Penpal Hat KAL: A Wrap Up

Hey-o! Meaghan coming at you again!

You thought we'd forgotten to announce a winner, didn't you? No. We'd never do that. It went down like this:

Me: So we should get that winner post up on Tuesday, right?

Heather: Yep. Want me to do it? I know you're busy.

Me: Sure! Here's some photos to use.

Me (a week later): Hey, how's that wrap up post going?

Heather: Right, I'm on it. 

Me (a week later again over a pint of beer): DUDE! I'm gonna write that post.

Heather: Awesome! 

 

And so here we are. A few weeks late but no less enthused about the Penpal KAL that you participated in. We had a wonderful selection of skill levels and colors and a mix of boh fitted hats and slouchy hats.  All in all, I think it was a smashing success. Let's take a look at a few of the FO's that were posted on Instagram shall we?

by   @juriface
by ME! (  @socalmeaghan  )

by ME! (@socalmeaghan)

Alright, let's get to the winner, shall we? Yes, let's shall! The winner of the Penpal KAL is... *drum roll*.... @JURIFACE!!! Congrats, Julie. Your hat is lovely. 

As a prize (and a thank you) for participating we're going to ship you a copy of our latest cowl pattern, 1-Skein ZigZag Cowl, along with a skein of our brand new Ewe So Sporty line of sport weight yarn in the color of your choice to complete the project. 

You can choose your color of yarn by visiting our website Ewe So Sporty page. And here's a sneak peak of the cowl pattern. 

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Julie, please send your mailing address to Heather at hello@eweewe.com and she'll make sure you get your package of happiness shortly!

Thank you again to all of you who played along. It was an honor to host this KAL and I look forward to future opportunities to do so again.

We're so excited to have our new line of yarn, Ewe So Sporty, hitting the shelves soon. Talk to your LYS to see if they're going to carry it. Heather starts shipping orders on Friday (WOOT!) so it won't be long before your can get your hands on it! 

Until the next Ewe Ewe Yarns KAL, Happy knitting!

Penpal Hat KAL: Part 3

Welcome back to the third and final post for the Penpal Hat KAL. I hope you had a good time with the lace-work from Tuesday's post and are excited to finish up the hat. The best news is that you're just about there. 

I worked the slouchy hat and, as hoped for, it's slouchy! 

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And now it's time to work the decreases and bind off... and BLOCKING! Yep, that's part of it too. 

So, about that decreasing...

If you're working the fitted beanie, and you're not already using double-pointed needles, you're likely best to switch to the double-pointed needles now when you've finished with a knit round. If you're working the Magic Loop method you can pretend this little bit doesn't exist. If you're working the slouchy hat, you can work rows 1 thru 3 of the decrease section before switching to the DPN's.

So, why switch needles?

If you're working with a 16" fixed circular, you're going to find it more and more difficult to get your ends of round to meet as you decrease stitches. The best want to manage this, in my opinion, is to work until it's getting a bit snug and then switch over. 

I prefer to actively move all my stitches from the needles rather than knit them on to the new needles (as we saw in the first KAL post) so I can make sure all the stitches make it relatively evenly over the 4 needles. I also prefer to do this with an all-knit round to avoid having to move YO's. They're tricky buggers on the average day, why mess with them?

For the Fitted Hat:

The fitted hat has 81 stitches and that's about the fewest stitches I would want on a 16" needle. This, of course, is open to your own opinion so move the stitches when you feel comfortable but here's why I recommend doing it now. On the decrease round 1, you'll go from 81 stitches down to 63. 63 will likely be pretty tight on your fixed circ's so why not fight the battle before you get too few soldiers, right? At 81 stitches, divided evenly over 4 needles, that's 20 stitches on 3 of the needles and 21 on the last. 

For the Slouchy Hat:

I prefer to work on the fixed circular for as long as I can as I tend to get ladders when I work on DPN's so for this project I worked rounds 1-3 of the decrease section on the fixed circ's. Then I did some basic math and transferred 20 stitches to 3 of the needles and the remaining 17 to the 4th needle. And here's what she looks like now:

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If you look carefully you'll see that I have my stitch marker one stitch in on the needle rather than right on the end. Simple reason: I don't want it to fall off. Then as I work each round I move one stitch to the next needle to avoid the laddering affect. It's far less noticeable on a project like this where "holes" are part of the design but that's a little tidbit you can take with you for future projects worked on DPN's. You're welcome! 

One thing to point out, when you're working round 5 of the decreases, you'll note that you need to (K1, K1tbl) into the double YO instead of (K1, P1). The reason for this is so that all of your stitches are knit stitches so you have a smoother looking crown. 

Finishing Off

Once you're done working the decreases you'll end up with either 5 or 7 stitches on your needles depending on whether you're working the fitted hat or the slouchy hat. I find that the needles flop around a bit when there's only one or two stitches on a needle so be careful one doesn't spin  - you don't end up with a twisted stitch. 

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Unlike most projects where you work a bind off row to finish the project, the Penpal Hat doesn't require a bind off. Score 1 more point for awesomeness on this hat! We're just weaving in ends right off the needle. Easiest way to finish a project. EVER! 

Cut your yarn with about a 10" tail so you have lots of yarn to use to thread through the live stitches. Grab that tapestry needle and start picking up your live stitches starting with the first stitch following your stitch marker, i.e.: the first stitch of the round (make sure you don't accidentally thread the stitch marker too of you'll have a little decoration on the top of your hat). 

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Thread the needle through each of the live stitches once, purl wise, and slip them off the needles as you go. Once I've picked up all of the live stitches, I like to go through the first stitch one more time to make sure it's well and truly closed up. I really don't like gape-topped hats. 

Look at all those live stitches so carefully taken care of!

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Now we're going to gently pull the tail on the tapestry needle to close the hole up a bit but before you do that, push your tapestry needle through the hole to the inside of the hat to prepare to finish the crown.

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Once you've got the yarn pulled through, turn the hat inside, make a knot, and weave in the ends a bit. Cut the yarn. 

Now turn it back right-side-out and look at your beautimous hat crown!

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And guess what? Now you only have ONE tail to weave in since we took care of that pesky little joining issue in Tuesday's post. Weave that in and BOOM! You have a hat.

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Don't you dare put that on your head yet!

You're not quite done yet, folks! Gotta block that puppy out so it stays looking great. Blocking is the best way to lock in your stitches and even out any little stitch imperfections you may have along the way. 

The easiest way to block this hat is to put about a gallon of cool water in a sink or large bowl, add a drop or two of SOAK wool wash in with it, and let it sit there for 10 or 15 minutes. I use the "Lacy" scent and it's Mmm, Mmm, good. Makes my knits smell nice!

**Just a note with any wool wash - it's going to get bubbly like any soap would so resist the urge to rinse the soap out of your project before you dry it. Also - read the instructions carefully on the soap to water ratio. The first time I used SOAK I thought it said 1 TBSP to 1 gallon of water. It's 1 TSP. I had bubbles for days. 

Ok, back to blocking. When the fibers of the hat are fully wet through, about 10 to 15 minutes later, drain the sink/bowl and squeeze out the hat. Be careful not to wring or twist your knits. Just squish it up in your hands and squeeze out as much water as you can. Then lay it out flat on a towel, roll up the towel, and stomp all over it. This will help get any remaining water out of the hat and will speed up the drying time.

Now just find a flat place for the hat to dry. I have a blocking mat but it's not necessary. Because we don't need to pin the hat to block it you can just lay it out flat, push it into shape a bit, being careful not to stretch the ribbing, and just let that baby dry. All the way dry. Not just mostly dry. All. The. Way. Dry.

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Once it's dry you can wear it, love it, and rock it! 

As you wrap up your WIP's and turn them into FO's, continue using the hashtag #PenpalKAL on InstagramFacebook and Twitter. And if you've got questions or comments you're welcome to leave them here or connect with us in the Ravelry group

Thank you SO much for joining me on this KAL. It's been so fun seeing your progress on Instagram and interacting with you an Ravelry

Keep in mind that we're doing a prize giveaway next Tuesday, February 18th. Complete your Penpal Hat using Wooly Worsted yarn by Valentine's Day (that's tomorrow!!) 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.

Happy knitting!

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!

Introducing: Penpal Hat Knit Along!

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Let's have a Valentine's Day quickie! Try the Penpal Hat knit along to learn a fun knitted lace stitch and some other great tips and tricks. You can choose between the beanie hat and a slouchy hat version.

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The details, please!

The Penpal Hat KAL, hosted by Meaghan from the Unapologetic Knitter, starts on Thursday, February 6, 2014 and runs for three sessions. Here are the dates and topics for each section of the KAL:

  • Thursday 2/6: Casting on, joining in the round and working an increase round.
  • Tuesday 2/11: Working the lace stitch and weaving in yarn ends.
  • Thursday 2/13: Decreasing stitches and working on double-pointed needles.

Plus, there's a giveaway! Complete your Penpal Hat using Wooly Worsted yarn by Valentine's Day and send us a photo to be entered in the contest. You'll win a skein of our new Ewe So Sporty yarn and a pattern to go with it! Enter by using the hashtag #PenpalKAL on RavelryTwitter, Instagram or Facebook. You can also just email us at hello@eweewe.com, attach your photo and you'll be entered!

Entries must be received by 11:59 PM PST 2/14/14 to qualify for the giveaway. The winner will be announced 2/18/14.

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What supplies do I need?

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Where do I get my supplies?

Chelsea Yarns is our KAL partner and they are offering Wooly Worsted for 20% off! The discounted price shows up in your shopping basket. Thanks, Chelsea Yarns!

You can also check our Retail Shops page to find a shop near you. 

How do I follow along?

We'll be doing all the posts here on our blog. Add a bookmark! Join our KAL group on Ravelry. Be sure to follow eweeweyarns on InstagramTwitter and Facebook. Use the hashtag #PenapalKAL.

Let's knit! What colors of Wooly Worsted yarn will you pick? 

Send it again! It's the Penpal Hat.

New! Penpal Hat in Slouchy

A little present just came from your old friend Ewe Ewe! We've updated our Penpal Hat lace knitting pattern with a hip slouchy version. The knitted lattice stitch on the Penpal Hat gives a funky crochet look with great drape. Perfect! The new version in the photo is knit with Wooly Worsted merino in color Charcoal so it goes with everything. Make your own today!

Click here to see more info about the Penpal Hat.

Click here to see our Retail Shops

Wooly Wednesday: What's in my knitting bag?

What's in my #knitting bag? A Penpal Hat in Charcoal Wooly Worsted merino and my notions. #wip

I love Wednesdays because that means it's Wooly Wednesday! That's our Ewe Ewe version of WIP Wednesday where I talk about what I'm knitting or my Work In Progress. This week I'm making a Penpal Hat. It's one of the first patterns I designed for Ewe Ewe and it is fun to knit. The Penpal Hat has a chunky lace pattern. It's hard to see the lace pattern in this photo but click over here to check it out. I'll be sure to show my finished version on the blog.

Also, are you on Flickr? Yes? Come join the What's in my knitting bag group and post what you're working on every Wednesday!