After I made the cowl, I decided to offer it to my daughter as I still have all the hats and scarves that have featured on this blog and much as I love the cowl, I wasn’t sure if I really needed it.
However, I also had about half the yarn left and thought that it would be fun to make a hat to match the cowl. My daughter said that she would like a hat as well so I only hope her head is the same size as mine!
Now when I say match, I wasn’t going to use the same fair isle patterns as the cowl except for the rib. Google is always good for ideas and I copied out some of my favourites.
Traditional fair isle patterns normally have vertical or horizontal symmetry or both but some of the designs on the cowl only have rotational symmetry so I wanted to incorporate some of those. I am very fond of the Greek Key pattern so I included that early on for the hat.
Although I worked on the design on my computer, I copied it out onto squared paper to use a guide.
In the event I decided not to use both of the blue zig-zag on green parts of the design and replaced the second with a smaller purple on green section. (I didn’t use the last red and green part at all.)
Now what have I learned in the process of making this hat? Well a couple of things!
If you are planning on making a hat it is much easier if you start with a pattern.
I started with the idea that the cowl although it slipped over the head easily was quite snug so the same number of stitches would be a good place to start. I did use a smaller 3.75 (UK 10) circular needle for the rib but it was not until I had got fairly far on and was wondering if now was the time to start decreasing that I thought a pattern might help to make sure I got it right.
So I spent hours trawling through fair isle hat patterns on Ravelry only to find a whole variety of needle sizes and tensions even for DK yarn and a wide range of stitch counts and increasing and decreasing. None of them that fitted in with what I was doing!
I found a decreasing look that I liked in the photographs which involved: skip two stitches, knit one, pass both slipped stitches over.
However I did not like the look so much when I had knitted it so it had to come out. I had also chosen six decreases a round and since it seemed best to have one of these decreases mid back where the row changed, I didn’t like the slight point at the front.
Now life was so busy last week that I didn’t feel up to taking a photograph so you will have to imagine.
So I undid back to before the decreasing (more on this in a moment) and tried again.
This time I chose seven decreases a round – easy as 19 x 7 is only one more than 132.
But then came the moment of truth. The hat was going to be too big! 😦 I was a bit unhappy that I had to remove the purple and green bit that I had thought of as leaves and a sort of parallel to the leaf pattern in the cowl but it had to be done! So using the same method I had used before I decided I would have to reduce the length by a couple of inches.
Here is a quick photograph I took with my phone at Crafty Coffee on Friday when I was just beginning to pull out those two inches. Since the method I used is something that worked well. I thought I would mention it for anyone who finds it helpful.
This is the second thing I learned
Risk free way of undoing several rows without doing it stitch by stitch.
I heard (reading US blogs I think) of people putting in ‘life lines’ when they were knitting in case they needed to undo part of it later. I wasn’t sure what they were but it gave me an idea.
I took a needle and a piece of thin string and carefully went under the front part of every stitch on the row I wanted to go back to. (I chose a row where I was only using one colour.) I counted the stitches to make sure I had the right number then took a circular needle and threaded it through the same stitches and counted again. I then felt confident enough to remove the original circular needle. Finally I removed the string. In the photograph you can see how it looked just before I removed the string. I then undid the rows and sure enough when that was done all the stitches were neatly on the needle ready for me to start knitting again.
I added in a couple of rows in blue and then decreased after a red row. Originally I had thought I would just use two or more of the colours as stripes for the top but then I realised that I needed to continue the fair isle patterns to make the top as thick (and warm!) as the rest.
This time I decreased by a combination of K2tog through back loops and a normal K2tog.
And here are the hat and cowl together.
I still have about a quarter of the wool left but I don’t think it would be enough for mittens!