February KALFH #2: Passerine Hat

Man oh man - I think 2017 might be the year of hats for me! And this weeks hat is the CUTEST thing that you ever did see: The Passerine Hat by Erica Heusser.

I can't stop loving this hat! Ok, so down to the knitty gritty of knitting this beauty! 

Getting Started

Much like last weeks hat, the Nightcap Express, this hat features a counter-color cast-on. Once I have my stitches all cast on using either the Long Tail Cast On or the German Twisted Cast On (the latter being a better option for those of us who are super tight knitters), leave a nice long tail of about 6" for weaving in your ends. This also helps when joining the main color of the hat so you have something to hold on to to keep your stitches nice and even at the beginning of round.

Holding our Yarns! 

I highly recommend taking a look at last weeks classes on how to hold your yarns - there are some great video tutorials for both English/Throwers and Continental/Pickers. The big trick of this weeks project is a) yarn dominance and b) catching long floats - cuz oh baby do we have some long floats on this hat!  

Yarn Dominance

Click to enlarge.

Yarn dominance is all about making our counter color yarns POP! The yarn BELOW is always the dominant color - which is probably somewhat counter intuitive when you think of things being "below". But because the yarn is carried below, when you do knit with it, it's a slightly taller stitch, therefore giving it an appearance of being more dominant on a swatch of knit fabric. Here's a great video to explain how it works and the impact yarn dominance has: http://tinyurl.com/gvbn7dz



Catching Floats

The general rule of thumb on knowing when you need to catch a running yarn, is if the yarn NOT being used will run for 5 or more stitches. For example (and using the colors in my sample above), if you need to knit 9 stitches in blue (our counter color yarn and dominant yarn), you'll have to carry the brown (our mail color and non-dominant yarn) behind those stitches. BUT! You don't want a float that runs 9 sts un-caught. SO! I would knit 4 sts in blue, catch the float on the 5th stitch, and then knit the remaining 4 sts in blue. The 6th stitch is actually what truly locks the caught yarn in place so be sure you're not trying to catch your yarn on the last stitch before a color change.

If the opposite was true, and the counter color needed to run behind the main color for longer than 5 sts, you'll need to catch the running yarn. But it's done a little differently depending on which color is being caught. Here's a great video to show the difference. In this video, the red would be the main color and the white would be the counter color. 

Catching floats video: http://tinyurl.com/j5prx83

Tip Time!

Many of us knitters are into symmetry and making things even. I know I tend to want to always catch a float in the middle of a run. For example, if I have to knit 7 sts, I always want to catch my floats on the 4th stitch so I have 3 even stitches on either side. This isn't a bad practice - I think it limits the number of floats. HOWEVER! You don't want to stack your floats directly on top of one another. For example: 

Row 1: You have a 7 st run so you catch your running yarn on the 4th stitch

Row 2: You have another 7 st run so WANT to catch your running yarn on the 4th stitch

Row 3: You have another 7 st run so you so you WANT to catch your running yarn on the 4th stitch...

This ends up with a lot of stacked stitches. If this were my project, I'd catch the running yarn on the 4th stitch on the 1st and 3rd row, but offset it on the 2nd row, probably by catching it on the 5th or 6th stitch. 

Wrapping it all up! 

That's about it for this project! Once the chart is complete, it's very easy to finish the hat. I wet blocked this hat over a balloon blown up to a 19" circumference and let it dry with the balloon balancing on a cup (over a heat register for speedy dry time). This isn't a very tall hat so if you use a balloon, be sure that the bottom is tapered so you don't stretch out the brim while drying. You want the brim to hang at it's natural tension rather than be stretched out so it fits nice and snug to your head. 

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!