wooly worsted

New Pattern: Controlled Chaos

Is there such a thing as "too much brioche"? I'm not really sure there is so let's dive in to another brioche pattern that I'm so happy to share with you. 

Originally released as a "learn to brioche" MKAL, this wonderful hat that is ALL brioche ALL the time has made many a knitter proud with their new brioche skills. 

Controlled Chaos

Some days I get to ham it up for the camera and this particular day was no exception. I was so excited about this hat I couldn't not pose like an 80's band member. 

This fun-to-knit project uses 3 skeins, one of each color in Ewe Ewe Yarns Wooly Worsted. I highly recommend Ewe Ewe for your brioche projects, especially if you're a newbie brioche-er, because it can take a ripping or two and still look fabulous. You will use ALL of the Color B (the aqua in the above photos) so when you swatch, do so with Color A (the tan color in the above photos). 

Here's the deets 'cuz I know you're gonna wanna make this: 

Materials

  • Ewe Ewe Yarns Wooly Worsted (worsted weight; 100% superwash merino wool; 95 yds / 50g skein) 1 skein each of: 
    • Wheat (Color A, Ewe Ewe Yarns Color 92)
    • Aquamarine (Color B, Ewe Ewe Yarns Color 70)
    • Orange Peel (Color C, Ewe Ewe Yarns Color 25)
  • US 6 (4mm) 16” circular needle (or DPNs)
  • US 8 (5mm) 16“ circular needle (AND DPNs)
    • Adjust needle sizes as necessary to match gauge.
  • Stitch Marker

Finished Size: 

20” brim circumference, stretches to 23” (fits average woman's head)

Gauge

15 sts and 22.5 rows = 4 inches in brioche rib after blocking

Notes

  • This hat is constructed in the round, from the brim up. A two-color cable cast-on is used to begin the hat and then is worked in brioche up through the grown of the hat.
  • Use circular needles for the construction of the hat until the circumference becomes too small; at this point switch to DPNs (or you may use DPNs for the entirety of the project).
  • This project uses the entire skein of Color B. To swatch it is recommended to use Color A.
  • I have created a collection of How To brioche videos on YouTube:  http://youtube.com/TheUnapologeticKnitterKnits

What'cha waiting for? Go grab your needles and have some brioche fun! Find the pattern here on my website or on Ravelry!

Controlled Chaos MKAL - Week 4

I have a love/hate relationship with the end of a KAL. I love it because I know that it means that we've all made something we love (at least I HOPE you love it). It also means I can start planning my next MKAL! YAY!

But I hate that we'll stop chatting about your WIPS. So here's my sad-sack plea: post your FO's in the Ravelry Spoilers thread and share the love with everyone! I can't wait to see them all! Ok? Thanks!

Week 4 Clue Release!

This week isn't a very long clue but it may take some time if you're used to knitting on the circular needle. Moving to DPNs isn't hard, just fidgety. IF you are comfortable with the Magic Loop technique you make find it easier than DPNs if you're not a DPN user. 

If you haven't been working on DPNs this whole time please remember to move the working yarn to the front each time you change needles on the BRP rounds (Rnd b) so that you can work the sl1yo properly. You don't want to start losing stitches now. 

In this final clue, we're working shaping to finish the hat. We will work in brioche until the last two rnds where we work in standard knitting to close up the gap. So here's a video on how to change from brioche back to regular knitting. 

How To: Convert Brioche to Standard Knitting

IF YOU'RE RUNNING LOW ON YARN: I know a couple of folks have said that they're running short on Color B (the color used for Rnd 'a' in the body of the hat). While, if you got gauge, you shouldn't run out of yarn, I know we all have minor tension differences so it's possible. When I knit the test hat I had 2-3 yds left. Yes, we use ALL of the skein but I would hate to tell you that two skeins were needed only to have most folks have a ball they never use... lesser of two evils and all that. So, if you're getting down to the wire and you know you're going to run out, there are two options here: 

  1. If you're using Ewe Ewe Yarns Wooly Worsted let me know and I can send you a few extra yards to tide you over. 
  2. You can finish off the hat in 1-color. You could work Rnds a and b in Color C only. It's a funky hat so the funk of using a solid color at the end won't hurt. 
  3. Ok - there's a third option - substitute Color A back in for Color B. See the above reason re: "funky".

No matter what the case - I don't want you to be high and dry without the yarn you need. 

Weaving In - Say What?

Starting with the top of the hat, where we have colors B and C cut after closing the hat: weaving in the ends is actually fairly simple. I put both threads from the top of the hat into (onto?) my tapestry needle and snug the top closed by weaving the working yarn ends through the live stitches. Next, weave those ends in carefully to hide them so that if I want to turn my hat inside out, I can. When I say "carefully" I mean I created duplicate stitches on the purl side of the work. 

I don't see any ends, do you? 

Weaving in the ends on the brioche rib can be crucial. As one of the awesome benefits of brioche is that it's fully reversible if you work it correctly (which I'm pretty sure we all have), weaving in the ends becomes very important. The method that works the best is "hiding" the ends rather than "weaving" anything. 

I tend to "hide" the ends in over 10 or so rows so I won't get the yarn pulling out when I wear it. Below the next very important note I have a video to show you how I weave in the ends on brioche.

DON'T CUT YOUR ENDS UNTIL YOU'VE BLOCKED THE HAT! Once your ends are woven in, leave the tails in place until you've blocked the hat. This way if any shifting occurs during blocking, as it can do, you won't have wonky ends that you can't weave in for being too short. So, before trimming them, block the hat!

How To: Weave in Ends on Brioche Rib

Blocking - A Tip for Hats!

I know we all love to wear our FO's right away but rarely is a project ready for wear without blocking. Some hats are ok (I might have a Sockhead hat or two lying around that was never blocked) but brioche requires it (in my not-so-humble opinion). 

HOWEVER! We don't want to stretch out the brioche too much. So, here's my recommended steps to take to help you block the hat appropriately for this fabric (put away those blocking pins now!). 

Step 1: Soak the living daylights outta that hat! Ok, that's not actually required, but you will want to wet block the hat. I have a blocking bowl that I use for hats so I don't have to run too much water in a sink or tub. Use cool water and a wool wash (my favorite is Soak). Let the hat sit for at least 15 minutes so that the fibers get fully saturated. 

Step 2: Squeeze the water out. SQUEEZE! Don't wring! I end up usually just pushing it against the side of the wash basin so I don't twist it in any way. 

TIP! If you find the hat hard to squeeze because of it's size, use a tea towel, lay the hat in the towel, roll it up, and step on it a bit. This pushes the water out without twisting anything.

Step 3: Lay the hat out flat in this crazy configuration.

Why? Well, because 2 things: the first is that this way the crown of the hat gets the much needed stretch that it should have to show off the ribbing WITHOUT stretching out the brim which was knit on smaller needles for a reason. And secondarily, it flattens out the crown which can get a bit wonky with decreases and brioche shaping.

PLEASE don't put a plate or any kind of round item in the hat. I know this is common practice for blocking hats, and I agree with it in most cases. But because of the stretchy nature of brioche, you can OVER block it and then you'll have a big ol' mess of hat on your hands. Lay it out in what looks to be a reasonable shape and size (it is a bit oblong, not fully round) and just let it dry. All. The. Way! 

Th-th-th-that's All Folks!

I don't want to post anything that spoils the hat here (although, really, we're pretty clear on what it looks like at this point, right?) so I won't post a finished picture until next week. But THANK YOU all for knitting (pardon, brioche-ing) along with me on this MKAL. It's been an absolute pleasure interacting with you all, watching your brioche skills excel, and helping you sort out issues. I hope this helped you learn enough that you're confident and can face any brioche project. 

I'll be monitoring the Ravelry Discussion Group for another week or so regularly. Beyond that if you have questions (I'm not disappearing, just won't be checking every 20 minutes or so) that you need an answer to ASAP, ear burn me. To do this enter my username in square brackets and follow it by tying the word "person" in parenthesis: [socalmeaghan](person).

Good luck with the FO's. I can't wait to see them in the Spoiler thread! 

Happy brioche-ing!!!