More often than not, it's 9pm Sunday evening when I decide to embark on a new project. I've got a pretty good needle stash at home, as well as plenty of yarn, but I never seem to have the right pattern on hand (and the stores are all closed, so I can't ask anyone there for help!). Given that tendency of mine (to not plan ahead), I've gotten fairly decent at doing the math and figuring out what the beginning of a pattern will be. And hats are the easiest to figure of all. However, before you can embark on starting a hat, there are a few key skills you must learn. In this month's article, I'll show you how to get started - and then how to create your own, simple hat pattern. Keep in mind that these pictures are larger on the How to Create a Hat - Part 1 article on our website - I know it's hard to see what's going on in these...
Cast your stitches onto a 16" circular needle. Make sure that the stitches aren't twisted (see how that inner ridge all faces the same direction?)
Right is Right (for circular knitting, anyway). Make sure that the tail and the working yarn (that which is attached to the ball) are connected to your right needle (as opposed to your left needle). Insert your right needle into the first stitch on the end of your left needle & knit that stitch. You have just created a circle!!
You'll notice here that the tail yarn is hanging off of the last stitch in the circle (since the stitch to the left of it was the first one you knitted). This is because I used the long tail cast-on method. Since the tail yarn is hanging there, I'll always know where the beginning/end of each row is - nifty, eh?!!
Finally, remember the phrase "right is right." Inevitably, you'll need to take a break and will set your hat down for a few minutes. Unless you have a super quiet and peaceful house, it's likely that your hat isn't going to be in the same spot as when you left it. That said, it's easy to get confused about which side to start knitting from. If you remember "right is right" you'll know that you should start knitting with the working yarn on your right needle (as opposed to your left needle).
Now that you know how to get started on a hat, let's tackle the problem of not having a pattern in hand!
First let's figure out how many stitches to cast on. It's just basic math: sts/inch X diameter of the hat = number to cast on. That probably doesn't help much, though, does it? Well, let me give you an example. I'm knitting with Rowan Polar and have found that I get 3.25 sts/inch (which is the same as 13 sts/4inches) on a US 10 needle.
I just happen to know that the average width for a woman's hat is 20 inches, so I multiply 3.25 X 20 and get 65.
If you're on a camping trip and want to finish this hat before getting home to your pattern, you can follow this simple hat formula:
Cast on a multiple of 6 (so I'll cast on 66 instead of the 65 I calculated)
Knit for 2" less than your desired hat length (I have a small head, so my hats end up being around 7.5" in total length. Therefore, I'll knit for 5.5" before starting my decreases).
On the next row, place a ring marker every 6 stitches (you could have done this at the beginning, but I'm too lazy to move the markers those first 5.5")
Now, start the decreases:
R1: *Knit to within 2 stitches of the marker, K2TOG* repeat across entire row
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have less than 10 stitches left. Viola! Simply cut your yarn (leaving about 8") and use a darning needle to run the tail through the remaining stitches on the needle. In essence, you're cinching the top of the hat the way you'd cinch a laundry bag! Sew the ends in tightly (I usually sew across that top hole a few times), cut the yarn, and you've finished your hat.
Next month, i'll show you how to transfer the hat onto double pointed needles ... I just need to knit a few more inches to get to that point :)
Ok, i'm still working on this one, but promise we'll have it going by next month!! If this is your first newsletter,
you can reference the January issue to find out what i'm talking about...
Sandy's Biased Scarf
Our Employee of the Month Sandy designed this
Free Pattern after a brainstorming
session in which we all came up with ideas for using GGH Tibet.
She combined the Tibet with complimentary balls of
GGH Coco and
Filatura Di Crosa Hopla (colors & yarns my non-creative mind would have never put together) and then knit them on 15s in such a way
that seemed to create a whole new fabric.... when you look at this scarf, you can't tell that there are 3 different yarns,
much less that each yarn is knit separately (the yarns aren't held together). She's a genius - and even picked out a version in Blacks & Whites for me to knit!!
Anyway, grab a few balls of stash yarn and try this at home - i think you'll be pleased with the results - Buddy sure was!!
Kit of the month
Every month we feature a new yarn + pattern combination at a special kit-of-the-month discount...
Ok, i admit it, i would prefer it if no one bought any more of this Yorkshire Tweed DK...
I just absolutely adore this yarn and I love this pattern, especially since it's knit from the top down.
It doesn't help that we have the model sweater hanging in our store, causing me to constantly try it on (it's the right size!)
and wonder which color i should make it in. (should i go crazy? maybe knit with the 353 Sprinkle instead of the chocolate brown i typically choose?
or maybe i should add to my Yorkshire Tweed hat and mitten collection with a pair of sturdy slipper socks - i'm loving the socks these days. hmm. decisions, decisions.)
That said, this month's featured kit is the
Neckdown V Neck Shaped Cardigan.
On Sale as low as 47.68, you're saving 43% off the original price of $83.60 (this yarn was originally $9.95 a ball).
The price is even lower if you already have the pattern at home (or if you have a different pattern you love)! And remember,
since you can purchase this kit without the pattern, it's a great way to go if you need 8-15 balls of the DK, but don't want to knit that sweater...
This kit will be available at the sale price through the end of the month (sale ends February 28th, 2007).
The Shawl Corner
Shawls are the scarves of many years ago. Often knitted using lace weight yarns, most shawls marry intricate designs with somewhat simple yarns. Other times, you'll find a complex yarn has been knitted using a straightforward pattern - and the result is just as stunning.
Yarn: Although you can use just about any yarn to create a shawl, we've tried to show you the most popular ones used for shawls and wide scarves.
Here are some of the ones i've used (and loved):
Kits: As you've probably noticed, many of the yarn (& pattern) companies out there aren't just in the business
of producing a product - they're in the business of producing inspiration. That inspiration is particularly evident
in the area of Shawl Design. That said, Rowan, Blue Sky Alpacas, and French Girl are 3 of my favorite shawl
designers - and i always look forward to seeing what the next season will have to offer...
And with the wedding season just around the corner, we could all use an extra shawl - the hard part is just trying to decide which one to make!
Hopefully the Shawl Corner will help you with that decision!
TEAM JIMMY BEANS...MEET SANDY
Employee of the Month :: SANDY
A former welder (yes, you read that right!) & recent Bay Area transplant, Sandy has both the technical and creative aptitude to help with all of your knitting projects. It seems like every week she's coming up with a new & inspiring idea - in fact, she helped me design another baby blanket just the other day... what would i do without her?
i just love having her around & i think you will too!!
The 2 Knit Wits are 2 girls (Dot and Jill) in the Tahoe area that have been knitting forever & have helped us endlessly in the shops.
You're going to love their ideas.... their aim was to produce easy readable patterns that beginners and intermediate knitters can follow line by line. I'd say they were successful in their goal!
And now they're working on developing some patterns for our new favorite yarn
Welcome 100% Organic O-Wool Classic!! After seeing this yarn in person, we just had to buy it. There are 5 patterns written specifically for the O-Wool, but since it's a worsted weight yarn, you'll be able to choose from a ton of patterns out there (don't forget, you can use our nifty advanced pattern search - just enter the yarn weight, pattern type, and hit "search"). And with 198 yards for $12, you certainly won't break the bank while supporting the environment (O-Wool uses no harsh chemicals in processing). It's the perfect yarn for those interested in knitting or giving something 100% Certified Organic.
About 2 weeks ago, Jerome (our UPS guy) dropped off 3 huge boxes filled with Colinette
Cadenza ($9.50 for 128 yds).
Like you, I was familiar with the beautiful colors and unique yarns of Colinette, but I had never quite seen
those same colors dyed into such a simple yarn. The effect is tremendous - the yarn literally makes you want
to grab a spoon and start eating it... it's just that yummy. Needless to say, i opted for needles instead of knives
and started knitting with a hank of the Summer Berries almost right away. You can see the progress i'm making
here. Since it's machine washable,
the Cadenza is perfect for socks, baby sweaters, blankets, etc... and if you prefer to knit with something a little
more delicate, Jerome also delivered the Colinette
Jitterbug ($20.50 for 289 yds). Colinette calls it the ultimate Easy Care hand dyed 4-ply fingering yarn...and there's a FREE SOCK PATTERN included on every label (1 skein knits a pair!).
FEBRUARY SALE - CASHSOFT ARAN & BIG WOOL TUFT
Yep, you read it right - select colors of Rowan
are on sale for the rest of this month (or as soon as we sell out). We got a deal on a very limited amount of this
yarn & thought February would be a great month to pass on those savings :). At $6.37 & 95 yds per ball (reg price $8.95),
you'll want 1-2 balls for a hat, 4-5 for a baby sweater (this super yummy yarn is machine washable), and 10-12 for a
baby blanket. Some of the girls on our team are knitting full size blankets and are using about 20 balls of it (at 25% off, you'll save over $50 on a project that size!).
A few of the colors have sold out, but there are still plenty to choose from. Below you'll find pics of some of some recommended patterns (note that the pictures
don't always show Cashsoft Aran, but the patterns are perfect for that yarn)... and we also recommend
Ann Norling patterns 35 and 38!
Big Wool Tuft:
at 42% off ($5.75 a ball), you can't go wrong by grabbing a few of these before they are gone. I don't know if i'm brave
enough to knit an entire sweater using the Tuft, but i do love the way it's transformed my feather and fan afghan
(the tuft is the deep chocolate yarn shown in the picture).
And you just need a ball or two to dress up a scarf or shawl or to add a unique trim to one of those fabulous felted purses. As i write, there are 5 colors left in stock & i think i like the
Nightsky the best (it's a gorgeous navy blue).
This month, i'm working on 3 projects (in addition to getting farther on my superyak blanket):
a pair of dk weight socks, a lacey ribbon scarf (which i finished last weekend on the way home from a Yosemite wedding), and
and a brownish feather and fan throw... !!
This yarn is soooo soft, i can't believe it. I am absolutely loving these socks and will definitely make more. I really like that they knit up quickly, but aren't too thick to wear with my tennis shoes.