Friday, February 15, 2008

Easy-peasy reverse stockinette tubular edging (part 2 of "Pocket Hats")

includes 6 illustrations, click on any illustration to enlarge

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ADDENDUM, 2011:  The KAL laid out below stretches out over 5 posts, of which this is second, and is free.  However, some folks have written to say they find it hard to follow the pattern over so many posts. So...if you like, you can buy the pattern in an easy-to-print, all-in-one place pdf (click here).
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Today's trick is a nice little rim-like edging at the cast-on edge, very easy to do, which will stretch and never bind--very good for the edge of a hat, or the neck of a top-down sweater, or the top of a top-down sock. The top half of this post gives the general instructions for this easy-peasy edging while the bottom half applies this edging to the POCKET HATS introduced in the previous post.


This edging--a reverse stockinette tubular edging--is pretty much the same as the knitted-shut hem, which was posted here. However, there are two important differences.
  • First, the knit-shut hem is knit shut in the back, while this edging is knit shut in the front. This means that this edging is FAR easier to do--stockinette wants to roll towards you, and this cast-on goes along with that tendency. You can use this method to start a sweater or a hat at a meeting or on a bus: once you're sure you have the right number of stitches, catching the fabric up into a tubular edging is very methodical and no further counting or fussing is required. (The sample hats for this series were all started during various meetings.)
  • Second, when caught into a tube, reverse stockinette wants to protrude and stretch outwards, sort of like a rolled edging (scroll link for a gallery of rolled edges). In fact, reverse stockinette tubular edging is the same thing as rolled edging except that the roll-edge knit shut in this edging. By contrast, a knit-shut hem might want to flip up, but it generally does not stretch out like this edging does.
Illustration 1 (below) Cast on by the long-tail method, as many stitches as you need (If you are making the pocket hat, the pattern and number of stitches to cast on is the bottom half of this post.) Knit somewhere between 4 and 8 (or even more) rows or rounds of stockinette fabric. If you are knitting flat (back and forth), end by working a purl row, so that when you turn, you will be on the smooth "knit" side of your fabric. With the right needle, follow the column down to the cast-on loop, and inset the right needle into this loop.
Illustration 2 (below)
  • Bring the loop you caught on tip of the right needle up to the left needle. (In this illustration, the purl side of the fabric is shown in orange, although in real life, of course, both sides of the fabric would be the same color.)
  • Next, insert the right needle into first stitch on the left needle, so that two loops are on the right needle--the cast-on loop from the bottom of the column, and the stitch at the top of the column, which lay on the left needle.
  • Using the running yarn (also called the working yarn) knit these two loops together. In the illustration below, the running yarn (working yarn) is shown in green, although in real life, of course, this yarn would be the same color as the fabric.
One last note about the knitting together process: It IS possible to knit the loops together from this position as shown in illustration 2, above (and I do). Yet, you may find it easier to put the bottom-of -the-column loop (orange) onto the left needle. However, as Mt.Mom points out in the comments, if you so, then the knitting-together row is going to come out either twisted or arsy-versy. Therefore, IF you do want both stitches on the left needle, re-arrange the left stitch so that it lays LEFT arm forward, then slip the RIGHT loop onto the left needle, and then knit the two loops together THROUGH THE BACK LOOPS from this position. (This variation is not illustrated.)

Illustration 3 (below) Continue in this manner around the round, or across the row until all the loops and stitches are knit together. In other words, continue until all the column-bottoms are knit together with the column-tops. The reverse stockinette side of the fabric (orange in this illustration) shows on the outside of the little tube you have just fabricated. Again, in real life, the orange (reverse stockinette tube-outside) the yellow (stockinette tube-inside) and the green (running/working yarn tube-closure) would all be the same color. The illustration shows them in different colors just to make it easier to follow.
Illustration 4 (below) On the next round or row, begin the garment fabric. In this illustration, the garment fabric is a 2x2 ribbing (k2, p2).
illustration 5 (below) Here is the result "in the wool." This illustration shows an 6-round reverse stockinette tubular edging on a 2x2 ribbing, which is the same fabric and edging illustrated in 1-4.
One last note before we turn to the hat pattern: When used for negative ease garments such as socks, hats and mittens, the reverse-stockinette tubular edging will make these garments flare along their lower edges. As you can see from the opening photograph in this series, the pocket hats which start with this edging lay in a bell-like shape when they are flat. However, as soon as the garment is put on, this edging looks very well. On hats, (illustration 6, below) this edging makes a pleasant little brim.If you want to use this cast-on, but do not want a brim, make the edging on few rows, maybe as few as 2. Alternatively, remember that this cast on is tubular--a tube of 4 or 6 or more rows can serve as a little casing into which you can insert an elastic or a draw-cord.

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As promised, the bottom half of this post is the


1. Using the kind and color of yarn you want for the bottom stripe, and 16" long circular needles (or longer needles in magic loop, or double pointed needles) in a size as discussed in the last post,
  • for persons of normal head size--children or adults--cast on 117 stitches by the long tail method
  • for persons with freakishly large heads (such as my husband, who has a 23 1/2 inch head circumference) cast on 121.
Remember--this is ribbing and will stretch significantly.

2. Using the TECHjoin method, join the cast on. The TECHjoin method prevents that nasty little "jog" at the beginning of the round. It also consumes one stitch. After joining, you should have 116 stitches for the normal size and 120 stitches for the super-size. Place a marker after the join.

3. Knit 4-8 (or even more) additional rounds. The fewer rounds you knit, the less bell-shaped the hat will be laying flat, the more rounds you knit, the more "brim-like" this edging will be when you wear the hat.

4. According the edging instructions in the first part of this post, use your right needle to catch the cast-on loop for each column, and knit both the loop and the stitch together.

5. Continue in this manner until you have knit together all the way around. When you come to the marker, remove the marker then SLIP the next stitch, then replace the marker. This little maneuver of slipping the stitch will prevent a jog where the knitting-together ends, and it moves the round-beginning one stitch to the left.

6. Establish a k2, p2 pattern of ribbing around the hat. As discussed in the last post, this hat comes in three lengths, watch cap, stocking cap and rasta-style hat.
  • for the watch cap, knit 13 rounds of the first color
  • for the stocking cap, knit 14 rounds of the first color
  • for the rasta hat, knit 16 rounds of the first color
As you knit this stripe, keep the marker in the same location, simply slipping it from left needle to right each time you meet it.
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In the next posts of this series, three tricks will be shown, all of which have to do with the transition between colors at the stripe-edge. Specifically,
  • how to join yarn and work the ends in (the back join as adapted for 2x2 ribbing)
  • how to avoid the jog at the color change (the jogless join as adapted for 2x2 ribbing)
  • how to knit ribbing without any of those nasty little "dots" showing

Until next time...

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