How do I knit a hat with circular needles?

You start

  1. at the crown, with a few stitches which you increase, or
  2. at the brim, gradually decreasing the stitches.

You may also knit the hat as a flat rectangle, sewing the sides together and sewing across the top edge. This produces a square-edged hat, which may be worn in either orientation:

Corner-on

It is also possible to work a hat from one side, using short-rows with increases and decreases to the other side: designer Woolly Wormhead has explored this construction, and almost every other possible construction too.

Another possibility is to knit a hat in segments. The best example of this is the Fool’s Gold jester cap, which is the basis for my Borg Queen, or I Are A Pwincess Now:

Author wearing a crown-like hat knitted in alternating pointy segments of yellow and black, topped with bobbles.
Fool’s Gold jester cap

There are other, more complex constructions (grins evilly) too.

BUT EVERY SINGLE ONE CAN BE KNIT ON CIRCULAR NEEDLES.

I use circs almost exclusively in preference to straights (‘normal’ single-pointed needles). This is because I have relatively short forearms and large biceps, and most straights are too long and either get stuck against my upper arms or whack them with every stitch. I’m in knitting for the pleasure, not the pain.

Circs can be used for small tubular projects like hats or socks by

  • selecting a short cable
  • using two circs:
  • using a technique such as Magic Loop:

The latter two techniques can be used to work a hat from the crown down, starting with a few stitches, or when reducing the number of stitches for a brim-up hat.

For other constructions, a circ can be used just the same way that a pair of straights are used. Just knit a row, then swap the left and right needle-tips to the right and left hand respectively, and repeat.


PS: the foregoing works for socks, gloves, mitts, mittens, sweaters, scarves, trousers, toys, cushions, blankets, and everything that you can possibly imagine knitting.

Quora linky.

How can I close the top of a hat by knitting instead of using a sewing needle?

It depends on the type of hat.

These are some hats that I’ve designed. All were knit from the bottom up and in the round, usually on double-pointed needles as that is my preference, but they could equally be knit on a circular needles.

The first row, and the last two on the right in the second row, involve reducing the number of stitches towards the end. The number of stitches at the end varies: Fluxions reduces to 6 stitches; Maquereau varies between 16 and 24 stitches according to head-size. For ‘reduction’ hats like these, the usual method* of finishing is to cut the yarn leaving a tail 6–10 cm long, thread the tail through the remaining stitches, cinch tight, and secure inside. The threading can be done with sewing (tapestry) needle, or you can use the knitting needles to ‘knit’ each of the stitches off, flicking the yarn tail through each.

Tiny Teddy and Shadow Pets have no reduction. The top of such hats could be sewn together using mattress stitch after binding off. However, the samples I worked for Tiny Teddy and Shadow Pets were closed using a 3-Needle Bind-Off** and an I-cord Bind-Off respectively. The instructions, iirc, were respectively Kitchener Stitch***, and mattress stitch with a separate i-cord sewn on afterwards.

These are two basic hat types. There are others – the ‘reducing’ hats can be worked top down, by increasing the number of stitches: this completely avoids having to sew/finish the hat. Some hat designers, like Woolly Wormhead, use very unusual construction methods which you just have to follow blindly, as it were: they WILL work, promise! Most patterns will give you reasonably detailed instructions for finishing, especially if it’s an unusual method.

If you’ve knitted a flat piece of knitting and want to turn it into a hat… the simplest way is to use mattress stitch. Sorry. You could crochet it together, too.

You’ll notice I give a lot of YouTube videos as examples. YouTube is a fantastic resource for knitters: you can generally find just about any knitting stitch, style, tip or technique there.


* – The pi hat (last on the right, bottom row) is completed by continuing the remaining stitches as an i-cord, to which the tassel is tied.

** – Ideal for ensuring your Pussy Hat’s ears stay perky.

*** – I personally recommend the knitted Kitchener stitch, as I only have Magic Disappearing tapestry needles. Also I hate sewing.

Quora linky.

Hattata Flatatta

New finished project!
Well, new-ish. The Offspring year-end class project was on WWII, specifically the evacuation of children. The final day of the project involved them living as children being evacuated, beginning with them being delivered to the “evacuation centre” in the morning, in period costume, and being issued with their ration cards and gas mask (previously created in lessons).
The Offspring decided he needed me to knit him a proper flat cap, sooo…. He already has one, from Cheryl Andres’ Inishmore Cap pattern, but could we find it? So I made another, in some Aranweight natural Herdwick I have lying around. No biggie. He also wanted an authentic vest -preferrably Fair Isle, the picky varmint – but I said nay. I’m not making a Fair Isle vest in under a week. Instead I put him in his old Bam-bam vest (a modified Sherwood by Angela Hahn), banking on Aran-ish patterns being sufficiently common by the 1940s. I made this for him when he was about 4, but with added length in hopes it would last a while. He’s now 10 1/2, so it worked – although the collar is a bit on the tight side. It does look a bit skimpy, but we were going for the impoverished inner-city rapscallion look anyway. Ahem.
At the end of the day, parents were asked to collect their children (their own children, mind) in period costume as their evacuation foster parents. Now my wardrobe is severely lacking in utility frocks, but I looked up how to do Victory rolls in my hair. Sadly, I do not have 1940s hairspray either, so this was a bit of a flop. They just about stayed in at the front, so I wore a headscarf a al Rosie the Rivetter to cover the rest. My frilliest blouse, baggiest workman denims and wellies, and I was a Land Army gel! I thoroughly mortified the poor child by marching in as “Captain Bagshot”, checking teeth and muscles on the ‘malnourished city boys and gels’, and demanding to know what each of them knew about ploughing and calving before making my choice.
Asante sana Squash banana, as they say, or: My work as a mother is done…

Maquereau Beret & Mitts in Knotions Re-Launch!

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I am fizzing about this being published!

It’s pretty amazing, an honour, really, to be selected as one of the designers in a launch issue, or re-launch in this case. But when it’s a publication like Knotions, it’s a bit special: Knotions is the webzine that offered a platform for Magknits patterns, after that site vanished overnight, along with designers’ fees. Extra karmic brownie points for that, Knotions.

Then, there’s the other designers. WoollyWormhead is in it too! and she is the goddess of all things hatty! and my hat is right beside hers on Ravelry! I’d also mention Elizabeth Helmich, except I hate her because she stole all the best names, and because the gorgeousness that is Jane of the Wood sneers at me from my favourites, saying things like “Not yet, fat girl!*” and “Lace? With those sausage fingers?” I may have to have a go at Sidhe’s Beret, though. Okay, I’ve already selected the yarn. Then, there’s Louise Tilbrook, who has a way with socks that is magical. Honeycomb Cables is particularly mesmerising, shifting shape according to the viewing angle. And finally, Jody Richards managed to produce the cabley City Creek Mitts as well as organising the re-launch, and doing the tech editing and layout for the patterns! Wow! Why am I in this issue again?

Finally, and no less excitingly, it is my beautiful niece and god-daughter’s professional debut** as a model! She has a quirky, fresh-faced beauty** that shows the set to perfection. She performed beautifully, climbing up walls and rickety gates for shots despite being afraid of heights, and never once whined or sulked or demanded cocaine. What more could you ask for?

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* – The size range actually goes above my size. But I am also a lazy fatty who who would rather knit smaller garments…

** – Meaning I paid her in actual money, not just hot chocolate and the hat and mitts.

*** – Just like her aunt.

 

LOLkid Hat

Lol Kids Accessories

© Practical Publishing
© Practical Publishing

The proposal for what started out as a baby accessory set, but was finally published as the Tiny Teddy Hat in Knit Now #48, and modelled on possibly the most grumpy baby ever! He just knows he’s being humiliated… This is so cute, and so ridiculously easy to make, it could even be used to teach a beginner how to knit.

I do feel it’s a mother’s duty to put her offspring in silly hats and take pictures. I have a lovely slideshow that I’m planning to play as a backdrop to my hilarious speech at Dread Lord Chthulu’s wedding. That’ll teach him for kicking me to bits for nine months!

Very simple, bing bam boom. I probably wrote too much, but that for was two patterns. The sketch was, I feel, less helpful than the diagrams.

The rights should be back in September – just in time for Christmas knitting!

From This…

Image

To this…

Image

Just Like That!!! through the magic of pointy sticks and string…

My first professionally published pattern, in Knit Now #16.

Time to increase the medication, methinks…

I have been in a stew of rage recently.

It started with the business of my trip to Belfast, and the chewing out I got for (supposedly) not telling anyone that I was going. Really – Imabee 46 next week, people. Been dressing myself and tying my own shoe laces for damn close to half a century! I’m really tired of having to squeeze my news into 10 words or less before I get interrupted, talked over, etc. Believe it or not, dear family, there are people  who shut up when I walk into a room and take notes when I speak, and who would never dream of monologuing on Great Sandwiches I Have Known over my learned and witty discourse(s). No sir!

But the fury is leaking out everywhere. I have insulted entire continents online, and yesterday I very nearly rammed a car IRL. Well, what the feck were they doing parking across the petrol station slip road?!?! Two of us trying to leave, one trying to enter, and another already in but unable to park because YOU, you dribbling moron, decide to GET IN THE BLOODY WAY.

Currently what is wearing my molars is test knitting. A few months ago, I decided to have a practice run at having a design test-knit using a pattern I’d already published. It’s a pretty popular free pattern, lots of downloads, in a lot of queues, but no one’s got round to making it yet.  I thought it would be a good learning process to ease me in. No biggie, right? Well, it’s been a fecking nightmare. First I had to fill in a form that made my PhD look like a toddler’s wall scribblings. I, the trained researcher, nearly lost the will to live doing the research for this form, trawling through the archives of helpful notes and guidance. Not that I’d mind if I’d got my testers, but only one person responded. Then I started getting messages about the progress of the test. They were standard-letter style messages, but felt rather brusque, nitpicky, officious and unhelpful.

I tried getting testers in a less stressful environment. But all I got was a rather unhelpful reply saying my pattern wasn’t what I said it was… I don’t think I’ve ever felt such bile towards someone I don’t even know. Seriously, if I could have reached down the internet and broken every one of his/her fingers, I would have. I’m still livid.

———–

And I had to walk away from the computer just there, as I was in danger of Hulking out and this is my last pair of clean trousers. So I went and deep-cleaned the dishwasher, on the same principle that my dear old silver-haired granny told me to eat a teaspoonful of dogshit each morning*. And isn’t it good that I did**? because I know exactly h to handle it now***. Lady-like, self-aggrandising, with big words.

I am also feeling rather better about the seething ire. Because it does bother me – I think of myself as pretty chilled. I gots a rep to maintain, yo. It’s good because I’ve been feeling like crap for so long that getting mad was too much effort. It was easier just to get more miserable and defeated. Now, knocking heads together sounds like a fun plan, and plans are always better than vegging.

ION, I have begun taking the dog up the forest in the mornings, after dropping the Mighty Offspring to the bus. The exercise half kills me – I’m still stiff from this morning – but I shall continue undaunted, although the foraging is rubbish this year. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, my arse – not one of the brambles will be ready before the frost hits, the wild strawbs never got round to fruiting, and there’s no sign of the mushrooms that were carpeting the place this time last year. The currants got blown off the stems back in July, and even the sloes aren’t putting in an appearance. My cherry crabapple has ONE apple on it, and the plums, cherry and pear didn’t even bloom. I have a few tiny, miserable apples and maybe a handful of raspberries to show for the season, and my heritage potatoes still aren’t ready – and they were first earlies!

TTFN!

* – i.e., that nothing worse could happen to you that day.

** – walk away. Not eat the dogshit.

*** – again, not the dogshit. The unhelpful replier.

New Pattern!

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Because You Can Never Have Too Much PI – pi fez!

Okay, it’s a beanie – unless you felt it into shape. And add a tassel. The numbers down the sides list π to 50 decimal places. To  be specific, it starts: Π ≈ 3.14… i.e., π approximates to 3.14, etc. Cos that’s how I roll.

Fun Facts About Π:

  1. 50dp is overkill. Only 39 decimal places of Π are required to calculate anything to redundant levels of precision – for example, you could navigate across the known universe and be no more than one atom’s width from your intended destination at the end. More than my satnav can manage…
  2. The Guinness World Record for memorising Π is held by Lu Chao – 67,890 digits. Some people really have nothing better to do.
  3. Π is known to 10 trillion dp – calculated by Shigero Kondo in October 2011, using an ordinary home computer. Mr Kondo was unavailable to comment at his parents’ basement, as he was waiting for a pizza delivery.

More Gloves…

The black gloves are a pair I made for my teaching placement mentor. The pattern is Susie’s Reading Mitts from Dancing Ewe Yarns, and I used one skein of Katia Merino 100%.  Looks great, and can be used for wiping a whiteboard at a pinch.

The Pi Mitts I made for Pi Day – 14th of March, or 3/14 in American. As in 3.14? Because I have a bit of an obsession with π, as the numerati will deduce from the quote under my avatar. Utterly wasted on the little darlings at school, who are largely unaware of the symbol, and the fact that the decimal places continue beyond .14. But I like them. I started with green as the main colour, but found it didn’t quite ‘pop’ enough for my liking, so the second glove uses the red. It’s Teddy DK, wholly acrylic. They’re a little tight on my hands, but I was in a hurry. The pattern is a free Ravelry download.

Because I am a sucker, I made the skully convertible gloves and the Tam of Rassilon for X at Christmas. He has somehow become totally unequipped for winter, no jumpers, coats, gloves, anything to keep warm. I’d always intended to make both for him anyway, but the separation got in the way. The tam had to be blocked on a pizza dish! It is vast – though doesn’t look it worn. It’s now March, and I think he’s probably lost them already, doubtless on a binge. Certainly haven’t seen him wearing or carrying them since January.

I have deleted all the patterns I had favourited for him on Rav. That’s all, folks. I’m done.

On the right is a Drops shawl pattern, a basic garter-stitch domino specifically for long-repeat yarn, somewhat enlarged by m’self. The yarn is Teksrena 4-ply 100% wool, a Lithuanian yarn I got off eBay. The photo doesn’t do justice to the glowy colours. I call this Burning Embers.

It’s not a pretty-pretty shawl, but what I wanted was a big blankie that I could wrap around myself. It’s been very useful in the late and bitter winter weather we’ve had. It’s big enough to wear like a Faroese shawl, tied at the back. People like it a lot: I always get compliments when I wear it.

And finally for this post, Mickey Mouse. The Mighty Offspring has developed a real fondness for Mickey’s Playhouse, to the point where I am actually prepared to take him to Disneyland Paris for a few days this summer. Not going mad and considering a fortnight in Orlando, just 3 or 4 days. I… do not share his enthusiasm. Never have, even as a child. That squeaky voice just infuriates me. At least he’s dumb at Disneyland.

The pattern is Leisure Arts #3293, Disney Home: Mickey and Minnie Dolls, which I scored off eBay. I want to make it in Sirdar Snowflake, but while collecting the necessary colours, I made this in Teddy Vanguard DK, Spectrum Strata, and Robin Bonny Babe which I had to hand. The shorts come off, and I have an order for pyjamas already…
T’ra!

Dive In!

Well, let’s pile through this, starting with …socks!

Top left is a self-striping yarn from LIDL, Zettl Sockenwolle Cortina. Just after I finished them, the word on Rav was that Cortina was being pulled and buyers refunded because the stuff felted! These are about a year old, getting tight, and have felted slightly through wear, not washing – so I’m happy enough. Another pair, recently finished, will appear soon. Well, soon for me…

The blue pair is in Katia Merino Baby, a wonderfully soft yarn I picked up in Christine’s of Bournville (a wee treasure house – go there if you can). I did a slipstitch pattern on them, but the wool is so soft and fuzzy that the definition has all but vanished. I also picked up Katia Merino DK for socks for myself – haven’t got round to trying it though. The remaining socks are with the good old Teddy sock yarn from the Bull Ring. The one with the cabled ankles (Ankle of Green Cables, ho ho ho!) has never been on the offspring – the cables draw in too much to fit over his chunky wee limbs – nonetheless, they make a fetching phone sock. The others are my usual negative stripe and Fibonacci in what I poshly call my Crab Apple colours.

Heading north, to Hats!

The pink cloche, Big Belle, is a last-minute, no-pattern knit for Pink Day at school – a fundraiser for breast cancer. I don’t have much pink, apart from a too-small PVC jacket, so I cast on top-down in my one remaining ball of Sirdar Bigga, increasing and trying on as I went. The last few rows were done ‘flat’ in reverse stocking stitch, with a couple of stitches cast on to make the tab that the button is sewn to. It’s a tight fit and maybe a bit too pointy, but looks okay.

The jester’s hat (Borg Queen) is Fool’s Gold, but in gold Hjertegarn Natur Uld that I picked up on hols in Gothenburg, and some leftover Sirdar Big Softie from Begotha. There were some mods for using superbulky. Also, I didn’t bother knitting the 5-stitch hat band. Instead, I picked up stitches afterwards, 2×2 rib for 5 rows, and then did a knitted Picot edging, which l think looks better… I then crocheted chains and sewed them in place on the opposing colours of the crown (no pun intended). I love this hat, though it really only sits on my head. I may have to make another, maybe with more tentacley peaks.

The Spiderman balaclava (Peter Parker Picked a Perfect Period to Press for this Present) is my 100th project!

The Mighty Offspring asked me to tell Santa to buy him a Spiderman mask for Christmas – on 22nd December! I had no idea where to buy one now that Woolies is gone, and no desire to spend time trekking through the shops in the run-up to Christmas, so I decided to cobble something together. The pattern is based loosely on Jackyll and Hide and We Call Him Spidey.  It was finished with a couple of hours to spare – HANDS LIKE CLAWS!!! I went off-chart with exhaustion, eye-fuddle and any other excuse about the eyehole area, but it looks okay for all that. It IS too big, though it would be probably be fine if I sewed some shirring elastic into the collar. MO was speechless when he saw it hanging on the Christmas tree! On recovering the power of speech though, he put in a request for a Venom mask… He’s making do with his father’s BSJ hat in the meantime, pulled down over his face.

The remaining two are a Drops pattern, made with the recommended yarn, Drops Eskimo! I must have come over peculiar to actually use the yarn for the pattern, it’s just not like me at all. I even bought the yarn (from Scandinavian Knitting Design, good value and fast delivery) with the pattern in mind! However, I saved myself by not using the recommended Drops Puddel for the trim. Instead I used some Patons Lush fancy yarn that I picked up on eBay a couple of years ago. It’s a little sparkly and adds some girliness to the hats, which do get compliments. There was only just enough yarn in the balls to complete them, but they do run a bit large – even with my tight knitting. I lightly felted them a few weeks ago and the fit is much better.  The jumper I’m wearing in the photos is a handknit that I liberated from a charity shop. It’s a chunky yarn, 100% wool, with big hairy guard hairs through it. Itchy as all get out, but I don’t mind. £4! I also liberated an off-white fishermans rib crewneck and a blue and white marl 4×4 rib turtleneck, both too large for me so given to X, and a soft and fuzzy Shetland wool jumper with an Aztec-look Fair-Isle design, all for similar prices.

So, lowering the tone to the neck region – scarves!

The first two were last Christmas’s gifts to Mum and Ma-In-Law – Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and DK respectively. The pattern is a Rav-only download, Anthro-Inspired Scarflet. I got lucky and picked up exactly the right brooch the church Christmas Fayre for Mum’s pink scarf, but couldn’t find anything for the lavendar one, so instead I crocheted a rose using the same pattern I used for the Mighty Offspring’s Christening Shawl. Looks effective, no? My own version is an iron grey yarn from eBay, Knitwitz Camel – 30% camel, 30% alpaca, 40% wool. Very resistant to blocking, as you can see. The brooch is a vintage bone daisy, picked up at the same Fayre along with a matching necklace.

The scarf on the left is Ragged Robin, a reverse-engineering of Annie Modesitt’s Ruffled Roses which is available only through LYS in the US, hence the reverse engineering. The green is Teddy 4ply, but the ‘rose’ is Jaeger Fur, a super-chunky wool-mohair blend that I stumbled across in Northfield’s Pins & Needles. The yardage is tiny – 22yds – but I still have about half the ball left! It’s a bit pouffy and OTT, but livens up a dull suit and is surprisingly warm.

The bobbly purple scarf below left is not a triumph of Aran bobbles, but a very simple scarf made with Teddy Pom-Tiddly-Om-Pom. At £2 in the Bullring, it was 75% off – you couldn’t be bad to it. The yarn came in a great tangled mass, and I wound up cutting it 4 times – yes, me, the master untangler of mohair and laceweight, defeated by novelty yarn. While knitting I just tied the ends together, cutting off any inconvenient bobbles on the way. The bobbles are big enough to hide the ends of the knots! I cast on 5 stitches, one between each bobble. On the second row, I knit into the front and back of each stitch (10sts). Then continued till I ran out of yarn. It really looks like it’s going horribly wrong for the first 6 rows or so, when the bobbles lie down and start behaving themselves. Be patient.

The lacy little number is another Christine’s of Bournville find, Katia Tobago. The colours really are that vivid. Okay maybe not – the camera was playing up at the time. The pattern is Queen Anne’s Lace, which, though really quite simple, manages to be oddly tricky. You need to do EXACTLY what the pattern says, even if it seems a bit odd at first. I made this for Ma-In-Law for what I thought might possibly her birthday – I only have a rough idea of when this is, as X had no idea of the date at all. Unfortunately, this was around the time things came to a head between us, so I have no idea what she thinks of it, or indeed if she even received it.

I think that will do for now. I do have a few more scarves to include, but they are either not quite finished or I have no photos as yet. Only the finished product will appear, m’dears.

T’ra fn!

K