Monday, 19 January 2015

My first knitted hat {Capucine}

Well, today I finished my first knitted hat.  One of my online friends, who hand dyes yarn, had shared the pattern on Ravelry.  It caught my eye, and when I looked at it, I figured my limited knitting skills could give it a whirl! Conveniently, I also had some chunky yarn I could use, in a gorgeous, bright colourway.

Beth needed a new hat, so I figured it would be perfect for her.

The pattern I used is called Capucine, and it's on Ravelry for FREE! Yippeeeee!

For this pattern, you will need 5mm circular, and optionally some 5mm straight ones, for the weight of yarn I used.  I used Robin Candyfloss, in the Ferris Wheel colour way. (Number 4457)

You start off on the straight needles (or the circular, if you prefer), and then transfer onto the circulars for the crown of the hat, knitting in the round. I had to look on YouTube to find out about "join in the round", but it was very simple!  I have shared the video I found the most useful (I have actually subscribed to this channel on YouTube, as her instruction videos are very clear and helpful).

In this video, she talks about making sure none of your stitches are twisted, but in this pattern you are joining quite way through, so it's not an issue.

This pattern is INCREDIBLY simple, and only requires a few, basic stitches.  Knit and purl, and then two types of decrease stitches -  knit two together (k2tog), and slipslip knit (ssk) - the latter being new to me.  Here's a video for that one.

The crown section is in stockinette, but because it's knitted in the round, you don't have to do any purl rows! I still feel a bit "ham fisted" purling, so that pleased me greatly! The way the decreases work in the crown, you end up with a lovely spiral effect at the top. I love it.

Now, to my two bugbears.  None of it was to do with the pattern - all to do the materials and equipment. Oh, and maybe me....

First the yarn.  It's a yarn that is created by a very fine twist of fibre wrapped around a thick, fibrous strand. This means it is VERY easy to stick your needle THROUGH the yarn, or get a TINY piece of fibre twisted into the wrong place.  On the whole, it was easily fixed by either fixing the stitch straight away, or lifting it off when you knit into that stitch on the next row. It was mildly irritating, rather than it putting me off ever using that yarn again.

My next issue was with using the cable.  I bought myself the Knit Pro Starter set, with a metal, wooden and plastic tip, in 4 mm, 5 mm, and 6 mm. (One of each)  It came with 3 three cables (one of which has gone "walk about", annoyingly, but they are very fine, so it could have slipped somewhere - alternatively it grew toddler sized legs....), and I used the smallest  I had.  When I got to the last, maybe, ten rows, there were very few stitches left to work with, and I was using a 60 cm cable (the cable itself is 40 cm, but once you add the tips, it's 60 cm).  It took me quite a bit of fiddling and faffing, pushing and pulling the cable through various spots along the stitches, to be able to knit the stitches.  FINALLY, by the last couple of rows, I realised I needed to pull all the work onto my left hand needle, and knit them onto just the tip of the right hand needle.  Once they were knitted, I pulled them all back round the cable to the left hand needle again.  It didn't feel very "natural", and it could well be that I was just being a bit dim. I must ask on the crochet/knitting group I am on, as I know someone else who made it. (She told me she used a shorter cable, so I will research that!)

Other than that, it was a REALLY simple pattern.  I made the tassels by just cutting the yarn to the length I wanted, and looping them on through a stitch along the edge, with a crochet hook. I did the old technique like you would use to attach a ribbon on a bookmark. Is there a name for that??  For the "pom pom", which I feel, technically, was more like very thick tassel, I tied  length of yarn around the centre of a "pile" of yarn. I decided, first of all, what length it needed to be, then cut it all.  I kept checking how big a "bunch" it made, to see if it was the desired size. Really technical, I know. I then pulled the piece of yarn, which I had securely tied around the "bunch", through the crown of the hat, and secured it on the inside.

Et voila.





The pattern mentioned adding felt birds, but with a highly coloured yarn, I didn't think that was necessary.

This is, overall, a good pattern for a newbie knitter, like me. I only started it at the end of last week, so, I doubt it took more than  few hours, total. 

I will share about the other things I have knitted, soon, as well as getting back to sharing about some of my crochet projects from last year.

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