Leona would like you to know that she has a new hat.
I keep telling her that the hat is for the baby, but she counters with, "Only if the baby is a girl. If it’s a boy, I get to keep it."
I have to admit, she does look awfully fetching in it.
Pattern: My own (made up as I went along)
Yarn: Froelich Wolle Special Blauband (80 percent wool, 20 percent nylon; 210 m per 50 g), 2021 (off-white); Interlacements Tiny Toes (100 percent superwash merino; 185 yds per 50 g), reds plus
Yardage: 1 skein Froelich Wolle; about half a skein of Tiny Toes
Source: Yarn swap with my friend Alison, who got it from a thrift shop; Interlacements
Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm) bamboo double-points
Gauge: About 6.5 stitches and 8 rows = 1"
Notes: This hat was one of those spur-of-the-moment projects that nonetheless had a long gestation. I’ve been thinking about ways to incorporate the Swedish Weave technique into projects for quite some time, but while I have produced a swatch and an inch and a half of an elaborate adult hat (temporarily abandoned), this is the first actual project I have knit that uses the stitch.
I encountered Swedish Weave in one of the first two Barbara Walker treasuries (can’t recall which one). It is actually not even a stitch so much as it’s a technique, and even calling it a technique is a bit of a stretch, since it is dead simple. To work Swedish Weave, you knit your background color in stockinette stitch, and you float your contrast color alternately in front of and behind the knit stitch, creating a dashed line across the front of the knit fabric (and across the back, too, for that matter). If you follow the same front-and-back sequence on every row, you can line the floats up in columns, but Walker suggests that you stagger them, which is what I’ve done here in sets of three rows.
My goal for this hat was to show off the pretty colors of my Interlacements yarn on a plain white backdrop, and I feel that I’ve succeeded: Swedish Weave is a great technique for making it look like you’ve done something complicated with a handpainted yarn when in fact all that you’ve done is flicked it back and forth in front of your working needle as you went around.
I achieved the somewhat puffy shape of the hat by knitting a garter-stitch band, increasing by about 10 percent in the first row above the band, increasing again a few rows later, and increasing a third time, at which point I thought I had enough stitches on the needles. Then I knit straight up for a while until I started to run out of white yarn, finally decreasing on the same stitch every other row until I had just a few stitches left to pull into the inside. To tell the truth, I put all those increases in because I was afraid the hat would be too small without them. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that the outcome would be a lovely onion-shaped hat with a vaguely Continental air about it.
I figure that even if the baby is a girl, she’ll only be able to wear this hat for a single winter, and then I will return it to Leona, who really deserves something rakish after all her years of faithful, bald service.