Friday, February 20, 2009

Number 14

A simple hat.. (it’s going to be all stocking knit and a simple ‘formula’ 8 decreases every other round crown)--Except for the brim.

It’s hard to see—(because the knitting rolls!) and it's  made worse by my scant photography skills, but this hat starts with a 3 color braided cast on. 

Braided Cast on’s are just another variation of the Long Tail –if you know a basic long tail, you are half way to knowing a braid cast on!
Braided cast ons look especially nice in colors—you can use 2 colors –or 3, or more –after 5 colors the ‘carry’s’ of yarn get too long and the cast on is less attractive.

3 colors are the optimal choice (well in my opinion!)--and the 3 yarn version looks good in 3 yarns of a single color.

Start by tying together the yarns—leaving as short (or as long) a tail  as you desire.  I tie together into a slip knot--(this 3 yarn slip not is not a cast on stitch--it gets removed and undone in R1)

I put the slip stitch onto a needle and decide on my color sequence.(my A, B, C’s)
Yarn A becomes my thumb yarn,
Yarn B becomes the index finger yarn,
and Yarn C just hangs below, doing nothing!

Cast on 1 stitch, standard long tail
Before casting on the second stitch, rotate the yarns.

There are several pattern for rotation, I am only going to discuss one—but you can play with the cast on, and see how the braid changes as you change rotation methods) By rotate I mean this: Yarn C get picked up onto the thumb
Yarn A moves up (and back) onto your index finger. 
Yarn B gets dropped (and just hangs there)

Cast on 1 
Next stitch 
Yarn B get picked up onto the thumb 
Yarn C moves up and back onto index finger 
Yarn A get dropped (and just hangs there) 

And then we are back to: 
Yarn A gets picked up on the thumb
Yarn B gets moved up and back on index finger 
Yarn C gets dropped (and just hangs there) 

The yarns move ins a smooth clockwise rotation—you’ll know you are doing it right if the yarn between the needle tips and balls gets twisted--

This cast on will twist the yarns. 
It’s a great cast on for mittens or sock.(50 to 80 stitches) 
It’s an OK cast on for a hat (80 to 100 stitches) 
It’s torture for more than 100 stitches.
It’s about as stretchy (or non stretchy if worked too tight!) as any long tail cast on.

Just like the braided cast on, there are several variations of Latvian braid. If my version is not the same as the one you know—both of us are Right—we just know different methods!At the end of the cast on—the stitches on the needle are all in A,B,C,A,B,C, order.
Each stitch will be worked with its matching yarn (A gets worked with A, B gets worked with B, C gets worked with C..)
Unlike fair isle, with a Latvian braid, the yarns are intentionally twisted (just as they were in the cast on)—making a Latvian braid a bit of PITA to do!

R1: rotate the yarns clockwise, R2: rotate them counter clockwise.

(It’s much easier to work a Latvian braid in the round—Even though the R's are purled (not knit)
After 2 R’s of braid, (purl stitches on Right side-reverse stocking knit as it were)I  then worked 2 R’s of stocking knit –followed by 2 more R’s of braid in reverse stocking knit.

This is the inside view, you can see the stacked columns of color and the fair isle floats
These bands of reverse stocking knit/stocking knit/reverse stocking knit make a nice non-rolling edge as well—making the braid edge both pretty and practical!
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