Learn how to knit the Ganomy, the Maltese and the Triton hats.
PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Elizabeth Zimmermann and her daughter Meg Swansen possess enviable reputations in the knitting world as designers (their patterns have appeared in many national magazines) . . . authors of a lively and readable knitting publication called Wool Gathering . . . and mail order suppliers of an incredible array of domestic and imported natural-fiber yarns and knitting supplies. Moreover, Elizabeth is the author of three books that form the backbone of many a serious needlecrafter's library: Knitting Without Tears, Knitter's Almanac, and Knitting Workshop (this last book accompanies Elizabeth's third series of video knitting lessons-also titled Knitting Workshop-which appears on PBS channels across the nation).
Last but not least, Elizabeth and her daughter have undertaken a campaign to revolutionize the way folks approach their knitting. They're firm advocates of circular needles, exciting yarns, and thinking knitting in which a craftsperson designs and knits a garment without a pattern. (However, the pair is considerate of less adventurous souls-affectionately referred to as "blind followers" as opposed to "wide awake and alert knitters"-and provides careful step-by-step patterns for most of their lovely creations.) We think you'll enjoy Elizabeth's and Meg's spriteIy and entertaining directions for knitting hats.
The headgear detailed below is designed for intermediate knitters. "Hats are really nice projects, " Meg says, "because they take only a skein or so of yarn, require maybe four hours of knitting, and generally turn out OK no matter what transpires, since people will wear practically anything on their heads!"
With the introductions out of the way, let's proceed to a horde of hat patterns.
The first three hats are made of Sheepsdown, a soft, light-in-Ioft, strong, undyed wool. You can use any wool that'll give you the appropriate gauge.
Gauge: 5 1/2 stitches to 2", with 11 stitches to 4" .
Materials: One skein of Sheepsdown is required for each hat. Use a circular 16" needle of a size to give you the aforementioned gauge. The largest-sized 16" needle is a No. 10 1/2 (so relax, you tight knitters). You'll need a set of four needles, the same size, for the top.
Terms: I use standard knitting abbreviations, but one term that I use with which you may not be familiar is M1, which means "make one stitch". You do this by putting a backward loop over the right needle. Another term is SSK (slip, slip, knit), or in other words, slip two stitches knitwise, one at a time, then insert the left-hand needle into the fronts of these two stitches and knit them from this position (or sl 1, K1, psso, if you wish). I slip all first stitches at the beginning of a row, or after turning.
The Three-Cornered Hat
This is a form of beret, but it is increased and decreased at three points instead of all around. Its fold is accentuated by two spaced rounds of purl. To begin, cast on a sufficient number of stitches to go around the wearer's head, and work 1" of border. Increase approximately 50% to a number of stitches divisible by 3, and work around in a stocking stitch. Increase 2 stitches at three evenly spaced points every second round. At 3 1/2", Stop increasing. P1 round, K2 rounds, P1 round. Now, decrease at the same points, at the same speed. After 2 1/2" of this, decrease every round. At 6 stitches, finish off and sew together the beginning garter stitch borders.
Unintelligible esoterica, you say? Very well, let's make it a wee bit easier. . . .
The Blind Followers' Three-Cornered Hat
See the beginning notes on the gauge, materials, and needle size.
Cast on 36 sts. Working back and forth, K5 rows. Next row: K2, M1, across (54 sts). Join, and knit around. Mark 2 sts at three equidistant points with 16 sts in between. Now, *K to 2 marked sts, M1, K2, M1. Repeat from * twice more. K1 round. Repeat these 2 rounds until you have 84 sts. Stop increasing. P1 round. K2 rounds. P1 round. Start decreasing: *K to within 1 st of marked sts, K2 tog, SSK (a decrease of 2 sts). Repeat from * twice more. K1 round. Repeat these two rounds until you have 48 sts. Now, decrease every round until you have 6 sts. Finish off, and sew together the beginning garter stitch borders. This pattern will turn out a cute hat whether you wear the point to the front or to the back. Have fun experimenting to find the most attractive angle!
The Maltese Hat
This chapeau is based on a fisherman's hat brought back from the island of Malta. It hugs the ears closely and has an antic point, which may be toned down for more subdued persons by faster decreasing at the end. I finished my personal version with a ridiculous tassel of only 14 threads, all uneven in length, with a knot at the end of each one. The hat may be fastened with string or by means of a button and buttonhole under the chin. With the earpieces up, a wearer of this bonnet looks like someone from the Kirgiz. [EDITOR'S NOTE: To save you a trip to the dictionary, the Kirgiz is an area in south-central Asia formerly inhabited by Mongols.)
The shaping of this topper is somewhat involved, and so we'll just skip the "thinking" version this time and pass straight to . . .
The Blind Followers' Maltese (or Kirgiz) Hat
For the gauge, materials, and needle size, see the instructions in the beginning notes.
First, cast on 36 sts. K back and forth for 10 rows. Now, K17, turn, K back. K15, turn, K back. K13, turn, K back. K11, turn, K back. K9, turn, K back. K7, turn, K back. Then K8, turn, K back. K10, turn, K back. K12, turn, K back. K14, turn, K back. K16, turn, K back. K to end of row. Repeat the foregoing instructions on the other side. This completes the shaping of the ear sections.
K1 complete row. For the next row, K15 (M1, K1) 6 times, K15, cast on 14 for the front. Join. There should be 56 sts. Work around 10 rounds (more for a deeper hat), keeping the 14 front sts in a garter stitch for 2 ridges by purling them on the first and third rounds.
To shape the top, decrease 4 sts evenly spaced around (K2 tog, or even P2 tog, K12) four times. K1 round. Repeat these 2 rounds until 8 sts remain and finish off. How you place the decreasing is up to you . . . they can veer to the right or to the left. There will be a stitch less between the decreases every second round.
The Triton Hat
Not only is this hat a mysterious tour de force. . . but it also turns inside out a fair treat! The Triton is also known as the Conch, the Mashed Potato, the Snail, and the Dairy Queen because of the way in which it spirals together. Again, I'll give just one set of directions.
The Thinking and Unthinking Knitters' Triton (or Conch) Hat
Use the same gauge, materials, and needle size as for the two previous hats.
Cast on 40 sts. K back and forth for 5 rows. Increase 50% to 60 sts by working K2, M1 across. Join. *P2, P2 tog, K16, M1. Repeat from * around for 18 rounds. (Really, these instructions are correct. Ask no questions. . . trust me. Of course the thing on your needle is twisting . . . it's a conch, isn't it?)
Now (P1, P2 tog twice, K15, M1) three times. Then (P1, P2 tog twice, K14, M1) three times. Then (P1, P2 tog twice, K13, M1) three times, and so on. Each round will contain 3 sts fewer than the previous one. Continue in this manner to the bitter end, which will consist of 15 sts slipping around on three needles. Hang on to that M1, and for the last round (P2 tog twice, K1, M1) three times. 12 sts remain. Finish them off, and sew together the beginning garter stitch borders.
All three of these hats wash and wear excellently if made of Sheepsdown. In fact, after the newness has worn off, I've been known to toss them in the washing machine.
The Ganomy Hat
This hat is really an endearing object. The bobble point can flop forward or backward as you wish. In the longer version it has a fine sideways flop. This bonnet hugs the ears better than the more typical skiers' hats. In the interest of saving space, here solely is . . .
The Blind Followers' Ganomy Hat
Gauge: 5 stitches to 1".
Materials: You'll need three ounces of Fisherman wool and a No. 4 needle 16" long (plus four double-ended needles of the same size), or the size necessary to give you the appropriate gauge.
Start by casting on 100 sts and work back and forth in the garter stitch for six ridges. Join, and continue around in a stocking stitch. Mark 3 sts for the center back and M1 on each side of them by backward loops. Then K16 to the left ear, K2 tog, K1, SSK (or sl 1, K1, psso). K26 to the center front, M1, K3, M1. K26 to the right ear, K2 tog, K1, SSK. K16 to the center back. Knit 1 round. Repeat these two rounds until the piece measures 5" along the shaping lines. Stop the center front increasing and continue the three other shapings until the piece measures 9" along the shaping lines. You can put in a stripe or stripes in contrasting colors, as you desire.
At 9", stop the center back increasing but continue the decreasings and work until 16 sts remain. For the topknot, work straight for 10 rounds (by now you're using the four needles, of course). Break the wool, thread it through all the stitches, pull it tight, and fasten the yarn off.
To make a tassel, roll a rabble of wool ends into a ball about 1 1/2" in diameter, stuff it into the top of the hat, and tie a thread firmly below the pom-pom. Last, sew together the ends of the border at the neck back to finish your topper.
Need a refresher on the basics of knitting and crocheting? Would a list of abbreviations be handy? How about more project ideas and patterns? See How to Knit and Crochet.