Two (Rather Nice, If I Do Say So Myself) Hats

This past week, I’ve taken a break from sock design to knit up a pair of hats. There were some stitches I’d been wanting to play with, and I was longing for a simpler pattern on needles a bit bigger than toothpicks. The end results are the two hats you see here. First up is Yarrow, a very quick knit (only 36 rounds using bulky weight yarn).

Here it is in Baby Alpaca Bulky—
Hat and model

And here it is in a yarn I picked up at Hobby Lobby while visiting Iowa—
Hat and model

Hat and model
(The model is my former student Maryam, who’s on break from Durham where she’s studying law.)

For Yarrow, just cast on 64 stitches in the round on 16″ U.S. 10 needles, placing a marker every 16 stitches. Work 4 rounds of P1, K1 rib. After that just knit from the chart, repeating the chart 4 times on each round; the markers will indicate the chart repeats. Switch to double points when you need to (I moved up to U.S. 10.5 needles here because I knit more tightly on double points than I do on circulars). Voila—weave in ends and you’ll have a hat!

Note that the symbol key is at the end of this post, since it’s the same for both hats.

Yarrow hat chart


I named the second hat Laurel. It’s related to Yarrow, but worked in worsted weight yarn, with just a few bobbles.

Here it is, knit up in Paton’s Bamboo Angora—
Hat up a creek

Hat and ferns

For Laurel, cast on 96 stitches in the round on U.S. 7 needles, placing a marker every 24 stitches. Work 6 rounds of P1, K1 rib. After that knit through the first chart once (again, you’ll be repeating the chart 4 times on each round), then work rounds 1-14 a second time. Once that’s done, work the decrease chart, switching to double points when necessary. Weave in the ends and presto—another hat!

Laurel body chart

Laurel decrease chart


Key to chart symbols:

A blank square is a knit stitch.

A dash – is a purl stitch.

/ is knit 2 together.

\ is slip2 stitches knit-wise one at a time, return these to the left-hand needle, and knit them together through the back loop.

The funny tent-like symbol is a double decrease. Slip 2 stitches together knit-wise, knit the next stitch, then pass the pair of slipped stitches over the knit stitch and drop.

The dark dot is a bobble. work k1, yarn over, K1 into this stitch. Turn your work and purl back along these three stitches. Turn your work again. Move the first two stitchs on your left need onto your right needle. Pass the first of these two over the second and drop. Return the remaining stitch to the left needle. Pass the second stitch on the left needle over this stitch and drop. Return the remaining stitch to the right needle and continue working as charted.

New Pattern: Shazam!

Here’s a quick, easy pattern that yields a trickier-looking-than-it-is scarf if you knit it up in the right yarn. I’m calling it Shazam!

I was lucky enough to be at my LYS a little over a week ago, when a shipment came in from Rowan that included several bags of the new Kaffe Fassett yarn, Colourscape Chunky. It’s a 100% wool, self-striping yarn in Kaffe’s fabulous colorways. I took one look at it and said “that would make a great scarf in a chevron stitch!” Margaret, the owner, tossed me a skein, and I got going. (Lovely what the rewards of being in the right place at the right time can be.)

Here’s the finished product:

And here’s the pattern:

Shazam! Scarf

Yarn: Rowan Colourscape Chunky, 1 skein (100 grams, 175 yards per skein). You may substitute another chunky-weight self-striping yarn and use the pattern as written. If you substitute a lighter-weight yarn, you’ll need to add additional pattern repeats in multiples of 14.
Needles: U.S. 11 circulars, 24″ or longer (you’ll be knitting back-and-forth, but the scarf is knit lengthwise)
Notion: Yarn needle for weaving in ends

Chevron Stitch:
Row 1: K1, Sl1 K-wise, K 1, PSSO, K5, [YO, K1, YO, K5, Sl2K-wise, K1, P2SSO, K5] repeat bracketed pattern cross until 9 stitches remain, then work YO, K1, YO, K5, K2tog, K1
Row 2: K7, K3tbl, [K11, K3tbl] repeat bracketed pattern across until 7 stitches remain, then K7

Sl1 K-wise: slip one stitch as if to knit
PSSO: pass slipped stitch over knit stitch to its immediate left
YO: yarn over
Sl2 K-wise: slip two stitches together as if to knit
P2SSO: pass two slipped stitches together over knit stitch to their immediate left
Ktble: knit these stitches through the back of the loop

Cast on 241 stitches loosely (use a larger needle is this helps keep your cast on loose, then switch to size 11 when you begin working the chevron stitch).

Work 19 rows in 2-row chevron stitch pattern.

Bind off loosely (again, use a larger needle is this helps keep the bind-off loose).

Weave in ends. Block as needed.

Easy-peasey! You’ve got an interesting, great-looking scarf ready for gift-giving or cold-weather wearing.

The Santa Cruz Hat Pattern

This pattern originally appeared on the now defunct—and much-mourned—MagKnits. It’s a great spring/summer hat that will keep you hair off your face on a breezy day, but won’t be too warm. (If you’re looking for a warm hat, just knit it in alpaca—even with the open weave, you’ll find it pretty cozy). I had fun working through this pattern in multiple weights of yarn, so you should be able to knit it in just about anything in your stash, just choose the directions for your yarn weight.

The main piece of feedback I’ve gotten on this hat is that it runs a bit snug. This wasn’t my experience (Melissa and I both have large-ish noggins, and it fits us fine), but if you’re concerned you may want to go up a needle size. It is designed to be more of a skull cap than an over-the-ears hat, so, if you want to lengthen it, just add an additional eight rounds from the sixteen-round pattern stitch before beginning the decreases.

Sport-weight version
The Santa Cruz hat in DK weight The Santa Cruz hat in sport weight

Bulky-weight version
The Santa Cruz hat in bulky weight The Santa Cruz hat in bulky weight

Worsted-weight version
The Santa Cruz hat in worsted weight The Santa Cruz hat in worsted weight

Fingering-weight version
The Santa Cruz hat in sock weight The Santa Cruz hat in sock weight

Santa Cruz Hat
This lace-stitch hat with scattered cables works well in both solid and variegated or over-dyed yarns. Stitch definition will be best with a traditional, even-weight yarn, rather than novelty yarns, such as long eyelash, or thick-and-thin yarns.

Sample Yarn: Knit Picks Essential
Yardage: One 230-yard skein makes one hat with yarn to spare
Stitches/Inch as Indicated by Manufacturer: 7-8
Needles (U.S.): Size 2, 16″ circular and double points
Cast On: 108 stitches
Ribbing: 4 rounds
16-Round Pattern Sets: 3 sets

Sample Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Treasure
Yardage: One 110-yard skein makes one hat
Stitches/Inch as Indicated by Manufacturer: 6
Needles (U.S.): Size 4, 16″ circular and double points
Cast On: 84
Ribbing: 3 rounds
16-Round Pattern Sets: 2 sets

Worsted Weight
Sample Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes
Yardage: One 110-yard skein makes one hat
Stitches/Inch as Indicated by Manufacturer: 4.5-5
Needles (U.S.): Size 7, 16″ circulars and double points
Cast On: 72 stitches
Ribbing: 3 rounds
16-Round Pattern Sets: 1 set, plus rows 1-8

Bulky Weight
Sample Yarn: Knit Picks Decadence
Yardage: One 110-yard skein makes one hat with yarn to spare
Stitches/Inch as Indicated by Manufacturer: 3-3.5
Needles (U.S.): Size 10.5, 16″ circular and double points
Cast On: 60 stitches
Ribbing: 3 rounds
16-Round Pattern Sets: 1 set

To Begin
Based on your yarn weight, cast the indicated number of stitched onto the appropriate circular needles. Place marker and close circle.

Work the indicated number of rounds of K1, P1 rib.

Body of the Hat
Work the indicated number of sets of the 16-round pattern stitch.

16-Round Pattern Stitch (repeat stitches as needed to complete each round)
Round 1: K4, (YO, K2tog) 4 times
Round 2 and all even rounds: K
Round 3: K4, (K2tog, YO) 4 times
Round 5: Place 2 stitches on cable needle and hold at back of work, K2, K2 from cable needle, (YO, K2tog) 4 times
Round 7: as round 3
Round 9: (YO, K2tog) 3 times, then as round 1, ending with YO, K2tog
Round 11: (K2 tog, YO) 3 times, then as round 3, ending with K2tog, YO
Round 13: (YO, K2tog) 3 times, then as round 5, ending with YO, K2tog
Round 15: as round 11
Round 16: K

Work decreases as directed for your yarn weight, repeating stitches as needed to complete each round. Switch to double-pointed needles when necessary.

Decreases for Sock and Worsted Weights
Round 1: YO, K2tog
Round 2: K7, K2tog
Round 3: K2tog, YO
Round 4: K6, K2tog
Round 5: as round 1
Round 6: K5, K2tog
Round 7: as round 3
Round 8: K4, K2tog
Round 9:as round 1
Round 10: K3, K2tog
Round 11: as round 3
Round 12: K2, K2tog
Round 13: as round 1
Round 14: K1, K2tog
Round 15: as round 3
Round 16: K2tog

Decreases for Sport Weight
Round 1: YO, K2tog
Round 2: K5, K2tog
Round 3: K2tog, YO
Round 4: K4, K2tog
Round 5: as round 1
Round 6: K3, K2tog
Round 7: as round 3
Round 8: K2, K2tog
Round 9: as round 1
Round 10: K1, K2tog
Round 11: as round 3
Round 12: K2tog
Round 13: K2 tog

Decreases for Bulky Weight Yarn
Round 1: YO, K2tog
Round 2: K
Round 3: K2tog, YO
Round 4: K
Round 5: as round 1
Round 6: K4, K2tog
Round 7: as round 3
Round 8: K3, K2tog
Round 9: as round 1
Round 10: K2, K2tog
Round 11: as round 3
Round 12: K1, K2tog
Round 13: as round 1
Round 14: K2tog
Round 15: K2tog

To Finish
After finishing decreases, cut yarn, leaving a 6” tail. Thread tail though a yarn needle and run the needle through the remaining stitches on needles in a counter-clockwise direction and remove needles. Pass tail through to inside of hat. Weave in ends on inside of hat.

I Am Sooooooooo Far Behind (But Still I Make Time to Put Cool Pattern Links at the End)

Last night, I suddenly realized that with the exception of a bit of mindless knitting-in-meetings I hadn’t done any real knitting since Sunday. Egad! It was a miracle that I was still upright and could form semi-coherent sentences. Of course, I remedied the situation right away by sitting down for two-and-a-half hours and knitting another skein’s worth on my Swallowtail. I am now past the central lace pattern and working on the three remaining lace charts.

And in keeping with complete disorganization and behindedness, let me share a few pictures from the winter break. As Melissa and I were driving home from Walking with Dinosaurs: The Live Experience, we saw a great twinkling of lights along one of the frontage roads. One crazy swerve and we were off the highway and investigating things for ourselves.

Entering the World of Holiday Light
We had to pay $12 to enter, but we were on a date, so we excused the extravagance as a romantic gesture.

Apparently Nessie celebrates Xmas.
Nessie for the holidays

And what holiday would be complete without a smiling tooth to remind us of the importance of good dental hygiene?
Brush after eating holiday treats

In keeping with the evening’s theme, there were dinosaurs.



Crested dino

Flying dino

Watch out T Rex

We also saw a pirate galleon that launched illuminated cannon balls from time to time.
Glaring galleon

And then we were exiting the display by a different route entirely…
See you next year
… which resulted in complete disorientation and forty-five minutes of driving about in utter confusion until we found a highway again. It wasn’t even the right highway, but it was a highway (an highway?), and we gave thanks for its discovery and gradually worked our way back to our original route.

P.S. Here are the latest knits I’m drooling over.

• Bee Fields Shawl. Check out the interplay of vertical and horizontal lines and the way the two lace patterns are worked together along the border.

• Japanese Vines Scarf. This lace pattern has wonderful lines—it reminds me of deco fabrics from the turn of the 20th Century.

• Puppy Mittens (that’s right, puppy mittens—so cute even a cat person loves them). You can get an English version of the free pattern here. The colorwork chart is here.

Santa Cruz Hat and a Gallery Invitation

Check out Maya modeling her new Santa Cruz Hat, made by Thea of Baby Cocktails and Knitting. What a lovely smile!

Girl in a Santa Cruz hat

Girl in a Santa Cruz hat

One of the really fun things about Ravelry is that I’ve been able to see my patterns knit up by other people and to get their feedback on my designs. Of course, not everyone is on Ravelry (yet!), so I’m only hearing from a subsection of the folks who’ve knit my patterns. In the spirit of inclusivity—and, I’ll admit it, because I get a thrill out of seeing my designs knit up by others’ hands—I’ll soon be starting a gallery on this site.

To make things interesting, I’ll turn the gallery into a sort of lucky draw. Every time I receive photos of ten new items for the gallery, I’ll put those knitters’ names into “the hat” and draw out a winner, who will receive a little knitting something: maybe some yarn, maybe a hand-knit dishcloth, maybe some of the patterns I sell through one of my LYSs. To be entered, just send a pic of your version of any one of my patterns to shATwhatifknitsDOTcom (Melissa will be uploading these and asks that you try to keep the documents to a reasonable size). And if you’d like your picture in the gallery to link back to your website, include that address.

Right now, I have the following patterns available free on-line (and more will be coming soon):
Basic Wrist Warmers
Bulky Tam
Point Lobos Hat
Reversible SWS Hat
Sandia Hat
Santa Cruz Hat
Splint Covers
Stripes and Strands Hat
Tamalpais Hats (4 versions)

Enjoy! And please, let me see the results—it does my knitterly heart good.

A Class Act

I wrote to Martingale & Company about the error I’d found in Wrapped in Comfort and received this lovely email back from them.

Hello Sarah-Hope,
You are correct about the error, and the fix. We will make the correction in the next reprint of the book, and post it on our website. If you’ll please give me your home address, Martingale & Company would like to send you a thank you for letting us know about this error.
Warm regards,

Isn’t that a great way to handle corrections? I’ve decided I’m adopting this policy as well. From now on, when someone points out a problem I hadn’t found in one of my own patterns, I’ll send a little gift her way.

Knitting Eye Candy

Here’s the item that most caught my eye in the latest Patternworks catalogue—
North Pole sweater
—the North Pole Sweater from the Fall/Winter 2007 Filatura di Crosa Collection. Doesn’t it look cozy? And pretty, too! I don’t know that I’ll ever knit it for myself (which would involve actually buying the book, something I haven’t done yet). Round necks really aren’t flattering on me (I’m a v-neck gal all the way) and I’m peri-menopausal enough that I’m wary of sweaters that aren’t cardigans and therefore can’t be unbuttoned quickly when the room suddenly starts to feel all tropical. But I’m filing it in the back of my mind, wondering how hard it would be to rework the neckline and whether it would be comfortable in a transitional-weather-friendly cotton yarn, rather than wool.

The rest of the designs in the booklet don’t do much for me, with this one exception—
Superior lacy scarf
—the Lacy Sampler Scarf. I definitely don’t need this pattern: I’ve got Victorian Lace Today and have yet to knit a single project from it. But I can still stare at the picture and mumble “pretty, pretty, pretty” to myself, so long as I do it quietly enough that I don’t frighten those around me.

In real world knitting, I’ve got just an inch more to go on sock #2 before beginning the toe decreases. I’m still working my way through the border stitch pattern on the sleeves of the Origami Cardi. I decided to knit them both at once to spare any uneven sleeve disasters, and two sleeves on one circular needle is not compatible with top knitting speed in my little universe.

Penny the kitty tested negative for leukemia and FIV (hooray!), so she’ll be up for adoption beginning later this week if no one claims her.

It’s All About the Dishrags

That’s life these days, chez moi.

Here are four cloths worked up in a variation on the stitch Laurie used for my dishrag tag cloth.
Four dishrags
The colors (all Elmore-Pisgah Peaches & Creme) from L to R are Oasis Ombre 176, Mardi Gras 163, Sour Green Apple 312, and Cityscape 211. Not only do these cloths illustrate some of the colorways available—they also offer a lesson in gauge. I knit each one using the same number of stitches and rows on U.S. size 8 needles, but I worked the smaller three on wood needles, the larger one on aluminum. Apparently aluminum needles loosen up my gauge. Who knew?

The pattern is quite simple. Cast on an odd number of stitches (I used 37) and K two rows.
Then work as follows:
Row 1: K2, [P1,K1] across, ending with an additional K1
Row 2: K3, [P1, K1] across, ending with an additional K2
Row 3: as row 1
Row 4: K across
When you’ve worked this four-row pattern through until you have the size you want (I did 13 reps), K one additional row, then cast off K-wise. Easy pie!

I’m absolutely in love with the Mardi Gras colorway, which is riotously happy.
Two dishrags
Check it out in the Mason-Dixon Ball Band pattern with a natural background. Those colors just *pop*.

Here’s another pair in Peppercorn Ombre 180.
Two more dishrags
The cloth on the left is worked in the Wheatfields pattern from page 3 of the Dishcloth Boutique. On the right, another Ball Band cloth with a natural background.

And here’s a dishcloth yet to come:
The ghosts of dishrags future?
The yarn on the needles is Sunflower 196, the other two are Black Watch 192 and Lemon Lime 186.

Since I discovered the self-striping Lilly Sugar ‘n Cream at the Michael’s in Emeryville, I’ve looked for it at other Michael’s without luck. I’m not sure why one shop carries it, but the others seem not to.
Dishrags and yarn
At any rate, Here’s Rowena, our Oregon stegosaurus, posing with some of the different colorways and one completed cloth. (This pattern is from one of the Leisure Arts dishcloth leaflets, I can’t remember which.)

I’m delighted to report that I finally found myself asking a “what if?” knitting question yesterday. I’ve felt so preoccupied lately with teaching responsibilities, that I’ve just been following patterns without dreaming up my own possibilities. The question was simple enough: “What if I work a mosaic-stitch dishcloth from two different self-striping yarns?” The cloth I knit up to answer my question (pic to follow) is fun, though the Sugar ‘n Cream colors aren’t as saturated as I’d like them to be for this purpose.

I’ve had lots of help with all my dishcloth knitting.
Two BIG hellpers
Damian will eventually settle down and leave me to my work, but Maggie just aches to grab those needles and work a couple of “stitches” herself.

P.S. Have you checked out the new issue of Knitter’s Magazine? I particularly like the Jade Empire cardigan.

New on MagKnits: Sandia!

My little friend Boaz is modeling my newest pattern on MagKnits.
Boaz is too cute
It’s called Sandia: a sun hat for kids knit out of cotton-modal with a brim to keep little noses from burning.

Melissa and I had the pleasure of babysitting for him last night while his moms were off seeing Lily Tomlin. Boaz is in a bus phase, so we spent two hours riding the shulttle all over campus, getting off to ramble and poke about. When we lay down with him at bed time, he prattled on about buses for a while, until I started singing him a quiet series of off-the-top-of-my-head bus songs. At one point I thought he’d fallen asleep and let my singing trail off—when suddenly he popped right up and announced “Headlights! Engine! Door! Bus Driver!” So I went back to my singing until he really was asleep.

Reversible Soy Wool Stripes Hat—Two Looks; One Easy Knit

Revelation: I often answer my “what if” questions with a hat. Hats are both simple and complex—simple in that they knit up quickly and have straightforward construction, complex in that they require decreases and (for me at least) a pattern that can be worked in the round. And, yes, there are a great many people in this world with a great variety of head sizes, so I know any hat I knit will be perfect for someone. It’s all just a matter of match-making. (“Rosy soy-wool blend seeks 21″ head for cozy walks on the beach, morning coffee on the deck, and kayaking on Elkhorn Slough…”)

When I was knitting lots of scarves, I enjoyed stitches that produced a distinctive, attractive look on both sides of the work. Now I’m starting to ask “what if” questions about adapting such stitches to hats. Behold my first result:
Christina models one side of the hat.
It’s knots!

Presto change-o! It’s ribs!
Now Christina models the other side of the hat.
[Our model is the fabulous Christina, friend of Melissa, barrista extraordinaire, and all-around credit to the sisterhood. I don’t know if she will take the hat kayaking, but she was happy to receive it as payment for modeling, and will no doubt show it many a lovely and interesting time.]

Want to see it again? Voila!
You need to say what this is.

You need to say what this is.

And you can have a hat just like this. Simply follow these easy steps…

Choose one skein (at least 110 yards) of heavy worsted weight yarn. I used Patons’ Soy Wool Stripes, available at both posh yarn outlets and crafting chain stores.

Cast on 80 stitches using 16″ U.S. 10.5 needles.

Work in K1, P1 rib for an inch or so.

Then, work in this two row pattern stitch until total length is about 5-5.5 inches.
Odds: P around
Evens: K1, P1 around

Continue working in pattern stitch, decreasing every odd row as follows:
Decrease 1: P8, P2tog around
Decrease 2: P7, P2tog around
etc, until
Final Decrease: P2tog around

Weave your ends in carefully and trim. I used a bit of matching sewing thread and a needle to tack the ends in place, both for the sake of neatness and to prevent unravelling.

Then, try it on, admire yourself, decide which side you’ll be displaying today, go get yourself a well-earned cup of coffee, and wait for the compliments to start rolling in.