Thursday, 12 November 2009

Sophisticat Hat

Recently Cath and I decided we would take our woolly mamas knitting bags to the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate (19-22 November 2009).

Now I rarely venture north of Cambridge, so I was clearly worried as to how I was going to cope with the bitter cold that I’ve heard graces the North of our Land.

Cath being a hardened Northerner (she’s from Preston), laughed at my southern pretensions. ‘You’ll be needing a hat’ she said with a smile, ‘and possibly some snow boots’ she added knowingly. Boots are a bit beyond me, but a hat, now there’s a challenge. So here it is, the Sophisticat Hat, perfect for cold weather, wherever it is that you are.

Pattern Directions

Sizes S[M,L].

My head circumference is 56cm/22" (yes I know, I have a big head for a small person) and I knit size M. The pattern can be easily modified up or down by casting on 11 more or less stitches at the beginning.

Wear the sophisticat hat slouchy or straight, depending on your mood.

22sts x 30 rows in stocking stitch.

Yarn Requirements:
150 [170, 200]m DK yarn
(165 [185, 220]yds)

Yarn used in the sample: 2 x 50g balls Rowan Cashsoft DK SH506(130m/142yds per ball). I knit the medium size and used about 1.3 balls (about 170m/185yds).
4mm 40cm circular needle
4mm double pointed needles
Cable needle

C1B Slip 1 stitch onto cable needle and hold to the back
of work. Knit next stitch then knit stitch
from the cable needle.
C1F Slip 1 stitch onto cable needle and hold to the
front of work. Knit next stitch then knit stitch
from the cable needle.
K Knit
P Purl
K2tog Knit 2 stitches together
M1F Make 1 stitch through front of loop. (See note below).
Psso Pass slipped stitch over
Rnd Round
Sl1 Slip 1 stitch knitwise
Sts Stitches

Note that M1F differs from the usual M1. To work this stitch, pick up the loop lying between the stitch just knit and the next stitch, from front to back, using your left needle. Knit through the front of this loop.

A note on cabling. You could easily work the C1B and C1F cables without a cable needle à la Grumperina:

Personally I’m a bit old school when it comes to cabling. I find it quicker and easier just to use the cable needle.

Cast on 99 [110, 121] stitches. Join to work in the round.

Rnds 1-4: *K4, P2, K3, P2, repeat from * to end of rnd.

Rnd 5: *K4, P2, Sl1, K1, M1F, K1, Psso, P2, repeat from * to end of rnd.

Rnd 6: *C1B, C1F, P2, K3, P2, repeat from * to end of rnd.

Repeat Rounds 1-6, 2 more times. (A total of 18 rounds has been worked).

Work Rounds 1-4 once more.

Change to stocking stitch and knit until hat measures 18 [19, 20]cm (7 [7.5, 8]inches) from cast on edge.

Crown Decreases
Note, you should change to double pointed needles when you have too few stitches for your circular needle.

Widely spaced decreases on every row give a lovely pinwheel shape to the crown however the hat is worn.

Rnd 1: *K9, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
90 [100, 110]sts

Rnd 2: *K8, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
81 [90, 99]sts
Rnd 3: *K7, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
72 [80, 88]sts
Rnd 4: *K6, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
63 [70, 77]sts
Rnd 5: *K5, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
54 [60, 66]sts
Rnd 6: *K4, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
45 [50, 55]sts

Rnd 7: *K3, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
36 [40, 44]sts
Rnd 8: *K2, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
27 [30, 33]sts
Rnd 9: *K1, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
18 [20, 22]sts
Rnd 10: *K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
9 [10, 11]sts
For the small and large sizes:
Rnd 11: *K2tog, repeat from * to last stitch, K1.
For the medium size:
Rnd 11: *K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
5 [5, 6]sts

Top knot & Finishing
For the top knot, break yarn leaving a long tail (say 30cm). Thread tail on to a tapestry needle.

Thread needle through the first stitch on your left needle and drop off the needle. Repeat until one stitch remains.

Thread yarn through this last stitch but do not drop from the needle. Remove tapestry needle and K1, P1, K1, P1, K1 all into this stitch. Pass each stitch over the leftmost stitch on your right needle. i.e. if the stitches are numbered 1 to 5 from left to right as follows 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, pass 2 over 1, then 3 over 1, then 4 over 1, then 5 over 1.

Tie off last stitch and sew down the topknot over the centre of the crown decreases. Weave in all ends and block as desired.

© Katie White, November 2009

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Wentworth cowl

Around Christmas time I often do a lot of speculative knitting. That is, I knit an item and then decide who to give it to later. This works particularly well for the womenfolk as it essentially means I can knit something for myself and then give it away if I decide I don’t like it. This approach works slightly less well for the men in my life as they are generally harder to convince that you really had them in mind whilst knitting that fluffy pink bolero.

So, when I recently came into possession of some navy blue super bulky wool I knew from the outset that it was perfect for a manly item. The wool was thick and lofty but according to my kitchen scales I had a mere 87g to play with (or 96m if we’re talking meterage). It might have been enough for hat but I wasn’t sure that my nerves would take the strain of reaching the crown only to find that even the remains of my cast on tail would not be enough to finish it.

A cowl then I thought. One just right for a man – not too frilly, frothy or floppy. But one that might just do for a girl if it turned out I couldn't part with the result. If I were a yarn whisperer I’d say the Wentworth Cowl is what the wool wanted to be.

This project does involve a bit of grafting at the end but please don’t let this send you into a panic. The big stitches are easy to see and the whole thing is pretty forgiving, making this the perfect project to give it a try. There are great instructions on grafting here:

You’ll also need to be able to work a provisional cast on, so while you’re surfing the net, why not look here:

The cowl is fully reversible - a useful feature in a present for a man who has enough trouble understanding what a cowl is.

Pattern directions

Gauge: 10 stitches & 13 rows = 10cm/4” in stocking stitch
Yarn: Approximately 100m super chunky wool
Needles: 9mm

Provisionally cast on 21 stitches.
Row 1 [RS]: knit
Row 2 [WS]: knit
Row 3 [RS]: knit
Row 4 [WS]: purl

Repeat these 4 rows, 16 more times (to give you 68 rows in total). Then work the first 3 rows once more.

(Note: If you don’t want to count rows, just count the garter ridges on the right side. You should have 17 in total.)

OK, now here comes the kitchener stitch. Unravel the provisional cast on and place on a spare needle. You should have a garter bump right next to each needle with a knit row sitting on the needles. Graft together the two rows of live knit stitches. By doing this you’ll create an additional knit row and complete the pattern. That is, you’ll then have 3 stocking stitch rows in between the two garter bumps, which is exactly what you should have.

Block as desired. I blocked the pictured cowl the lazy way, which is to say that I gave it a little wash and left it to dry on a radiator.

Now all you need is a handsome chap to give it to!

© Katie White, October 2009