April KALFH #3: Washed Ashore hat

If you follow me on Instagram, #yearofhats is probably the hashtag I should be using! 2017 is proving to be a hat-filled year and I'm pretty darn excited about that. 

Washed Ashore by Lesley Anne Robinson

Basic... but not!

As knitters, I feel like we can appreciate the time and effort that goes into every project we create. But sometimes, its relaly  nice to find a project that flies off thte needles. And weirdly enough, this lovely hat does just that! 

Worked in two layers, you'll blaze through the inner hat and marvel at the beauty of the outer hat. 

Tips for the Inner Hat 

  • You basically knit two hats - but the inner hat is worsted weight so it knits up in just hours. It seems crazy to make an entire inner hat of which you only see the brim, but it's worth it once you work the outer layer and you can see the inner hat color popping through the lace work.
  • I made the size small and am modeling it above on a 22" circumference head. 
  • When you complete the inner hat, clip a removable marker to the brim at the beginning of round so you know where your beg of round is for beginning the outer hat.

Tips for the Outer Hat

Lesley has provided a great video on picking up the stitches which is super duper helpful! Using the removable marker that you clipped to your brim when you finished the inner hat, begin picking up the stitches per Lesley's video.

  • I found it much easier to use a crochet hook to pick up 4 stitches at a time and place it on the US 3 needle. 
  • For both sizes, you can pick up 4 stitches for every 3 on the original hat: pick up 1 stitch for each column of knit stitches you see, and then create a 4th by picking up a stitch between columns every 3 sts. 
    • For size small, you'll get exactly the right number of stitches if you work in this 4 for 3 pattern.
    • For size large, you'll be a 6 stitches short. So work 1 additional round of *k23, kfb; rep from * to end to get to the required 150 sts.
  • Once all the stitches are picked up, use a tapestry needle to thread the tail of the picked up stitches to the inside of the hat for weaving in later.
  • I found it easier to work the outer hat with the inner hat turned inside out and hanging down, outside the outer hat. 
  • BUT! When its time to cinch the top of the outer hat closed, push the inner hat back up inside the outer hat so you can attach the two layers of hat at the top by pushing the tail of the outer hat through the top of the inner hat, and weaving in the ends. 

Blocking

Due to the thickness of this hat, and therefore it's lack of "slouchiness" I recommend wet blocking this hat to your heads dimension, being careful not to block out the brim. 

So, I soaked the hat and squeezed the water out without wringing or twisting. Then I blew up a balloon to 22" circumference and put the hat over the balloon. The beautiful part of that is that the hat will fit my head comfortably, but the balloon is narrow enough at the bottom that it won't stretch out the brim. Let the balloon rest on a mug or glass and dry completely. It'll take a little longer than normal since it's 2 layers thick. I "helped" mine dry by placing the cup on top of my floor heating register. Dried in no time! ;) 

Keep in touch!

Thanks for knitting along with us on this project! If you're on social media, feel free to tag #unapologeticknitter (or use @notsorryknitter on IG) so I can see your amazing creations! I can't wait to KALFH with you! 

April KALFH #2: Deco Mug Mat

Oooh doggie I'm excited about today's project! I really enjoy brioche but haven't had a chance to play with it in quite some time. But the time has come and I got to work up this adorable mug mat in just hours! My fingers are itching to get some more brioche on my needles! 

Deco Mug Mat by Lesley Anne Robinson

That's Brioche, Baby!

Brioche is lauded as a "scary" technique, or something that a noob knitter can't do. WRONG! (in my opinion). Sure, it's maybe not the first thing you should try when you pick up knitting needles for the first time, but like any skill, if you practice, you will overcome! And this lovely little mug mat is just the ticket for learning brioche! 

I actually believe that 2-color brioche is easier to learn than one color because you can see what the columns are doing. When the RS is facing, your brk (brioche knit) stitches will look like V's, just like standard knitting (the brown yarn in the above photo), and your brp (brioche purl) stitches will look kind of like W's - or really wide V's with a purl bump in the middle (the variegated yarn in the above photo). 

Basic Brioche Stitches:

  • brk - brioche knit (read as: ‘bark’): knit the stitch together with its wrap.
  • brp - brioche purl (read as: ‘burp’): purl the stitch together with its wrap.
  • sl1yo - slip 1 with yarn in front, yarn over: this combination of actions is what creates the wrapped stitch, which is the basis of brioche.
    • Sl1yo after a brk or knit stitch: bring working yarn to the front between the needles, slip next stitch purlwise, then move the working yarn over the RH needle and the slipped stitch to the back, as if to yarn over; the working yarn is now in position to brk (or knit) the next stitch.
    • Sl1yo after a brp or purl stitch: leaving the working yarn in the front, slip next stitch purlwise, then move the working yarn over the RH needle and the slipped stitch and around to the front of the work between the needles, as if to yarn over; the working yarn is now in position to brp (or purl) the next stitch.

Video Support!

I have a slew of How to Brioche videos on YouTube. Please be kind. They were made a few years ago and were the first videos I ever made. I may have used the wrong word here or there but for the most part, you should find them quite helpful. Here is a full list of videos for each of the skills used in this project:

Tips and Tricks for the project

Brioche in general

Brioche is simply a combination of slipped stitches and YO's worked simultaneously. The three tips I tell people are as follows:

  1. If you see an unwrapped stitch, give it a wrap.
  2. If you see a wrapped stitch, take away the wrap (by knitting or purling the stitch and it's wrap together). 
  3. When working the slipped stitch and YO simultaneously, the working yarn should always be in the front. So If you're knitting, bring the working yarn to the front before slipping a stitch. If you're purling, lucky you, the working yarn is already in front! 

The Cast On

This pattern begins with a Super Stretchy Slipknot cast-on. There is a link right in the pattern to video support which is awesome. I, however, chose to do a German Twisted Cast-On instead since I know my tension is loose enough. I recommend trying both techniques and choosing the one that suits you best. 

The reason I chose the German Twisted is because I know that MY brioche tension is super floopy. Yep - floopy. It's just far looser than I like so the German Twisted, while stretchy, gives me a bit of control over that bottom edge by being a nice structured cast-on. 

If you're unfamiliar with the German Twisted Cast on, here is a video tutorial to get you going: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_FbiKdetFk

Needle Size

I also changed needle sizes. I know that my gauge in brioche is quite loose so I worked the project on a US 6 instead of a US 7. 

Row 5 MS CC

Row 5 using the Counter Color (i.e.: the row that we work brp's) is the first time we encounter processing stitches after an increase. As you come to the 3 stitches created on the previous row, worked as brkyobrk, process these 3 sts as (sl1yo, p1, sl1yo). You will process brkyobrk's this way on all CC rows.  

Weaving in those pesky ends!

Ugh... I LOATHE having to weave in ends, but it's all part of the knitting game, isn't it? But guess what? Weaving in ends on brioche is the EASIEST. For serious - I wish weaving in ends on all other knit fabrics was this easy. 

I've got a quick video on weaving in ends so that your fabric will look tidy on each side.  Just remember: weave in the CC with the RS facing; weave in the MC with the WS facing. 

Video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah3u0p6rdRg

Finishing

I wet block all of my brioche - I feel that it gives the project the best chance to smooth out an inconsistencies in the fabric. Just be aware that brioche, when wet, looks CA-RAZY! It stretches out a ton and you'll feel like your work is ruined. But fear not, my brioche-y friends. As the fabric dries and the yarn shrinks back up, your project will be bouncy and delightful. I soaked my mug mat, squeezed the water out (without wringing or twisting it) and laid it flat to dry - without pins! I feel that this gives the fabric the best chance of snugging back up to its original shape. 

If you like to pin things out, go for it! Lesley has a wonderful pictorial in the pattern to show you how to pin out the project. And that's why we love Lesley! 

Keep in touch!

Thanks for knitting along with us on this project! If you're on social media, feel free to tag #unapologeticknitter (or use @notsorryknitter on IG) so I can see your amazing creations! I can't wait to KALFH with you! 

Product Review: Knit Crate April 2017

Can I get a shout out for not-fingering-weight projects?! WOOOOOT!

Ok, now that's out of my system, I should back up and say that I do love me some fingering weight yarn. I have more of it than I'll ever use in this lifetime, and continue to buy  more because it's what indie dyers tend to work with. BUT! Every once in a while it's nice to work with an instant-gratification yarn, which is exactly what showed up in my April Knit Crate box. 

Oh, the YARNS!

Vocabulary Yarns is a new-to-me dyer and let's just say they're speaking my language - my COLOR language. This box showed up and in it were yarns in my two favorite colors - teal and orange. Wow! We've got Cara Cara Orange and Hawaiian Ice on the Delicate Base which is a 3-play, 100% superwash merino Aran base. 

Naturally, the package comes with two project options that are fabulous. I feel like the project opportunities are endless with 181 yds of each color. Fingerless mitts? A cowl? Mmm... so much colorful goodness!

The treat!

Every knitter loves treats, amiright?! I'm right. And this months' treat is an adorable block of handmade sheep milk soap from Maple Hill Farm. And it smells gooooooood! It's not too often that I don't sniff yarn (c'mon... you know you do it, too!) but this month, I smelled the whole box. I just opened it and was greeted with a fresh smell of mint and rosemary. Deee-lightful! 

Also - check out their website - it has the cutest family photo introducing themselves. It's so sweet. 

Doing Good!

A business for Butterfly Boxes is also included. The full rundown on this amazing non-profit is included in last months Knit Crate review post. You gotta love a company like Knit Crate that cares about giving back. 

Love this Crate? Go get it!

If you love this kit, you've got two weeks left to order your very own (until April 30th). Once they're gone, they're gone, and the May boxes will be up for grabs!

How do you get one? Click this link: http://mbsy.co/gR3nS

At this link, you can choose from this months' Knit Crate, or a selection of other crates (Beginners, Socks, and Newbies and CROCHET, too!) that you can order by the month (a one-time purchase), 3-months, or even a full years subscription. And yes, the multi-order plans are discounted! Woot! 

And, just 'cuz I love you guys (and the Knit Crate folks love me) I have a discount code to share with you, should you decide to purchase the April Box. Just use UK20 at checkout and you can save 20% on your Knit Crate. I mean... does it get any better than that?! Nope... didn't think so.

So... why are you still here?

Go get your Crate. Save some $$ with UK20 and get to knitting with some incredible yarns (and patterns, of course). Thanks for stopping by! More knitting goodness is coming your way, soon!

Oh! And did I mention?! If you snap a photo of your Knit Crate and share it on social media with #KNITCRATE and #UnravelYourKNITCRATE you're entered to win a $50 Knit Crate gift card?! Yep... that's more than a month's box worth. Double 'woot'!