Day 2: Rachel Snow Day Hat Knit Along

Hello Knitters! KnitDocDonna, back again for Rachel’s Snow Day Hat Knit Along - Part 2

Today’s Agenda:

We’ll increase our ribbing, work the slouch portion of our hat, grab our double points to work the crown, and slide through the finish line! I’m very excited about completing my own Snow Day Hat and hope you are too. Here’s what mine looks like so far:

Eyelets between the purl rows

Progress!

Ribbing 2x2

Now it’s time to expand our ribbing from a 2x1 (p2, k1) to a 2x2 (p2, k2). The area we are going to increase is the knit section, or directly over the eyelets.  

A Note on Increasing

Just as in cast-ons and bind-offs, there are several methods of increasing stitches. There are increases that slant to the left or right, increases that leave holes, increases that don’t, invisible ones etc., etc.

I’ll tell you that I tried several increases. Some that work just fine often pulled my ribbing out of whack or shot off at an angle, and some looked just plain weird. I settled on the "knit front and back" (k1fb). This increase leaves a hole, but guess what? The hole is hidden by my purl row, and better still the increased stitch stands straight up. It’s also a very easy increase method to master. Morale of the story, no one increase or decrease works for every project! Take some time to learn a few, but now let’s go back to the knit front and back increase.

Here’s how the knit front and back is done

Start by inserting your needle into the stitch you’ll be increasing as if to knit and wrap your yarn as usual.

Draw out your loop but do not slide the stitch off the left hand needle

Rotate the left hand needle slightly toward your body so you can see the back of this stitch.  Found it? Good! Go ahead and knit into the back of the stitch, slide the stitch off the needle as usual and you’re all done.

See the images below to see how easy it is:

I’ve rotated my work and my index finger is pointing to the back of the stitch

This image shows actually knitting into the back of this stitch

Ready to go for it? Ok, locate Round 14 on the pattern and work as indicated to the end of the round.

This is how our increases should look as we move thru the round.

Time to move on to Round 15. It’s an easy one and as you move across the round take a look at how your increases from the last row are lining up above each of your  eyelets.

The next image shows how mine are stacking up. See the "knit front and back" increase stitches standing straight up on top of the eyelet? How are yours looking?  

Next up: It's get comfy, feet up, easy knitting time! This is my favorite part, ribbing away and enjoying the color changes. Go round and round in that rib pattern until your Snow Day Hat measures 7 ¾ inches from your cast-on edge!

Now, I’m at 7 ¾ inches and here is what my Snow Day Hat looks like.

I’m also a curious knitter and have a hard time waiting until my piece is off the needles to try it on. It’s also a good idea with any project to try on as you go (when you can),  So go ahead, slip it on your head and see if you want to add a little additional length. If you do add those extra rounds, you won’t run short of yarn! Factor in that the rounds for decreasing the crown stitches will give you about 1 to 1½ inches of additional length. When you are right where you want to be, it’s time to move on.

The Crowning Touch or Decreasing with Double Points

Here we’ll be shaping our crown with several rounds of decreases. The decreases will be worked as either a purl 2 together (p2tog) that we worked earlier in the pattern, or a knit 2 together (k2tog) as shown below.

Knitting 2 together is nothing more than inserting the right hand needle into the next 2 stitches on the left hand needle, wrapping your yarn as usual and lifting the now combined stitches off the needle.

So now you are ready to work rounds 1 thru 3. After round 3 your stitches will have difficulty meeting at the points so time to switch to our double points.  

So what's the Point?

Before we start, what is the “point” about “double points?" Well, first of all, they are one of the best ways to work small circumferences (you can go down to as little as 1 stitch per stick), close up the crown on hats,  work gloves/mitts, sleeves on baby sweaters, and children's toys. I could go on and on. Of course you don’t need to learn how. Theoretically, you could make every one of these projects with a seam or a very small circular, but why not plunge in and learn.  Besides, think how cool you’ll look with a pair in your hands deftly making that first wildly patterned pair of socks!

Learning double points with this project also has the advantages of not having to join your stitches and you’ll only need them for last 2 rounds.  And, you can do anything for 2 rounds.

Important: Double points take practice and it will take a bit before you are totally comfortable with them, so take advantage of the this KALs forum on Ravelry to ask any questions or post your comments on our blog!  Remember, as always, every question is worthwhile and don’t be bashful!

Knitting Doctor Tip: One of the secrets to double points is relaxed hands.  It’s an odd thing, but the tighter you grip them the more they get in your way. You only need to hold the needle with your next set of live stitches and the empty needle that you will be loading. The double points not actively being worked can just hang from your hands. Don’t worry! Your stitches won’t be going anywhere. This probably won’t make sense yet, but it will as we progress to the set up and actually working the 1st round.

Here’s the set up

  • Pull out 4 of the double points and lay 1 aside
  • Starting with the 1st stitch of the round, load 14 stitches onto the 1st double point, do the same with the 2nd and the remaining 14 stitches on the 3rd.
  • Attach your locking marker to the 1st stitch of the round (the stitch with the working yarn).

Loading stitches onto the double points

Your needles should automatically lay up in a triangular shape, but if they don’t coax them a bit.  The set up should look like this:

Knitting the triangle

Start to knit the first round on the double points this way: Take the 4th needle (the one you laid aside) and insert the point into the stitch where you attached your marker. Work the stitches as usual. That spare needle will start to load with your stitches.

You’ve worked through the first 14 stitches and they are now on that spare needle and you once again have an empty needle. Use that empty needle to work the next 14 stitches. Get the process?  

Knitting Doctor Tip: Once you get comfortable with the process it is not uncommon to get on such a roll that you forget to use that spare needle to work your next set of stitches and everything crowds onto one needle. Not to worry, we all do it. Just figure out how many stitches should go onto the new spare needle, slip them on and continue!

Now work your last 2 rounds with your double points.

Knitting Doctor Tip:  When you are working your decreases, often you are left with only 1 stitch on a needle when you need to knit 2 together (or purl 2 together).  Merely move that 1 orphan stitch to the next double point and continue on.

Finished those last two rounds?  You should have 11 stitches remaining.  Consolidate those 11 on one double point and cut yarn leaving a 6 inch tail.

Thread onto a tapestry needle and draw through those 11 stitches.  

Fasten off yarn on the inside of your Snow Day Hat.

Now it's ready to wear!

Wasn’t that easy? Wasn’t it fun? Wasn’t it quick?

I hope your answer to all of the above is a resounding YES!

My sincere thanks to all of you for joining me for Rachel’s Snow Day Hat knit along. 

We'd love for you to share a photo of your finished project on our NobleKnits Ravelry group page or on our Facebook Page. Stay tuned for our upcoming Knit alongs!

- Donna, Your Friendly Knitting Doctor