Fringe Hatalong No. 3: Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston

Fringe Hatalong No. 3: Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston (free pattern)

The Shetland Trader Book TwoI’ve mentioned not once but twice how much I admire and want to knit Gudrun Johnston’s Hermaness hat, from her beautiful collection The Shetland Trader – Book Two. When I thought about how much I wanted us all to knit a quick and simple lace hat this summer, Hermaness was all I could think about, but it’s fingering weight. So I asked Gudrun what she thought, and she generously worked up a worsted-weight version and has made it available to us as a free pattern for Fringe Hatalong No. 3! Just click to download the Hermaness Worsted pattern PDF.

I ADORE it at this chunkier gauge and hope you’ll love it as much as I do. As I mentioned in the preview, this is very simple lace, so if you’re a seasoned lace knitter you can do it in your sleep. If you’re a lace first-timer, it’s an absolutely perfect place to start! And if you don’t believe me, try swatching it — it’s important to swatch anyway, and it’ll be good practice before you start in on the real hat. I’ve got lots of how-to advice below, and the whole Hatalong community will be happy to help if you have any questions or trouble along the way!

If you prefer the fingering-weight version, you can buy that one individually at Ravelry or buy the book. You’re welcome to knit either Hermaness or Hermaness Worsted for the knitalong. Remember to share everywhere with hashtag #fringehatalong.

Fringe Hatalong No. 3: Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston (free pattern)HOW TO SWATCH FOR
HERMANESS WORSTED

Gauge for the pattern is 22 sts per 4 inches in the lace pattern, and it’s an 8-stitch repeat. So if you cast on three repeats [3×8] that’s 24 sts, which should get you 4 inches of knitting to measure. You do need to swatch “in the round” and you’ll need a couple of stitches on either side of the lace to keep it intact and measurable. So I cast on 30 sts: 3 in stockinette, 24 in the lace stitch, and 3 more in stockinette. Target row gauge is 29 rounds per 4 inches, so I worked 30 chart rows: 1-20, then 1-10 again. Block before you measure since lace, of all things, changes once it’s resting.

As far as how to measure this one, Gudrun’s advice is to pick an identifiable spot in the lace to measure from — either a yarnover or a psso — and measure to a spot that is 8 or 16 or 24 sts away from that. For instance, if I measure from the left edge of the left-most yarnover in my swatch to the equivalent yarnover two repeats away (16 sts away) I get 3 inches. 16 sts divided by 3 inches is 5.33 sts per inch. Multiplied by 4 inches is 21.32 sts, so my gauge is slightly bigger than Gudrun’s 22 sts. The body of the hat is worked over 120 sts — at 5.33 sts per inch, that’s a 22.5-inch hat, so I’ll need to go down one needle size. Make sense? Ask questions below if not.

(For further thoughts on the why and how of swatching, see How to knit a hat, part 2: Gauge and size.)

How to knit from a chartHOW TO KNIT FROM A CHART

A chart is simply a picture of the right side of a piece of knitted fabric, with each stitch mapped out. They can be infinitely easier to mentally process than long strings of written-out instructions, and yet charts can seem intimidating when you’re new to them. I think the most important thing to keep in mind right off the bat is that we only knit one row at a time, so if you only look at one row, it will seem instantly less scary! It’s a good idea to use a post-it note or piece of washi tape (or the thousand other really great suggestions people will make in the comments) to track which row you’re working on. Some people stick it below the row they’re working; some stick it above. Do whatever makes the most sense to your own brain — there’s no right or wrong. I’m a post-it-below person, but for the sake of reducing the chart to just Row 1 for you, I stuck it above for this photo. See how much more digestible that is? Go ahead and print out the PDF or have it open on your screen so you can see the whole thing and the legend while we talk about how to work it.

We knit from right to left and each new row is created on top of the one before it, so you’ll see a little number 1 at the bottom right corner of any chart — that’s where you start. Generally speaking, an empty square is a knit stitch, and a square with a black dot in it is a purl stitch, of which there are none in this particular chart. For any symbols you don’t recognize (you’ll memorize the basic ones the more charts you use), there’s always a legend telling you what each symbol means. I classify this as a simple chart for three reasons: 1) it’s only 8 stitches wide, 2) there are only three kinds of stitches (knits, yarnovers and that broom-looking thing we’ll get to in a minute), and 3) there are only three different stitch sequences. At least in the main chart.

Row 1 of this chart tells you to knit the first two stitches, then that broom-y thing (consulting the legend plus the abbreviations list if needed) means “sl1kw (slip 1 stitch knitwise, or “as if to knit”), k2tog (knit 2 together) and psso (pass the slipped stitch over),” then knit two more stitches, yarnover (wrap your yarn once around your needle), knit one, yarnover. You can totally handle those eight stitches — just take them one at a time — and then you simply repeat the sequence until you reach the end of the round. Row 2 is all knit stitches! And then you’ll notice Row 3 is exactly the same as Row 1 — nothing new to learn. In fact, all of the even numbered rows are just knit every stitch, and the odd rows 1 through 9 are all the same. Then the odd rows from 11 through 19 are the same three stitches just in a different order. So like I said, there are only three different stitch sequences in the whole body of the hat, one of which is just knit every stitch. Plus the whole chart repeats, as indicated by the red border. (In some cases there might be stitches on either side of the chart that don’t repeat, but there’s none of that here.)

The other reason this is a great first lace or chart project is that a hat is knitted in the round, which means every row/round is worked from the right side. Since we’re never turning the work and working a wrong-side row, we never have to imagine ourselves behind the chart, like you do when you’re knitting flat. We’ll tackle that some other time! For now, just take pleasure in working every chart row from right to left, exactly as pictured in the chart. By the time you get to the Crown Shaping Chart, you’ll have chart-reading licked.

TROUBLESHOOTING

Stitch markers are your friend. I’m a perfectly competent knitter but I have a very short attention span and I also watch TV while I knit (sometimes with subtitles!) so I find it very helpful to place a marker between each repeat. In other words, when you get to row one of the chart, work the 8 stitches of the chart, count that you have 8 sts on your right-hand needle, and place a marker. Then work the 8 sts again, pm, etc, all the way around. Make sure your Beginning of Round marker is different in size, color or something so you know where your round ends and a new one begins. And then be careful, in this case, that the yarnover next to a marker doesn’t try to pop over the marker.

As is counting. Now as you work your way through the chart, if you ever find yourself with more or less than 8 sts between your markers, you’ll know right away that you’ve done something wrong.

Those knit rounds are saviors. If you do make a mistake, just take a deep breath and look at what you’ve got between your markers as compared to what the chart says you should have. Tink back as needed and straighten it out. And if you can’t figure it out — or you spot a mistake in an earlier row — rip back to a knit round. If you rip out a lace round, the one before it will have been all knit stitches, which are much easier to put back on your needle so you can start again. No need to panic about trying to put lace stitches back on your needles!

A lifeline might help you sleep. I think the knit-stitch rows are really all the safety net you need in this case, but some of you might like a lifeline just for good measure. To create a lifeline, you simply thread a length of smooth waste yarn (cotton is best) onto a tapestry needle and run it through a full round of stitches on your needle, being careful not to split your yarn in the process. Why would you do this? If you need to do a big rip, you just rip back to the lifeline and it will hold that row of stitches safe for you to slip your needle back into. So perhaps you want to place one after every five or ten successfully completed rounds. Then just pull it out when you’re all done.

Fringe Hatalong No. 3: Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston (free pattern)

DOWNLOAD THE HERMANESS WORSTED HAT PATTERN and remember to share your progress with hashtag #fringehatalong wherever you post. I’ll be on the lookout for photos everywhere, and will be answering questions posted in the comments below. (Sorry, I’m not able to reliably answer questions across multiple platforms!)

I can’t wait to see your hats!

And make sure to save/fave it on Ravelry: Hermaness Worsted

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PREVIOUSLY in the Fringe Hatalong Series: No. 2 L’Arbre by Cirilia Rose

Hatalong No. 3 PREVIEW

Fringe Hatalong No. 3 PREVIEW

Hooray, it’s getting to be time for another Fringe Hatalong! I’m teasing you today, of course, but this time I’m being a little more revealing than before — by showing you my Actual Swatch in advance of the pattern reveal. (If you recognize it, please keep it under your, uh, hat!) I will say that a swatch does not do justice to the finished hat — it is a truly gorgeous hat — but I wanted to give you a heads-up that it’s lace this time! My kind of lace, though, nothing frilly or fancy. Just a nice, tasty Shetland stitch that’s infinitely simpler than it looks. And it’s also charted — but it is a tiny, very simple chart, and I am going to walk you through it. It’s only 8 stitches wide and with just three different non-complicated stitch combinations, and you will see that it is totally doable even for advanced beginners. (If you’ve knitted lace before, you’ll be able to do this one in your sleep.)

All lace means is fabric with strategically placed holes in it, and all you do to make a hole is a yarnover — just wrap the yarn around the needle. If you’re a newer knitter, chances are you’ve done that lots of times unintentionally! This time we’ll do it intentionally, according to the aforementioned chart. So this will be a wing-stretcher for some of you, but how better to learn charts and lace than with a really simple project in the company of lots of helpful friends? Go ahead, dip that toe in the water!

I’ll post the pattern and kick things off next Thursday, June 18th! So be ready.

Recommended yarn: The pattern is written for Brooklyn Tweed’s worsted-weight Shelter. I will tell you that the sample is knitted in Sweatshirt, that perfect grey, and a lot of you are going to want yours to be exactly like the sample. It is so good. Shelter is available at all of these lovely stores as well as directly from BT’s website. You will need 1 skein if you don’t intend to swatch. If you do want to swatch (and I recommend you do), pick up a second skein. The hat uses 45 of the skein’s 50 grams (126 of the 140 yards in a skein). Shelter will be an especially good choice for anyone who’s nervous about this — it’s a “sticky” yarn which means if you do have any trouble and need to do a little ripping or repairing, you can feel good about the stitches staying put even when you slide them off your needle.

Suggested substitutions: If for whatever reason you won’t be using Shelter, some good tweedy worsted alternatives would be Quince and Co Owl, Harrisville Highland and Cascade 220 Heathers. For a non-tweed in a solid or semi-solid color try Quince and Co Lark, or Sincere Sheep Bannock (or her new Cormo Worsted!), or any of the hundreds of great worsted-weight yarns out there with good stitch definition (i.e. a nice multi-ply yarn). Again, you need approximately 126 yards for the hat, so if you want to swatch, make sure you’re buying enough to cover that. Many worsteds come in 220-ish yard skeins, so you’ll have plenty to work with in that case.

(If you plan to donate your hat to any of the chemo patient charities, remember to use a really, really soft yarn.)

Are you excited? I seriously can hardly wait to get started on this one. Big reveal right here next Thursday.

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PREVIOUSLY in the Fringe Hatalong Series: No. 1 – Audrey and No. 2 – L’Arbre

A L’Arbre … for my niece

A L'Arbre hat ... for my niece

As I was watching the rainbow of L’Arbre hats appear on the #fringehatalong feed on Instagram, I was debating what color I wanted mine to be. The icy blue ones are killing me, but so are all the jewel-toned ones from the Road to China palette. I’d decided in the swatch phase that I’d be using Purl Soho’s Worsted Twist, of which I have several colors in my stash. (Thanks to the nice people at Purl who sent me that bag last year.) When it came time to cast on, I grabbed the palest pink for some unknown reason. As I was knitting it, I just kept thinking how much my littlest niece would love this hat, not knowing I’d be seeing her again before it was even done.

Bob’s birthday is today, and late last week we decided a spontaneous road trip was in order. So we drove to Savannah, spent a night at a Georgia beach, and then drove to my sister’s house in Florida the following day. She and her husband are away, but the kids are here with my parents. And as predicted, the little miss fell in love with the pink hat. I asked her if she’d model it for me when I finished it, and she thought it needed a flower and to be hers. And so it is.

Once again, it’s been fun to knit along with so many of you. I especially love all the comments from people who would have shied away from this stitch pattern and were thrilled to find it so simple and satisfying. I want to say a huge THANK YOU again to Cirilia Rose and the fine folks at STC Craft for giving us this pattern for the knitalong! If you haven’t cast on yet, there’s plenty of time! I’ll announce the next Fringe Hatalong Series pattern pick in June, and I’ll tell you in the meantime that it’s a very simple little lace pattern. So if you’ve never done a yarnover (on purpose) or knitted from a chart, this will be a good chance. But meanwhile, keep those Audrey and L’Arbre hats coming! And keep tagging them #fringehatalong so everyone can see.

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PREVIOUSLY in Fringe Hatalong Series: No. 2: L’Arbre by Cirilia Rose

New Favorites: The hats of BT Men Vol 2

New Favorites: The hats of BT Men Vol 2

Yesterday Brooklyn Tweed released BT Men Volume 2, and my favorite patterns are the two beautifully cabled, perfectly unisex hats. Crag by Jared Flood, up top, features the most gorgeous staggered, interlocking horseshoe cables. Snare by Norah Gaughan, bottom, has more of a twisty-twining cable pattern that also looks like a lot of fun to knit. And thankfully both are written for worsted-weight Shelter so they’ll be just what I like a hat to be: quickly, deeply satisfying.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: the Purl Bee three

Fringe Hatalong No. 2: L’Arbre by Cirilia Rose

Fringe Hatalong No. 2: L'Arbre Hat by Cirilia Rose #fringehatalong

Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads by Cirilia RoseThank gawd today is here because the suspense has been killing me! Finally I can tell you that the hat pattern for Fringe Hatalong No. 2 is Cirilia Rose’s L’Arbre Hat — from her beautiful book Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads — which I’ve been wanting to knit since I first laid eyes on it. (You can see the full range of patterns included in this book on Ravelry.) Major thanks to Cirilia and the fine folks at her publisher, STC Craft, for making the hat available to us for the knitalong.

Click here to download the free pattern. Be sure to post your progress here, there and everywhere with hashtag #fringehatalong. And for newer knitters, see my two-part How to Knit a Hat tutorial: Part 1. Anatomy Lessons and Part 2. Gauge and size.

“Arbre” is French for tree and the hat features a stitch pattern called Little Tree, which is just knits and purls and — now that I’ve swatched I can say this for certain — so much fun to knit! As I mentioned in the preview post last week (which contains yarn suggestions and a discount code for the recommended yarn, so if you missed that go look) you will definitely want to swatch for this hat — both to get the hang of the stitch pattern and to measure your gauge, because if you’re working this stitch tightly at all, that will affect the outcome. You’ll also want to block it because it does create a sort of corrugated fabric that relaxes when blocked, so measuring without blocking will give you a deceptive measurement. Below you can see the difference in my swatch before and after blocking. (For the record, this swatch is knitted with Purl Soho Worsted Twist from my stash — Purl sent me several colors awhile back and I’m debating! But I’m exactly on gauge.)

How to swatch for the L'Arbre Hat #fringehatalong

HOW TO SWATCH FOR L’ARBRE

The pattern is written for a heavy-worsted/aran weight yarn, and the stated gauge is 18 sts over four inches. (Recommended needle size is 5mm/US8, but you should use whatever needle size gets you the correct gauge.) And gauge is given in the Little Tree pattern stitch, so that’s what you need to knit your swatch in. You will need to “swatch in the round” — here’s a good tutorial if you haven’t done that before. And be sure to knit your swatch with the same needles you’ll be knitting the hat with. Your gauge will be different if you switch from bamboo to metal, etc.

You need your swatch to be at least 4 inches wide in order to measure it correctly. This particular stitch pattern is a multiple of 8 stitches (k5, p3, repeat) and we know the pattern says 18 sts is meant to be 4 inches. So we need to cast on a multiple of 8 that is greater than 18 to be sure we’ve got four inches of knitting. In addition to edge stitches being messy and unmeasurable in an in-the-round swatch, you won’t be able to work this stitch pattern from the first stitch with this method. To be really safe, cast on 36 stitches: 32 for the stitch pattern (4 repeats) plus two extra stitches at each edge, which I’ve just worked as knit stitches. So knit the first two stitches, work Row 1 of the pattern stitch four times, then knit the last two stitches. Proceed to work through the four rows of the pattern stitch, and repeat those four rows until you have several inches of knitting. Ideally you would swatch at least four inches high as well to measure row gauge. I’m trying to conserve yarn so am taking my chances and will measure row gauge on the actual hat once I get to four inches.

Once you’ve got a big enough swatch, bind off and block it, then lay a ruler across the middle four inches and count the stitches. A stitch pattern like this makes it really easy to count, because each 5- and 3-stitch section is easy to see and add up. Even in my photo above where the ruler is not directly on the swatch, you can see there are 18 stitches between the 0″ and 4″ marks on the ruler — 5+3+5+3+2.

How to knit the L'Arbre Hat by Cirilia Rose #fringehatalong

HOW TO WORK THE LOOSE STRAND

Like I said, this pattern is just knits and purls but there is one nifty, simple little maneuver that creates the “tree” pattern. On Row 2 of the stitch pattern, you slip five knits with your yarn in front — so it’s sticking out the front of your work five stitches over — then lay the yarn across those five stitches, moving it between the needles and to the back of the work in order to knit the next stitch. If you pull that strand too tight, it will cause your stitches to cinch or bunch up in the final fabric. So the trick is keeping the width of that strand loose and even. My advice is to spread out the five stitches on your right-hand needle to their natural width, then lay the yarn across them so they accurately determine the width of your strand, as pictured above. If the stitches are bunched up on your right needle, chances are your strand will be too short, and vice versa.

Then on Row 4 of the stitch pattern, you’re told to “work the loose strand.” All you do, when you get to that stitch, is insert your right needle under the strand and then into the next stitch on your left needle, as pictured here. Wrap the yarn around the needle as usual, and pull it back through both the stitch and the strand, letting the stitch drop off your left needle. And voilà, the strand is now behind the stitch you just knitted. Magic!

ERRATA!

Whether you’re working from the book or the PDF here, note that there is one small error: Under SHAPE CROWN / RND 1, where it says “k4″ it should say “k1, p3″ — that will preserve the garter stitch section correctly on that row.

Also, the PDF includes the coordinating mitts pattern (bonus!), but it’s missing the instructions for completing the thumbs after the stitches have been set aside. If you’ve knitted mitts before, you won’t have any trouble figuring out how to finish them!

S2KP2

There is one abbreviation in the crown decrease section that’s in the back of the book and didn’t make it into the PDF. Here’s how to work it: “Slip the next 2 stitches to the right-hand needle as if to knit 2 together, k1, pass the 2 slipped stitches over.”

FEATURED CHARITY

As I’ve mentioned before, part of my goal for this Fringe Hatalong Series is to highlight worthy charities that take hat donations. You may be planning to knit this hat for yourself — totally cool! — or you may be one of those knitters who deliberately knit more hats than you can use, with the intent to donate them. For this installment, I’m featuring Halos of Hope, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide hats to cancer patients. With the density of the textured stitch in this pattern and the incredibly soft recommended yarn, I think L’Arbre seems like a great “chemo cap.” So if you are inclined to donate your hat, give Halos of Hope a look. You can find a donation location here, and I believe they’ll also be at Stitches South next weekend, as will we!

DOWNLOAD THE L’ARBRE HAT PATTERN and remember to share your progress with hashtag #fringehatalong wherever you post. I’ll be on the lookout for photos everywhere, and will be answering questions posted in the comments below. (Sorry, I’m not able to reliably answer questions across multiple platforms!)

Happy knitting!

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PREVIOUSLY in the Fringe Hatalong Series: No. 1 Audrey by Jessie Roselyn

Hatalong No. 2 PREVIEW

Fringe Hatalong No. 2 PREVIEW and yarn notes

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!

Someday vs. Right Away: Fingering-weight lace

Someday vs Right Away: Fingering-weight lace

I’ve seen numerous versions of Carol Feller’s Carpino lately — in a host of different colors and yarns — and the more I see it, the more I want one. Also, the more worsted and bulky sweaters I make, the more I realize: If I’m going to insist on making all of my own sweaters, eventually I’ll need to break down and knit some thinner ones (from the perspective of my wardrobe needs and my limited closet space). But with my short attention span and dearth of knitting time — think how long it already takes me to finish a sweater! — it’s just impossible to imagine. There’s a theory that your hands move faster when knitting with smaller needles and finer yarns, and I like to think there’s some validity to that. But the only way to know for sure it so knit something in fingering, right? I’m tempted by these simple little hats as guinea pigs: Hermaness by Gudrun Johnston and Celine by Cecily Glowik MacDonald, which is actually a linen hat. So lovely.

Writing this, I just suddenly had an urge to knit Carpino in linen. Would that be amazing?

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PREVIOUSLY in Someday vs. Right Away: Fair Isle practice