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Math4Knitters Crafty Living Show 4

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Lara Neel

Math4Knitters: Crafty Living, Show 4

Lara Neel
This is the top of my hat, just before I drew the yarn through the stitches to close it.
Lara Neel
This is how I begin to sew the hat closed at the bottom hem.
Lara Neel
This is what the hat looks like after the seam has been sewn, but before the ends are darned in.
Lara Neel
This is the beginning of the crochet-chain steek process. Note how I am grabbing one side from two different stitches.
Lara Neel
This is what it looks like when you are working the second side of the crochet-bound steek. Once again, I am grabbing two different stitches with every crocheted stitch.
Lara Neel
This is what it looks like when you are ready to cut. Normally, the chains would extend to the top of the work, but I'm sacrificing a UFO here, so just pretend they go all of the way up.
Lara Neel
Snip, snip.
Lara Neel
This is the cut steek, from the back, in a photo that is too red.
Lara Neel
This is the steek, from the front, so that you can see how lovely and flat it lies.

This week, I talk about my Any Gauge, Any Size Knit Hat Pattern (the pdf is included in this post), and interrupt our previously planned programming to bring you the marvelous Meg Swansen.

One thing I didn't cover much in the instructions is the lower edge of your hat. You can choose any sort of edging you like. Here are a few:

Rolled-brim - Cast on, join, and knit, knit, knit away. The edge will naturally roll up. Do not unroll when measuring the depth of the hat.

Garter-stitch - I like to cast on, knit back-and-forth in garter stitch, then join and knit stockinette stitch in the round.

Ribbed - Using needles that are either one or two sizes smaller, rib for whatever length you want, then switch to stockinette. Or, you can knit the whole hat in ribbing. This is great for when you're not sure about the head size of the recipient.

Lacy - Pick a lace stitch, like feather-and-fan, and knit that for a bit before switching to stockinette for the rest of your hat. This may require two swatches and two different numbers of stitches to work. At the least, make sure your gauge swatch includes samples of all of the stitch patterns you are going to use in the hat, so that you will know if your edge will flare or curl or anything else.

My Sample Hat

Size 10.5 needles (I used two circular needles, instead of circular and double-points. One should be 16", the other can be any length)

Baby Alpaca Grande Tweed, color 2055, lot 87250

3.7 stitches/inch (Which is way more than the ball band says. I may need to check the tension of my knitter.)

I wanted the hat to fit a person whose head measures 21" around, give or take. 10% of that is 2". So, the hat should be 19" around.

19 x 3.7 = approx. 70 stitches. I increased that to 72 stitches to make it divisible by 8 because 8 x 9 = 72. I started out by casting on those 72 stitches onto my 16" circular needle.

I wanted a 5-ridge garter-stitch edge, and I didn't feel like purling, so I knit the brim of the hat back-and-forth. Now, this is going to seem like sacrilege, but I didn't slip the first stitch on these rows. I let those nasty garter bumps just stick right out there. You will see why at the end.

After I knit those 72 stitches for 5 garter-stitch ridges, I joined the two edges of the hat and started knitting in the round. Knitting every stitch, in the round, gave me stockinette stitch. I worked until the entire thing was 6" deep, then started my decreases for the crown. For the crown, I moved half of the stitches onto my second circular needle and kept them there. In other words, I used my two circular needles as if they were each two of a set of five double-pointed needles. This works very well, although if you are using longer needles, they tend to swing around a bit and can get you very odd looks on a plane or any other confined space.

Once the crown was finished, I took the tail from my cast-on edge and sewed the small seam from the beginning. The best way to do this is to just grab each garter-stitch edge bump, one at a time, with your darning needle until you are finished.

Darn in your ends.

If you would like to see more photos of the hat-sewing process, please see the photo gallery linked to this post. I only get 10 photos per post and I want to save some for the steek tutorial at the end.

Last step: Use the hat to bribe a co-worker into posing for a photo.

Segment Two: Interview with Meg Swansen

I'm changing the subject of the second part of our show this week to bring you my interview with the lovely Meg Swansen of Schoolhouse Press. If you haven't heard of her, and even if you have, you are in for a treat. We talk about EPS, books, and Knitting Camps and Retreats. I also talk way too fast and trip over myself because I am way too excited about talking to her. The 2010 application period for Camp is from Feb. 1 through 7, 2010. As it says on the site, "Please mark your calendar; we do not accept applications outside of these dates."

I'm going to end this post with a short photo tutorial about crochet-bound steeks. Ms. Swansen describes the process quite well, but some of us like photos.

This is easiest to see on a color-knitting pattern. Some people even knit their steeks in a vertical stripe pattern. Mine is in a dice or lice pattern, so bear with me.

First, you crochet the right-hand side of the left-hand stitch to the left-hand side of the right-hand stitch, over and over, until you have worked the length of your piece. I didn't work the length of the piece for the photos. I sacrificed the edge of a semi-permanent UFO for these photos.

Then, repeat, half a stitch over.

All you should have in-between your two chains of crochet is a teeny, little bar, which is what you cut.

Next Week: Felted slippers to wear while you are making candy or after, for your sore tootsies, and my short saga about the design process.


All of the books are on the same page:

Knitting Without Tears

Knitter's Almanac

Knitting Workshop

Knitting Around

The Opinionated Knitter

Armenian Knitting

School House Press

School House Press Patterns

Meg Swansen's Knitting Camps and Retreats 2010

Franklin Habit's descriptions of Camp

More uses for a gauge swatch - seeing how two (or more) stitch patterns work together with your yarn and needles. Also, a testing ground for steek-cutting. This brings the total to six uses for gauge swatches in 2010.