Wednesday, November 30, 2011

counting the days. . . .

I am amazed at how fast Christmas comes each year. Apparently faster and faster, with every passing year! But I know that this is just a common place illustration of the relativity equation. With only one Christmas season under my belt, the next one took forever to arrive. With 50-plus under my belt, they're a bit more commonplace these days. . . .

I like this season. I like it perhaps better than any other season because it brings magic and wonder back into our lives as possibilities.

In that frame of mind, I present to you this year's act of whimsy: the Christmas elf hat. Yes, I've made one for my grandson, that magical wee man!

I used Lion Brand Cotton Ease - and (giving due credit to Elizabeth Zimmerman, whose Snail Hat was a basic inspiration) -

Spirello, the Elf Hat. . . .

With size 8 double-pointed needles cast on 65 stitches and distribute amongst your needles. join and knit 5 rounds for roll-up brim.

Begin spiral pattern as follows:

Row 1: *K 10, M1 (which means= make one stitch using backward loop method), P 1, P2 tog - repeat from *.

Repeat that row 15 to 20 times - or until you wish to start decreasing. Here, suit yourself as to how fast to decrease. The fastest decrease is simply to omit the "M1" in Row 1. What I did was to start a bit slower, omitting the M1 in one Row 1, then working 4 or 5 pattern rows before again knitting a Row 1 without the M1.

Things get a bit complicated when the knit sections get down to 2 stitches and below. . . . You can either keep it to a K2, P2 tube, or continue a spiral by working K, Kf&b, P, P2tog. Decrease further as you think best - I did: K2tog, P2tog - and worked in K1, P1 ribbing for a bit before cutting the yarn and running the end through the remaining stitches and pulling tight.

I worked the ball in sock yarn, using #1 dp needles, and this pattern HERE, posted by "Em-En" at I Like Lemons.

I only increased to the K4, Kf&b stage - then knit 3 rounds - and then decreased starting with K4, K2tog. I stuffed the ball with fiberfill before the opening got too small, and then knit the remaining rows and fastened off. I also picked up the stitches directly on the hat, rather than casting on separately and then sewing the pom-pom on. . . .

I like that they will stand on their own:

And for those interested in EZ's Snail hat, you can find it in her book Knitting Without Tears - which is a game-changer for most people who knit and who've read it. . . .


Anonymous said...

Great change in the pattern....! Put the picture on my page. I had the pattern published on my page, because it is not available in german...... which is a shame.

queenie said...

Glad you like it! Sind sie Deutsch? Lovely to meet you.

Happy Christmas!

{Amanda} said...

I love this pattern, so fun! I just started decreasing...knit one row without the M1, then have done two rows regularly, with the M1. But now my spirals are no longer aligned! I'm worried that if i continue, I'll have staggered spirals throughout the rest of the hat.

Help, please :) Thank you so much!

queenie said...

Hi Amanda!

The pattern is not written all the way out - when you start to decrease (omitting a M1) then you must also decrease the number of K stitches in between the P stitches. Here, it will help if you are 'reading' your knitting - carry on starting to purl where you usually do, whether or not you are doing a M1 in that round.

Does that make sense? In any event, things do get wierd, as I noted, when the knit sections get down to two stitches. Then you can continue in a K2 P2 rib - or spiral it around and eventually decrease to a K1 P1 ribbing and then fasten off from there.

Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any more questions - and I'll hope to see your hat when you're done! All the best, queenie.

{Amanda} said...

Ooh, thank you so much for your fast response! This makes perfect sense, and I wondered if it might be the case. Just didn't want to wing it! Thankfully, I only have two rounds to take out...easy :)

My husband and I are expecting our first child this Christmas, so knitting this hat has been extra fun! Can't wait to see the finished product!

Thanks so much again!

Anonymous said...

I can't get the spirell to move, the pattern just lines up on itself. Is there a correction to the pattern I jave missed or is there something I am doing wrong? Any suggestions?
I would love to make the hat for our newborn hat program at our local hospital for the Christmas babies - but I can't get started! So frustrating.
Thanks for the help.


queenie said...

Sorry for your difficulties, Candymommy! One day I'll have to sit down and really chart this pattern out. . . . meanwhile, the way to get it to start spiraling (if it's lining up) is to just knit one more stitch and then do the yarn over etc. that should set the pattern off and get the spiral started. Let me know if that helps!

queenie said...

Further to the "can't get it to spiral" problem - with each row, make sure that the last knit stitch (of the K10 - which is then decreased to K9 - then K8 - etc., as you decrease the hat) goes into the M1 of the row below. That will keep the spirals aligned.

This is one of those patterns that would benefit from a chart!

Meanwhile, do knit on with confidence through every crisis and setback.