February KALFH #3: Hashtag Cowl

One of my first forays into colorwork was a mosaic knitting project - so it's fitting that I now get to share a mosaic project with you! And although this pattern wasn't specifically written for either gender, I think this cowl looks beautiful on both a man and a woman. 'Course, I'm probably slightly biased since this sexy man is my hubby.

Hashtag Cowl by Cheryl Faust

Mosaic what?

So Mosaic Knitting is also known as Slip Stitch knitting. It's always with two colors and can be worked flat or in the round (though I more often see ITR than flat). But what's really fun about this type of knitting is that only one color is worked on any given round so there's no floats to catch and carry. All the color changes are done at the beginning of the round. 

Is it hard?

Nope, not at all. In fact, if you've ever done any stranded colorwork, you're going to find this laughably easy! Here's a really great overview video about the technique of mosaic knitting in general. It talks about how to read charts and how the colorwork is created when only 1 color is worked on any given row:

It's all about the chart!

The best part about Mosaic knitting is the charting - it's so visual. The colors in the chart very clearly show what your work should look like so there's no guessing if you've made a mistake. Essentially, every second row is a repeat of the first (at least in the case of this design) - the only difference is that rather than knitting, you'll be purling, to create the ultra-cushy garter stitch fabric. 

Tips on the cowl

This is an incredibly well-written pattern with links to helpful tutorials and notes that take all the guesswork out. I just have a few little tips to help you work your way through the project: 

  • You'll only need to work the Jogless stripe technique when you change colors in the ribbing at the beginning and end of the project! You won't need to do it anywhere else in the pattern.
  • At each color change as you work through the chart, cross your yarns inside the cowl in the same direction each time! This will catch the yarn so you don't have to cut at each color change, and locks the  yarns in place so you don't have loose-y goose-y yarns inside the cowl to catch earrings on (the worst!)
  • On the even rounds (the purl rounds) when working the colorwork chart, remember to move the working yarn to the back when you slip stitches to avoid running threads on the front of your work.
  • Each even round is worked exactly the same as the odd round before it - just purled! So you only have to count sttiches on the odd numbered rounds. 

Wrapping it all up! 

And that's all there is to it! Once the chart repeats are complete, you work the same ribbing that you started the project with. Easy peasy, right?!

To block the cowl, I recommend using the steam method. Wet blocking is a great option but in my soggy part of the country, with the cushiness of the fabric, it just takes far too long to dry for my impatient self. So! To avoid creases where the cowl folds, I recommend using either old paper towel or wrapping paper tubes, or, in a pinch, SOCKS! When you steam the edges, if you have a rounded object inside, you won't get a crease so that the cowl hands nice and drapey when you wear it. 

If you're unfamiliar with steam blocking, here's a little video from Very Pink Knits. She's demonstrating on a flat piece of work, but it'll give you a sense of how to hold the iron - don't touch it to the yarn:

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! 

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:



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:

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!