Sunday, January 11, 2015

Not quilting but knitting: the nighttime dog walker's hat

I know, I should be getting the FEB, MAR & JUN 2015 Facebook Quilt Block Swap Group blocks up but I need a bit of a break.  Also, it helps if I change gears ever so slightly before I do the final cut-&-sew test on directions, so that is what I will be doing this afternoon.  In the meantime, though, this is what I did last month.

First I found this absolutely ridiculous yarn.  There is a reflective band wrapped  in with the acrylic fibers that make the yarn & I very quickly got hooked.  It is not an elegant yarn, it does not feel especially good to work with & it is over priced for what it is (especially considering how much of it is pulled, frayed & knotted:  buyer beware), BUT I love it.  I brought these instead of bottles of wine to holiday parties, I sent two to my Reddit gift-victim (one of them the traffic cone at the right, the other something nicer), at cookie swap when my shortbread cookies vaporized (really, into dust) I made up for it with a hat.  These hats have gone global.

But as much fun as this this yarn is to look at, it is, as I said, not all that comfy.  I decided to do a double yarn thing, but I needed to add in a yarn that felt good, but had the same care requirements, so I went back to the Red Heart well & wow do they have some retina burning color combos in their super saver line!

Thus these hats were born.  With both yarn, cast on 60 stitches.  Put a stitch marker every 12 stitches & two markers where you join the ends (yep, it is all in the round.  I used a circular 16" size 6 US needle you might want to go longer.  I have small strong hands & working cramped is not a problem for me.
ribbing-no flash
Join the two ends of the cast-on row on circular needles with the first stitch (careful not to twist, etc.).  Start immediately on the rib (there is NO all-knit anchor row) K2, P2 all the way around.  I went for a deep ribbing so it could be folded for a cushier edge so mine were 2.5"-3" or more, but make what you like.

ribbing- with flash
When the ribbing it what you want it to be, you can change to a 7 US or 8 US (the 7 transitions ever-so-little, the 8 makes it poofier).  You will need to add a stitch in each of the sets of 10.  I did this by knitting as usual in the first P of the first P2 of each set of 10, & then before removing from the needle I knit to the back loop of the same stitch.  This made a hole & dimple free rib to body line, which is the holy grail of increasing while working with bulky or double yarns. 

Knit in the round long as you like.  I went about 4".  Then you need to decide, do you want a pointy hat, or a flatish top.  The less frequently you decrease, the longer & pointier your hat will be.  Begin by knitting 10 stitches (all but the last 2 stitches in each section) knit those last 2 together.  You can do this every row (I prefer this; it makes a flat op hat like the one here) or you can knit a complete row or two in between (which makes the traffic cone above). 

I did this until I had 6 stitches left & then I kitchener stitched them together.

As quick as this hat is & it really is- I can make one of these in 4 hours or less -this is not a beginner project.  I would suggest people already have some circular knitting under their belts & maybe play a bit with the knitting two yarns at the same time thing.  Also, the reflective yarn can be yuck-yuck-yucky to work with.  The reflective fiber snaps if it is pulled too much & both the Red Heart yarns have ZERO stretch.  That being said, I have never had a knit thing be so widely well received. 


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