Penpal Hat KAL: Part 2

Welcome back to the Penpal Hat KAL (aka: the Valentine's Day Quickie KAL). I hope you all enjoyed the first steps. I'm so excited to see progress on Instagram and and love hearing from you all on Ravelry

So, let's do a little show and tell for the first step: 

Here's mine:

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It doesn't look like much yet, right? But after today's steps it's going to start looking like you're a knitting rockstar! So let's get moving.

I hope you're all ready for lots of fun photos to go with today's steps. It was a blast, and a challenge, to accurately show each piece. I hope they're helpful.

Begin Lace

Right off the bat we're heading into some lace-y territory - YO's and K2tog's. Starting out, we're going to *S1-K2tog-PSSO*... what?! Right-o. It looks a bit wacky and the first time I sat down to try this I did it wrong. So let's walk through the steps so you can avoid the unnecessary frustration of working backwards.

S1 - slip one stitch purlwise. Basically you're going to put your right hand needle through the first loop on the left hand needle as if to purl. But you're just going to move the stitch from left to right, no new stitch will actually be created by wrapping any yarn. 

Did you notice? I painted my nails for you all this time... the last photos were atrocious! 

Did you notice? I painted my nails for you all this time... the last photos were atrocious! 

The next step is pretty obvious - we're going to K2tog. What you'll notice is that your tail from your last worked stitch - the stitch at the end of the row where we increased our stitches - is running past your slipped stitch. That's ok. It'll all work out in the long run.

Next is the PSSO: pass slipped stitch over. Similar to the S1, we're not going to be wrapping the yarn to create a new stitch. We're just going to move an existing stitch around. Using your LEFT hand needle, reach past the stitch you just created with your K2tog, pick up your first slipped stitch and lift it up, up, and over your K2tog stitch and off the end of your right needle. 

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You're doing two things at once by doing this. You're decreasing another stitch (you already decreased one with the K2tog) but you're also starting the design portion of your lacework. See the little collar you now have around your K2tog stitch?

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Easy peasy, Mac'n'Cheesy! 

But... now we're short two stitches and the goal is to keep the number of stitches consistent around the hat until we start our decreases. So, as is typical in lace, where there is a decrease in stitches, we must create new stitches with YO's. 

In this case we're going to do two YO's consecutively. It feels a bit strange at first but I PROMISE it works. Every time. Ok, so wrap your yarn once, and twice...

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You'll see the collar we created immediately left of the stitch marker, then one YO and another YO about to be used to work the next stitch. BUT! The next stitch isn't a knit... it's another S1. Here's how it'll look when you're ready to actually knit another stitch:

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Starting from my fingernail on the right, we've got the stitch resulting from the first K2tog under my finger, two YO's in a row, a slipped stitch and FINALLY another K2tog. So you'll work that K2tog, then PSSO and BOOM BABY. You're ready for another YO, 2 times. It's a simple repeat but when faced for the first time it can be a bit befuddling

REMEMBER: End the round with the "YO, twice" or you'll be short two stitches for the round. How many times have I forgot to do THAT? Too many to mention. 

Alrighty - moving on? Yes, I think we shall.

Round 2 is a fun one.

Or it's fun to me, anyway. Here's where it's easy to lose stitches if you're not paying enough attention. Eventually your hands will fall into a rhythm but at first: eyes down folks. I know the Olympics are on but hit "Pause" for a moment and watch the stitches. 

Knit your first stitch and then you're facing the double YO you created in the first round. 

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The pattern says: K1, P1 into double yarn over. WHAT? Let's break it down step by step.

You're going to K into the first loop (which is gonna be all loosey goosey so hold onto that second wrap) just like you would knit any stitch. See me holding that loop onto the left needle? I strongly recommend this. 

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When you pull the K stitch off the needle here's what it should look like:

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Not much is keeping that loop on the left needle. If you drop it, fear not. You can just swing your left needle under the line of yarn and pick it up easily enough. I just find it easier not to drop it in the first place. 

Alright, so now we have to P1 into the second YO. So we're going to bring our working yarn forward, between the two needles as if to purl. It's going to cross over that span of yarn between the worked stitch and the second YO still on your left needle.

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While holding the working yarn in front it's now time to purl into this remaining loop. Again, it's going to be all loosey goosey on you so don't worry that its wrong. It's not. It's just the "feature" of being a YO stitch. 

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As with any purl stitch, you're going to have to now move the working yarn between the two needles to create your new stitch. 

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Now you can complete the purl stitch and badda boom, badda bing: you've just K1, P1 into the double YO. You'll see a little purl bump to indicate that you've just worked the purl.

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Once you've done that you're just working those three stitches all the way around your... round?! All the way 'round your round? Ha ha... its great inside my head. Ok. GO!

Joining a New Skein

So there you are, knitting along, loving your WIP and there it is... the dreaded tail at the end of your current skein. And you have to join a new one. And weave in ends. Ugh. 

NO YOU DON'T! The nature of this project, having texture and movement, allows us to use a super-secret join method that will hide itself into invisibility on this project. This does not work for all projects. For example, a stockinette fabric, it's not so great for. Cuz you'll see it. But on reverse stockinette or garter... it's passable. And no, its not the spit-splice. Which I love (albeit I think it's a wee bit gross). But with Ewe Ewe Wooly Worsted it's not really the recommended form of joining. Why not? Because Wooly Worsted is a superwash yarn so you can throw that baby in the washing machine. So, since Wooly Worsted won't felt, it won't splice either since that's pretty much all you're doing when you spit-splice your yarns - felting them together.

Ok, enough talk about spit. Let's talk about joining these two ends together without needing to weave. 

The Magic Knot

For sample sake, I'm going to use the end of my original color and use a different Wooly Worsted scrap I have leftover from the Stuff It Stocking KAL I participated in this past December so you can differentiate one end from the other. 

Lay your working yarn end so that your project is in front of you with the tail pointing towards you (this isn't a requirement in the future but will help for purposes of this tutorial). Next, lay the end of the new ball parallel to your working yarn with the tail pointing away from you. You'll want the two ends to overlap one another by about 4".

In this case, the working tail is Teal, and the new ball is light blue.

In this case, the working tail is Teal, and the new ball is light blue.

Tuck the working yarn UNDER the new yarn so it looks kind of like the number "4".

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Pull the working yarn back to the left going OVER the new tail, and back over itself again.

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Tuck the working tail under itself.

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Pull tight on both ends of the WORKING yarn. The new ball is basically just hanging out with a knot tied around it, not with it.

To work the second half of this join, in a similar style to above, take your NEW yarn tail and tuck it under the working yarn so it looks kind of like  "P".

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Pull the new tail back over the working yarn, to the right and over itself again.

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Tuck this new tail under itself.

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Pull this one tight again so that you've now got two knots about 2" apart.

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Now here's the "Magic". We're going to pull these two knots together and create a double knot that is almost impossible to break apart. I say almost because if you really worked at it you could do it, but what I guess I mean is that it'll hold up to washings and wear and you'll love not having to weave in the ends.

To create your "Magic Knot" pull on the long ends of both the working yarn and the new yarn.

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The two knots will slide together and meet up. You can give a pretty good yank on this puppy and it's only going to make it stronger. If you had your Wheaties this morning, don't pull so hard that you break the yarn. But a good yank'll do. 

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Once the two knots have become one (like a little Yarn Wedding) I always give an extra tug on each individual knot. To do that, grab the long end of the yarn, and the short bit of the same yarn, and give it a tug. Do it with both ends.

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Now, as close to the knots as you can stand... cut  the ends off (the short ones... not the working yarn).

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I'm usually about an 1/8" away from the knot when I cut the short tails. 

Et voila! 

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You now have a knot that'll stand up to washing and wearing and because of the form of the hat, you'll never see it. 

Just Keep Knitting

So that' wraps up today's post. It's been a long one but hopefully a good one to keep you moving on your Penpal Hat. It's a great project to work on in front of the Olympics (or Downton Abbey marathons) once you memorize the pattern repeats. Keep knitting per pattern until you reach the desired length for the hat you've chosen.

On Thursday, February 13th we'll come back and discuss decreases, finishing and our old friend, blocking! 

Keep in mind that we're doing a prize giveaway at the end of this KAL. Complete your Penpal Hat using Wooly Worsted yarn by Valentine's Day and you'll be entered into the drawing. What do you win? A skein of the not-yet-released Ewe So Sporty yarn along with a pattern to go with it!  How do you get entered? Just show us a photo of your FO using #PenpalKAL on our social media sites linked below, or email us a photo at hello@eweewe.com.

Please note: all entries must be received by 11:59 PM PST on February 14, 2014 to qualify for the giveaway. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, February 18th.

Join me and the other KAL'ers on InstagramTwitter and Facebook using the hashtag #PenpalKAL. And if you've got questions or comments you're welcome to leave them here or connect with us in the Ravelry group

Happy knitting!