Designer: Jared Flood
Materials: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes (worsted)
Amount: (1) 50g ball 'Lake Ice' Heathered plus a tiny bit more
Needles: US5 Options Zephyr Acrylics 24" circulars and US7 16" Addi Turbo circulars
Cost: $2.19/ball approx. $4.40
Size: Knit per instructions (4 pattern repeats) except with one size smaller needles and lighter weight yarn. Finished size fit a 2 year old average head
Start Date: Oct. 29, 2009
Finish Date: Nov. 7, 2009
I really wanted to knit a little winter cap for my little boy. He's out of hats that fit and the one new one I bought for him through the Land's End catalog was too big and immediately snatched up by monkey pants.
I thought Jared's Koolhaas pattern would be perfect. I thoughtfully looked for a color that would go with his navy winter jacket as well as other outerwear. I wanted to stay neutral, so he could wear whatever colorful shirts underneath without clashing, but I still wanted an interesting enough color that would contrast with his jacket and brown hair/brown eyes complexion. I love, love, love the variagated look of the Malabrigo yarn often shown on brooklyntweed, but I don't think it's sold anywhere locally and it looks to be too expensive for me right now anyway. So I found the perfect compromise at KnitPicks, this light heathered gray color in 100% Peruvian Highland wool. I would have prefered merino wool, but there were no heathered colors available in that line. This wool yarn is a bit rough but knit up fine. It did wear on my fingers a bit.
The only thing I wasn't too happy with was that the crossing knit stitches look kind of uneven, some little, some big. I don't know if that's my poor knitting skill or the yarn. I'm choosing to blame it mostly on the yarn but I won't know for sure until I make another one with a different yarn.
I was so excited to make this hat for my little boy that I didn't even finish my fingerless mittens that were almost done in order to cast on and get this project underway. For days, I couldn't even figure out how to adapt the pattern to make this hat smaller for my two year old. Not to mention, I didn't know how to read the chart or interpret most of the abbreviations. Really, it would have been nice to have just a couple of lines of explanations for beginner/intermediate knitters and a tiny glossary section. I guess, I chose to ignore the intermediate/advanced skill level required for this pattern. But really, once you gain an understanding of these things, which only requires that someone tell you, the hat is not hard to knit at all. It's totally doable for an intermediate knitter.
When knitting in the round, chart is to be read from Right to Left on every row, so that each stitch is seen the way the knitting is seen on the needles.
When moving on to next row, you will always be knitting knit stitches, and purling purl stitches throughout the pattern. It's only when you get to the end of the final crown decreases that this may no longer be true
Although, there are explanations for the symbols used in the chart, as a beginner, I would have found it helpful to have everything spelled out --
sl = slip
cn = cable needle
k1tbl = knit 1 through back loop
k2tbl = knit 2 stitches through back loop one at a time (not a decrease)
k2tog = knit 2 stitches together (to form a decrease)
psso = pass slipped stitch over
ssk = slip slip knit (knitting these 2 stitches together to decrease)
When working decreasing rounds and no longer following chart, remember to refer to chart explanations for the cabled stitch abbreviations
I tried to knit up a swatch, but since I was reading the chart completely the wrong way, the stitches were all messed up and it was pretty worthless. So I decided to just get started and use the trial and error method which I wound up using more times than I would have liked. I think in total, I started this project over four times. The first time, I was using US4 and US6 needles casting on 88 stitches and it was clearly too small.
The second time, I used US4 and US7 needles casting on 96 stitches, thought I was following the pattern correctly, but clearly shouldn't have been knitting while watching TV. Sadly, after who knows how many hours of knitting, I discovered I had failed to cross some stitches further below. I slaved so much to get to this point, I didn't want to unravel it so I tried to get my Mom to fix the messed up stitches for me without unraveling the whole thing (I think there's a term for this but I don't know what it is). She tried, she really did, and I thought she was successful. I went home to continue, only to realize, there were still issues. So I unraveled to the rib and started the pattern over.
That was the third time. With just three pattern repeats, I finished the hat this time only to realize it was way too small. On the bright side, it's my first baby knit for my new baby coming in February. Hopefully this wool is not too scratchy for a newborn.
So, if you are interested in making this hat as a baby beanie, here's what to do:
Use US4 needles for the rib, US6 (I used 7, but 6 would look better for a baby) for the pattern.
Cast on 96 stitches
Use a lighter weight worsted yarn
Fourth time is the charm, right. On my last one I cast on the full 104 stitches, used US5 needles for the rib and US 7 on the pattern. I also, broke down and purchased the correct 16" Addi Turbo circulars at a local yarn store which cost me a lot, but I just closed my eyes and paid. Trying to maneuver the 24" circulars (there's probably a term for this too and I don't know what it is) from my brand new KnitPick Options set, was only making things harder and the 16" circulars made it SO much easier. SO MUCH EASIER.
This time, I really got the pattern in my head, except for maybe when you have to move the marker for the beginning of the row at certain points which is still a bit cloudy. The final hat took me just three days to make, but I was knitting morning, noon, and night. Happily, the hat fits perfectly, my little guy looks adorable, and I was very pleased with the result.
Of course, monkey pants wants a hat just like it, and now my husband does too. And really, I do want to make it for them, and probably everyone I know, but although I've mastered the chart, the stitiches, and the pattern, it's still very labor intensive. So I'm moving on to other projects on my list for now.