Monday, February 20, 2012

Fair Isles Hat

I've been making hats for almost a month now. I have made berets, beanies and toques so far. And they were all solid colours. They are fun to make, don't get me wrong, but it's gotten a bit repetitive. So I decided it was time to try out some color work techniques (using two or more colours in a piece) using the Fair Isles Hat pattern by Bernat. 

This was a challenging project. It was the first pattern I've tried that uses a chart to designate the pattern and what colour to be used. This particular pattern isn't written very clearly (for a beginner in colour work at least) so I spent a good bit of my afternoon yesterday translating the chart into a workable row pattern.

When I get around to it, I will post this to Ravelry for anyone who wants to tackle the hat but is scared of  charts.

A few tips for fellow knitters though:

  1. This pattern is written as a straight needle method project. I worked in the round (on US 8 - 24") and just ignored the abbreviations for WS and purl. Anywhere it says to purl, I just knit. 
  2. In the last row of your ribbing, I used the k1fb stitch every 16th stitch in order to increase by 5 stitches evenly. I'm terrible at the M1 stitch and always get small holes in my work when I use that method of increasing.
  3. It's very useful to place stitch markers between each pattern repeat once you start chart work. It kept me on track and it was easier to notice if I made any mistakes in my stitches.
  4. Once you start Chart II, be very careful of the tension of your Contrasting Colour (the Mosaic yarn). I was using US 8 dpns by this point and my tension became very tight and the top started to pucker.
  5. I also used another method of making the pom-pom for the top of the hat. The hand method used in this pattern made a very large and loose pom-pom. I made two small circles out of cardboard and followed that technique.

I must say though, this hat makes me happy just looking at it. All the colours are just brilliant and it was a great first colour work project. I really want to make another now!

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