Return of Extreme Double-knitting: Update #3

I love playing with hat crowns. When I’m designing a hat, I may knit swatches of the hat body itself, but mostly I’m going to be working on the crown decreases. In order to do that, I don’t typically need to knit the entire hat just so I can get to the crown. Instead, I cast on just before the decreases begin and just knit a crown. Depending on the decreases, it could come out domed or totally flat. These three are, in order, the redesigned crowns for the Four Winds hat, the Struktur hat, and the Falling Blocks hat. It’s also kind of cool to note that they are (again, in order) 4-sided, 5-sided and 6-sided decreases.

All four of these hats are now in the hands of sample knitters, so it’s my hope that they will turn out almost as well as mine did here. A few details:

The Four Winds hat has been re-designed to work with sport weight yarn, but the crown in the photo is done in worsted weight — and no, it’s not in that color combo. I was testing the crown decreases, not the gauge or the yarn — I have only so much of the yarn for that hat, and at the moment it’s all with my sample knitter. The rest of the hat is going to be done in a completely different way from the previous version: because the resulting fabric is thinner, I can design it with a fold-up brim. The brim will have the two-pattern letters on it, which will be worked upside-down so that they are right-side up when the brim is in place. The compass points will be worked in an off-the-grid style that is cleaned up from the previously posted version. The letters and the crown have been completely redesigned from scratch.

The Struktur hat has also been re-designed to work with sport weight yarn, and the resulting gauge is smaller so there are more repeats. I have also sized down the repeats themselves to add more flexibility in terms of sizing. The crown you see here is one possibility; it can also be worked with 6 repeats. I changed the color rotation for this version to what I consider to be a better, clearer version vs the original pattern.

The Falling Blocks hat shows the most significant change from the original here: what you are looking at is the new inner crown. The original hat uses a different three-color pattern on each layer, but because I didn’t want to figure out how to decrease both patterns at the same time, I opted to cut off one pattern at a strategic location and switch to a single color-rotated version on the other layer. This always felt to me like a cop-out, so this time I decided to redesign the crown so that both patterns decrease at the same time. This required a different way of looking at the decreases — they have to occur in the same location, but they need not mirror each other. As with colors, in two-pattern charts, I have the freedom to tell you in which direction your decreases should slant on each layer separately. Also, like the other two, this hat has been redesigned to work in sport weight yarn.

In case this is the first time you’re encountering these projects, you should read more on my website about my first book, Extreme Double-knitting, which I am in the process of reworking and reprinting.

Sample knitting continues apace, although there has been little progress on the piece from the previous update while I’ve been working on redesigning other things. Now that 6 of the patterns are in the hands of sample knitters, three don’t require re-knits, one re-knit is done and one is in progress, all that remains for me to do is to do the highly onerous redesign of the Footsies to make more than one size, and re-knit two of the smallest and quickest patterns. Of course, then comes finalizing charts and the ever-present looming complete and total rewrite of the book (OK, maybe not complete and total … but significant).

In other news

My Fall teaching schedule has begun with an appearance at a lovely oceanside campground in midcoast Maine. Last weekend I was at Fiber College, which is emphatically not a college, but has a unique laid-back atmosphere. Also, I got to camp out in a tent by the ocean! I hope to be back there next year.

This past weekend I had a trunk show at Mind’s Eye Yarns in my home town of Cambridge, and next weekend I’ll be doing another at Ptown Purl in Provincetown, MA. If you’re in the area on Saturday from 12-3pm, visit to check out my samples in person and maybe buy a book or two?

Coming up next in my teaching schedule will be an appearance at the Madison (WI) Knitters’ Guild on November 12 and 13. I’ll be teaching a series of workshops and then doing a guild presentation. As I understand it, this is one of the largest knitting guilds in the country and it is a huge honor to appear there. They seem to be excited to have me, and I hope I’ll live up to their expectations.

I’ll be finishing my Fall season with a double-feature weekend, visiting the Yarn Attic in NJ on Nov 17 and Loop Yarn in Philadelphia on Nov 18-19. You can check out more details on my events calendar.

I’m still finalizing my Spring schedule, so I’ll make an announcement about that later. I’ve got dates in NH, NY, CA and PA — if you’re interested in having me come to your area, feel free to get in touch.

Lastly, I have had some conversations with other small online business owners and it seems like the issue I had with missing or damaged packages initially was probably more due to the time of year (December) than the services I was using. I have therefore decided to re-enable Media Mail as a shipping option. I will take it away for December only (returning to Priority Mail only) to keep my packages from walking away during the holiday season. If you’ve had your eye on one (or more) of my books but the shipping cost has been too high, today’s your lucky day!

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