too has been seduced by the idea of knitting wash cloths. I wish I took my camera to the S&B last night so that I could have a photographed her butterfly wash cloth (it was a free pattern, but I don‘t know from where)

In theory, she has a blog (out of date at this point) but hopefully she’ll update before I run out cotton to knit! And then I’ll post a link to her blog.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Take a Cotton to Knitting?

Well it’s day 8, and I now have 2 new bathmats, and Jill has 2 Potholders.

Both bathmats are about 20 by 26 inches, a nice size but not too large --NYC bathrooms, (and kitchens) unless you live in luxury, are the size of postage stamps.
This size bath matt will cover a good third of the ‘floor space’ available. (For scale, you can see size large slippers and some towels--the navy towel is a bath sheet, (30 by 60 inches or so)
And no, my bathroom doesn’t have wood floors--it’s a windowless room, so the photograph was taken in the living room.

I had all this cotton from a double knit potholder binge I went on some years ago.
Everyone got potholders then--my sisters, my daughter, her friends, some for me too. 5 years later, mine crisp black and whites have faded to greys--and are stained, and old looking (even if still quite servicable!)

I think I will continue with this cotton knitting and make my self some new potholders for myself.
Jill’s 2 are just the latest in a double knitting obsession that flares up and then wanes.
Note: Each pot holder has reversible designs.
I might knit up some cotton edging too, and gussy up some mixed/matched towels to make ‘sets’ --Paton’s Grace a fine, mercerized cotton --another cotton sitting in my stash--is my first choice.
Some more wash clothes too, since while my bathmats have effectively reduced my stash of kitchen/crafters cotton by half, I still have quite a few balls (full or nearly so) left.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

101 Ideas for Using Up Scraps of Sock Yarn

Last night at the weekly SnB, Monica, (showing early signs of obsession), was working on her first pair of socks. She recognized that of the 100 gm of yarn she bought for her first pair of sock, she was likely to only use 80 to 90 gm and will left with 10 to 20 gm of left over sock yarn and was wondering what to do with it.

So for Monica and all the others with a similar problem, I present:
101 ideas for Using Up Scraps of Sock Yarn

A Four Yarn Spiral sock in progress.
1-- Collect enough yarn to make a pair socks. Use the spiral knitting technique (Yarn Harlot recently blog about using the technique -with 4 knitters working together --to make a shawl.)But it can also be used to knit tubes (vs. disks) and can be used to make socks.
2-- Collect 400 or more gm. Using 4 or more strands per round, Knit a spiral shawl--if you are lucky, maybe you can find 3 others, just as obsessed, and do it together.

3--Join ends together into a single strand, and knit a multi colored shawl or blanket.

4--Collect enough to make a pair of gloves. It’s unlikely that working with random bits, you’ll amass a collection as pretty as the colors used to make these gloves, but you can see how small bits can be brought together to make whole
5-- Collect enough to make half a sock, and supplement with a 50 gm ball of sock yarn. Make socks with striped cuff and leg.. These slouch socks are one example, but other stripes would work. These were inspired by Lucy Neatby, her book Cool Socks, Warm Feet is filled with ideas for using up bits of sock yarn.

6-- Make a pair of Turkish style socks, (striped patterned work--this photo is from Anne Zilboorgs book Simple Socks.) by the time you have collected enough yarn to make a pair of socks like these, you’ll also have enough skill! This out of print book is treasure-and worth every penny it cost.

7-- Combined small bits with a 50 to 60 gm ball of yarn and work cuff and leg in an intarsia patterns or other patters (see Lucy Neatby again!)or or Nanette Blanchard-- working flat, and seamed or seamlessly by making one of the yarn crosses your seam (working in rows, in the round)
8-- Combine small bits and a 50 gm ball of yarn and make contrasting cuffs, heels and toes, either in a single contrasting color, or in fair isle, or in a combination.

The socks to right have cuffs and heels from Paton's Kroy, the body of the sock is Lion Brand Magic stripes.

Buy an I-cord machine like this:
Note: an machine like this can enable many obsessive behaviors.

9--Make lengths of I-cord (70 to 90 inches) 6 to 12 in total. Group them (2 to 4 in each group) bind together (leaving 6 inch tail) and make groups of 2 to 4 strands. Braid. Bind off when there is about 6 inches remaining make 2 shorter lengths, (12 to 15 inches) cover binding and tie in bow. (Braided scarf)

10--Make lengths of I-cord (70 to 90 inches) 6 to 12 in total. Lay them parallel and join together--use a back stitch or even machine stitching them together.
Join strands together at intervals, with pompoms, or knitted embellishments--Do this on both sides.
Finish by joining together in a similar style at the other end for a striped scarf.

11--Make lengths of I-cord (70 to 90 inches) 40 or more in total. Lay them parallel and join together--use a back stitch, embroidery or even machine stitching them together.
Join strands together at intervals, with flat(ish) knitted embellishments, or decorative embroidery -Use sock yarn for embroidered details --Do this on one side only.
Finish by joining together in a similar style at the other end for a blanket or rug.

12-- Make lengths of I-cord and use as shoe laces --be obsessive and change laces in your sneaker/shoes on a daily basis to match your socks. (Note: this is borderline insanity)

13--Make miles of I-cord (surprisingly quickly with a machine) and use I-cord as yarn to knit scarves, or hats. (This idea could really 13 to 20 or so, since there are lots of things you could knit using I-cord “yarn” -including machine washable, wool area rugs!) (Yarn Harlot (I think it was YH) recently posted about someone doing just this recently)

14--Make or various lengths of I-cord --from several inches to miles, and form into rings or other shapes, to make scarves or garments (see Lucy Neatby’s Trade Winds for ideasi.e. here Chain Mail/Amore scarf)

15--Make miles of I-cord, Coil and sew into a rug (NOTE: this qualifies as a form of insanity)

16-- Make miles of I-cord, braid 3 or 4 strands together to made a thick braid, coil, and sew these coils into a rug. (slightly less insane.)

17-- Using a modular knitting technique,, knit yarn into afghans or clothing.(see April 13th entry, It's Blaannkieeee Fridaay!)

18--Make pompoms--small ones. Use tail of the pompom and sew/tie together to make a pompom hat.

19--Make pompoms--medium sized ones. Use tail of the pompom to sew/tie together to make a pompom scarf or vest.

20--Make pompoms--large ones. Use tail of the pompom and sew/tie together to make a pompom blanket or rug. You can also sew onto an old sheet, for a slightly more substantial blanket.

21--Cut yarn into small lengths, (wind it round a CD jewel case, cut loops open, then in half, scatter round open greenscapes. Birds and small mammals will collect and use to line their nests.

Ideas 22 to 101:
Recognize you have a serious obsession about scraps of yarn, and seek mental health treatment. (Drugs are advised!)
Meanwhile, I have finished the first bath mat (OK, I still have to trim the fringe to make it all even. But the knitting and other finishing is all done.)

And I have started a second.

Mostly a Ombre of blues, yellow's and white (Bernat crafters cotton, a 14oz skein), with yellow, (Lily's Sugar and Cream) and 2 shades of blue (Lion Brand Kitchen cotton) stripes intersperced. (As you see, I have dark blue light blue and yellow towels (and lots of white ones too) to match this bathmat.

This is a process I call “repositioning”. I move yarn from the ‘stash’ pile and make it into something that I can call “bath linens”. I don’t really have mores space, I just have changed the piles round.

Monday, April 16, 2007

36 hours and 8 inches of Rain later.

That is: 8 inches of rain in 36 hours, with over 6 inches falling in a single 24 hour period, (#5 on the list of rainiest days ever for NYC).
The storm wasn’t as bad as predicted, there was some wind and thunder and lightening, but the winds had died down --that is good news/bad news since with out the high winds, the storm has sort of stalled and is very slow moving now, which means more rain is possible. And many rivers had already overflowed their banks yesterday.
Most of the rain in my neighborhood ran into the excavations for a new high rise.
This high rise will, eventually, block some of my view --and if this causes delays, well all the better.
Long Island (Queens and Brooklyn are located on Long Island but not part of it.. Local politics trumps geography) is often described as a giant sand bar. And to some degree it is. (Actually it is made from parts of 2 terminal moraines) and the north side of the island (LI sound side) is hilly (home to places like Huntington Hills, Little Neck Hills, Rosalyn Heights, )--some of those hills extend into the north end of Brooklyn, (ie Brooklyn Heights) the south side (Atlantic side) is much flatter (and has places called the flatlands, Meadowbrook, and Jamaica plains.)
I live on the North side, and flooding is pretty uncommon. But much of the south side of LI, be it Brooklyn, Queens or any of the many towns and villages along the south shore right out to the tip of Long Island do flood. High tides, storm surge, and run combine to leave them inches (if not feet!) under water. (NJ is flatter still in the NY metro area, and it has worse floods) --even part of Manhattan floods (mostly “ring roads” on the shore, but..)
Thankfully, I am high (14 stories up!) and dry, and haven’t had any power disruptions.
I have been knitting.
My bathmat is moving along..
Having doubled and then some in the past 36 hours.
I still like the “neat” stripes of garter ridges better than the 2 toned ridges, but even they look pretty good.
To give myself a break from those huge needles and stiff yarn, I actually got back to work on the socks I started in December. I just don’t have much love for them. You’d think I would the yarn is a dreamy soft Koigu, and the color way is soft blues, with some lilac’s and greens.. But…
And then late one night back in December, I made a mistake in the lace patterns, so I knew I would have to had to frog back a few rows before continuing.. and that brought progress on the socks to a complete halt.

So, finally, I did it-- I frog, and restarted them.. I made the heel flap, turned the heel, picked up the gusset stitches, and an now working on bringing the stitch count back.
An inch or so of progress if you measure on the instep.
There will be pictures at some point.. there was a picture posted, but I can't find it! (see previous post about lack of organization!)

Here are some of my face cloth ‘swatches’:
This is my favorite.
I-cord cast on, I-cord selvage, and I-cord bind off-- a neat edge on all 4 sides
The classic.

Cast on 3, with YO's on each edge to increase, and a body of garter stitch. A beginner knitter could make one these.

An less than perfect (but still fine for a washcloth) experiment with regular and reverse stocking knit.

Not my favorite color either.
The rest are in the wash, waiting from me to do laundry.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Is This What I Planned to Do?

I sometimes envy organized methodical people.
Me? I can be organized, but, methodical? Never.

I tend to make plans only to say “Change of Plans”
To get going with my knitting, I have made swatches--AKA washcloths.

(I never use them for dishes, but as face/body wash cloths.) I give a lot away.
Last week at Easter dinner, it became clear, Jill needed, not wash clothes, but pot holders.

Yesterday, at Friday knitting, I gave her two--1 I had in my 'stash' of FO's, and 1 I knit up while there. And in my disorganized, impulsive way, forgot to photograph either of them! You’ll have to wait at least a week to see the potholders--unlike wash cloths, potholders are double knit, in color patterned designs.
Once the cotton was out, it just sat there, saying “knit me up!”

And so, here I am 7 or so
inches into a new bath matt
to go with my wash cloths.

It’s a simple enough pattern:
Apx 12 oz of Main Color (mine is natural white)
Apx 6 oz of miscellaneous solid color yarns
Apx 6 oz of miscellaneouls ombre color yarns.
Using 2 strands of worsted weight “kitchen cotton” (un mercerized cotton) held together, and a size 10.5(US)/6.5mm needle, or size needed to get a firm garter stitch.

Cast on 80 or so stitches (about 24 inches)
Knit every row.
Row 1 & 2: Main Color
Row 3 & 4: Solid color
Row 5 & 6: Main Color
Row 7 & 8: Ombre color

Carry MC between other colors, leaving a 12 to 15 inch loop of yarn.
Leave 6 to 8 inch tail when starting/ending Solid or Ombre yarns.
At the end of each ODD Numbered row, Leave tail or loop or yarn about 12 to 15 inches.
Repeat Rows 1 through 8, randomly selecting solid or ombre yarns, until mat is desired size--or till you run out of yarn.
(stated yardage will yield a matt about 25 X 20, (not including fringe)
More or less yardage will result in larger or smaller matt.
The tails will be knotted to make a fringe.
(trim fringe to even length as part of finishing.)

I have a little more than 7 inches knit, (since yesterday) and should be finished this matt by the end of the week. And while I will have made a serious dent in my stash of cotton (un mercerized kitchen type cotton--the mercerized dressy cotton is an whole ‘nother story) I will still have enough for some more wash clothes and potholders!

Of course, if you are methodical and organized, you might not enjoy a Jacob's Coat of Many Colors bath matt.

Me? While I have a large stash of Blue towels, (from blue bathrooms in former residences,) I also have a riot of other colors. My current bath has white walls and fixtures, cream (natural white) tiles on the walls and in the shower, and grey tiles on the floor. It has no window, and clear, multicolored shower curtain. I like to use different colors of towels to 'decorate' and add color to this almost monochromatic room. This bath matt will fit right in!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Novelty Hats.

Knitting a one of kind, novelty hats can be a reward unto its self.
They also are a fun way to learn specific knitting techniques--like bobbles or lace or what ever. They are personal and eye catching.
The list of novelty hats is endless and more are being created every day--there are crazy hats for everyone’s craziness!Here are a few of my favorites--

The Viking Chicken hat has its admires.
So does the “elvis” hat/wig.

The Hallow wig helmet is popular--in bright green Red Heart acrylic, it was part of a theatrical costume (Umpa Lumpa's from "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' production).

The Glove hat is an easy way to learn how to knit gloves.
(and there is also a Sock Hat for learning socks avilable on

Crowns are great for the kings and queens, and for princes's and princesses in your life.

Jester hat(pattern for sale) of all sorts hats are a natural go with--and come in several styles.(many more patterns, some free, and some for sale can be found.)

The math nerds in your life might enjoy hats made with fibonocci sequences or Klein bottle hats--for sale, or knit them for themselves (no image available with free this free pattern).

Brainiacs can wear a knitted brain.--No image available, see Debbie New’s Unexpected knitting.

Pumpkin hats (note: for sale, not free), pie hats, tarts, and cupcake cake hats --all means of inedible ‘edible hats’ exist.
Animals hats exist too, Coon Skin hats, cat hats, devil hats (see Stitch & Bitch by Debbie Stoller)--witches hats --Medieval hats for re-enactors.

And Viking hats with horns--for little norse men.
There are new hat ideas appearing every day.
These links will help get you started, --you can google and find more patterns (many for sale) and visit Amazon for books that include novel hat ideas.

This list is hardly the complete, missing is the Fry Up hat, (with eggs, bacon, beans and tomato's--full english breakfast on a hat!) and scores of others.

You can use these idea to generate one of your own!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Flat knit Hats and other Non-Half Dome Hats

It’s some times easy to forget, that half dome hats aren’t the only style of knit hats. They tend to dominate the knit hat scene with the endless variation they present. They are easy to knit in the rounds or flat, suitable to many different yarns, attractive and are what many think of when you say “knit hat”. But there are other hats, both flat knit hats and other shapes that have possibilities that knitters should explore.

Diagonal hats, look similar to half dome hats, and are very easy to knit .

You cast on a number of stitches --your yarn/needles/gauge-- will determine how many-- you’ll want enough to make about 9 inches of knitting. (7 inches for a child’ hat)
Row 1: K1, K2tog, Knit till 3 stitches remain, make 1 (YO) K3.
Row 2: knit every stitch.
Repeat these 2 rows till selvage edge is about equal to desired length, (18 to 21 inches) bind off.
Sew cast on edge to bound off edge.
(Knitters who want to build their skills might want to consider a provisional cast, and grafted bind off, to make a seamless hat)
Make a cord (I like to crochet a cord, twisted cord is an option, as is a knit I-cord)about 24 or so inches long.
Thread cord through YO ‘eyelets’ on top edge. Pull snug, tie cord in bow.
Finish end of cord with pompoms or tassels.

Variation 1
Instead of garter, (knit every row) work in sets of standard and reverse stocking knit stitch
(5 to 7 rows of standard stocking knit, followed by an equal number of rows of reversed stocking knit stitch.) Repeat till desired length. These alternate sets of stitches will create ridges and valley’s.
A bit a planning for this hat goes a long way too.. Make the first ‘set’ of stocking knit of ½ the desired number of rows, end with half repeat too, and hid the seam in the inward curving valley of stocking knit.
--Refine the seam by using a provisional cast on, grafted bind off for fine detail.
Sew cast on edge to bound off edge.
Make 24 inches of cording. (see above)
Thread cord through YO ‘eyelets’ on top edge. Pull snug, tie cord in bow.
Finish end of cord with pompoms or tassels.
Variation 2
Work in sets of standard and reverse stocking knit stitch.
On increase edge, work short rows, (so ‘brim edge of ridge or valley’ has 6 rows of stocking knit and crown edge has just 2 rows of stocking/reverse stocking knit. ) Use a ‘closed’ make 1(not YO)
(Don’t forget to correct decrease/increases to maintain stitch even stitch count !)
Repeat till desired length.
Gather top edge and pull into a tight eyelet, (drawstring style)
Sew cast on edge to bound off edge--or improve with a provisional cast/grafted bind off.
You can see an example of this style hat --the SWS spiral hat (link in free pattern)
Flat knit hats with decorative seams are another option.
The simplest is a rectangle-cast on enough stitches to equal about ½ the width of desired hat. Knit till you have a rectangle about 2 times as long as desired length.

To Finish, folded in half, sew selvage edges together. . (the cast on edge and bound off edge form brim.) The corners of the top edge can be finished with tassels.

Slightly more interesting are flat rectangles that are folded and the top edge (crown) is sewn into 3 or more pleats.
The Cast on is equal to desired diameter, and the hat is knit to desired length (7 or more inches)
The hat is finished by folding into pleats, and top edge (bound off edge) of the pleats are sewn before sewing the seam--
3 pleats will make a “tricorned hat”
4 Pleats will make a + for the crown,
5 pleats will make a star design.
6 pleats will make an different star design.
The number of pleats will be limited by the number of stitches.

Hats knit from chunky yarns might only readily fold into 3 or 4 pleats.
Hats knit at a fine gauge, with fingering weight yarns, have the potential for as many as 8 pleats. The actual number of pleats is a function of the choices you make!

The addition of lace or patterning can make this simple style very attractive hat design.
This style is also suitable for 4 or more ‘panels’ --each a different color- and simple straight line intarsia.

Pleated flat knit hats are an under utilized design. This style works well with many variations,(cabled edge, Intarsia, felted.)
And this hat style is suitable for both men and women. These variation are all made from simple rectangles, but short row shaping of crown or side panels are possibilities, and this style hat would be very pretty in a number of slip stitch patterns.

There are also many style of hats that are knit in the round besides half domes!

The first that comes to mind is the beret
(still on my to-do list, but there are many patterns available for berets)

Pill box hats are another interesting style. Round pill box styles are traditionally feminine, but Nicky Epstein, in The Knitted Hat book, (sadly now, out of print) provides a pattern for a plaid ‘Elmer Fudd hat’ This flat top hat is a very masculine version of a pill box--and its double layer design makes for a warm hat too!

Complex hats like knitted lace hats are vastly largely ignored, inspite of Anne Modisett wonderful creative knit lace hats--there are many patterns available on her web page.

Elizabeth Zimmerman created some interesting hats, with uncommon shapes that work well, too.
While the human head is sort of spherical, (and in theory a half dome is perfect for covering half of the round ball of head) in reality, for warmth, most of us want hats that covers the ears and come right down to the back of the neck (but leave the face and eyes uncovered. )
EZ’s solution was a Zig Zag shaped hats that framed the face, covered the ears, and fits snuggly at the back of the neck--Making a warm, comfortable and surprisingly attractive hat. (Perhaps Meg will unearth this pattern, and revive it for knitters who want a practical comfortable option besides a half dome hat.)
Topless hats or head bands are yet another option when thinking about knitted hats.

Next--Novelty hats

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Hats--Half dome, watch, beanie

This style of hat, (what ever you want to call it) is a knitting basic.
It can be knit a thousand different ways.. There is no one style that is the Ur hat.
My first hat was ribbed, but it could have been, just as easily, stocking knit, or even garter.
This hat is characterized by a knitted tube, and shaped crown.
It can be knit flat and seamed, or it can be knit in the round.
It can be knit from brim to crown, or crown to brim.
It can be stocking knit, ribbed or patterned.

It can be a solid color, or variegated, or striped, or self striping.

It can be long and have a folded brim, or short.
It can be severely plain, or be a multi colored work of art.
It is suitable and becoming on men, women and children.
The style works well in bulky or chunky yarn, or in fingering yarn, or any other weight of yarn in between!
This list doesn’t begin to cover all the variations.
I haven’t knit every variation (yet) and don’t know if I ever will!
The details (or lack of them) are what distinguish one hat style from another.

A generic guide to making a this basic hat--Brim Up or Crown Down, with 5 variations.

Make a gauge swatch to plan how many stitches you will need to make a hat to fit your head. (finished size of hat is normally 1 to 2 inches smaller than actual head measurement. )

Brim Up style
Cast on enough stitches (given your specific yarn/needles/gauge) to make a piece of knitting that is between 18 and 21 inches wide. (1 to 2 inches smaller than actual head measurement)

Correct count to make it equal to a multiple of 8 (56 stitches, or 64, or 72, 80, 88, 96, 104...) if working flat, add 2 stitches of seaming.
--since snug is usually better than loose, correct count by casting on lower multiple of 8, not larger one.

Close into round (or knit flat) till work is between 6 and 12 inches long.
--Start by creating an edge, or work entirely in ribbing, or work in pattern of your choice--
Shape crown. (use style 1, 2 or 3 --or style of your choice)

Shape crown-Style 1
Divide work into 8 groups-use markers - if working flat, first and last group will have 1 extra stitch (for seaming)
Every Other Round, decrease at marker, (k2tog) alternate rounds are worked in existing pattern (or not!).
When 8 stitches remain,(10 if working flat) cut/break yarn, thread tail onto tapestry needle and gather last stitches into drawstring. (sew seam if flat knit)Weave in tails of yarn.

Shape crown -Style 2
Shape crown by K2tog across row.
Next row, Knit all stitches (purl if working flat) or work in pattern
Next row, K2tog across row
Knit all stitches. (purl if working flat)
K2tog across row
Repeat last 2 rows (if needed) until there are 8 or few stitches remaining.
Cut/break yarn, thread tail onto tapestry needle and gather last stitches into drawstring. (sew seam if flat knit) Weave in tails of yarn.

Shape Crown Style 3 (suitable for 2 X 2 ribbing)
R1,(right side row )Knit the knits, P2tog for all purls
R2: *K2, P1 across row--(if working flat, knit the knits, purl the purls)
R3: *K2tog, P1 across row.
R4: K1, P1 across row--(if working flat, knit the knits, purl the purls)
R5: *K2tog across row
R6: Knit every stitch--(if working flat, purl)
R7: K2tog across row
R8: Knit every stitch--(if working flat, purl)
(repeat R7 and R8 as needed, till there are 8 or few stitches remain
Cut/break yarn, thread tail onto tapestry needle and gather last stitches into drawstring. (sew seam if flat knit) Weave in tails of yarn.

Crown Down Style
Make a gauge swatch to plan how many stitches you will need eventually.
(finished size of hat is normally 1 to 2 inches smaller than actual head measurement. )
Style 1
Cast on 8 (10 if knitting a flat hat)
Join into round if desired
R1: knit or work in pattern
R2: Increase 8 times, evenly OR symmetrically across work.
Repeat R1 and 2 as many times as needed till you have correct stitch count for a tube apx. 18 to 21 inches in diameter
Knit (plain or in pattern) for 6 to 10 inches.
Finish with a non rolling edge of your choice (ribbing or other)
If you want a rolled edge, allow 1 inch for roll .
Weave in tails of yarn.

Style 2
Cast on 4 stitches.
Work in I-cord for a number of rows/rounds (3 to 30 rows.)
Increase from 4 stitches to 8 stitches, evenly, divide the 8 stitches evenly over DPN’s or a long circular needle (for magic loop style knitting)
R1: knit or work in pattern
R2: Increase 8 times--evenly OR symmetrically or in pattern
Repeat R1 and R2 as many times as needed till you have correct stitch count for a tube apx.18 to 21 inches in diameter.

Knit (plain or in pattern) for 6 to 10 inches.
Finish with a non rolling edge (ribbing or other). If you want a rolled edge, allow 1 inch for roll .Weave in tails of yarn

All of these hats can be optionally finished with pompom or tassle.

These 5 generic patterns can generate dozens of different style hats.
But they are, by no means, a complete list.

There are many other ways to shape crown, to edge or brim, and many stitch patterns that can be used--and each way will create a new and different style hat.
Changing the number or frequency of the decreases will change the shape of the crown. Small changes (from 8 to 7 or 9 increases/decrease) will still result in a similar shape to crown. Larger changes (4 to 12 increases or decreases) or the changing the frequency of the increases/decreasese (from every other row/round to every, or every 4th row/round) can dramatically change the shape of the crown, and will create new and different style hats!
The hats shown on this page, are only a few of the many variations of this basic style--more can be seen in Hat album (see left column)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A walk down memory lane

I haven’t been knitting much of late.. But, I do have 2 FO’s that I haven’t blogged about--2 more hats.
But I haven’t photographed them either!

Hats have been obsession for a few years now--and will continue to be.
I certainly have not exhausted the possibilities.
One of my early knitting projects was a hat. A grey wool watch cap, not to different than this hat. Made from the cheapest wool, (Red Heart wool) under the direction of Miss Lorelei, the local parkie.

Parkie’s (a dying profession) was what NYC kids called the person in charge of the park.
Officially they are Department of Parks employee’s, but they were always just called parkies.
Large parks had several parkies, but my childhood park, the Webster Avenue playground, had one, Miss Lorelei.(she has retired to the eastern end of LI, and might still be alive, --but close to 80 is she is.)
Her domain was the park, her castle, the park house. One half of the park house contained toilet facilities, the other was a large mutli-purpose room. The windowless side (common wall with the toilet facilities) held sports equipment. (mostly basket balls, but she also has a supply of ropes for jump rope games, and other sports equipment). There were also cabinets full of art materials. Spools of plastic for lanyards, paper, colored chalk, loops and frames to make potholders, wool and needles for knitting.. Lots of interesting stuff.

Parkies always has spare skate keys too, for those days when you had to skate! Roller skating wasn’t permitted in the park, but you could come in, and get your skates tightened, and skate right out!
There was a desk too, in the park house (that doubled as bench) and a first aid kit --and the parkie would clean with peroxide, and bandage, scraped knees.
Miss Lorelei ran a quasi nursery school for 2 hours every morning. I was there most days from age 3 till I started kindergarten, and still remember some of the songs and games I learned there. My parents had an apartment in a building on the same square block as the park (the building in the lower right, that has the 0.2 number from the scale) and from an early age I could and did go to the park by myself. The kitchen window of the apartment allowed my mother to see most of the park.
Afternoons, Miss Lorelei would occasionally join the boy’s in a pick up game of basketball.

She could knit, make lanyards, potholders; she knew the rules for marbles, and for skully, for tops, and could make a yoyo’s do tricks. The park was dotted with painted ‘game boards’ for these games and others (like hopscotch) She know how to do, (and did) most everything that could be, or needed to be done round the park.

She swept, (and nagged us kids like a mother) to put garbage into the garbage cans, and generally kept the park clean. She taught arts and crafts, and played sports, provide first aid. She was the first person in the park in the morning, and locked the gates of the park at night. Vandalism wasn’t much of problem--Partly because she was always watching out, and partly because she knew our parents, (well, our mothers most often) and she knew which school we went to. The park served the neighborhood,--90% of the kids went to the local public school (PS 87) or the local parochial school (Our Lady of Mercy) and she would not hesitate to rat us out to the authorities who could do us the most harm-(our parents and teachers). ‘Community service’ was the commonest punishment. If you defaced park property, you’d likely be assigned the responsibility of making it whole--by sanding or repainting, or repairing the damage you created.
The Parkie’s of my childhood hardly exist any more. The park houses (and toilet facilities) are boarded up now days in many parks. There is no one on site, all day, keeping track of what is going on. There are no balls to borrow. No art and crafts available. (Balls and other sports equipment were borrowed with a “security.” Most often, a house key (safe on a lanyard you had made with a park material) was temporally traded for basket ball. When you returned the ball, and got your key back.)
It was under Miss Lorelei’s tutelage that I made my first hat. It wasn’t my first knitting, but it was my first FO.

I remember hating it.. Endless inches of 2 X 2 ribbing! And scratchy grey wool to work with. It was likely in the fall of 1959, or the spring of the next year.
I was supposed to knit 10 inches (enough to make a watch cap and folded back brim) but I stopped at 7. It was knit flat, and sew up (not too well) with all the stitches (no decreases what so ever!) gathered into a drawstring. I am pretty sure I gifted the hat to my father (and being the loving man he is, he wore it).

Lest you think I am blindly nostalgic about parks and my childhood, I do also remember the broken arms, (from falls from the monkey bars,) the concussions, (from being whacked by a steel plated swing) the falls (and stitches) on hard concrete and granite steps, pinched fingers from the see-saws. But rough and tumble play was more acceptable then, and some injuries were considered a normal part of childhood activity. Injuries were tolerated, and deemed to be your own fault (from a very early age!) you were expected to realize that if you did something stupid, you could expect to hurt yourself. You ‘walked off’ as many injuries as you could, since they were usually acquired doing something you knew you shouldn’t be doing! And complaining about pain would result to inquires about what happened, and would often result in getting in trouble for doing something you weren’t supposed to be doing!