Thursday, June 12, 2014

New pattern: Beeswax hat

I have a new hat design out, and I'm extra-super-proud of this one!
The Beeswax hat is a knitted expression of my honeybee obsession...

I wanted to create a knitted honeycomb texture that showed the back-to-back double layer of natural honeycomb, and I made a few sketches to help me understand its structure. I found inspiration in photos taken by beekeepers, including this gallery by an Australian couple. I also sketched some simple bees, based on my own bee photos (you can find a few on my blog here).

The yarn I chose is from Vintage Purls, one of my very favourite indie yarn-dyers. Vintage Purls 'Max' is a DK-weight merino/nylon sock yarn - it's very soft and bouncy, and comes in wonderful rich colours. I used two-thirds of a skein for this hat, in the colourway 'Easy Rider'.

The Beeswax hat features:
  • a double-layered honeycomb texture, which emerges naturally from the ribbing
  • instructions for knitting mini-cables without a cable needle 
  • crown decreases integrated into the honeycomb pattern
  • one (very stretchy) size, with tips for re-sizing
  • both charted and written instructions 
  • requires less than one skein of smooshy DK-weight yarn

While swatching and test-knitting this hat, I learned a new method for doing cables without a cable needle. I greatly prefer it to my old method of holding onto the stitch with my thumb and forefinger, which was pretty awkward with my yarn-in-right hand knitting style.

My new favourite method is called the 'slip and switch' method in the article, 4 ways to mini-cable. I found Lee Meredith's twisted stitches tutorial really helpful too (it has step-by-step photos and a video).
It's a great method because if you've memorised which way the basic k2tog and ssk decreases lean, it's easy to know which cable-twist moves to do.
I found I didn't even need to follow the chart after a while. :)

The pattern download for the Beeswax hat is available on Ravelry.

I have a matching cowl pattern in the works too! Here it is peeking out from under the hat... ;)

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