Category Archives: tutorial

Gauge hat, free recipe pattern

What’s this? It looks like a hat, and it is. But more importantly, it’s a gauge swatch. Double dipping here!

Dreyma cover page in KnitCompanion

I want to knit a yoked sweater for DH. I’m planning on Dreyma by Jennifer Steingass. I’ll change the neckline to ribbing rather than the rolled one. Maybe I’ll even learn a tubular cast on. Maybe. There are some short rows on the back, after the yoke patterning, so I’m set for that after the short row classes I took this weekend!

I chose this yarn for DH, Berroco Vintage Worsted, because it’s machine washable, 57% acrylic/40%wool/8%nylon. I want him to get maximum use out of it, without waiting for me to hand wash it on a regular basis. Know your gift recipient! This is slightly lighter in weight than the specified yarn, so my gauge is going to be a little off. I can adjust for that. A hat is a great way to make a gauge swatch. (Yes, I know that Vintage comes in a bulky weight, but I think worsted is more versatile for indoor wear.) And yes, I bought an extra skein of yarn for swatching, and just in case I run out of yarn. Better to have too much than too little for a sweater.

Of course, a gauge swatch for a sweater should be washed and blocked. Treat your swatch the way you plan to treat your FO! Bisquee is helping with the blocking train here.

Hats are pretty simple. Here’s a recipe. Measure your head. You want your hat to measure 1-2“ less than that. Negative ease keeps your hat from sliding over your eyes. Take your estimated gauge (I’m relying on the ballband guess of 5 sts/inch on a US 7. Multiply that by the number of inches you want (20” in this case). That gives me a cast on of 100 sts. I wanted to add this colorwork pattern from Dreyma, which has a repeat of 8 sts, so I cast on 104 instead of 100 (13 x 8 = 104). That would make the hat between 20 and 21”, which is fine. I could have used 96 instead, which would make the hat 19.5”. Same same. I’m using a 16” circular needle.

I like a K2P2 ribbing on the edge, which means my cast on should be a multiple of 4. 96, 100, and 104 are all fine for that. Use a needle 2 sizes smaller than the needle for the body of the hat (US 5 in this case). Knit K2P2 ribbing to desired height. Change to larger needles and knit stockinette until piece measures 5.5” from the cast on (I tried 6.5” first, based on the common wisdom that a hat is as tall as your hand before you start the crown shaping, but it was too tall. 5.5” is plenty.)

Start crown decreases. I like a crown divided into 8 wedges. Ooh, look, my cast on was a multiple of 8! Perfect. (If you don’t have a multiple of 8, decrease some stitches on the first decrease round so that you do.)

I have 8 sections of 13 sts each. I’ll decrease with a k2tog for the last 2 sts of each section.

Rnd 1: *K11, k2tog, place marker, rep from * to end. (You’re just knitting the last 2 stitches of each wedge together to decrease.)

Rnd 2: Knit all sts.

Rnd 3: *K10, k2 tog, slip marker, rep from * to end.

Rnd 4: Knit all sts.

Keep decreasing every other round, until 8 sts remain. Move work to dpns or magic loop or 2 circulars when it gets too tight on the circular needle. (Don’t knit the final plain round after the last decreases. Pointy.) Cut yarn, use a yarn needle and run yarn tail through all sts, twice. Drop yarn to inside of hat, cinch up tight, sew in ends. Done!

When the hat is dry, I’ll check my gauge to see if it changed after washing and blocking. It’s the post-blocking gauge that decides the ultimate measurements of the sweater. But you also have to know the pre-blocking gauge, which you’re going to match while knitting. Measure twice, knit once! Apologies to This Old House.

If you’d like an easy to print pdf of the Gauge Hat pattern, click here.

I don’t get this picky about gauge for cowls and hats; they’ll fit someone. But a sweater is a much bigger commitment of time and yarn, so it’s important to get it right. Ask me how I know.

I knit this sweater for DH, twice! Once in 2006, then completely frogged and reknit the next year. I had made a tiny gauge swatch the first time, and of course it lied to me. The finished sweater was HUGE. The entire sweater served as a giant gauge swatch, and the second knit was a success.

Need to knit a quick gift? There’s still time to knit a hat!

A little frogging

Yes, you *can* frog and recover your brioche knitting.

I accidentally added an extra couple rounds of brioche rib after finishing the leaves; I was wondering about that as I was binding off. Oops.

I had some help. If you don’t remember how to frog and get your brioche back on the needles, you can check out my video tutorial here. And there are lots more tutorials of all kinds on my tutorials page.

All done! Now it’s mimosa time…

The Leafy Origami Cowl pattern is coming in December. I think I may knit one more, withe the colors reversed, just for fun. Knit on!

Binding off in the round

I was just finishing another cowl knit in the round, and I realized that I haven’t shown you how I like to finish my bind off. It’s very neat and tidy.

Easy peasy. Now I’ve shown you my favorite ways to begin *and* end your project in the round. If you missed my post about joining to work in the round, here it is again:

And yes, the new project is yet another brioche cowl. Going on a deep dive here. I just can’t get enough! Sneak peek coming soon.

The Knitting Circle

You may have a knitting circle of your own; i certainly miss my knit nite crew! But the Knitting Circle I want to tell you about is something completely different.

During this pandemic summer, I had the opportunity to make video tutorials for a new venture, The Knitting Circle. It’s a place to learn about knitting, online. The website just launched last week. Now I keep seeing my face chatting away in their Facebook ads. Startling!

The site has blog posts and instructional videos. Due to the pandemic, the teachers made videos in our home studios. I learned a lot about lighting, recording, and editing! They turned out well. Some of the videos are free, and some are premium pieces that require a subscription to watch. The subscription is $49/year, but there’s a special offer for $2 USD for the first year. For that price, I’d subscribe! I think if you sign up for their newsletter, you’d get the offer, or you can claim it through their Facebook ad. I’ve posted their ad on my Facebook page to make it easier for you to find.

Use the link below to get to the site; this is just a picture!

Here’s a link to my blog posts there; they are free content but link to free or premium videos. These are all complete blog posts, no subscription needed to read them.

So why would you want to subscribe to The Knitting Circle, when there are a million videos on YouTube? Curation. The teachers on the site are carefully chosen; we’re experts! My teacher cohort includes Jen Lucas, Corinna Ferguson, Mary Beth Temple, and Jill Wright.

The Knitting Circle is a venture from TN Marketing; they also have sites for sewing, quilting, photography, RV restoration, bowling, and more. They are also the new owners of Craftsy.

I’ve enjoyed working with them, and I learned lots of new skills this summer. Having a knitting studio at home is coming in handy! All of my Zoom classes are there, and my own videos are getting better and better, too.

How has pandemic living changed how you work?

Joining to knit in the round

I’ve been knitting in circles so much lately, so many hats and cowls. One benefit? I’ve perfected my circular join. I used to cast on one extra stitch, and then knit the first and last stitches together. This snugged up the join, and it still will.

But I’ve started using that extra stitch in a different way, and it’s just a bit tidier. I really like the way it looks. I take the last stitch cast on, and pass it over the first stitch that I cast on. I made a video for you!

You do still have to remember not to knit with the tail…

May all your joins be tidy and snug!

Frogging brioche tutorial

Is it possible? Can you frog brioche? Of course. It’s getting it back on the needle that’s tricky. I’m here to help! I’ve had a lot of experience frogging…(for newbies: frogging means rip-it, rip-it, rip-it).

You can rip one row/round at a time, alternating colors, but it’s just as easy to rip them simultaneously. The trick is to rip until you’re close to where you want to end up, and then tink (un-knit, knit spelled backwards) the last row or round, one stitch at a time, picking up each stitch as it’s freed from the yarn. This is also how I frog regular knitting.

After I made this video, I frogged this project completely, because it’s a little too big. But I wanted to show you how it worked, before completely undoing it. It turned out to be just a big swatch!

Tinking Brioche Decreases tutorial

A student asked me how to tink brioche decreases. I made a little video so I can share it with all of you, too.

Also, my Petite Brioche class through Twisted on September 26 is full!

So we added another class on October 17. Link to register is here.

There’s still room in my Syncopation class on October 3, link here.

Let’s knit!

Petite Brioche update: beginning and end of rounds

I’ve just updated my Petite Brioche pattern. I’ve been teaching this class a lot lately. The beginning/end of the round is always the most confusing spot for new brioche knitters, so I wanted to make it easier. I think this does. Also, it makes teaching easier for me, too!

Of course, the pattern links to video tutorials, so I had to make new tutorials! The new pattern has new links, my tutorials page has new links, and my handouts are getting new links. A lot of work for a free pattern, but it’s a labor of love for this brioche evangelist.


English/throwing


Continental/picking (I’m a very awkward continental knitter, but you’ll get the idea)

The older videos are still linked on the tutorials page; they still work. You can pick whichever makes sense with the way you think and knit. The Brioche Hat Trick patterns aren’t being updated; you can choose which way you want to work your beginning/end of rounds.

Hope this helps!

Tutorial: Fixing a dropped brioche YO several rows down

I promised a video tutorial to 3 of my classes at the last Virtual VKLive, and I made one and sent it along. But I just re-made it with more descriptive detail. Here’s the link on YouTube.

I learned this technique from a video by Nancy Marchant, and then expanded on it as I learned how and why it works. Just another tool in the brioche toolbox!

I put a link to this video on my tutorials page, so you don’t even have to remember where to find it. And if you didn’t know I have a tutorials page, go check it out. I have lots of tips over there, and I’m getting better and better at making videos.

My brioche classes are sold out at VKLive, but you can take brioche classes from me at the Peacetree Fiber Adventures online retreat on July 24 and 25. Register here.

There’s still room in my Minerva Entrelac scarf/cowl class at Virtual VKLive. Register here!

Minerva KAL: Finishing Tier 2

Oh, that last bit, the right edge triangle. It sounds a little tricksy at the end, but it’s not hard. Just keep following the directions, to the end, which is a slightly tricky part. Here’s a video for you:

Then it’s on to Tier 3, which is a piece of cake! 🍰

When you’re finishing Tier 4, with another right edge triangle, picking up the last stitch can be a little tricky. I like to pick up here, in the outside of the first V on the outside edge, so the corner of the triangle doesn’t stick out as a bump on the lovely straight edge.

Now it’s just a matter of knitting away and watching your colors change. Have fun!

Entrelac knitting

You can find the Minerva pattern here on Ravelry. Come knit with me!

If you’re on Ravelry, please make a project page for your Minerva; I’d love to see them there. Ravelry makes it so easy to find them all together. And post on Instagram using #minervakal2020 and #pdxknitterati too. I love seeing your progress.

Just keep knitting…

Edited to add:
All Minerva KAL 2020 posts:
Introducing Minerva Entrelac Cowl/Scarf and KAL
Minerva KAL: Choosing your yarn
Minerva KAL: Casting On
Minerva KAL: Base Triangles
Minerva KAL: Tier 2
Minerva KAL: Finishing Tier 2