Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Very First Hat

Just before Halloween, I cast on my very first hat using left over sock yarn (Socks that Rock Heavyweight). I know a lot of people like to knit hats as they are very easy and very quick to knit, but I hadn't yet. Plus, I seriously needed to get away from the endless rows of stockinette stitch of my cardigan and do something "quick" that would satisfy my 'finished project' need.

So, a quick look on Ravelry found the no swatch, Lifestyle Top Down Hats (link to Ravelry. The actual website is here. Of course, I'm a sucker for not having to swatch for a given project, so this was perfect.

I carefully measured my head, and started knitting in the round. When I got to my actual head size, I stopped the increases, and started down the sides of the hat. Then I tried it on, and realized that it was just a *tad* to big.

Being somewhat of an organic knitter, this didn't bother me "too" much, so I opted to create a "pillbox" style hat. During one point, I asked a friend who regularly does hats, and she told me that she normally takes off 20% off a head measurement to account for yarn stretch. Well, I'll keep that in mind for the next time.

My very First Hat
(Photo of it being blocked on a stainless steel mixing bowl)

The top portion of the hat is follows the pattern, then I did a basket weave stitch pattern along the straight portion of the hat. I then ended with a rolled brim.

My own version of the pattern is thusly:

1.    Start the hat per the instructions, and knit until it's your head size.

2.    Purl one round.

3.    Count the number of stitches between two markers (They should all be the same number).     Call this number Z

4.    Divide that number by 2. This is your new stitch count.

    * If Z is even, you have one new stitch count. Call it X.
(X * 2 = Z stitches)

    *If Z is odd, then you'll have TWO new stitch counts. X1, X2.
(X1+ X2 should = Z stitches)

5.    Knit as follows for either odd or even.

    For EVEN Z --> *Knit X stitches, then purl X stitches.* Repeat * for the entire round.

    For ODD Z  ---> *Knit X1 stitches, then purl X2 stitches*.
(X1 + X2 = Z)  Repeat * for the entire round.

6.    Knit in the round

    For EVEN Z: Knit X rounds.

    For ODD Z: Knit whatever number of rounds is bigger. Either for X1 and X2 rounds. You want a "square" shape for each weave.

7.    After X rounds, switch purls & knits.

    For EVEN Z --> *Purl X stitches, then knit X stitches.* Repeat * for the entire round.

    For ODD Z  ---> *Purl X1 stitches, then knit X2 stitches*. 
(X1 + X2 = Z). Repeat * for the entire round.

So you basically have something that looks like:
(x = knits, 0 = purls)

    X X X X 0 0 0 0
    X X X X 0 0 0 0
    X X X X 0 0 0 0
    X X X X 0 0 0 0
    0 0 0 0 X X X X
    0 0 0 0 X X X X
    0 0 0 0 X X X X
    0 0 0 0 X X X X

8.    Continue knitting Steps 5 - 7 for however many rounds you want. Stop when you're X rounds from where you want to end.

9.    Change to knitting in the round for X rounds. (You're trying to keep the symmetry)

10.    Bind off.