Fringe Hatalong No. 4: Laurus by Dianna Walla

Fringe Hatalong No. 4: Laurus by Dianna Walla

Colorwork! I wanted to include some colorwork knitting in this little Fringe Hatalong Series and got in touch with my friend Dianna Walla, who has a knack for beautiful stranded designs. We agreed it would be fun to do a variation on her adorable Nordic Knitting Conference Mitts, and that we would keep the colorwork to a minimum — just enough to adorn the hat, while keeping it accessible for those of you who might be tackling colorwork for the first time. The result is this charming beanie, which we’ve named the Laurus hat, as it looks a little like a wreath around the crown of your head. I hope you love it as much as I do. And thanks so much to Dianna for the fantastic free pattern!

Laurus is written for three different head sizes and two heights — slouchy and fitted — so there are lots of options. And depending on your size and color choices, could easily suit any decade or gender. See the preview post for yarn guidance and download the pattern to get started. Remember to share everywhere with hashtag #fringehatalong.

HOW TO SWATCH FOR LAURUS

This is a stockinette hat but colorwork typically affects gauge, as people tend to knit more tightly when doing stranded knitting. So you’ll want to swatch the colorwork motif and swatch in the round, for sure. The pattern gauge is 18 sts / 4 in and the chart is 6 sts wide. So to be safe, I would cast on 4 repeats, or 24 sts, to be sure you have at least 4 inches to measure. (6 chart sts x 4 = 24) I’ve been recommending Ysolda’s tutorial for how to swatch in the round, if that’s new to you.

HOW TO KNIT FROM A COLORWORK CHART

Everything I said about lace charts hold true here — working from the bottom right corner, how to make it less intimidating, etc. So review that if needed. The obvious difference is that instead of knits and purls being charted here, it’s only the color changes. So in this case a white box is your main color (MC) and a black dot is your contrast color (CC).

COLORWORK ADVICE

Beyond the chart itself, Dianna has some great posts on her blog about colorwork knitting, which are listed right here. I also wrote a bit about the basics in Colorwork for first-timers. So hopefully those posts will all prove useful. And as always, we and the rest of your fellow knitters are happy to help, so post your questions below.

FEATURED CHARITY

For the featured charity this round, I got in touch with Robyn Devine to see what she might recommend. Robyn has a blog called She Makes Hats, and the name is an understatement. She knits hats for charities, like many people, and it’s her personal mission to knit 10,000 hats for 10,000 people in her lifetime. (As well as persuading as many people as possible to knit at least one hat for charity.) So she’s an authority on which charities are a good match for which hats. For this unisex 100% wool hat, she made what I thought was the perfect suggestion: “Hats And More for War-Torn Syria is dedicated to helping the four million Syrian refugees around the world, with a focus on sending items to the refugee camps in Jordan most often. Items are sent to the Salaam Cultural Museum, which has volunteers bring everything from hand knits to medical supplies overseas on a regular basis.” As it happens, the Salaam Cultural Museum is in Seattle, where Dianna also hails from. So if you’re inclined to donate your hat, that’s our suggestion for this round — thank you, Robyn!

DOWNLOAD THE LAURUS HAT PATTERN and remember to share your progress with hashtag #fringehatalong wherever you post. And be sure to fave/queue the pattern at Ravelry. 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!

Fringe Hatalong No. 4: Laurus by Dianna Walla

PREVIOUSLY in the Fringe Hatalong Series: Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston

.

Photos by Kathy Cadigan

Someday vs. Right Away: Fair isle practice

Someday vs. Right Away: Fair isle practice

As much as I might like to fantasize about knitting an allover fair isle sweater, it’s probably more of a never than a someday. I have no doubt that if I practiced my stranded colorwork more and got more comfortable with it, I’d also get faster, and a sweater like Windermere wouldn’t seem quite so far fetched. So what better to practice on than lovely little hats like Schuyler by Jennifer Burke (free pattern) and Fjordland by Dianna Walla?

.

PREVIOUSLY in Someday vs. Right Away: Small-scale Amanda alternatives

New Favorites: Hearth Slippers

New Favorites: Hearth Slippers

I’m having a serious case of knitting FOMO right about now. My friend Anna at Tolt enlisted my friend Dianna Walla to design a pattern using my friends at Fancy Tiger’s Heirloom Romney, and the result is the totally adorable Hearth Slippers. And now they’re all having a joint knitalong! I saw the samples when I was at Tolt and they’re even cuter in person. But I’ve been checking out the hashtag on Instagram the past few days and I’m loving all the color combos people are coming up with. Especially these two — so different. I wish I loved knitting colorwork as much as I love having knitted colorwork, because my feet would really enjoy these.

.

Blog Crush: Dianna Walla’s Paper Tiger

Blog Crush: Dianna Walla's Paper Tiger

You may or may not have seen my update to the Colorwork for first-timers post, but Dianna Walla noted (and I added) that she had just recently done a post on her blog about knitting from repeat-based charts, so it was a funny coincidence that I had used her same chart as an example in my post — and a big reminder I was behind on my surfing. I find myself catching up on blogs about once every 10 days or so at this point (woe is me!), and Dianna’s Paper Tiger is one I’m always eager to get to. You’ve heard me utter her name fairly regularly lately, with respect to her many recent patterns I admire. I haven’t been following Dianna long enough to know why it’s called Paper Tiger, but I do have the sense that her focus has shifted over the past year or two as she’s advanced her career as a knit designer. It’s hard to pinpoint, but I think what I like so much about her blog is the variety of it, and how plain-spoken she is, whether she’s talking about the biking sweater she just finished for herself, or sharing the back story on a new pattern, or giving a lesson in color dominance, or whatever the case may be. I’ve never met her, but her blog gives me that pleasant feeling that if we did meet, we would totally be friends. (And that’s from before my name turned up in some of her posts!)

.

SHOP NOTE: I’ve added a few copies of the last two issues of Pom Pom to the shop, and also got a few more of the large natural baskets, which I can’t ever seem to get enough of at one time! FYI, since I had a few questions about it, the ones I used in this post are the “small” size.

.

New Favorites: Round yoke sweaters

New Favorites: Round yoke sweater knitting patterns

There’s so much discussion of the relative merits of raglan versus set-in-sleeve sweater construction that it’s easy to forget about the raglan’s discreet, seamless cousin: the round yoke sweater. Unlike raglans, where the yoke-shaping increases or decreases* line up visibly along the seams, round-yoke sweaters have them evenly distributed around the yoke, making them all but invisible. For me at least (but I believe generally — you’ll correct me if I’m wrong), round yokes are chiefly associated with Nordic sweaters, where the round-yoke approach means the increases/decreases can be disguised within the characteristic colorwork of the yoke rather than interrupting it. But the method has its merits, colorwork or no colorwork.

Hannah Fettig recently released a small collection of round-yoked patterns, called Knitbot Yoked, and there are also a couple of great ones in yesterday’s Wool People 6 collection from Brooklyn Tweed (which of course is full of all kinds of loveliness). But ever since trying it on, I’ve been obsessed with the round-yoked cardigan from their previous collection, BT Fall ’13, which fit me around the shoulders like no other sweater I have ever had on. So these are now all on my official to-knit list:

TOP LEFT: Trillium cardigan by Michele Wang is the one I tried on and can’t step thinking about. Flat body and circular sleeves are knit separately from the bottom up, joined at the underarm, and the yoke — ringed with texture instead of colorwork — is knit seamlessly from there.

TOP RIGHT: Willard Fair Isle Pullover by Hannah Fettig is my favorite from her aforementioned Yoked collection. Top-down seamless with a minimalist’s version of colorwork. AND! It’s designed for Quince and Co.’s Owl yarn, which I’m dying to knit with.

BOTTOM LEFT: Skydottir pullover by Dianna Walla is a more traditional stranded-yoke design, showing just how beautiful a single contrast color can be. Body and sleeves are each knit circularly from the bottom up, joined at the underarm, and knit seamlessly in one piece from there.

BOTTOM RIGHT: Rook pullover by Kyoko Nakayoshi is my absolute favorite from Wool People 6. Top-down seamless with gorgeous cables and a doubled neckband.

.

*Increases if you’re knitting from the top down; decreases if you’re knitting from the bottom up.

All star crowns

All star crowns

It seems to me that one of the most interesting — and potentially fun — challenges in all of knitting is designing the crown of a hat. That is: taking whatever stitch pattern you’ve used for the tube portion of the hat and figuring out how to get it to artfully narrow to nothing within the few inches of the crown. Loads of hats avoid the issue altogether by having you, the knitter, simply stop whatever interesting thing you’ve been doing and switch to stockinette for the crown. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But I’m always wowed by designers who step up to the challenge — often making the crown the most beautiful and interesting part of the whole hat. These four great examples have floated across my screen lately, all of which happen to take a “star” approach, so I just wanted to take a moment to point at them and clap.

TOP: Tea Jenny by Kate Davies (who’s always good at crowns)
MIDDLE LEFT: Lowbrow Hat by Thao Nguyen (to go with your fave from the cowls roundup)
MIDDLE RIGHT: Gwyneth by Leah McGlone (I’m dying to knit this!)
BOTTOM: Fjordland by Dianna Walla (from Pom Pom 7)

I’m sure you’ve all got loads more examples of outstanding crowns, and I hope you’ll share them in the comments.

.

ICYMI this week is more (gift-worthy) beanies: Beautifully textured hats.