Beautiful Knitting

Where Mt.Mom knits, crochets, designs, and seeks Beauty as food for the soul.

Archive for the ‘Cap/Hat’ Category

Calorimetry Headband FO

Posted by mtmom on February 16, 2011

Calorimetry was first published in the Winter 2006 issue of knitty.  I just knit a red tweedy one in a yarn by Naturally called “Allsorts” from their “Magic Garden” line.  Only took me 9 days, which is quite fast for me.

Pattern opinion:  “Potato chip knitting”, as one podcaster called it — keep wanting to do one more row, as they get shorter and then longer, and then you’re done.  I added stitches to get the turns to fit symmetrically within the ribbing.  Bound off with EZ’s “Casting-on Cast-off”, which may be found in her book, Knitting Without Tears.  Kinda’ fun to make, but I’m not sure I’m comfortable with how the wedge shape of the FO fits my head; time will tell.

Yarn opinion:  Not fluffy or especially soft, almost string-y feeling like cotton eventhough it’s wool — probably somehow due to the extra long bits of pulled colored threads that give the yarn its tweedy appearance.  DD finds it “a bit itchy”.

the yarn and CO

Knitting done!

choices, choices. . . .

back view -- every tried to photograph the back of your own head?

front 3/4 view

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Galaxy Tams — Design Process, Part 2

Posted by mtmom on February 3, 2011

Continued from previous post.

I hope you all find this interesting — I didn’t know about much of this before I actually started publishing patterns with a magazine, so I figure it will be new to most of you.

The Yarn.

After the senior editor of Cast On magazine let me know they wanted me to make TWO hats, one in EACH of the 2 yarns I’d suggested as possibilities, and once I had agreed to the proposed fee, she then asked about an alternate choice for the mohair-blend yarn, “Yarn A”.  Another project in the issue would be using the yarn I’d used in my swatch and proposal, and they want to include a broader range.  I went online to yarndex and started hunting for other yarns of similar composition (70% mohair, 30% silk) and gauge (laceweight, but usually knit at DK gauge because of fluffiness).  I chose several yarns that I thought would work, eventhough I hadn’t actually used any of the new options.  The editor contacted the yarn companies, to see who would be interested in supplying yarn to a designer for their upcoming issue.  Berroco agreed for 2 skeins of Ultra Alpaca, and Knit One Crochet Too said they had 2 balls left from open bags, but they were from different dye lots.  We agreed that this would be OK, since I would be double-stranding the yarns and that would blend them (vs get stripes where I changed balls).  Each yarn company mailed their yarns directly to me.  When they arrived, my knitting would begin!

The Pattern-Writing.

While waiting for the yarns to arrive, I started in on the writing.  The general outline of any pattern begins the same:  skill level, title, materials, gauge, special techniques, abbreviations; all these come before the actual instructions and I could get these (all but final gauge numbers) done before even beginning the knitting.  I looked up the Craft Yarn Council’s standards for skill level:  because the hat would use double-pointed and circular needles, and contain 2 simple eyelet patterns, it fell into the “Intermediate” category.  The title came pretty quickly in the process, especially because my DS had spent last summer working at our local observatory:  “Spiral-Armed Galaxy Tam”, or “Galaxy Tam” for short.  The yardage of each brand of yarn I could have found online, but instead I waited to copy this info from the ball bands.

What took longer was writing out directions for the circular cast-on and tubular bind-off.  The magazine always includes a glossary of basic techniques at the back, so I checked a past issue to see if these were already covered.  Kitchener stitch, the final step in the BO was in there, but the directions were for a flat piece.  I had to add extra details into my pattern about beginning and ending the grafting in a round project.  I wrote up a paragraph for the CO and for the BO, and repeatedly read and checked them for accuracy and clarity.

I even began writing up the instructions, because I already knew the basics of what I planned to do.  I went back and forth about including markers, and ended up including them because it shortened the amount of detail I needed to include before I could say, simply, “rep from *” and “continue”.  I think writing the Technique Tips and Designer Notes may be my favorite part.  I can explain and suggest and instruct, beyond just enabling a knitter to reproduce a hat to match the model.

Much of this was edited later, as I went through the knitting and discovered how things actually measured on the needles and then when I came up with a modification to the ribbing that very much pleased me but took some explaining.  I ended up having to use * and ** and even *** for those instructions!

Knitting the Prototypes.

2 tam tops

I began with Yarn B, the alpaca, because I had it in hand first.  I finished the top and then paused to catch up with Yarn A, the mohair-silk, to make very sure that they turned out THE SAME size.  I would have to include different numbers for the 2 yarns in several places in the pattern.  Lots of arithmetic:  2 yarns, in 2 gauges, in 4 sizes each.  I was glad I would have several weeks to do this (about 4 – 5), so I wouldn’t need to rush beyond my ability to keep my wits (and my notes) about me.  As I came to each new section of a hat — switching from increasing to even and then to decreasing, or beginning the ribbing — I would take care to write down or add to my draft EXACTLY what stitches I needed to make:  Should they (p1, k1) or  (k1, p1) at this point?  How did the YO fit into the ribbing rhythm?  How did the even vs odd numbers in the panels of the different hat-sizes affect this?  I have learned that I mustn’t presume I’ll remember later!

I liked knitting both, but think I enjoyed the mohair-silk more.

about halfway done with the pink

When each tam was complete, including tucking in ends, I blocked it over a pair of dinner plates, separated with several washcloths to add depth.

white tam blocking, top view

pink tam blocking, side view

I did lots of measuring, both during the knitting and after blocking, because these numbers were ESSENTIAL to the arithmetical magic that is Pattern Grading, i.e., the figuring of stitch and row counts for the sizes I didn’t actually knit, but that others might want to make.  Oh, the agony over the calculator!  (and I have a math degree)  Predicting other knitters’ results. . . !  What can I tell them that will help them succeed?!

The Parting.

When all the knitting and all the writing (and re-writing, and re-re-writing, etc.) was done, it was time to pack up my “babies” and send them out into the world.  I used lots of tissue paper and a sturdy box, rechecked EVERYTHING, and took several deep breaths.  It was DONE!

I hope you’ve enjoyed journeying along with me!

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Galaxy Tams — Design Process, Part 1

Posted by mtmom on January 25, 2011

I thought I might share a bit about how my design process went for the tams I just submitted to Cast On magazine.

The Idea.

Years ago, I borrowed a copy of Barbara G. Walker’s book, Knitting Counterpanes — about preserved examples of an old tradition of bedspreads handknit of tiny cotton yarn.  (Interlibrary loans are a WONDERFUL thing!)  In it, I saw several spreads/counterpanes constructed of small, repeated medallions.  I recall swatching a few of them, and sketching several others.  I made a child-size beret out of one of them by working a center-out medallion for the top, then a sort of turning ridge of several rounds of reverse stockinette, then I decreased back down while trying to maintain as much of the patterning as I could.  A plain ribbed band finished it off.

Pink Swirl Tam, side view

Pink Swirl Tam, top view

The Opportunity.

Cast On sent out a call for designs for the summer 2011 issue, with a special emphasis (among other topics) on tams and berets.  I remembered the pink tam and the gears started turning.

The Swatches.

I no longer had the Walker book, and I didn’t keep the pink tam in front of me to check.  I went from (fallible) memory while also keeping in mind some changes I wanted to make.  I started knitting at the center, and when the swatch was large enough I began to think of an edging that would lie flat.  I decided on garter stitch, but didn’t want the spirals to just STOP at the edge of the border —  hmmm, could the spirals continue THROUGH the garter st background, as they had over the stockinette?  YES!  I liked this very much.

I had 2 different yarns I was considering working with:  the white yarn was new to me, but came highly recommended; the purple was left over from a shawlette KAL 2 autumns ago, and I had thoroughly enjoyed working with it back then.  I made a swatch from EACH of them and decided to send both.  I would let the committee consider both and choose.

Swatch in white alpaca/wool worsted weight

Swatch in purple mohair/silk laceweight doubled

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The Sketches.

I figured the different yarns would make different fabrics that would drape differently, so I sketched out the 2 options:  one floaty, one droopy.  I traced the bare essentials of 2 faces from a clothing catalog and added in the hats freehand.  The results were not bad, and they communicated the ideas.  I described how I would construct the hats and how I expected each version would look.  I filled out the rest of the paperwork (yarn brands and alternatives, gauges, sizes, etc.) and mailed it all off to Ohio.

The Decision.

The editorial committee wrote back and asked if I would knit BOTH hats, to show the different looks!  OK, I’m in!

Next chapter (Lord willing):  the yarn, the pattern-writing and the prototype knitting.

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FOs and Repairs

Posted by mtmom on January 22, 2011

My weekend schedule changed a while back, so Sundays are not always blog days.   I haven’t really settled into a new rhythm yet. . . .

I have finished several things, some fresh and some long latent.

white tam

pink

Firstly, I finished and mailed in to Cast On magazine, the 2 versions of my Galaxy Tam.  The pattern I e-mailed in a few days later.

Also, I finished a second little “hoot!”, by Ysolda Teague.

hoot! #1

hoot! #2

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One is for my DS, away at university.

The other is for his girlfriend.  She said of hers that it is “adorbs”.  (I translated that to mean “adorable”.)  🙂

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And then, I FINALLY seamed up a knit/felted bag I started about 1 1/2 years ago.  I don’t think the shape and size will be adequate for a daily bag, so I’m not sure what I’ll do with it.  (It measures about 10″ – 12″ across, and 5″ – 6″ tall in the middle, where the stuff would sit.)  Yarn is Poems; design is my own.

"back" side

"front" side

I’ve had some more requests for repairs; this time for unusual gloves.

Glove from Latvia, here with hoot-owl

The first pair were a gift to me, purchased by an old friend when she traveled to Latvia one summer.  I’ve let my son wear them for a couple of winters, and one thumb developed a hole.  This past week I mended that.

Thumb "Before"

Thumb "After"

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The second pair are Norwegian.  I haven’t started to work on the repairs yet, but I’ve enjoyed studying them.

Norwegian gloves. Thumbs replaced by another knitter.

Finger with a hole. Notice the spare color carried between stripes up by twisting strands.

See how the ends are NOT woven in -- just knotted and left! Amazing.

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Gift #1 Done!

Posted by mtmom on December 7, 2010


I hope to get a nice photo of the headband *on* the recipient, with the ruffles coiled up into a flower. But I didn’t want to wait for that to post this — I’m SO pleased to be getting something(s) finished!

Many things are queued up and waiting. . . .

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A Tam Proposal in the Pipeline

Posted by mtmom on November 30, 2010

I don’t know whether the editorial committee will choose to include my pattern, but I’ve sent 2 swatches to Cast On magazine for possible inclusion in their summer 2011 issue.

in Ultra Alpaca

in Kidsilk Haze

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Same design in each, but different textures due to different yarn choices.

I would make a tam similar to this one, below, made by me for DD several years ago.  But the straight portion would be longer, instead of the short section of purl rounds in the middle of the pink version.

Pink Swirl Cap -- top view

Pink Swirl Cap -- side view

I won’t know until the 2nd week of December, at the earliest.

Then, if accepted, the committee would send me the yarn they select for the project and tell me my deadline — probably around the end of January or beginning of February.

The work and pattern writing can get pretty intense, but I’ll be sure to let y’all know what’s up!

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Little Things: An FO and some new WIPs

Posted by mtmom on November 28, 2010

I don’t think I’ve shown you this yet (I finished it between the 2 Saturdays of the Craft Sale, 11/13 and 20, and gave it to coordinator Julie to put out):

youth size? . . . .

. . . or adult size? OK for either!

I used a label-less acrylic boucle yarn; I think it’s “Amore” by TLC/Red Heart.  Deep burgundy color cap.

Since then, I’ve done a bit towards rehabilitating Robert’s first pair of kilt hose — the ones I overdyed that came out with still-too-bright-green stripes in the ribs.  I picked out a new, firmer pattern for the cuffs, reconditioned the ripped cuff-yarn, and got one sock back on the needles.

And I’ve cast on for some little, gift-able projects:  2 coffee cozies (designed by Ann Budd — Ravelry link to my project page here, and to her design page here) and a ruffled headband (designed by Sally Melville, adapted for different yarn and for a child’s size — Ravelry link my project page here, and to her design page here).

1 and 1/10 coffee cozies in Lion Brand "Fisherman's Wool"

about 1/4 of a headband, in Patons "Brilliant"

When I read a recent post from Knitting Daily, with the coffee cozy featured, I just cast on rather spontaneously, thinking, “This’ll be quick!”  (Have YOU ever done that?)  And it was quick — comparatively.  Still took me almost a week, though (4 hours?), and I may tweak the pattern a bit for #2.  I’m hoping these will make a nice his/hers set, with the two complementary marled yarns:  first is 3 strands brown to 1 strand white; second is just the opposite.

The headband pattern comes from a book I have on loan from the library:  Sally Melville and Caddy Melville Ledbetter’s Mother-Daughter Knits:  30 Designs to Fit & Flatter.  I had been planning to make something along this line for a neighbor-friend’s DD (Isaiah’s sister, Susanna), so this may end up going to her.  Not sure yet.  That book has a lot of interesting ideas about proportions, illusions, and “ideal” sweater lengths.

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“Thick N Quick” Cap is . . . Quick!

Posted by mtmom on October 31, 2010

I made this for a neighbor-boy.  Took only a few days.After taking this photo, we found it looked better with the BACK part of the brim folded up, versus the FRONT part.  I failed to get another photo, however; he’s 4 years old and moves around a lot.

I had given up on this yarn (Jiffy Thick & Quick, by Lion Brand; color “Ozarks”), and put it in the “go-out” bag, but decided to give it another go from a different angle.  The main problem was that this very bulky yarn needed to be worked on US size 15 needles, and my dpns in that size are home-made from dowling and not especially smooth.  The yarn kept catching horribly!  I have a 24″ circular with nice metal tips, but I consider that length too short for magic loop, and too long for a child’s hat.  What to do?  I NEVER make hats flat, shunning the idea of a seam inside a snug cap, and especially with yarn so thick as this.  But, this time, I did.  I got out my nice 24″ Addi Turbo, and cast on 6 stitches.  I kept first and last stitches in stockinette, and increased until “big enough” — my target was 17″ or so.  The stitches actually stretched out near enough to the tips that I was able to join into the round at this point and continue the cap body in the round.  Phew!  I worked 3 ridges in garter stitch on 13’s at the bottom, and made a sewn bind-off after a purl round.  Now to deal with the gap at the top! I had left a long tail, wound into a butterfly, at the top.  I used this to work the seam — but I “unvented” a new way to do that seam, because I didn’t want it to “take in” even a half-stitch on either side.  My solution?  Rather like duplicate stitching a single column of stitches, catching one leg of each stitch on each side as I went along.  (I felt SO CLEVER!)

See the seam?  It’s the column of red stitches going up the center there.

Looked at with the ends-of-round facing the camera, I think that the change from stockinette to garter stitch, and the bind-off edge, and the seam all look pretty good.My sweet-smiling recipient likes it, to boot — a winner!  (Hurray!!)

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Getting Near to Done with 2 pair Kilt Hose

Posted by mtmom on August 22, 2010

2nd pair for Robert

I’ve done all the (planned) increases on Robert’s forest green heather kilt hose.  The end is in sight!

The light bit of yarn at the top of the righthand sock shows where I worked one more pair of increases on sock #1.  Eventhough my ruler says 78 stitches is wide enough, and a slightly narrower 3-stitch knit-rib at center-back looks fine, I decided to try 80 stitches because it better fills out my ribbing pattern of (k5, seed3) around.  After another inch or so, I’ll be able to get better measurements of the girth.  I don’t have his legs available to try these on (he’s been to at least 2 countries since I saw him last), so I don’t know for sure how stretched — or not — these calves will be on him.  I’m really looking forward to finishing these and posting them off to him in County Derry.

And I still haven’t finished a whole ball of Wool-Ease in either sock!  Back when I was only able to purchase 4 balls of a single dye lot, I was concerned I wouldn’t have enough, but it looks now like 4 balls will be plenty — hurray!

DK hose for me

The second pair of hose that’s oh-so-near to being done is the pair for myself that I’ve been working on for just over 2 years.  I’m using Knit Picks “Bare” 100% undyed wool in DK weight, and had been knitting these 2-at-a-time on one very long circular until I got to the actual cuffs.  Now I can say I’ve done that (the 2-socks-on-one-needle thing), but I found it cumbersome and don’t plan to do it again any time soon.

I hope to have these complete before August 31st, the day to take County Fair exhibits over to the Fairgrounds for judging and display.

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Other projects in the meantime:

Red Cap in TLC "Amore" yarn

Red Seed-Stitch Scrap Scarf -- worked lengthwise

Swatching several "brioche" stitches

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Meantime Caps and 2-year-old Hose

Posted by mtmom on August 12, 2010

The deadline to file entry forms for County Fair exhibits came this past Friday, so I looked back through my Finished Objects page and old blog posts to see what I’d completed since last September 1st (and still have in my possession!).  If I enter at least 5 items, I get a pass for one free entry to the Fair.  I found I had several items Very Close to Done, so I set Robert’s hose a bit to the side — still working on it regularly, but not solely — and picked up a few UFO’s.  I may even knock out a dishcloth between now and Fair drop-off day.  We shall see.

tucked in ends

finished ruffle and tucked in ends -- (intended for a smaller child)

one cuff done, one to go; plus ends to tuck

It feels good to finish long-pending things, while not running out of project(s) I’m truly interested in.  I have finished all but the very last increase on sock #1 of Robert’s second pair, and sock #2 is over halfway through the increases.  It won’t be long until I get to the cuffs on those!  (Lord willing.)

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Oh, BTW, you might be interested in this post on the Lion Brand blog, about sweater-shapes that flatter different body-shapes.

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