Wednesday, September 27, 2006

BoS’s Roll Brim Stocking Cap

Red Heart has a new yarn line, called STRATA. It mimics the self-striping sock yarns we sock knitters love to use, and is very Red Heart – washable acrylic, extremely inexpensive, and available everywhere. I picked some up a couple of weeks ago, and, while my fingers are spoiled by the soft natural fibers available these days, I’m still a penny pincher at heart, and Red Heart yarns are always affordable. The STRATA colors are bold and fun, and kids and whimsical adults (like me) will like the colors a lot.

Since autumn is upon us, and I like to plan ahead, I made a stocking cap from a skein of STRATA, one that I think even beginners can enjoy. I’ll be square here, this is not a hat for many millennia – it’s entirely possible the pom pom will fall off at some point, either in vigorous washing or vigorous play, the yarn will eventually become too scratchy for use, but by that time the kids will have gone on to more sober colors and designs.

But knitting is not just about creating archival museum pieces for a whomptillion dollars. That may suit some people, but I like to do fun stuff, stuff I’m not so emotionally attached to that I will tear my hair and wear sackcloth and ashes if the wearer does not treat it with the proper respect. Accordingly, I make stuff that is easy, that I can make several of, that I can give away to someone with a cold head or cold hands who is unprepared and nearby, or as a little generous gesture to someone who expresses a liking for it, with no qualms whatsoever.

Stocking caps are fun. They speak of winter, snow, snowmen and angels, children romping through cold weather and coming home with red noses and cheeks, wet socks, and happily demanding cocoa with marshmallows, or hot soup, and then sleeping deeply, peacefully, and with smiles on their faces all night long. A roll brim hat is particularly adaptable to different head sizes; the wearer can just keep rolling up the brim until they get to the part of the hat small enough to stay on their heads!

For those not interested in knitting circularly, just follow the directions below working back and forth, cast off when you get to about 4 stitches, and sew a seam up the back. I’ve included a little tidbit about working I-cords for anyone unfamiliar with that technique.

BoS’s Roll Brim Stocking Cap

For teens and women, 17” circumference unstretched, 20” long plus pom pom

Size 7 16” circular needles and dpns
1 4-oz skein Red Heart Strata, color POGO

Cast on 70 sts, join and knit for 6-1/2” in stockinette stitch.
K2tog, k9 around
K6 rows even
K2tog, k8 around,
K6 rows even.

Continue in this manner, decreasing on the 7th row in decreasing intervals until you have reached the row where you K2tog all around. Do so. When the stitches become too stretched on the circular needle, switch to dpns
K6 rows even
K2 tog twice in next row, k6 rows even,

Work as I-cord (using only two dpns and a minimum of stitches [fewer than ten, usually,] knit across. Push the stitches back across to the working end of the needle, stretch the yarn across the back and knit across again. Repeat until you reach the requisite number of rows. There will be a ladder of overstretched looking stitches were you have ended one row and begun another. This is perfectly normal. One quick longitudinal [lengthwise] yank and those ladders disappear like magic. It really, truly does work!)

or on 2 or three needles, as desired – K 6 rows. Repeat until you have only 5 or 6 stitches left.

K2tog, K to last 2 sts, K2tog.

Cut 6” tail, pull through and fasten off. Attach pom pom to string; if you leave a little bit of string between the hat and the pom pom, it will be nice and wiggly and bounce nicely while the hat (and wearer) are in motion.

POM POM PRESERVATION NOTE: When washing in the washing machine, turn hats with pom poms inside out and jam the pom pom deep into the hat. With any luck, it'll stay that way and the strings won't get caught in anything or directly agitated, thus extending pom pom life.


Geo said...

Thanks for the fun pattern. I'm in the mood to crank out something fun and simle, so this goes into my creation plan. It's nice to run into someone who also appreciates exquisite fibers but hasn't let that enjoyment turn her into a yarn snob. Red Heart has its place in the world and makes a lot of people very happy. There's somein my eclectic stash as well, in the very same basement with fine alpaca soft enough to make one weep.

P.S. I love the color name of the yarn. Pogo is one of my nicknames, therefore I really must get acquainted with this self-striper.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Good Gal, I don't usually give two hoots about knitting, but that cap is beautiful!! The colors are gorgeous and the workmanship looks superb. I'd wear it!

BoS said...

Thanks, both of you!