An apology for the length of this post, but I know that we use this forum to help each other learn about new projects, so I felt like the info might be handy to some.
Now, on to the good stuff!
One of my knitting goals has been to learn how to knit fair isle patterns. Hence, my latest FO - the Mini Mochi Fair Isle Hat, a free pattern found [COLOR=Red][B]here[/B][/COLOR]…
The yarn is Mini Mochi, and the colorway is #111 (aka Baby Face). I was drawn to it because of the bright colors. One touch of its smooshy softness, and I was in love.
My original intent was to make a pair of socks with it (what did you expect?). However, after reading about people’s failed attempts to get the striping to match on the socks, I ditched my original plans. I am anal. I like things to match. So, I headed to Ravelry to find another project and lit on the hat pattern.
I’d never done fair isle before, but the chart looked simple enough. I put my skeins in their own baggies and labeled them Yarn A and Yarn B. A few viewings of YouTube videos on how to hold my yarn, and I was all set.
The going was slow at first, but I finally got the hang of maneuvering two strands of yarn, and I got a kick out of seeing the pattern emerge…
I’d read lots of complaints about the splittiness of this yarn, but I did not have any problems with it. It reminds me a lot of Malabrigo. The only thing that made it tough to use was if I needed to tink back. The yarn stuck to itself, so I had to be careful.
I cast on this project March 23, after deciding to make the medium. I used US 1 1/2 needles for the ribbing and went up to US 2 1/2 for the rest. I knit eight pattern repeats but probably could have gotten away with completing only six or seven. The hat is a little bit long. I figure I can always roll up the brim if I need to, although the extra coverage will be perfect for cold days.
Ok…so let’s talk about the crown and the decreases. IF you decide to make this hat, you need to study the pattern very carefully and heed my advice.
No, I’m just kidding. Sort-of.
This pattern gives very little instruction on the specifics of the crown decreases. It tells you when to decrease and to do it “in pattern.” Well, that is much easier said than done.
I sent an email to the pattern’s designer and was pleasantly surprised when she sent me a response immediately. A couple more messages flew back and forth as I asked for clarification on some points.
The designer likened the decreasing to folding wrapping paper onto itself, with the decreases being the creases in the paper. You are supposed to continue the pattern vertically with the decreases laying over the diamonds.
I decided to place one type of marker every eight stitches, marking the pattern repeats, and a different kind of marker every 14 stitches, marking the decreases…
In my case, by making the medium, I continued the pattern repeat, picking up where the decreases left off. So, for the first decrease, I did a k2tog at stitches 13 and 14 and resumed the pattern at stitch 7 from the chart. If you make this, you’ll understand.
Where I started getting confused was as I worked my way up, and the total number of stitches decreased. It was very difficult for my wee little brain to figure out how to keep the pattern running. So, I figured out that if this was a sheet of paper, the folds would eventually cover up the design on the “paper.” I worked the stitches to the right of the decrease markers by starting over in the pattern repeat. The stitches to the left of the decreases were worked by counting backward from eight to figure out how much of the other half of the repeat I had left.
I’ve probably confused you. Simply put, envision lines going up the top of your hat. These lines will lay over the pattern, splitting the diamonds. You want to make sure you can see each part of the diamond.
I got very frustrated by the last few rounds and decided to simplify things by knitting the decreases and decreased stitches (even rounds) in Yarn A and everything else in Yarn B. By then, there weren’t a lot of stitches left, so I don’t think I messed up the patterning too much.
[LEFT]Because the Mini Mochi is self-striping yarn, I had to keep an eye on my color runs. I did not want Yarn A and Yarn B to have the same color. That would have messed up the pattern. So, I had to make lots of cuts, tying yarn pieces together, which made for lots of weaving in of ends. Oy! But, because the yarn is carried across the back of the stitches, I had an easy time of it.[/LEFT]
[LEFT]Which brings me to another point. I never knew how warm a fair isle project could be! The carrying across of the yarn thickens a project, adding an extra layer of protection against the elements. Just look at the inside of my hat…[/LEFT]
[LEFT]I hope you find this information useful!
Thanks for looking at my project!