Wednesday, November 07, 2012

One Swatch, Two Hats, Zero Politics

It's Not an Error, It's a Design Feature

Remember that stitch pattern I promised to write down for you? The one from the vintage baby cardigan?

I sat down to work it out and realized that I'd knit the thing incorrectly.

I have an excuse. The Lister & Co. booklet is in rough shape. The first half of the pages have separated from the second half. The first half contained the key to the abbreviations. The second half is the half that came with me on the road. When I encountered "m1" (make one), I had to guess as to what it meant. It was a single increase, obviously–but what sort of increase?

Since this piece wasn't intended to be an accurate historical recreation, I didn't fuss over what was necessarily appropriate for the period. I tried my preferred "lifted increase" (making a new loop from the running thread between the stitches, and knitting it through the back). It looked good. I moved along.

Turns out, upon consulting the front half, that Lister's editor intended "m1" in this pattern to be a yarn over. (Yarn over in this book is also called "wfd" or "wool forward," which is in part why I assumed "m1" would not also be a yarn over; but the English like to toy with you in this fashion from time to time.)

So in knitting the swatch, I tried it both ways–mine and theirs.


Both have their attractions. Lister's yarn over produces a small hole in the center of the motif that I find very fetching. My lifted increase preserves the solid fabric and looks more like a cable. Use whichever you prefer.

This version of the pattern will give you the raised welt with two purl stitches on either side.

Multiple of 5 sts + 2

Row 1 (RS). *P2, k3. Rep from * ending p2.
Row 2. *K2, bring yarn to near side of work, sl next st as if to p, p2. Rep from *, ending k2.
Row 3. *P2, place right ndl across near side of work and pwise into 3rd knit st. Lift 3rd knit st over first and second knit sts and off the left ndl. K1, inc 1 (see note above), k1. Rep from *, ending p2.
Row 4. *K2, p3. Rep from * ending k2.
Repeat rows 1–4 until you are quite finished.

Two Hats, Both Alike in Dignity

By odd coincidence, I had two hat patterns hit the street within weeks of one another, both knit with yarns from the same company: Blue Moon Fiber Arts, the good people who bring you Socks That Rock.

The first is for Carol Sulcoski's new book, Sock Yarn Studio, a compendium of projects that are made from sock yarns, yet are not socks. I christened the design "Roselein" because of the very abstract little rose at the top of the crown.

Roselein Hat Top

It has ear flaps you begin at the lower ends with Judy's Magic Cast On. The cable pattern on the flaps, the brim and the crown is all the same basic pattern–it's the three different locations (and the number of repeats) that make it look so different.

Roselein Hat

Style note. The buttons and loops on the flaps are meant to be decorative. Unbuttoned: whimsical, carefree, gamine. Buttoned: idiotic. Warm, perhaps–but idiotic.

The other hat was actually knit for Blue Moon Fiber Arts, as part of their 2012 Rockin' Sock Club. Tina Newton, the head of the house, pairs up designers for each monthly installment, so you get two designs that use the same yarns. She paired me with Anna Zilboorg, because perpetual humilitation is my lot in life.

Anna made gorgeous socks. I made a colorwork hat with a band of bare, angular, slightly crazed branches. I call it Buckthorn.

Buckthorn Hat Front

There was some added fun with this one when Tina realized that the variegated yarn she'd sent us was too heavy for shipping. Hey, it could happen to anyone. That yarn had to be replaced with a lighter (but thicker) yarn in a different fiber, and with far less of it. I had to trash the original design and come up with a decent replacement. There are some little tricks in the pattern to make the most of the variegated yardage–plus a variegated curlicue on top for good measure.

Buckthorn Hat Top

If pressed, I would say that I made a stranded two-color autumn hat that doesn't have leaves or snowflakes in anywhere in it. Kids, I'm calling that a win.

And Finally

I had delightful company over the weekend–a weaver and spinner who convinced me it might be time to do something with the bobbin of Border Leicester that's been sitting on my wheel for...uh...three years. So I chain-plied it and now it's done. Fairly terrible, but done.

New Yarn

No, wait. I fib. It hadn't been sitting on my wheel for three years. Because last year, during the Tour de Fleece, I decided my goal would be to take it off the flyer and stick it on the bobbin rack. So I did. Then I had a celebratory finish line drink. And wouldn't you know my victory turned out to be more honest than Lance Armstrong's. Wanna buy my bracelet?


Emm said...

I love both little 'cables.' I love both hats (and both are quite dignified indeed. Except for maybe the earflaps.) I LOVE that you're back!

Cosmo DK said...

From what I learned from a lovely Canadian knitter, whose French mother had taught HER to knit, "yarn forward" means to take the working yarn over the top of the needle and then beneath from the front to back. This makes a slightly smaller hole when knit later, but does allow for the knitter to see all the "yarn forwards" easily, as they wrap the other way around the needle.

Rosemary Riveter said...

Love Roslein! And don't sell yourself short, that's a lovely non-cliche autumn hat design.

Jamie Wang said...

The moment I received my yarn pack from Blue Moon, I knew I wanted to knit Buckthorn. I dearly love Anna and her designs, but I am not enamored of embroidery on socks.

So you won that one, dear.

I do happen to have a BM yarn remarkably similar in color (this one is called Tina Fey) that is destined to be an embroidery free version of her socks, so she "wins" as well.

Yaneverknow said...

"Don't sell yourself short"? Tsk, tsk. We love you just the way you are.

Katie K said...

I love the stranded hat and would knit it in a heartbeat. But I guess I''ll have to wait until the pattern goes public.

Anonymous, too said...

The Border Leicester yarn looks rather good. I'll bet you could pair it with a complimentary color for a handsome scarf or sweater.

Both your version and Lister's original work well. I can see using yours when Lister's openwork might not be to the wearer's liking.

Would love to see you adapt the pattern for Buckthorn into something us guys might be more likely to wear (I confess I'm not skilled enough to do so myself).

And Roselein. . .lovely stitch patterns but will Elmer Fudd wear it?? (Sorry. Couldn't resist. Something to do with the ear flaps and wabbit season.)

Concetta Phillipps said...

I'm fascinated by the two "cable" stitches. Both are unique and interesting and I shall definitely be using each of them for something. I haven't quite figured out what, but these stitches that impress me so usually end up on something of mine.

Roxie said...

Could the yarn over micro cable work as a button hole?

Love the hats. You genius, you!

Yvonne said...

Lovely. Every single word.

=Tamar said...

Roselein looks very warm. I was once complimented by a man when we were in a snowstorm; he said that ordinarily he would have said that what I was wearing "looked damned stupid" but under the circumstances he changed it to "looked damned warm." I like warm...

kmkat said...

Had to chuckle at your "Flaps down: idiotic" line. My husband used to have a cheapo hat of that same earflap style, but it was acrylic plush on the inside and vinyl (eek!) on the outside. In his defense, he only wore it when working on the car outside in January. We always referred to it as The Idiot Hat.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I *do* love Roselein. I'm one of your Lion Studio students, currently digging out from under in New Jersey, and believe me it is very good to have you back.

Lise in NJ

Anonymous said...

Bracelet!? Sure. Will Dolores be on it?

RubyC said...

Great patterns as always.

RubyC said...

Great patterns as always.

Pretty Knitty said...

I would buy your bracelet! And I would wave it around in front of the English-pattern-designers of old! That pattern is so cute, with or without the hole, thanks for the write-up of the stitch!

SallyT said...

You rock, dude. So glad you are back.

pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

I use a stitch that's very similar to that mock cable, that I learned from a Japanese stitch dictionary. I was wondering why yours didn't look the same on the back!

The version I use has all the manipulations in one row, so it takes less thinking. Only one row out of 4 is not plain ribbing. I used it on my Pointer Mitts and Hats (you can see them on Ravelry).

I love Roselein! I'm a fan of earflap hats, and the cabling is gorgeous.

pattie in Geneseo said...

I'll pass on the bracelet, thanks for offering.
I love both styles of faux cable, with and without little o.

And while Anna's socks are surely fine, I like your hat very much. Almost as much as the one with earflaps.

So glad you are posting again!

Liz said...

Here in Canada we spend a lot of time being warm and looking idiotic! Love the hat and will have to give the pattern a go.

Maureen said...

Thanks for the stitch pattern. It looks like the pattern my husband's grandmother used for an throw she knit some 40+ years ago and that he treasures.

Judy Becker said...


Love the hats... especially the earflaps. :-)

Diane said...

I would buy a book with the combination of your patterns, photography and cartoons!

Judy11 said...

So delighted to finally meet you Franklin last Saturday. My DD had joined me and was the one who asked the question regarding how you determine the yarn size used in the vintage patterns. The talk was very informative and you make it most interesting.

I will definitely be making the Buckthorn hat (in fact, we have Buckthorn trees on our property!) I normally choose the sock option, but this hat is a no brainer this month. Love the hat - color work will be a new challenge for me to attempt!!

wendy said...

Of course we English like to toy with foreigners. How on earth do you think we got our Empire? Wrong-footing the locals with tricky abbreviations, that's how.

Jackie said...

Put that knitting on hold for just a moment---I must know the origin of your lovely model's wickedly wonderful glasses frames!!

James said...

Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Knitting Community? Our members will love it.
Members include: knitters, knitting enthusiasts, experts, groups, circles, organizations, etc.
It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also add Photos, Videos and Classifieds if you like.
Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
Please feel free to share as often and as much as you like.
The Knitting Community:
I hope you consider sharing with us.
Thank you,
James Kaufman, Editor

Sharon Garner said...

I had been looking for a hat pattern to make for my Stepmother-to-be when my STR package arrived. Buckthorn was exactly what I was looking for. She will love it and I have loved making it for her.

Leigh said...

Happy Thanksgiving Franklin!

Anonymous said...

I agree that the knitting is fabulous (as usual!) with no need to defer to the equally talented AZ, but where oh where did your model's awesome glasses come from? Inquiringly minds need to know!

Anonymous said...

Roselein is absolutely gorgeous and I do hope that in time you can release this as a Ravelry pattern, it unfortunately becomes too expensive to buy books in Europe when only 1-2 patterns are of interest (no discounts to be found, and expensive shipping).

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