Tag Archives: malabrigo worsted

Dotty Cake backstory: Evolution of a hat

Just a reminder, today is the last day of the introductory sale for my Dotty Cake pattern. It’s 15% off through midnight tonight on Ravelry, no coupon code needed.

I’m really happy with Dotty Cake. But it took a while to get there!

I knew I wanted to use the Dotty stitch pattern I developed for the Dotty Cowl that I designed for Knit Picks last year. And I loved the Chroma Worsted combination of Natural and Pegasus, so I wanted to use that again, too.

I cast on a guesstimate of stitches, based on my gauge from the cowl. The number seemed a bit big, but not totally unreasonable. I have a big head.

I knew I wanted a herringbone braid for the bottom edge of the hat, but I was going to have to be canny about it. I had planned to use it for the cowl, but when I was knitting the braid last year, the soft, single ply low-twist yarn wanted to drift apart in the first row of the twisty braiding process. I figured a hat had fewer stitches, so maybe it wouldn’t have enough time to drift apart.

And that’s when I finally realized…if I made the braid point in the opposite direction, I’d be tightening the twist on the first row, and then loosening it back to normal on the following row. Problem solved.

I finished the braid and began the Dotty stitch pattern, which is simple and easy to memorize. The shifting color was mesmerizing, too. This was great mindless travel knitting as I went to Vogue Knitting Live in Columbus. But as I knit, I started wondering how the heck I was going to finish the top of the hat. The Dotty stitch pattern wasn’t going to play well with my usual swirly crown decreases.

What about a pointy Santa-style stocking cap? I kept knitting as I pondered how to make that work nicely with the Dotty stitch pattern. I wasn’t inspired.

Well, what about a straight up cylinder, kitchener stitched across the top, and then bringing the two corners together like an envelope fold? I kept knitting to get the extra height I’d need, but I started to think that an all Dotty stitch hat with that much height was boring.

And then I tried on the hat and realized it was too big, even for my big head, and needed to be frogged. I had 9 inches of knitting when I finally realized this. Blergh.

So I ripped it all out.

I added more braids to the second version of the hat to make it more interesting, and that’s when I noticed that it looked like a layer cake. That was a happy accident!

Still, the crown shaping had to be addressed. And it needed to work for two sizes. The diretionality of the swirl was giving me fits, so I decided to go with paired decreases for each section of the hat. Perfect!

I needed to knit a smaller size for heads smaller than mine, so I could make sure the crown decreasing would work for that, too. I used the Malabrigo Worsted that wasn’t working for the brioche project I was playing with earlier this fall.

Sometimes a design jumps right off the needles. And sometimes you wrestle it to the ground. Dotty Cake took a while to work out, but I’m so glad it did. Happy knitting!

Color is a funny thing

Color is a funny thing. I learn a lot about it by trial and error.

I bought these two skeins of of Malabrigo Worsted to play with some more brioche ideas. I wanted the multi-color to be the main color, and the Polar Frost to be the contrast color.

But the multi doesn’t really stand out here, or look very organized.

The back side is a little more cohesive; you can tell where the stitch columns are. This made me think that the semi-solid should be the MC, and the multi should be the CC. But this combination doesn’t really have much spark.

So I bought more yarn. This is how a non-swatcher accumulates a stash, by the way.

Now we’re cooking! I like this orange on the right side.

And because of the contrast with the bright orange, the multi-colored wrong side looks more cohesive, too.

What am I making? I’m just playing with a couple brioche ideas right now. We’ll see how it turns out!

Malabrigo Quickie: ZigZag Lightning Cowl

Fall is in the air, at least here in Portland. It’s time to start thinking of ways to keep warm!

ZigZag Lightning CowlShort ZigZag Lightning Cowl

ZigZag Lightning CowlLong ZigZag Lightning Cowl

These are my new ZigZag Lightning Cowls. Knit with Malabrigo Merino Worsted, they’re featured this month as a Malabrigo Quickie pattern.

ZigZag Lightning CowlLong cowl, doubled

Either of these cowls can be knit with two skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in coordinating colors. I love the colors in Malabrigo’s variegated yarns, and pairing a variegated with a semi-solid is my favorite way to make them both shine. I’ve used a slip stitch pattern, so you are only working one color per row. A simple cable maneuver creates the zigzag effect.

ZigZag Lightning Cowls

Are you new to cabling? I’ve made a video tutorial for you! It shows how to make the zigzag lightning cables both with and without a cable needle. You can see it here.

The ZigZag Lightning Cowl begins with a long tail cast on. Do you avoid this cast on for fear of running out of yarn? Fear no more, because there’s a way to ensure you never run out of yarn for this cast on; I wrote about it in my previous post.

This pattern is available through Ravelry; here’s the page link. To celebrate its launch, I”m offering it for $2 off through September 9. Use the code ZIGZAG to get your discount.

Thanks to Malabrigo for the pretty yarn to play with!