wild & grace gets knitting
Last year one of the first workshops wild & grace produced were a series of micro-knitting- bees, which saw grandmothers teaching granddaughters and mothers how to knit over Nana’s china teacups and Nigel Slater’s Double Ginger Cake.
Since then I have managed to finish a knitted-square baby blanket and a Where’s Wally? scarf. But no knitting has brought me as much joy as knitting my first ever baby’s hat.
Baby Beanie hat recipe – donated by Louise Young
You will need to acquire:
4 ply wool (1 ball may make 2 hats)
Size 11 US (size 3 NZ) and size 10 US (size 3.25 NZ) needles. I prefer bamboo needles.
Cast on 90 sts with size 11 needles
Work single rib for 2 inches (5 cms)
Change to size 10 needles and work in pattern of your choice until work measures 5 inches (12.5cm) from beginning (including the ribbing). Don’t forget this part…. as we’ve had a few odd shaped ones through 🙂
Shape top Row 1 (K8, k2tog) 9 times
Row 2 and alternate rows knit
Row 3 (K7, k2tog) 9 times
Row 5 (K6, k2tog) 9 times
Row 7 (K5, k2tog) 9 times
Row 9 (K4, k2tog) 9 times
Row 11 (K3, k2tog) 9 times
Row 13 (K2, k2tog) 9 times
Row 15 (K1, k2tog) 9 times
Row 16 (Knit)
Row 17 (k2tog) 9 times
Break yarn (leaving enough to stitch your hat together using a tapestry needle) and thread through stitches.
NB: I used Stockinette stitch for the main body of the beanie and double rib
We follow Baby Beanie’s progress/trimesters
The Basics: how-to-knit
I found this basic how-to-knit helpful written by Terry Kimbrough on tlc.howstuffworks.com. Youtube can be a terrific place to refer to for knitting tips also, as you can see what all these instructions mean, in motion.
Knitting Stitch Patterns
There are many ways to combine stitches to create different patterns, but the basis of every pattern is the knit stitch and the purl stitch.
Garter Stitch (g st)
Knit every row in flat knitting, and you have garter stitch (fig. 10). It’s a great stitch pattern for new knitters because it uses only one simple stitch. Because garter stitch lays flat without curling, it’s often used at the beginning and ends of rows to create flat, non-curling edges. Note: If you knit in the round, on circular or double-pointed needles, you’ll create stockinette stitch instead of garter stitch.
Garter Stitch: Figure 10
Stockinette Stitch (St st)
This is the most commonly used stitch pattern. Simply knit one row, purl the next, and repeat to produce this pattern. Stockinette stitch will curl at the edges when not stabilized with other, non-curling, stitch patterns, such as garter stitch. Because of that, border stitch patterns are usually added to the lower and upper edges, and the side edges are sewn into the seam. To obtain an accurate measurement, you can block it to keep it flat temporarily.
Stockinette Stitch (Knit Side): Figure 11a
The knit side (the smooth side) is called stockinette stitch (fig. 11a), and the purl side (or bumpy side) is called reverse stockinette stitch (fig. 11b). Reverse stockinette stitch is often used as a background for cable patterns.
Reverse Stockinette Stitch (Purl Side): Figure 11b
You’ll recognize ribbing as the stitch found at the cuffs and hems of sweaters. It is a very elastic pattern and knits up narrower than stockinette stitch on the same size needles. There are many ways of making ribbing, but the most common are the single rib (fig. 12a) and the double rib (fig. 12b).
Single Rib: Figure 12a
The single rib is made by alternating one knit stitch with one purl stitch (abbreviated as k1,p1). The double rib is more elastic than the single rib and is made by alternating two knit stitches with two purl stitches (abbreviated k2,p2).
Double Rib: Figure 12b
The most important thing to remember when making ribbing is that the yarn must be brought between the needles to the back of the work for the knit stitches and brought between the needles to the front of the work for the purl stitches. Sometimes new knitters finish a row and discover extra stitches, or they may find a hole in their ribbing several rows later. Knitting with the yarn in front or purling with the yarn in back is generally the cause. If you create a little mix-up with your stitches, remember that you can easily fix knitting mistakes.
Ribbing is very easy once you have learned to recognize knit and purl stitches. Instead of counting stitches, you simply knit the knits and purl the purls.
So, the above firstly taught me double rib and it informed me retrospectively that I should have top and tailed my ‘Where’s Wally’ scarf with garter stitch, to secure the body of the stockinette-stitch scarf from curling on the sides.
One thing (as a beginner knitter) I still found confusing about rib (single or double) is that I needed to purl into the purl rows and knit into the knit rows. I understood knit one purl one (single rib) and knit two purl two (double rib) for the first row, but when I ‘turned over’ I didn’t understand I needed to start with purl. Thought I’d include that in case you’re confused too.
My inspiration and future
I also have to share this inspiring and utterly beautiful Purlbee handcraft site. The next two things I aim to knit are Purlbee’s ‘Very special scarf:easy mistake stitch’ followed by their ‘Super easy baby blanket’.
Knitting Bee trois
Please email us if you’re based in the Bay of Plenty and would like to register for our next knitting bee or our first ever crochet crew: firstname.lastname@example.org
What are you knitting? Where do you go for tips or wool or inspiration?
Have you tried square needles? I have heard they’re handy for arthritis.