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December 18, 2005

Emergency Christmas Hat

My friend Cynthia’s birthday was Saturday and we celebrated at the lounge at the very swish Tribeca Grand Hotel. The drinks and appetizers were fiercely overpriced but in their defense, when they give you a $25 cheese plate, it’s $25 of excellent cheese that’s perfectly ripened along with perfectly ripe fruit. You are at least getting top quality for top dollar.

I gave Cynthia back gifts she had given me. It’s less parsimonious than it sounds; she had given me yarn she no longer wanted a while back and I returned it in the form of hats. The first one was the Amelia Earheart cap I finished a while back and I also made a second mitered hat as well. The one pictured in my earlier blog entry was given a week ago to my second cousin Sarah at her holiday party.

The mitered hats make great emergency knitting. I finished mine in a few subway rides and it takes very little attention. Nancie Kremer’s version works best in garter stitch; I’ve altered it for the different gauge of reverse stockinette stitch. The main knitting of the hat is very easy but because it involves short-rowing and grafting as well as a provisional cast on, you can learn Mad Sockmaking Skills (boy, slang just rolls right off my keyboard, doesn’t it?) at a less than maddening gauge.

Mitered Reverse Stockinette Hat

This pattern is dedicated to Stephanie, who is freaking out over her Christmas knitting.

About 50g heavy worsted yarn (a textured, nubbly or thick and thin yarn is ideal for this)
Appropriate needles (mine were US size 9)
A ring marker and waste yarn.

The hat should be about 20 ins. in circumference. Rather than doing a gauge swatch, knit one “wedge” of the hat. It should be at least 7-8 ins. wide (the wide end will curl forming a rolled brim) and about 4 ins wide at the wide end. If it isn’t, you can either add or subtract wedges (this hat takes 5 at this gauge) or rip back to the halfway point of the wedge and add or subtract short rows to make each wedge narrower or wider. It’s quite fudgeable.

Provisionally cast on 32 sts. P 1 row.

K the next row until 1 st before the end, wrap the last stitch and turn.
Purl back.
K the next row until 2 sts before the end (one more st than the last row), wrap and turn.
Purl back
Repeat the series of knit and purl rows using one less st each row until you have six wrapped sts.
On the next K row, reverse the process by knitting the first of the wrapped sts, wrap the next st (it now has two wraps on it) and turn. Purl back.

K the next row and knit the next wrapped st with both of its wraps. Wrap the following st, purl back.

Continue the process until you are knitting the full row again. You’ve made one wedge of the hat. Repeat for five wedges total, and then graft the last row to the provisional cast on. I don't bother transferring the cast-on stitches from the waste yarn to a needle, but you might want to if grafting is new to you. Neaten the hole at the top (if it’s larger than a quarter, pick up a few stitches, thread the yarn through them and pull tight), sew in ends and you’re done.

If short-rowing is new to you, check out the pictures at knitty.com. It’s not hard. The same process that makes the wedge sections of a hat or a doily can make a bust dart, or the heel of a sock.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at December 18, 2005 11:04 PM

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