Saturday, 22 December 2012

Relaxing with my Knitting

One of the best things about knitting as a pass time is that it demands that you sit down and surrender to the rhythm and repetition of the stitches.  Knitting cannot be hurried and there are no real quick shortcuts to the end result. It is the opposite of instant gratification, and therefore, when given as a gift it is a true reflection of time invested in honour of another. In the case of this hat, that theory applies doubly as it is made from a mixture of wools recently spun.
We were lucky enough to have a few days of sunshine away at the family farm. In between the usual farm related chores: feeding the chickens, cooking the lunch, cutting up the mutton, chasing after errant sheep, seeing to Dad as he completes his tractor work and tending the garden, I found some time to sit and enjoy the day over a spot of Christmas gift related knitting.  
I used the wool I recently spun to construct this practical winter beanie. (See my previous blog: Homespun and Dyed)

This is the view from my chair on the veranda.

The wool is a thicker gauge than normal 8ply, so I used 4mm needles for the ribbing and 5mm needles for the stocking stitch. I included a section of pattern using some wool spun from a natural light brown coloured fleece.

This hat is a medium size. If you want a large men's hat just start with 100 stitches. A child's hat can be made with 80 stitches. As long as you use the stitches in multiples of 10 the pattern will always work. Just adjust the length accordingly.

Home Spun Hat

Using 4mm needles and light brown yarn, cast on 90 stitches. 
Rib knit (K) 1, purl (P) 1 for 6 rows.
Change to 5 mm needles and white wool yarn; work stocking stitch: 1st row knit, 2nd row purl for 6 rows.

Change to coloured yarn, leaving the white yarn attached, and complete 2 rows. 
Next row: work 1 stitch white, then 1 stitch brown: repeat until the end of the row. 
Following row: alternate white and coloured stitches to match the stitch before. Work 4 rows like this.
Break off the coloured yarn and continue to work stocking stitch until the hat measures 12 cm from the beginning ending with a purl row.

First decrease row:  K8, K2 together (K2tog). Repeat this sequence of 10 stitches until the end of the row.
2nd and every alternative row: purl until end. 
3rd dec. row: K7, K2tog. Repeat sequence until end.
5th dec. row: K6, K2tog. Repeat.
7th dec. row: K5, K2tog. Repeat.
9th dec. row: K4, K2tog. Repeat.
11th dec. row: K3, K2tog. Repeat.
13th dec. row: K2, K2tog. Repeat.
15th dec. row: K1, K2tog. Repeat.
17th dec. row: K2 tog. Repeat.
18th row: purl.
Next row: K2tog. Repeat.
Continue to K2tog on knit rows until 3 stitches remain. Knit a cord by passing the knit stitches onto the left needle and knitting through them again. Continue to do this until the cord is the required length.
I changed back to the coloured yarn to complete the very top of the hat.

Press the hat and then use a darning needle and mattress stitch to sew up the side seam. Tie in the loose ends. You can make the cord as long or short as you want. I have previously made them long enough to tie a knot in.
With the larger needles I had the whole hat knitted by bed time.What better way to spend a peaceful afternoon.

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