Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Four color knitting

Last month, the discovery that my latest project required knitting with four colors in the same round made me shut the pattern book. The book, opened after I used three colors on a couple of rounds in my Equinox, had previously only been opened a few times a year, allowing me to admire the pattern photo. Oh, how I loved this design. I studied it for years, admiring its silvery gray, the darling snowflakes, those chunky braids. With enough of the recommended yarn in the almost-right colors, it looked simple, just a stranded hat, knit in the round. It lulled me into thinking it was no big deal. That is, until the discovery of the four-colors-at-the-same-time exercise. Just one more color, but certainly enough for me, at least at this point. Three colors on most of the rounds, four colors on about half, and floats that stretched over 20 stitches jerked me awake.

Awakened, I opened the book and cast on. I'm glad I did.

The top and bottom of the design have four-color rounds, the same as in the middle. They aren't visible here because I used a navy blue there. Once I saw the contrast wasn't great enough, I searched my Kroy stash for a lighter color. I finally settled on the aqua cut out a scrap of Kroy FX, but only had enough for the middle diamonds. The pattern notes indicate that the diamonds should be done with intarsia, but I stranded them. Intarsia? In the round? I'm not sure if the instructions hinted at intarsia or if the reference to twisting the yarns at color changes to avoid holes was provided to explain how to handle the long floats. Either way, there were a couple of vague or questionable points in the pattern instructions. If I knit it again, I'd change a couple of things.

I'd shape the hem with decreases to fit the ear flaps, making it possible to continue knitting a lining up to the crown, possibly throughout the hat. A full lining would eliminate that dent caused by sewing the lining to the flap. However, a lining would also tighten the fit. Since I wanted the hat to be a bit larger than the 20" specified in the pattern, I wasn't worried when I saw that my gauge would put the hat between 21 to 22 inches. However, the row gauge is off as well, making the hat too long. Even at the pattern-specified 8.5", it would not be a snug fit. Now, at over 9", it is slouchy, as is the current fashion, but not in a fashionable way. The stranded fabric is a little stiff to drape nicely. One solution to this problem would be to decrease more often at the crown.

A flatter crown would make the hat more of a pillbox and less of a stocking-cap style. Then there is that tassel. The pattern calls for 14" long strands, braided. However, that means there are raw edges at each end of the braid. Once I finished braiding it, I couldn't figure out how to fasten it neatly to the hat. I just opened the top of the hat, stuck in the braid and tightened the hat back around it. Maybe I was supposed to fold the strands over and have a much shorter braid, about 4" long? It doesn't appear to be that short in the pattern photo. As I did it, the braid is not securely fastened enough to stand up to heavy wear. I'm not going to change the attachment just yet, though. This hat won't see heavy wear for a while. I'll keep it on display.

With its four-color rounds, long floats, miles of braiding and finishing details, this is a new milestone for me. Here's the hat on Ravelry.


AlleRaa said...

Very nice, I love it!

Lies said...

It looks amazing!

Affiknitty said...


Angela said...

Really cool hat! Definitely worth the trouble.