Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Diamond Colorwork Hat Pattern

Materials:  Medium or heavy worsted yarn, two colors.

Needles:  US6 /4 mm or size to get gauge.  Circular or DPN- hat is knit in the round.

Gauge:  5 st/in

Sizes:  Small (19.2 in circumference)/Large (21.6 in circumference)

Instructions:  Cast on 96 (108) stitches.  Join in the round, being careful not to twist. 

K1 tbl- knit one through the back loop
MC- Main color
CC- contrast color

Ribbing:  Work in twisted rib for 1 ½ inches.  (K1 tbl, P1) repeat.
Before start of pattern:   Knit two rounds in MC.
Pattern rounds:  Work pattern from chart, repeat 8 (9) times.  Switch to MC after chart ends.  When hat is 6 (6 ½ inches  long (including ribbing), start crown decreases.
Note:  When you reach the last stitch of each round, slip it as if to knit, pick up the first stitch of the previous round as if to knit, pass the last stitch of the current round back to the left needle,  and knit it together through the back loop  with the last stitch.  The last stitch will be on top of the first stitch of the previous round.  This will add a little bulk at the end of the round, but will eliminate a jog in the pattern.

Crown decreases:
Round 1: K10, K2tog, repeat
Round 2 and every even round:  Knit
Round 3:  K9, K2tog, repeat
Round 5: K8, K2tog, repeat
Round 7: K7, K2tog, repeat
Round 9:  K6, K2tog, repeat
Round 11:  K5, K2tog, repeat
Round 13: K5, K2tog, repeat
Round 15: K4, K2tog, repeat
Round 17: K3, K2tog, repeat
Round 19: K2, K2tog, repeat
Round 21:  K2tog, repeat
Cut yarn leaving 8 inch tail.  Thread on needle and draw yarn tightly through all remaining stitches twice.  Knot, and weave in all ends.

Pompom:  Wrap both colors of yarn double-stranded around a 3.25" stiff piece of cardboard 50 times.  Tie tightly around the middle of the bundle leaving long tail (for fastening to hat).  Snip through all loops, and trim uneven ends to make rounded shape.  Thread each end of the tail through the top center of the hat, tie, and weave in ends. 

Alternate colorwork patternAfter seeing the first version, I thought I might like the smaller row of diamonds on top, so here' s the chart for that version.  In the larger size, there's enough real estate for two rows of the small diamonds without interfering with the decreases, so one could do a row of small diamonds on each side if preferred. 

Link to print-friendly pdf of pattern.

Enormous thanks to the charming and talented Valerie of WanderingCatStudio for test knitting this pattern.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I Love the Whooshing Sound of FOs Being Completed

My husband and the Red Sox deserve some credit for all these- he's got me listening to games on the radio with him...otherwise known as prime knitting time.   I told you I'd finished another set- this one is hat, mittens, and scarf.  I went to take a photo, but at the last minute, Biscuit had to inspect the way it was laid out. 

After a few adjustments were made, I was allowed to take the photo without a large fluffy cat obstructing the view.  (By 'adjustments' I mean removing the large fluffy cat.)

Fortunately, Cookie was willing to supervise in a paws-off fashion.  I really didn't need more help. 
He likes the afghan my grandmother made me.
In the middle of the week, I did a couple of pairs of mittens.  These were actually worked concurrently because I didn't have a pair of scissors handy and it was easier to cast on another pair than get up off the couch in the middle of a DVD.  This either makes me lazy or efficient.  (You can guess which adjective I prefer!)
And then we went down to see a game on the weekend with friends- the little theatre in their downtown was showing the World Series on the big screen.  For that I needed something with contrast that I could knit in low light...hence, another variation on the diamond colorwork pattern.  I will note that contrast doesn't help as much as you would think when you repeatedly mess up the pattern.  But a subsequent game on the radio let me finish.
In this one, I moved the row of small diamonds over the large ones--but because I was making a larger size, I actually wound up putting two rows of small diamonds there.  One of these days I'll do a hat with two rows of diamonds arranged symmetrically above and below the larger motif.   But not today. 

There's going to be at least one more game in the World Series, so I'm thinking maybe I should focus on those dratted cotton socks.  It would be nice to finish those off before I spend a lot more time on the next two pairs of socks I've cast on...I did mention I'd been casting on like a crazy person a lot, right?  We'll see what comes out next.  These days, the project I'm working on seems to have more to do with what yarn is within reach than any kind of plan.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fits and Starts

It seems like things have been moving slowly with a lot of backtracking lately.  However I did finish the lavender hat and a pair of mittens to go with. 
I was talking design with Valerie, and I mentioned that if I'd been planning this, rather than making it up as I went along, I'd probably have put the first row of small diamonds above the larger motif, rather than below it.  I didn't feel like futzing with diamonds in the decreases, so I just switched back to the solid color then.  But when I was done, it looked unbalanced.  Hence the pom-pom, to add a little touch of the contrast color at the top of the hat.  I don't usually do a lot of pompoms, as I never much liked them as a kid, but this is a small hat- perhaps a younger child will find it fun. 
Since then I have been casting on in a frenzy- and not always been happy.  I tried a brioche scarf, which I've never done before. 
But I quickly decided that I couldn't do it in a solid color- I'd go berserk.  Maybe I'll try it again in a nice variegated yarn.  So I cast on a lace pattern instead, one that has patterning on both sides.  I'm not sure this one is going to last either.  But for the moment I'm persevering, as I wanted to have something a bit more challenging on the go. 
There've been bits of sweater, and more of the cotton socks, and I've cast on another pair of socks--in flagrant disregard of my only-one-project-of-a-kind-at-a-time rule. Which I've been breaking right and left.  And then there's another hat and mitten set which I don't have a photo of yet, so I'll have to show you later.  But what has taken priority--and a heck of a long time--has been the last two bookcases for the library.  
Here they are awaiting trim.
We did the house addition in 2006, and built all the bookcases around the outer wall in the library that year.  (In retrospect, I'm amazed we got as much done as we did that first year.)  Since then we've built two more sets of interior bookcases that have wrapped around pillars, and added decorative grills to the bottoms of the bookcases to hide the baseboards.   But it was always part of the plan to add two more bookcases on the interior wall, and this evening we got the last one up, and anchored.  (Each bookcase has four L-brackets that are screwed to the bottom of a shelf on the horizontal, and through the back of the bookcase to studs in the wall on the vertical.)   I should put in here, that while I did some of the work, the lion's share of the credit belongs to my husband, who designed the bookcases and did all the woodwork. We stained, polyurethaned, assembled and mounted the bookcases together.  

And not a moment too soon- the history section is bursting at the seams, and we really need the additional shelf space. 
Biscuit and Cookie found the whole project fascinating...first the mysterious power tool noises from the garage (from which they were barred), then the people outdoors staining things, and then the final assembly, polyurethane and trim, which they were able to supervise at close range in the library.  (Fortunately the polyurethane smells nasty enough that they stayed a safe distance away from it while we were doing the final finishing.)  Biscuit supervised every part of the project.
Cookie only came up to look things over in the final phase.
While Jake mainly ignored it...but he did join me for some quiet knitting once the work was done. (It was very sweet- he's been rather tentative about laps, so it was nice to have him give it a try.)
Aside from carpentry and knitting, there's been a lot of other annoying odds and ends, like scraping all the old tired adhesive off my windshield and remounting my toll-tag (I've only been holding it up and waving it at the toll booths for 6 months.)   And disassembling the vacuum, cleaning it out, and replacing the belt.  Yes, now it sucks, just like it's supposed to.    And, of course casting on projects, frogging them or losing interest, and starting over.  Hopefully I'll have some things that are more than cast on rows to show you soon! 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Turn, Turn

I can no longer deny that summer is truly over, and fall is upon us.  The days are shorter, the leaves are starting to change color, and suddenly it's all about the hats and mittens.  See?  We've got more kid mittens.

And I finally got around to trying the Fox and Geese hat pattern from Robin Hansen's Fox and Geese and Fences, with some help from Biscuit:
Despite that, I managed to finish the hat:
And then I decided I had to try the two color variation, see what it looked like:
And I still had some dark blue left, and there was a concert so I needed something with strong contrast I could knit in dim light.  So I cast on another hat.
And then last night there was another concert, so I cast on yet another colorwork hat.
Have I mentioned lately that colorwork is really addictive?   It's really addictive. 

And in other cat news, Jake and Cookie are staring to get along better.  Despite Cookie stealing Jake's new catnip mouse right out from under him.   But they made up:

Jake's not used to the constant clicking of cameras yet.  But he has got the hang of where the soft sleeping places are.  I woke up the other night with Cookie curled at my feet, Jake curled up beside my knee, and Biscuit patting my face to wake me up because he was hungry.   Some things never change.

This weekend I'd planned to cut a swathe through my to-do list at home, but I've come down with a minor bug that has nevertheless sucked a lot of the get-up-and-go out of me.   Which makes me grumpy.  I've hit the high points anyway and spent the rest of the weekend sleeping, reading, and drinking hot cider.   Not necessarily a bad way to spend a rainy fall weekend, but I'll have to turn up the hustle as soon as I finish kicking this crummy cold back where it came from.