January 18, 2007
The first FO of the year
It's nice that the first thing I knit this year was for charity. My friend Charlotte forwarded on a plea from a daughter of her friend who wanted to collect 100 hand-knit caps to gives to Caps for Kids as a service project for her Bas Mitzvah. (Nice idea. I don't recall having to do that for mine.) I finished it a few days ago; it's a very simple design, but the plain rectangular shape when laying flat turns into rather cute "ears" when worn sideways on the head. For the record, I used Red Heart Plush that I had laying around (I have no clue why), doubled on a US. 10.5. 60 stitches in circumference, about 1.5 ins. ribbing, then stockinette for about 7 ins. At the top there's no shaping, just do a three needle bind off with half the stitches on either side. It's reversible, or decorate the points with tassels, pompoms, googly eyes, etc.
December 20, 2006
Quick Knit Resources
I’ve been doing a lot of knitting, much of it gifts to bring to friends when I travel and holiday gifts. For my benefit and yours, here are some good, fast patterns all gathered into one place for when you’ve got one more gift to make, now.
Hats are the fastest gift you can make except for headbands. Those barely need a pattern except to note that they should be about 4.5 inches wide and a double thickness is better than a single one, with a nice soft yarn next to the ear.
Ribbed watch cap:
My watch cap recipe lives here. I can make one of these in worsted yarn or heavier in a few hours. This is a great all around hat that everyone wears and can be made plain or fancy depending on the yarn.
Shorthand version: Cast on a multiple of 4. p2 k2 tube for appx 7 inches w/o cuff, 9 inches with.
Decrease rounds -
Choose this if you have a textured yarn; it looks great in thick and thin or slubbed yarn. I think it makes more of a woman’s hat, but I’ve had male friends choose it from the gift basket. It takes a bit longer to make that the watch cap because of the grafting, but it is still quite fast in worsted weight or larger.
Nancie Kremer’s original pattern has vanished due to “link rot” but can be found here. My version is here
Shorthand for both versions. You’re working the hat laterally rather than vertically in short-rowed pie wedges to create the crown. Cast on your stitches provisionally. Working in garter stitch or stockinette (textured yarns look best turned inside out to the purl side) place a marker about 1/3 of the way from the crown. Work short rows from the crown, 1 stitch per row until you reach the marker, then reverse shaping. Repeat wedges until the hat is correct size (that will be more wedges in garter than stockinette). Graft, sew or cast off the edges together.
This is the perfect gift hat for young or fashion conscious men. The one above was in fact given to my friend Alexander in London! Mark Thrailkill’s original pattern lives here.
I usually use sport or DK weight yarn on a US 6 needle with 81 stitches to start, or fingering wool as above (that's the leftovers of a skein of Haneke Merino) on a US 3 with 117 stitches to begin. I also use a long-tail cast on instead of cable cast on and I work a plain row between each row of decreases. Even in thinner wool this pattern doesn’t take more than two days to make, and less in sport weight. The pattern uses less than a skein of wool, plus uses up various oddments that were too nice to throw away and can be tucked into a stripe. It’s great portable mindless knitting, so make a batch of them while you’re on the go and save them for gift-giving occasions.
Shorthand for my version. Cast on a multiple of 9, K2, P1 rib for about 1.25 ins. Increase round: K9, inc1 across round. Work in stockinette with whatever stripes are desired until 5.25 ins (or try it on and see if it fits round ears as you want).
etc until you only K2tog. Break yarn, pull through rem sts
I made this originally as a toilet paper cozy for the wonderful “Art” issue of Knit.1 Magazine and I reproduce it here with their permission (Thank you, Adina!)
Embellish it like crazy as in the issue, or made plain with just a pompom it makes a great close fitting cap that knits up in a few hours.
Yarn: 1 skein Woolease or other light worsted yarn worked double throughout pattern.
US 10.5 needle (16 or 24 in circ) and US 10.5 dpns.
Multiple of 6
Round 1 K3, P3
Round 2 K1, P1
Repeat these two rounds
CO 66 sts. Join round.
Work K1,P1 rib 5 rounds
Work twin rib 20 rounds or 5 inches total (or to fit.)
Purl 1 round
Work 3 more rounds (starting with pattern round 1) in twin rib.
Decrease for top
*K1 K2tog, P1, P2tog * 44 sts
*K2tog,P2tog* 22 sts
*SSK* - 11 sts
K1, *K2tog* 6 sts
Break yarn, thread through final stitches and pull tight.
This one is fast. I made this one with three strands of yarn held together on 8mm needles in about two hours and given to my friend Lynette in London. Here’s a shorthand pattern:
Cast on 60 sts (or a multiple of 6), placing 6 markers. Work k1, p1 ribbing for 1.5 ins. Change to stockinette stitch, work an increase after each marker every other round (so you increase six stitches total in the round). Keep going until there are 84 sts, or you’ve increased 40% of the original number. Work even until the hat is four inches total. Now K2tog after each marker every other round until there are 48 sts, or 80% of the original number. Work even one more round, decrease after each marker every round until you have 6 sts left. Break yarn, pull through remaining stitches.
Amelia Earhart cap
This one has also vanished from link rot, but can still be found at archive.org. It takes a little longer than the other hats to make, especially if you graft the end, but it is so much fun to knit. Use a smooth, cabled yarn. I’ve used Filatura di Crosa Zara, Baruffa Maratona and Lion Brand Microspun. The latter has a smaller gauge, so I increased the length to 44 sts and added two more sets of short rows – it could have been slightly smaller. I think this hat looks its most charming on a woman with long hair and bangs.
This is a classic fast gift and excuse to play with novelty yarns. It knits up in only a few hours but usually a bit more time than a hat. My original source was Dez Crawford’s pattern.
Here’s a shorthand version. Use a novelty yarn; they’re a bitch to knit with, but plain yarn will make something that looks very po’faced. Cast on 3 sts, work in garter, inc 1 st at beginning of each row until scarf is 4” wide. Work to desired length (about 4 feet), dec 1 st at beg of row until 3 sts remain, K3tog to cast off.
Lengthwise garter scarf
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had what looked like more yarn in stash than I needed for a hat, but a questionable amount for a scarf.
I think a slightly thin scarf is the lesser evil compared to a too-short scarf, so cast on sufficient stitches for the right length and keep striping (two rows or four) as long as you can while maintaining symmetry.
A standard "chain" cast off does not match the cast on, and a long edge, the disparity becomes striking. Try the sewn garter stitch cast off from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac:
Begin with yarn at the right side. Break yarn, thread through needle.
*Thread needle through first two stitches as if to purl. Thread needle back through the first stitch as if to knit. Drop off first stitch*
Continue until you've cast off all the stitches. This has a similar tension and look to a cast on; use it where you want the cast off edge to match the cast on.
Elongated stitch scarf
This is another great way to stretch out novelty yarn, and it is fast as the wind. Rowan Biggy Print is super-duper bulky, but has only 33 yards per skein. With this pattern I was able to stretch two skeins into a thin four foot scarf.
By doing the garter ridges with one four ounce skein of plain worsted black wool, I was able to make a little more than one skein 50g skein of Divé Lauren into a full size scarf for my friend Jane in London.
Because of the gauge, this took longer; about 8-10 hours from start to finish. The Rowan scarf might have taken three.
You’re just working in garter stitch (9 sts, US 17 for the Rowan, 30 sts, US 10 for the Lauren) and making 3 (5 for Lauren) ridges to begin. You may work the ridges in plain yarn. Introduce your novelty yarn as follows:
K the st, *wrap the yarn twice round the needle and K the next st.* Continue across the row.
K the next row, dropping the wraps.
I worked three more knit rows on the Rowan scarf in between elongated stitches, and seven in the Lauren.
This one seems to be the latest fad among knitters. It looks great in yarns with long striped color changes like Noro yarns. I did the one here in Lion Brand Fun Fur (I am finally using all the stuff up that my knit.1 editor yarn-bombed me with when I was doing the embellishing article). The changes of direction can’t be seen through the fur, but it makes the colors into interesting polygonal blocks. Depending on the gauge of the yarn, the thickness and the length of the scarf, it doesn’t take that much longer than a blouse scarf.