Friday, 8 November 2013

why I change things up

It's no secret that I tend to use patterns as more of a guideline, rather than a hard and fast rule. I have no problems changing sleeves, lengths, patterns, yarns - I figure it's my project, it should be something I like to knit and give/wear.
This hat for example. I love it. It's an earflap style, which is a favourite of mine and my son. It's worsted weight, which means it's knits up quickly. It recommends Cascade 220, which comes in a multitude of colours (okay, sometimes I don't change up yarns...)
But... I don't like that it's a single layer, and that the earflaps and hem curl like only stockinette can do.

But, that's an easy fix. Picking up stitches around the brim and knitting another layer up the inside of the hat solves both problems - warmer for our Canadian winters, and no curling.

I do like the fact that this hat has a hem of a couple of purl rows - it's a nice touch, looks like an i-cord. so I pick up the row just inside this hem, and knit up.
To attach the hem - there are two ways - you can cast off the inner hem, and sew it down, but I find that leave a ridge, and if you sew it too tightly, it pulls across the hat. (ask me how I know).
So, what I do now is, knit the hat to where I would hem it. Then go back and pick up and knit the hem (It helps to have a large needle stash as well...) Then it's just a matter of knitting the two together on the next row, and continuing to knit the hat. Simple stuff (I wish I had taken a picture of that stage - sorry).
that solved the double layer, and the curling hem, but the ear flaps were still curly.
Double layer inside.

So, I jury rigged a lining for them. I picked up along the top of the flap, on the other side of the hem of the brim, and just inside the 2-stitch border, then just knit down, decreasing to match the flap, and on the knit rows, just picked up a stitch from the earflap to tack it down. You could also just knit another earflap and sew the two together.

What I'm thinking for the next one (and the next one will be for me is to treat the earflap more like a toe up sock toe, making it double layered from the get go. Then I can attach them to the brim and go from there. This would also allow me to pattern the earflap a little easier, if I choose to.
Obviously, this hat is for my son - the double blue, and Wildcats are the giveaway. He did ask for the braids and the tassel on top - he likes the look, and personally I love it.
And I have also discovered a great way to add the braids - I used 12 strands - two sets of 4 dark blue, one set of 4 light blue. I pulled all 12 strands through the bottom on the earflap, and divided then equally, then braided them. It locked them to the hat very well, with no ends to sew in.
I did the same at the top, made a short braid then made a tassel, and took the braid through the tassel and sewed it on.

While the pattern says it uses about a half ball of the main colour and about a quarter of the contrast. By making such a deep hem, and adding the braids, I used most of the skein of the heathered dark blue. Had I used the light blue for the hem, I probably could have made another hat. Another thing to note for the next version...


  1. This is a great alteration to the pattern ... makes it more professional looking, and also covers those annoying strands inside the hat! Thanks for sharing your technique :) Wendy

  2. Well what a complete and educational tutorial! (I had to read it through a couple of times because I kept getting distracted by that manicure! You are fancy in so many more ways than just your amazing productivity and professional techniques!

    Thanks for this!

  3. You make the best best best sporty hats!

  4. The hat is very clever - but what caught my eye was the fingernails. Wowser!

  5. In the machine knitting world, there are a few variations on the earflap hat, but they all start with an open cast on, knit the inside hem, short row the earflaps, decreasing then increasing, knit the body for the same number of rows as the hem, then put the open cast on sts onto the needles and knit together. I've made a few and they are a nice hat with the doubled earflaps! You can also start the inside right at the top of the crown, knit the hat downwards, the earflaps, then back up to the outside crown. Now, the hat is totally reversible too! :)

  6. I love Cascade 220. The hat looks great. I am sure he will wear it well!