fairy stones

Finally! I finally got it together and wrote up a pattern for the Fair Isle hats I made late last summer. After spending time the past week or so re-visiting my hats, I think I want to knit another one. Hats are the funnest projects for stranded knitting. They’re small enough that the extra work of juggling two colors doesn’t turn into an endless slog, but the changing colors and patterns keep you going. I know I have to fight the impulse to do just one more row when I’m working on something colorful and fun.

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The name for this hat came from a friend who told me about the famous cross-shaped stones that are found in a national park in Virginia. I don’t have a fairy stone of my own

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, but I hope to find one some day. It includes two sizes, a S/M, which fits up to a 20″ head and should work for most older children, and a Large, which stretches up to 23″ for most adult heads. You can get the pattern on Ravelry, right here, and it’s just $4!

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Photos in this post were taken by Sunnie Lynne (aren’t they great!).

Fairy Stones Hat Pattern

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fair isle

I got bit by the Fair Isle bug recently. It all started with the making of a hat earlier this spring. I’ve been doing a bit of reading and research, and made a mitten for a bit more practice (is it just me, or are mittens more difficult than hats? I had a much harder time keeping the floats even and not too tight). Then I bought some neon pink yarn to use for pocket linings on a sweater that I will not even be able to cast on until later this fall. It sat in my knitting basket, taunting me with its cheery brightness, especially next to the charcoal grey yarn I plan to use for the body of the same sweater. And then I had a vision of a Fair Isle-style hat in those two colors. So I printed up a few sheets of knitter’s graph paper

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, and got out my colored pencils and started coloring. I also have a basket full of Knit Picks Palette yarn, and pulled out a few more shades of grey to make an ombre background. I’m having a lot of fun figuring out a pattern, I knit a little, then color a few more rows on my graph paper, and knit a little more. If it all works out (and I’m thinking it’s going to), I’m going to be writing up the pattern to sell on Ravelry.

Color work like this is so addicting, I always want to do just one more row to see what the pattern will look like! Oh, and it seems that photographing neon yarn is really tricky. I’ll try to do better once it’s all done!

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a hat in the colors of spring

Instagram has messed up my blogging. I posted so many pictures of this project there that it feels a little redundant to blog about it, but obviously I’m going to anyway.

Hat

I’ve reached a point in my knitting life where I fear no knitting pattern, but I know there are lots and lots of techniques I want to learn and skills to develop. One of my knitting bucket list items is to knit a Fair Isle sweater (a là this pin, for which I am searching desperately for the origin), but I’ve only done a little stranding while making mittens. I haven’t been totally successful at keeping the tension of the strands even and loose enough, so I thought I’d practice some more before tackling a whole sweater. I found this hat pattern and despite that fact that I don’t often wear hats and usually don’t even look good in hats, I fell in love and had to make it. I picked a bunch of colors of Knit Picks Palette yarn, keeping my fingers crossed that they would work together. I think my next Knit Picks order is going to include a color card, which will make it so much easier to choose colors for a project like this. I do appreciate that they describe each color, and what I received was just what I was expecting, but having the actual yarn in front of me will make it so much easier.

Once I had my yarn I worked out which color would be used where and got to work. The pattern starts with a tubular cast on

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, and links to this video. I’d done it once before, but didn’t remember how to do it at all. It was a challenge, and I had to do it a couple times, but now I  think I’ve got it down. I will definitely be using it whenever I can, because I love the edge it creates, it’s round and stretchy.

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Once I got to the colorwork, it was impossible to stop knitting. I had to just keep doing one more row to see how the next colors looked. The whole thing only took about three days. I knit English style, so I made up my own technique which involved keeping both yarns on my right index finger and flipping them back and forth with my thumb. It meant that I had to untwist the two balls of yarn pretty often, but it also helped me keep a good tension and my floats are nice and even and all going the same direction.

hat3

Look at that stranding! So pretty! So neat! So even! I impressed myself a lot with this project. There was very little puckering, even before I blocked it, and then once I did block it, it became nice and soft, and drapey. The only puckering left is in where I changed needle sizes, but that’s not in the stranded areas. And now I’m looking for any opportunities I can find to wear my hat, even though spring is on its way.

Photo Mar 19, 7 05 03 PM

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