Monday 5 January 2015

The Knitted Turban Beanie: Take 1

Knitted Turban Beanie: Take 1

Sometimes, I don't get started on a project as soon as I get inspiration, and the idea can be left hanging around for quite a while. If it's one that I keep returning to however, I know that I have to try it out, just for the sake of curiosity. This is one such project. It started off with this pin, which I think I found a good few months ago. The one thing that caught my eye about this turban beanie was the clever construction, as most I've seen just use an extra knitted "knot" to tie at the front. This one intrigued me for a long time, until things came to a head lately and I decided to figure it out. Whilst I'm not completely happy with this first attempt, I've learnt a lot from it, and am itching to give it another go...

The Details

26 stitches cast onto 5mm needles and worked in fisherman's rib before inserting a twist, and working more fisherman's rib. The sides were folded up to meet in the middle, and sewn in place to form the top of the hat.

What Went Well

I'm pleasantly surprised with the construction of this first attempt, and I feel confident that I'm heading along the right tracks with how it's put together. I'd be lying if I didn't say that there was a lot of unravelling involved at certain points. This was mainly because I'd convinced myself that the "knot" at the front was an extra large cable, and spent ages trying to knit the widest cable known to mankind. Seriously, I slipped 13 stitches onto a cable needle, and tried knitting it this way, very nearly giving myself blisters on my fingers. Not recommended. Luckily, it dawned on me that this was instead a twist (guess I've just got cables on the brain lately!), and the process became much easier.

The fisherman's rib also works really well, and I like the way that it accentuates the twist at the front of the design. It makes knitting a little slower than using plain ol' stocking stitch, but it's definitely worth the extra time.

What I'll Change Next Time

First up, the yarn. I have serious issues with this yarn, and whilst it was a cheapo one from Poundland bought solely to use for practising projects, I hated it. It seems soft and cosy enough on first impressions, but whilst knitting with it, I continually found strands of spiky, hard plastic running through it. Ouch. Aside from this, I'm just not sure that the marled colour works on this project, I think a solid coloured yarn would just let the design do the speaking. All the same, I'm glad I used this yarn, because it's set in my mind the yarn I want to use. Namely, Rowan's Brushed Fleece, which is divinely soft. I simply need to work out how much I need, and which colour - Crag is my first choice, although Lagoon is equally stunning - any thoughts?

Next time, I think I'll also work it up in larger needles - I used 5mms, and the knit is a little too tight for my liking. I want a really soft, slouchy beanie, so next time I think I'll try some 6mms.

The sizing also needs a little bit of work; because the fisherman's rib runs horizontally rather than vertically, the finished beanie has little to no stretch, so I think I'll work more rows before casting off. I'd also like the beanie to be a little longer, so I think this means that I'll be casting on more stitches in the beginning.

Whilst I'm happy with the majority of the construction and sewing up, I want to think more about sewing up the back of the beanie. I didn't have have a picture to reference for the back, so I simply guessed how it was put together, and the result was quite simply a little lumpy. It's not a huge disaster, but something that I want to remedy in future attempts. I'm also wondering whether increasing the size might make sewing up the back of the beanie easier, as a lot of stretch was involved. I guess I'll just have to wait and see!

Knitted Turban Beanie: Take 1

So, I'll be keeping you posted with further prototypes of the knitted beanie, and rest assured, I won't give up until I've finally figured it out. When I hopefully do work out my final version, I'll be posting a pattern here, but I'd love to hear if you've got any hints or tips for future versions!

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