18 March 2006

Snail Hat

As promised, here is the pic of the snail hat I made with the two strands of Lopi, the pattern for which is in Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Without Tears. It makes a really neat little hat and the design is quite simple. I did make a few minor modifications to the pattern as she wrote it, though, so I thought I'd give a little technical info on what I did.

The original pattern calls for a cast on of 50 stitches, 5 rows knit back and forth, then increasing to 75 stitches before joining in the round. Because I wanted to do this as a child's hat and because 75 stitches at 2.5 st/in would give a fully opened diameter of 30 inches, I started instead with 40 stitches, then did 3 rows knit back and forth before increasing to 60 stitches & joining. This should fit a child readily, and even fits comfortably on my big head (It tried to take a pic of that, but I didn't like the results and trashed it, so there).

Then instead of doing 25 rounds in pattern, I cut it short by 2 and did 23 rounds before starting decreases. The decreases were done according to the directions until the very end, where she didn't give any real detail on finishing. Because I was a bit worried about things becoming a bit unbalanced if the number of purl stitches exceeded the number of knit stitches, once I was down to three purl and three knit stitches on each of my four dpn's, I decreased as follows:

*p2 tog twisted, p2 tog, k2*, repeat to end of round
*p2 tog twisted, ssk*, repeat to end of round
ssk four times

This maintained balance between knit & purl stitches & kept the twist going to the left. P2 tog twisted is not easy to do, but I find that this method works best for me: put the right hand needle through the back loops of the two stitches & slip them onto the right needle, then insert the left needle through the loops & behind the right needle & purl together. This keeps you from having to use your right hand to pull the loop through towards your left, which is exceedingly awkward.

Once I got through all that and was down to 4 stitches, I decided to add a bit of I-cord on top to do a top knot à la Ken's Dulaan Hat, as I think it adds a little extra whimsy to the finished piece. Most importantly, though, it should keep a Mongolian child's head very warm.


City Wiccan said...

What an awesome hat! I've never seen anything like it! What a lucky little child who will receive it! Hopefully they won't fight over it. :)

knittingboykit said...

it's so cute! i might have to make one =) as i seem to be on a hat thing, too!

sko_G knits said...

omg, i saw this hat in the Scarves, Hats, & Gloves section of the MenWhoKnit site, and i have to say it's absolutely gorgeous. the combination of the pattern and the colorway you chose is just right on. i think i am going to have to buy EZ's book just for this one pattern!!