Thursday, January 31, 2008

Contract Knitting and Winter Fun

My daughter and I have been knitting sherpa hats this week for a fellow alpaca breeder. They sent us a box full of yarn with loose directions to knit hats with ear flaps and tassels. This is what we've come up with so far. I'm not sure I would have chosen purple and yellow to go together exclusively, but apparently, those are the school colors where they live. Overall, I think the results are good, and we can proceed with the rest of the lot as soon as they look at the first shipment and give us the go ahead.

I'm so proud of my nearly 14 year old daughter. She can turn out a knitted sherpa in a single evening. She's not always motivated, but this time she's doesn't have to wait for the items to sell to get her money, so she's quite keen to get paid. It's a good lesson for her to learn--time is money--and she does good work in a short amount of time. She's got her procedure mapped out pretty well and I'll post it here for any interested knitters.

Materials: 250 yds. alpaca yarn DK or sport weight.
Size 7 circular needle (12-16 inch)
Size 7 double points
Tapestry needle

Holding 2 strands together during all knitting, cast on 98 stitches and join without twisting. Knit in stocking stitch for 35 rounds. Add any color patterns, cables, lace or knit/purl patterns you like. Decrease as follows: K12, K2tog around, knit 1 round plain. K11, K2tog around, knit 1 round plain. K10, K2tog around, knit 1 round plain. Continue in this fashion, changing over to double points when necessary. When you reach K5, K2tog, eliminate the plain round and decrease every round. Fasten off. This type of crown decrease will produce a swirl. If you prefer a straight decrease line, alternate K2tog with SSK every other decrease round.

Still holding two strands together, pick up 24 stitches along the bottom edge of the hat using one double point needle. Purl back. You will be knitting back and forth now. Begin decreasing on the stocking stitch side as follows: K1, K2tog, K to 3 stitches before end of row, K2tog, K1. Purl back. Continue these decreases until you have 12 stitches left on the needle and decrease on both the knit side and the purl side, one stitch in from the edge. When you have 4 stitches left, decrease the center two stitches and bind off all in the same row.

Pick up 24 stitches on the opposite side of the hat. Be sure that you pick up the stitches at least a third of the way back from the front so that the flaps will cover the ears and be far enough back from the eyes. (Flaps should NOT be centered, but towards the back of the hat.) Repeat above for second flap.

Finish the entire edge of the hat with a double or treble crochet edge. Wider is better, since stocking stitch rolls back on itself. Weave in all ends. Make cords and tassels using contrasting scrap yarn or the remaining yarn in the ball for the end of each ear flap and for the top. For the most durable finish, thread the cord through the flaps and the top, rather than sewing them on after the fact. We do knitted cord, twisted cord or braids and then leave a tasseled fringe on the bottom or attach a puff ball or other type of tassel. Traditional Peruvian sherpas have short cords and tassels, but Americans seem to prefer longer cords and heavier tassels. Your choice and your taste.

My youngest daughter and her friend spent nearly an entire weekend dressing up the cats in teddy bear clothes. Just another activity in their very busy winter social schedule. It's a good thing the cats are patient animals and tolerant of being dressed in drag.


Blossomcottage said...

I love the hats!!

But I adore the cats!!


Kathleen said...

I'm having trouble picturing Alf in a dress...

The hats are beautiful!

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Snap Blossom

Anonymous said...

I have shown Amy the pictures and she was made up. Your hats are beautiful, they look really snug.

Crystal xx

Wooly Works said...

Thanks for the happy comments! For a particularly warm hat we line them with polar fleece. No cold gets through that!

Debra in France said...

I love the hats! Thanks for posting the pattern as well. The cats really made me giggle, especially the last one in a dress - she really looked like she was posing for a photo.

You are really talented with your wool. Everything on your blog looks wonderful.

Kathleen said...

It just occurred to me that the kitty in the dress looks like one from a Beatrix Potter story! And what! Wearing a teddy bear cloe? Remember the "doll cloe"? Plural, I suppose they would be "doll cloes". Aaaah, the good ol' days...

yarnplayer said...

These are really nice, warm hats, and so generous of you to share the pattern!

Breezy said...

Those hats lok great.

Breezy said...

I have to keep coming back now as TS loves Bluegrass