Sunday, 4 October 2009

Smooth striped beanie

This is for a friend who has temporarily lost her hair, due to chemotherapy. The hair will come back, but not in time for the cold weather. Not being a wig fan, so far she's been wearing scarves with a natty hat on top, but this won't really do for wind and cold. She's a considerable athlete as well as a dancer and has carried on cycling throughout the treatment, so I wanted to make something smooth and seamless and thin enough to be worn as under-headwear, underneath a cycle helmet or a warm wool hat, inside-out if necessary (chemotherapy also makes skin sensitive and we're advised against using wool).

Flat hat top
So this is cotton, specifically Aslantrends Glaciar del Cielo, 50g, 100% cotton, made in Argentina. I got it at iknit. You need a bit more than one ball to make a hat this size, which is why it ended up with these stripes. Somebody pointed out to me that it's a bit "Dennis the Menace", which I hadn't noticed but I think might be OK with the Intended Wearer. Well, I hope so. The orange is warm and cheerful and the brown is like her hair.

Tubular cast-on
The cast on is Tecknitting's ingenious and beautiful tubular cast-on for 1x1 ribbing. This cast-on has to be done flat. The way I joined it into the round was as follows:

Cast on 113 as shown and do the four setup rows. You really have to do this cast-on with an odd number of stitches, and this turns out to be useful for making a neat circular join that doesn't jog.

  • Arrange the stitches on magic loop so that the join will be in the middle of one needle and on each side of it a knit stitch is facing you, and your yarn is coming from the one on the right.
  • Slip the first stitch, then p1 k1 all the way around, stopping before the last stitch.
  • Knit this last stitch together with the one you slipped. You now have 112 stitches in single rib.
  • Continue with the ribbing and just put the tail of the yarn through the stitch at the very bottom to close up the gap, then work it away.
Then I did 52 rows in total before the decreases, adapting techknitting's jogless back join for the jogless stripes. It works just as well in 1x1 ribbing as in 2x2, you just make sure that the first of the stitches you slip is a knit and the one before it was a purl. The colour join hides behind the slipped stitch, and after blocking it really is hard to spot at all without looking inside. And also, the stripes look very elegant with no icky dots - Techknitter's method of preventing icky dots in striped ribbing is simplicity itself, and sheer genius.

Then I adapted Techknitting's instructions for a truly flat hat top. Again it works just as well in 1x1 ribbing. I left 3 rows between decrease rounds, not 2. The top gets closed with Kitchener Stitch.

Because this is cotton I worked the ends away using the skimming-in method, with very smooth results - I really like this. I can't find them.

Finally I washed it throughly with quite a bit of disinfectant in the water. Chemotherapy compromises your immune system, and she probably doesn't need my germs, or tuberculosis and goodness-knows-what-else from all the people who breathed on me on the Tube while I was knitting it. Dried it, gave it a quick blast with a steam iron, and put it in the post.

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