It pleases me greatly that so many of you have asked when the next Fringe Hatalong is. I loved having so many people knit along on the first one, the Audrey hat, and am happy you’re eager for more! So let’s talk about Hatalong No. 2:
This one is another allover textured stitch, but in this case it’s a really intriguing stitch combination I haven’t done before — and you probably haven’t either. It looks like a TON of fun, but it’s also just one combo/maneuver that repeats all the way up the hat, so I feel like it will be doable for everyone who can knit and purl. And the pattern is written out, not charted. (We’ll do charts next!) So if Audrey was a small step forward for you, this will be a fun one to try to your hand at. And if you’re a more experienced knitter, this should be plenty entertaining for you, too. Given the uniqueness of the stitch, you will want to swatch to get the hang of it (and check your gauge, of course) before you start your hat.
The pattern will again be free here on the blog, and I’ll unveil it next Thursday. Meanwhile, there’s the matter of yarn—
Because of the allover texture, I would recommend using a light color (solid, heather or light tweed) that will show off the stitch work and not compete with it. I’d steer clear of anything variegated or marled on this one. And the pattern calls for 140 yards.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Cirilia tells me the finished hat sample weighs 80g, so that’s roughly 111 yards. If you’re using the Road to China, that means you have about 19 yards to swatch with!
Recommended yarn: The pattern was just recently published but was written awhile ago for a book that was several years in the making, and the recommended yarn has since been discontinued. It’s written for the aran/heavy-worsted weight of Road to China from the Fibre Co./Kelbourne Woolens, which is a beautiful, luxurious blend of baby alpaca, silk, camel and cashmere. If you want to knit with the recommended yarn, check with your local shop to see if they still have any Road to China (not to be confused with RtC Light or RtC Lace), and if not, the good news is it’s available on Kelbourne’s website for as long as the supply holds out. Again, the hat calls for about 140 yards, so note that you’ll need two skeins in your chosen color. And if you use the code “Fringe25″ at checkout, you’ll get 25% off the RtC. (Thank you, Kelbourne!)
Suggested substitutions: I asked the designer to recommend some alternative yarns, and her suggestions included Fibre Co. Terra or Organik, Zealana Heron, and Malabrigo Rios.
Stash diving guidance: If you want to knit from stash and don’t have any of those yarns on hand, you want to look for 140 yards of something in the heavy worsted-aran range with the same baseline gauge as Road to China, which is 16-18 stitches per 4 inches. (If you don’t have the ball bands on every ball in your stash, or the band doesn’t list a baseline stitch gauge, I highly recommend looking things up in the Ravelry yarn database. You can search for pretty much any yarn on the planet and it will tell you the yardage, recommended gauge, fiber content, etc.) If you can find something with a similar fiber content, so much the better.
I took a dip into my own stash and what’s pictured above are three yarns I have handy that are in the right gauge range and I’m excited to swatch with. On the left is Purl Soho Worsted Twist, which is a heavier worsted with magnificent stitch definition. In the middle is an unspecified aran-weight merino from Camellia Fiber Co. (Not currently available BUT Craft South has several colors of her exquisite Merino Aran.) And on the right is Lettlopi, the aran-weight Icelandic yarn that comes in a multitude of colors. (Note that the first two were given to me; the third I purchased at Tolt — and don’t worry, I also have lighter colors! This one just made the best photo, ha.)
So you’ve got a week to think about what yarn you might want to use. I’ll announce the pattern next Thursday, the 16th, and we can all get started swatching the fun stitch pattern and then get knitting!