A Knitted Hat For a Holiday Gift
About a year ago I knitted a scarf for someone special. Here’s a hint; if I knit or crochet something for you…You’re special, that takes time and energy, but for those I consider special, you’re worth it 😉 He mentioned several times that he wanted a hat knit as well. I had too many projects going to worry about knitting a hat at the time, especially in Florida with summer on its way. For those not familiar with Florida weather, we have two seasons: Summer, and Not Summer. We were at the end of Not Summer. He saw a hat in the Local Yarn Shop, YarnWorks in Gainesville that he loved. Unfortunately they had taken the hat down, and there are hats every where in there and no one knows which one was up front.
With the approach of Winter (I use this word loosely) coming on, I started thinking about this hat. I looked at all the hats in the yarn shop, but couldn’t figure out which one drew his attention. I was gifted some older editions of Spin Off magazines and was browsing through them. Low and behold, what do I see? A hat pattern that had a nice masculine look, cool stitch pattern, and great texture. By the way, its the Fall 2007 issue of Spin Off. According to Mrs. Rhoades, the Ringwood pattern used in the body and top portion of the hat is used primarily for knitting gloves in and around the British town of Ringwood. I had to find just the right yarn. Something soft, something with some stretch and something BLUE. It has to be blue because he likes it so much and the yarn I used to make his scarf isn’t available at the moment. So if it can’t match, it must be blue. I found Berroco Ultra Alpaca. Its soft, so soft, with a bit of stretch and will bloom nicely. It’s 50% wool and 50% Alpaca. One skein is plenty, so a pricey yarn doesn’t break the bank.
Armed with a yarn swift, ball winder and a cup of coffee (not shown), I got to work on my new project. I got this dandy skein into a center pull ball, and wanted to knit a swatch right away. I tend to knit loose for some reason, so I purchased a 16 inch circular needle one size smaller than the pattern calls for. I knitted on gauge with the smaller needle. When I have a center pull ball and want to knit a swatch, and am uncertain whether I will need the yarn in the swatch, I have a method for that. I will knit my swatch from the end that is on the outside of the ball. If I need to re-knit the swatch, I pull out the old swatch and knit from that. Once I get the gauge correct, I place a marker through the loop to keep it from coming un-done and place the ball on top of the swatch, and knit from the strand in the center. If I need the yarn from the swatch, I can remove the marker and continue to knit with no end joining. If I don’t, then I can put the swatch away with a note and the label from the yarn for future reference. I don’t care for the look of the cast on edge and since that will be on display the entire time the hat is worn I decided to try my hand at a tubular cast on. I found Judy’s Magic Cast on to work well. I sampled lots of different ways to find the one I would eventually use. I tried on some scrap cotton yarn that I had laying around. That would be the pile of mess seen in the picture below.
The pattern calls for a 2 X 2 Ribbing. I found this video that shows how to take Judy’s Magic Cast On and turn it into a 1 x 1 ribbing cast on, but it works for a 2 X 2 as well if you go up a needle size for the cast on. Just knit two from the front needle and purl two from the back. I have to say that even though I knitted this to gauge, the hat came out too big. I bought an additional skein to try again. The wonderful ladies at Yarnworks mentioned that a lot of people tend to go down an additional needle size when knitting ribbing because it comes out so stretchy. So I wound up knitting the rib stitch an additional needle size down from the rest of the hat. Lesson learned. Now that the hat has been delivered and worn, the new smaller hat is still just a tad large. With the wool in it, it can be shrunk down a little by GENTLY submerging it in very hot tap water, then GENTLY submerging it into cold water to shock it down a little. It can go back and forth like this a few times without agitation. Then rolled in a towel to get out extra moisture, and laid flat on a towel to dry. The alpaca will full a little and bloom. I feel comfortable sharing this pattern as its known everywhere in British town if Ringwood and not really copywritten.
Gauge: 5 stitches and 8 1/2 rows in Ringwood pattern = 1 inch
Cast On 104 stitches. Work in 2 X 2 ribbing for six inches. Then switch to RingWood pattern:
Round 1 and 2: Knit
Round 3 K1, P1
Repeat rounds 1 – 3 for 2 1/2 inches. Then on row 1, decrease 8 stitches in pattern evenly other round until 8 stitches remain. Run end through these eight stitches and weave in ends. Weave in cast on tail on right side as this will be turned up for the band.
For decreases *k11, k2tog* repeat for row. knit a row, work *10 stitches in rib, k2tog* repeat to end. Working every other row decreasing in pattern.