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Wonky in More Ways Than One -- Brindled Hat by Woolly Wormhead

I always like to tackle a free Knitty pattern here and there.  To be honest, I tend to pick accessories because I always find myself in a race to the finish.  It's not for any good reason, but if I like a new Knitty pattern I just feel this need to dive in and be one of the first to finish.  I don't particularly like that about myself, but it is the truth.  For instance, how often do I pick a Knitty pattern from an old issue?  Never.  Despite all of this, I had a great time with Princess Franklin by Franklin Habit:

Woolly Wormhead, the intrepid hat designer, tempted me this time with Brindled from Deep Fall 2014.  I've never made a Wooly Wormhead hat, so I thought this would be a nice free way to do it.

The hat uses a light fingering weight held double, but I wanted to try the new Rowan Finest, a luxurious blend of 50% extra fine merino, 30% royal alpaca and 20% cashmere.  I hate itchy foreheads, and this was one of the softest fingering yarns I could find!  You only have to hold it single to get gauge, and luckily they have two uber-in shades, chartreuse/yellow and a dark gray:

The wonky stripe effect is due to knitting the stripes with short rows... and that is always fun, right?

Weeeell, not so much.  Honestly guys, this is one of the few projects I was tempted to call a Ravelry "UGH!".  For those of you who don't know, that's the lowest rating you can give one of your projects.

You see, there is one big problem with this hat.  Notoriously, short rows can leave holes where you turn, but there are a million and one ways to do it to satisfy yourself.  No problemo.  WHAT THERE ISN'T, is an effective way to pick up "wraps" that were done on the wrong side, from the RIGHT SIDE when you join back in the round.  It's just physics... coming in from the other side will always be wonky, no matter whether you use fish lips, German, Japanese, wrap-and-turn, shadow... how many other short row methods have been named?!  I've lost count.

If this hat were knit flat and seamed, you wouldn't get this, I swear.  See all those holes?

The only thing I could do to fix these purl wraps was to cheat.  You will see two large loops leaning towards each other.  Just stick your needle in and pull up the slack to the left and right of those big stitches:

Not too bad really, thankfully we are saved from an embarrassing "UGH!" experience!

And what about the Rowan Finest?  Wow, what a yarn!  I've been wearing this hat for weeks and it is very very warm and soft.  There is still a tad of itch on my forehead after long wear -- I am really extremely sensitive there.  Also, the hat has no pills at all yet.  Yes, it doesn't really rub on anything like the underarm as a sweater, but I am still really impressed. 

(Do you ever see girls on the bus or train and their purchased hats/cowls/scarves have huge pill balls that you want to tear off when they are not looking?  Is that just me?)

This is definitely a luxury yarn though, as the balls are only 25g for a price.  I feel like I got a great value, though, as this slouchy striped hat only took 1 ball of each color.  I used it up to the very end, wrapping everything I had left in my friend Jen's Clover pompom device (tempted to buy one, despite the price!).  I love the extra-wonky splatter of gray in the resulting poof.  As you may know from a previous blog post, I'm a horror at pom poms!!

Ok, so the hat was fun to make (before trying to fix the holes), the yarn is fab and I wear it all the time.  So, I really shouldn't complain too much.  But my fix won't make everything perfect, so if you are picky about short row turns showing in your work, don't make the hat.  However, if you accept the wonky holes as simply an essential part of the extreme and purposeful wonkiness of this hat, go for it... you will be entertained!

In other news, I've got two whole sweaters to show you, but my brain is filled with house inspections, well water, septic tanks, no job, currency exchange dejectedness, lack of concrete financing and feverish planning for a move with no date.  A.K.A.: what happens to everyone when they move.  I can't believe I almost signed up for a test knit yesterday... I need to focus on this stuff!  It has been a blast looking through all my knitting magazine stash and paring down, though.  If any of you in Montreal are following, I have a ton of color photocopies of library book patterns and straight needles I'll be giving away.  Make sure to be somewhere I will be if you are interested in a freebie!  :)

See my Wonky Stripes on Ravelry

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  1. I have recently changed the way I do wrapped stitched for short rows, I got the technique from the Fish Lips Kiss Heel pattern. She calls it twinned stitches. My short row sock heels no longer have holes in them. Here are a couple of links to tutorials and I love how neat this approach is, plus it's really easy to do, so I pretty much use this technique in my stockinette knitting.

    1. Yeah -- unfortunately that doesn't make a difference in this hat. I tried everything at first, including twinned stitches, until I realized that the problem is *not* the method, it's the physics of coming back to pick up purled short rows on the knit side of a new round. It will never work because it is a new row worked in a spiral, you are not only dealing with the normal short row gap, but you are actually adding one whole row above, so the hole is huge. Anyway, I'm glad to know you are doing twinned stitches, that's my fave method. I call them "Shadow Short Rows" but I believe they are identical procedures.

  2. Lovely blog Dayana !! and as usual lovely tips ! :)

  3. It's a very cute hat! I'm a little surprised that the pattern had that flaw. Woolly Wormhead patterns are usually perfect. She's one of the designers you can count on for getting it right. Maybe she meant to have the holes in the hat, although that seems a little hard to believe.

    1. Welllll, to her credit, in my opinion is that there is NO way to achieve this look in the round with short rows, without holes. You could knit it flat and seam it, or make an intarsia chart for flat knitting. Intarsia in the round is possible, but you still have to purl, so that kind of makes the 'in-the-round' point moot. It's not her fault -- it's just how short rows in the round don't play nice!

  4. It looks fantastic and I loved seeing how you fix short row holes! Way to turn an UGH into a WOW!

  5. I'm glad you saved this hat to your satisfaction, because it looks great. I especially like that pompon with a splash of grey - much more personality than a solid-colored pom would have had! Thanks for the tips and the warning on short rows in the round. Now if I make this for myself, I'll try knitting it flat and seaming: probably a more effective approach for me. I would call it my Dr. Seuss hat, because it has that vibe!
    -- stashdragon

  6. Hi Dayana, I can't tell you how glad I am to have you point out that short rows done on purl sides in an in-the-round project will have holes when picked up on the knit side no matter what. I'm in the process of finishing a circular yoke sweater and it has short row shaping at the back neck. When I had knitted to whole body and picked up the sleeves I noticed that I had 3 noticable holes on one sleeve but not on the other. I was kicking myself, because I thought I'd made a silly mistake, then worked out it was only the purl-side short rows, still thought I'd made a mistake, briefly contemplated ripping out the whole thing (yeah, I'm like that when things aren't perfect), then tried to "get over it", thinking I'll double stitch over it when I'm doing my finishing. I'll definitely try your fix, although the yarn I used is fairly slippery, so I might have to double stitch. Anyway, long way of saying THANK YOU for taking the guilt/horror away from me! :D


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