Happy Thanksgiving and a new hat!

Hi everyone!
I'm finding good luck with hats. I suppose that's typical for beginners. I had a tough time with this one when I put in the stripe. I'm not happy with it, but I camouflaged it well. Does anyone have any hints as to how I can get the second color to start nice and tightly, and also the switch back to the original color? This one is for my son. I gave him my first one...the one that rolled at the bottom...and he liked my second with the ribbed flip-up part, so I thought I'd make him one to match his coat. I am going to make him a scarf to match.

Does anyone have any opinion about the size of needles I should use for the scarf? I made the hat with size 7 (4.5 mm - 81cm). How about a good pattern that an enthusiastic novice could handle?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Great looking hat! A favorite scarf pattern that I've used is the Irish Hiking Scarf. The pattern is on the net and it's free, so Google it and see what you think!

Good luck.


WillyG's picture

This feels like a lot of info, but bear with me! It's hard not to ramble on and on and on. Here's my two cents:

Your striping looks just fine! As for me, I don't worry about the start of a new yarn... I just pick up the new color and start knitting with it, leaving a tail long enough to weave in. When I finish the hat and go to weave it in with a darning needle, that's when I give it a little tug to make sure it's comfy with the rest of the fabric. Weaving it in secures the first set of stitches and makes up for any unwanted looseness you may have had.

If you haven't already, blocking the finished product would be worth trying. If it's natural fibers like wool, I'd give it a soak for about a half hour... the proverbial "they" tell me it helps the stitches find their own Zen. If it's synthetic, you could try a good steaming with an iron or steamer to help relax the fabric. Honestly, you may not notice a real difference if you're indeed a beginner; keep knitting and your eyes and hands may help you become a believer. Think of it like doing stretches after a workout; it's just as integral a part of the exercise as the heavy lifting itself, even though your methods may differ from the next guy.

As for needle size, there are a couple factors worth considering. First pin down what pattern you want to knit. Then swatch on a few needles sizes (say 7's, 8's, and if you're liking the change as you move up, 9's). Coming from a terrible fiend for avoiding swatching, when it comes to something as long as a scarf, it's worth the wee bit of waiting, as it allows you to compare the fabric for yourself. You should choose the needle size based on what fabric feels best to you in the stitch pattern you choose. Heck, some people (not me) get a real kick out of swatching different stitch patterns, too. It's like trying on shoes before you commit to a pair you really think you'll love. When you get that confirmation, it feels good the whole way through the project.

As for a pattern, you could knit a K1, P1 ribbing, which would look similar to stockinette fabric but would not curl up on itself. See Jared Flood's Noro Striped Scarf for an example, which also would give you a lot of practice with starting the new color (without having to join new yarn each time). The pattern's free, and you can use whatever yarn floats your boat.

Also, Jared has a nice hat that teaches you a nifty trick about striping in the round. Also free:

Hope that helps, without being too terribly overwhelming. Gotta love the enthusiastic knitter, whatever the stage of onset!

michaelpthompson's picture

Your stripes look fine to me too, if there's any odd bit, you've hidden it well. Hats tend to have a back and a front, so if there are any odd places where the color changes, put a label there to hint that it's the back so it won't show much. I use custom labels from Annie's Attic that are really nice.

As for the scarf, I agree with Peter. I love the Irish Hiking Scarf, though I prefer a version of it called The Palindrome Scarf, which is the same front and back. That's unusual for a cable pattern.

If you want to just match the hat though, you could do a section of rib stitch followed by some stockinette stitch and ribbing again at the end, with maybe the blue stripes in the middle, or at three places along the length. Only trouble with that is that stockinette will curl on you. With wool, you can probably block it out, but it's something to consider. This would be a more exact match to your hat.

"All knitting is just one stitch at a time."

potterdc's picture

Nice hat! I'm not a beginner - and I LOVE knitting hats! Here's a link that talks about eliminating the knitting jog between stripes:

This link comes from directions for knitting the London Beanie, which I love:

You can find many hat directions here:

And finally, if you have not made the acquaintance of Elizabeth Zimmerman, I would highly recommend her book called The Knitter's Almanac, and the chapter entitled "June: Small Stuff for Summer Knitting: Three Hats."

Jonathan in DC

Think less, enjoy it more.

CLABBERS's picture

Hi Jonathan!
Thank you so much for all the information. I'm nearly finished with my son's new scarf to match his hat, so the next hat/scarf set will be for me. I like my first one for me, but want something with a bit more pizazz. I'll check out the sites you suggested.
Thanks again!
Mark in Chicago