Thursday 18 June 2015

The Knitted Turban Beanie: Take 2

DIY Knitted Turban Beanie

As odd as it sounds, I always feel a little... uncomfortable writing about knitting during the summer months. It's strange, because I certainly don't stop knitting during the summer months - if anything I do a little more, finding it easier to dedicating a lazy afternoon to sitting outside with some wool and a podcast. And if some of my favourite sources of inspiration - Wool and the Gang, my favourite knitting blogs - don't stop during the summer months, and I still enjoy reading their brilliant content, then I don't see why I'm stopping myself from writing about knitting. It's always winter someplace in the world, right?

Hence why it's been a while since I've discussed the turban beanie here. It's still something I'm working on, because I'm a slave to that pinterest inspiration, and I'm imagining practically living in it next winter. If you need a little recap (I know I do!) you can have a look-see at my first try at knitting this up.

Alterations Made

The wool - I used Rowan's Brushed Fleece in Crag; the perfect soft grey with a very slight, natural looking marl. Oh my word, you guys. I never want to knit with anything else - this is supremely soft, without at any point being hairy or itchy like a mohair. It's the kind of thing I'd love to use to make up some bed socks, or if it wasn't such a price, a huuuge blanket to basically hibernate in all winter long. This is love.

The needles - I used 6mms this time, after finding the 5mm created too stiff of a knit. Aaaaaannd? Next time I'll be using 5.5mms. It's always typical how you size up, and then need to size back down again, and it's not so much of a loose knit that it's worth reknitting the whole project for, but seeing as I'm going to be reknitting this anyway, it's something I'd like to change.

The size - This time, I cast on 32 stitches, rather a big leap up from 26. You guessed it, it worked out too large. Not completely oversized mind you, but just that tiny bit too big that meant it was just neither here nor there size-wise. I'm glad I did it though, because I wanted to see if increasing the number of stitches I started with would affect the construction, which it did, actually making the shape closer to what I was aspiring to. I still think I could do with a couple of less stitches though, just to make a tidier fitting beanie.

Blocking - For the first time ever, I blocked my knitting before sewing it up. I did this firstly out of curiosity, having never known if blocking is something I should be doing (FYI, it is), and secondly to see if it would improve the structure of this complex construction. I liked the effect it gave - evening out my stitch size, and of course keeping my knitting in the required shape. However, I also think that blocking also added to the oversized issue, as it seemed to loosen up my stitches, increasing the size of my end knitting. Something to bear in mind for next time.

What I Liked in this Version

The wool - Yes, I could just rename this blog post 294758 reasons why I love Rowan's Brushed Fleece, but for fear of repeating myself, I will just say that this is the exact wool I had in mind for this project - soft, cosy, and delicately sturdy.

The reverse - I never took photos of the back of the original mock up, because I was so ashamed of how messy it looked. Note to self: take photos of everything! It's easier to see what you did and how you can change it if you document it, rather than pretending it never happened. This time, I simply took more care when sewing up the back, gathering it slightly for a ruched effect. I love how this turned out, and I'm actually thinking that this would make a design feature on its own, without the crossover front.

What I'll Change Next Time

Casting On - I'll cast on less stitches, but not too many, I think probably around the 28/30 mark. I've also learnt a new cast on method for rib which I am loving - it gives me far more stretch than my previous, very basic, cast on method.

Needles - As discussed above, I'll be using the 5.5mms. This will make the beanie a little smaller, paired alongside less cast on stitches. I'll still block the end result, which will again make it a little looser, but as it will be initially smaller than this time, this shouldn't be a problem.

The Construction - There's actually no problem with the construction I'm using at the moment - essentially a rectangle of rib, broken into two at the middle to create a twist. However, I've realised that in true Charlotte fashion, I've been over complicating things. The twist is actually completely unnecessary, and I can instead work this up as one far longer and thinner strip, before folding it up to create a twist when sewing up. Again, I'm hoping this will give me a more defined 'turban' shape, and may even be neater at the end.

DIY Knitted Turban Beanie
Turban Beanie Reverse
Writing this has felt good, touching base with a project that I haven't discussed in a while. I've already started work on my next version of this, and whilst I'm always hoping that each version will be The One, I'm still holding out for perfection, so there might be a few versions to go yet. As for Take 2, it's all set to be unravelled and knit up into something else - maybe bed socks (I can't let this lovely wool go to waste!).

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