Star Wars Fair Isle Hat Part 3

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Things are chugging along! This post covers the lettering, red circle design next to the lettering, and white top border portion of The Force Awakens hat pattern by Mrs. Luedeke, available for free here. Parts one and two are on the right hand side of our website, www.stitchingbevy.com.

Prior to starting on this section, I changed the lettering chart to read Rogue One, using a pencil and an extra-light copy of the original chart. Since there were fewer letters than The Force Awakens, I centered those and added in the circular design in the blank spaces.

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The foundation row of any fair isle pattern is essential to get things rolling so it requires major concentration and a quiet place to work. I know firsthand because I had to backwards knit to undo the first row two separate times. The first was because I somehow forgot the “U” and the second was due to being off on one of the circle design sections. I realized this in the second row both times, even when using a post it note to cover up the chart except for the row I was working on. The human mind seeks to insert patterns once they are learned and sometimes that can work against you! For the circle design, I forgot to insert the first black stitch so I was off count on the second row of the pattern gleefully following the established pattern I had just learned.

It’s also important to not get mixed up on your colors if you use different ones than the pattern calls for. The chart being grey scale can help, but in my case, the colors were reversed in some spots so I had to create a key to keep things straight. You could even go through and color in the chart to match your yarn colors to keep things simple. More tips on reading fair isle charts here.

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After requiring the force to help me get the first row of the lettering and circle pattern established, the rest went a lot faster. I’ve found that with fair isle, the rows themselves aren’t hard to focus on if you can cover up the other rows; it’s the individual stitches in each row that can be hard to lose track, especially if you can’t really memorize a pattern set to move things along. Stopping to cover up each of those stitches would be a royal pain so double checking after 10 stitches or so can be a good way to monitor accuracy. I’m looking forward to the next section with the stormtrooper helmets!

 

Star Wars Fair Isle Hat Part 2

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This is the second part of a series of process notes on completing The Force Awakens Hat by Mrs. Leudeke (free pattern here). In this post, I’ll cover the ribbed edging and the first charted pattern. Part One can be found here

It was very easy to work with the Zara yarn and casting on was a breeze. The edging is a simple and stretchy K1P1 repeat and combined with the yarn, you can tell already that it’s going to be a nice fit.

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Instead of doing a gauge swatch ahead of time, I used the method recommended for smaller in-the-round fair isle projects of knitting a couple of inches in pattern, then measuring gauge and adjusting needle size from there (if you end up a stitch off, rip out the work and start again on a different needle size).

Another thing to consider when knitting in the round: because you aren’t doing purl stitches, expect that your finished work will be slightly smaller. When knitting flat pieces, purl stitches are slightly larger than knit ones and they tend to even out when mixed with the knit stitches so there’s no real impact. On top of that, color work can also pull in the finished work slightly smaller because of carrying the yarn across colors. This actually works to my benefit because I have perhaps the loosest gauge in the galaxy.

As I mentioned in my last post, I always got frustrated with color work because inevitably the two strands of yarn would get wrapped around each other and the back of my work would be a mess…until this life-saving information found in Knitting for Dummies by Allen, Barr & Okey (this book is about 10 years old but full of excellent, basic info and has good patterns  to try, too).

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When working with two colors, choose one color to be the “over” and the second to be the “under.” In my case, the white was “over” and the red “under.”  When you get ready to switch colors, bring the new color “over” the color you just dropped. Then when you switch again, bring the color “under” what you just dropped. Keep working this way all around the row and you won’t believe how much faster you can knit and more even the work looks in the front and the back! What helped me was keeping the two balls of yarn apart, one by my left leg and the other by my right. That way there was no temptation to twist the strands. Just be sure to not carry over your colors too tightly- spread out your stitches before going “over” or “under” with the next color. It turned out I ended up not needing my bobbins after all so I set those aside.

So far I’ve completed the ribbed edging and the tie fighter chart. The next step will be the lettering, which will require more focus.

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