Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Sunflower Tam --with Petals!

I had for a while, been thinking about a 'woodland elf' type hat.

Something like an acorn cap --a stem, a network of overlapping 'leaves', like found on an acorn cap--knit in a shape that was slightly domed, (but only slightly!) and ended in a curved under edge. Then the 'body' of the hat, like the body of an acorn, would be smooth (and almost straight).
I envisioned the top something similar to my Thistledown Hat –a lace pattern of overlapping “leaflets”. (This hat is a half dome shape, not a flat acorn cap shape)

Trouble was—it never worked out.. the pattern failed, or the shape failed, or ...**

(here is the last attempt, not yet frogged)

When I got Knitting Nature, (Norah Gaughan) I loved the Sunflower Tam, and started again with a cable/twist stitch design, (again starting from center out) and again, failure!

So, finally decided to make the sunflower tam, and learn how it 'moved' before trying again with my center out design.

But--I didn't much like the under brim of the hat.. The top was beautiful, but the under brim? Boring!

And that the part most people see (OK, basketball player are going to enjoy looking down on the top of the hat) but when looked at (face forward) the sunflower tam is well, ho hum.

Why not add petals? Petals on the brim would bring the Sunflower motif to the under brim! And so I went to work modifying the pattern.

To start, I cast on 128, provisionally, and knit the top of the hat exactly as directed in Knitting Nature. (A wonderful pattern, so intuitive, I hardly had to look at the directions!)

Then I undid the cast on, picked up the stitches and worked down, making 16 raised leaf “petals”, with 5 stitches worked in garter between each petal. (3 stitch for leaf, 5 for garter stitch spacer=8 stitches per motif, 8X 16=128!)

No increases or decreases, until the final row of the petal (where the original 3 stitches of each leaf become a single stitch via a double decrease--(16X 2=32 stitch decrease) leaving me with 96 stitches. This is a few stitches short of the original patterns 100 stitch cast on—but still not too tight.

A few rows of 1 X 1 ribbing, and a grafted cast off (since I feel strongly about the edge of hat!)

A different sunflower tam.

**One difficulty, is increases and decreases ratios...
Try it:

Start with 8 stitches, and increase 8 times EOR.
Unless a YO is used for the increase, the knitting (in stocking knit) won't quite be flat.

Start with a multiple of 8, (64 stitches, for example) and decrease 8 stitches EOR, in stocking knit—it still won't be flat. In fact, it will create the classic dome of a beanie hat!

The Sunflower Tam uses twisted stitches and decreases, (8 decreases EOR) and the twists, change the gauge just enough to make the knitting flat!

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