Don’t Quote Me on That

Last week, while embracing the idea of non-head shaped hats, I may have said something sort of like ‘Almost only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and hat shaping’.  It should come as no surprise, therefore, that my next hat was as perfectly head shaped as a hat can get.

It’s perfect (except for the whole pink, angora part…go figure that it would fit perfectly but I’ll certainly never wear it.)   Once again, the shape is due to short rows.  This time, I’ve stacked the short rows directly on top of each other instead of staggering them around the hat.  The result is a more spacious forehead and a flatter back.

The garter ridges are my short rows.  I’ve done two short rows, the first one is 90% of the row, the second one is 70% of the row, followed by 3 rounds of stockinette stitch.  I repeated the short row-stockinette sequence over and over, until I got the length I wanted, then closed the top up…Viola!  Perfect Pink Hat!  <- Click for details on Ravelry

Of course, all these short row hats have had one common theme, stacking deep or long wedges to build a hat.  What happens when the shorts rows are short and shallow?  Here’s one possibility…

This is the most conventional hat in terms of shaping.  It’s essentially a stockinette beanie with stripes.    As I was knitting the stripes, I threw in single short rows of 4-6 stitches at regular intervals.  I was able to close the hat with standard decreases, (K8, K2tog followed by K7, K2tog, followed by K6, K2tog…etc)

Here’s the Ravelry Details!

For anyone looking to attempt a short row hat, this one is a great place to start.  You can adapt any basic stockinette beanie.  Whenever you feel like it, just do a wrap and turn, knit as few or as many stitches as you feel, place another wrap and turn, and you’re back on the right side of the hat, continuing along as though your row had never been interrupted!

I did several short rows per stripe, but maybe you only want one short row.  Maybe you want to stack your little short rows or maybe you want to stagger them so they bias across the hat.  Maybe you want them to be completely random.

Rest assured, I’ve got all these options on my list!  The urge to make hats is finally waning though.  For the first time in over a week, I finished a hat and did not cast on the next one right away.  Who knows, I might not do any hat knitting today?!?

 

 

FO Friday – It Worked

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As I was continuing on with yesterday’s short row free for all hat, I got to a point where I wondered if I had embraced the Anything Goes spirit just a little too much.  Luckily, it was a brief moment.  It’s true that hats don’t have to be head shaped!  I’m very pleased with how my wonky hat turned out.

I’m officially amending the Almost rule.  Almost only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and hat shaping!

There is definitely a lot going on.  In addition to non-standard shaping, mixing three different variegated yarns is dangerous.  As a general rule, I would suggest against it.  The short rows make it work though.  It’s a kitchen sink approach.  I’m loving it.   It’s only empowered me to make even more radical choices.  I’ve got some real doozies in the stash basket.  I can’t wait to use them now!

I’m backing off the ledge a bit with the next one though.  It’s on the needles already and looking rather lovely.  I think I’ll keep it that way.  There are still plenty of solids in the stash, after all!

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For the inquiring minds, here’s my Rav pages, with more details… Kitchen Sink Hat  or  New WIP

Happy Friday!  Hope you have a woolly great weekend!

Method to the Short Row Madness

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Yesterday’s WIP is today’s FO and today’s WIP will probably become tomorrow’s FO.  That’s the way hats work, the train just keeps rolling on.  I had fun with this one!  I kept the short rows going all the way to the top.  It’s got the perfect bit of asymmetric wonk happening.  If there’s anything I appreciate it’s intentional wonk.  Yeah, I meant to do that! :)

I kept the purple hat balanced, I keep my repeats regular.  For the next one, I’m going completely irregular.  It’s an experiment.  You know those ice breaker games where everyone says their name with an adjective beginning with the same letter and then you have to repeat the people’s names prior to you?  I was always Experimental Emily.

I’m still Experimental Emily.

So let’s see if I can explain what I did.  Once you allow yourself some wonk, the pressure of perfection is gone.  No need to match a pattern or even use one.  Whatever happens…happens.  and it’s okay.  And it’s easy!  You can do this, honest.

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I drew a color coded picture, maybe it’ll help.  ha!

1 – Cast on & ribbing, starts the same as any hat.  There’s no reason you have to use ribbing.  Insert your favorite beginning.  Knitter’s choice!

now onto the body of the hat…

2 – The first wedge,  I start by knitting one round.  Next round won’t really be a round, it’s going to be a row.  At this point, I’m going to start knitting flat, back and forth for the short rows.  I’m starting with a long row, almost the entire round.  I decided to use 5 stitches as the number for my short rows.  Each row, I knit to 5 stitches before the last turn.

Find the red 2 on the picture, that’s the point I’m at.  I knit across that first red line.  I stop 5 stitches before the end of the row.  That’s the first wrap and turn.  By turning you’re now working the hat inside out.  Work almost all the way back to beginning, stopping 5 stitches short.  Wrap and turn.  Now you’re back on the outside of the hat, work to 5 stitches before the last wrap & turn.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Just keep going back & forth until you don’t have enough stitches left between your wrap & turns.

Why did I pick 5 stitches for my turns?  I dunno, seemed like a good number.   Higher numbers mean fewer rows.  Lower numbers mean more rows.  Higher numbers & fewer rows mean skinny stripes, lower numbers/more rows mean fatter stripes.  5 seemed like a nice mid-point.   On my current WIP, I’m not even keeping that number consistent.

3 – the next wedge.  At this point you’ve got options.  Wedge placement and maybe you don’t do a wedge at all.  In the purple hat, I worked a few rounds of straight stockinette between wedges.  In the current WIP, I’m working from one wedge to the next directly.

The diagram shows a regular wedge rotation, which is what I did in the purple sample.  I did the same wedge repeat each time rotating it 1/4 of the way around.  To do this, I simple cut the working yarn and slipped the first 1/4 of the stitches to the right needle unworked.  Essentially I just changed the place where the round begins.  Why not?

This is a liberating decision!  My row can begin anywhere!  So the purple hat is the regular, planned approach.  The current WIP is completely free form.  I’m just sort of plunking the beginning of round marker down where it seems like a good idea.

I didn’t draw wedges 4 & 5 but labeled their approximate starting positions.

and then closing the top?  Good luck explaining that.  I just did it.  I incorporated standard decreases in the stockinette sections.  K6, K2tog around, K5, K2tog around, etc.  But I kept my short rows going and did some decreasing in the short rows.  The whole point was asymmetric shapes, so I didn’t get to hung up on regularity.

Really, if you’ve read this far, my point is…just try it.  Forget ‘the rules’ and just try whatever you feel like.  We all know what shape a head is.  Hats can really be any shape.  Hats don’t really have to head shaped.   (<- the beginning of my rationalization for really weird shaped hats!)

Stay tuned…the hat binge is not over yet!

 

WIP Wednesday – Still Hat Binging

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As usual, my hat binge is showing no signs of slowing!  I don’t know why I’ve never explored the possibilities of short row hats before.  I’m loving it right now though!  It’s a great way to use up all those yarny oddments laying around.

My first hat this week, is using a rustic, hand spun, llama yarn that my mom dyed.  And when I say rustic, I don’t mean slubby and homespun, I mean vegetable matter.  Lots of vegetable matter.  Even that doesn’t do it justice, I’m picking full on tree branches out of this stuff.  It’s really pretty though!  And it’s bulky!  One afternoon in the park, even with a false start that required frogging, and it was done!

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I’m happy with the result.  The short rows give it a nice close fit, not much slouch in the back at all.  With the bulk & weight of this hat, you definitely don’t need any extra fabric hanging around.

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The short rows are the garter ridges.  The color change highlights them nicely, really gives you a clear picture of how the shaping is effected.  You can imagine a big round noggin filling the front of the hat, and no weird gaping to bunch up around the back of the neck!  Perfect!

As I was patting myself on the back for a job well done, I started the next hat.  More stashbusting scraps, more short rows.  All was going well until…

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I forgot to change needles at the end of my ribbing.  D’oh!  No big deal.  I’m now knitting a hat on size 3s.  It’s still going to be lovely.  It’s just going to take forever.  (or a day and a half…somehow I’ll manage to survive!)

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Check Ravelry for the details:  Rustic Llama  or  Purple Waves

 

 

 

 

 

Ravellenic Round Up

The Rio Olympics came to an end last night and along with it, the Ravellenic Games (aka the knitting olympics).  My final medal count is 5 — a sweater, a cowl and 3 hats!

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My main event was the Sweater Triathlon.  Much to my own surprise, I successfully crossed that finish line 6 days into the competition.  It seems so long ago, already.  With San Francisco Summer in fully swing, I’ve been wearing my new sweater almost daily!  It’s been a fully integrated part of the wardrobe right from the start!  I always hope that happens with a new sweater, but you just never know.  This one is definitely a keeper!

Week 2 produced a hat and a cowl.

The final push brought two more hats!  Back in July, Woolly Wormhead had a scrappy hat knitalong, seeing those hats definitely brought me inspiration!  I’ve got enough odds & ends for a hundred hats!

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The knitalong didn’t feature a pattern but a set of options to pick your own.  I was especially drawn to the use of short rows.  My sweater, up top, called for the use of Japanese Short Rows, which I’d swatched years ago but never incorporated into a project.  It’s a fiddly technique that seemed unnecessary for that particular project.

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Japanese short rows are the ones that eliminate the wrap and instead use a locking stitch marker.  The idea is to use less yarn when closing the gap left by the turn and thereby create a neater fabric.  It’s not really necessary when working with garter stitch so I skipped it with the sweater.  A hat is the perfect place for it though, especially if it’s stockinette!

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I was pleased with the result.  Without blocking, the short rows are very neat!  I suspect once I’ve blocked it, the short rows will be invisible!

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I’m definitely not done messing around with short rows and hats.  It’s, surprisingly, not something I’ve done much.  Rest assured, there will be more short rowed hats!  This particular hat binge is just getting started!  I’ve got lots plenty of hat yarn in the stash!

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Double FO Friday

It’s been a busy week!  I knit in a bar.  I knit on a bench.  I knit at a beach.  I knit on a bus.

While, I don’t enjoy 1×1 ribbing, seed stitch is a happy place for me.  This project was my constant companion for the week and I’ve got this to show for it…

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A bulky seed stitch cowl.  It’s a sample for my Learn to Knit classes this fall at the JCC.  (If you’re in San Francisco, there’s still time to sign up.  Details are here!)  Trendy and educational!  Now I can start knitting samples for my second class…Colorwork & Hats! (YAY!  This one is gonna be good.  Dates & times here.)

I’m excited at the prospect of a hat binge.  I finished my Hillary Hat.   (Details on Ravelry!  I’m link crazy today!)

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Much like Hillary’s campaign, I found it to be unsatisfying.  I’m ready for more hat knitting.  And my current WIP count is only 6.  How did that even happen?  Yes, definitely time for a mass cast on.  Plus, it’s the weekend…Happy Friday!!  Woooo!