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Knit in C - O - L - O - R: Fair Isle Hat

Copyright 1997 Claudia Krisniski. All rights reserved.

Date: Wed, 6 Aug 1997 08:12:05 -0400 (EDT)
To: knit@Bolis.com
Subject: KNIT: in C - O - L - O - R: Fair Isle Hat

Good morning all

To Debbie and everyone who is hesitant about color.... 

Learn by doing...Here's your first project. A Fair Isle hat...knit in the

Take all of your odd partial balls of yarn...as many colors as you
have...and group them according to weight.  By this I mean according to
the suggested gauge they should be knit at. One pile for 6 sts=1", one
pile for 5 1/2 to 5 sts=1", one pile for 4 1/2 - 4 sts=1", etc.  Use your
5 1/2 - 5 sts=1" pile for this project. 

Now, take a look and see what sort of color families you have...if you
have a newer stash, you may find yourself inundated with the same colors!
If you can get yourself a color wheel (those gadgets sold in art stores
that are a dial-up color groups sort-of-tool) you can start seeing the
complementary and contrasting colors, and what sort of goes with what.
Myself...I stick to a basic rule that works very well with my
personality...I like blues, reds-to-purples and greens in my color work. 
You would be so amazed at how many DIFFERENT shades of those colors there

So pick out three colors that look good together...that are friendly and
harmonious.  Let your eye decide.  While you are deciding, put them in a
small basket near where you work all day, and every now and then dwell on
them. Add and subtract as you deem necessary, but keep the number at
three.  If you HAVE to, you are allowed to visit your LYS to complete the
planning . 

What I do is try to figure out...are the colors I have BRIGHT or
DULL...CLEAR or SHADED? Then I pick out a base yarn to match them up
against.  For instance, I have a lovely ink blue, mallard green, and
chianti purple-red that Brown Sheep makes in Lambs Pride worsted...and if
I put those three colors against a charcoal grey base yarn, they look
muted and rich.  If I put those colors against a brass gold, they are
alive and folky.  If I put them against natural, they look clearer and

So, what kind of hat do you FEEL LIKE? I think that whatever the colors
put into your soul...that is what your hat will do for you :) 

So, if you picked a worsted weight yarn...cast on about 90 sts with a
#5...16" circular needle in your BASE color and work some ribbing (k1,p1) 
for two inches.  Change to a # 7 needle. Work one round (and all
subsequent rounds) in k. Put a marker at the beginning of your round. 
You'll need double pointed needles in # 5 or 7 to close the top of the

Now, fair isle patterns are easily incorporated. Get yourself a book of
fair isle and peerie pattern charts. Alice Starmore has great charts...and
sit down with some graph paper and colored pencils. Math time! We are
working with the number 90 and have to find out what groups of stitches
will fit evenly into that. 90 is divisible by...15 and 10 and 9 and 6 and
5.  So, look in your patterns for something that is 5 or 6 sts long. If it
has five rows...even better. Get your pencils ready and color in the first
line with the base color as the background, and ONE of your colors as the
pattern color. Then color in the second line with your base color as the
background, and a SECOND color as your pattern color. Then color in the
third line with the base color as your background color and a THIRD color
as your pattern color.  Fourth line...pattern color is your SECOND
color...fifth line...pattern color is your FIRST color. 

Pick out another chart, and work that one up on graph paper...you can even
reverse the base color/pattern color relationship for real fun! Now, start
knitting with all the colors and enjoy yourself.  The experience of
putting new stitches of color where none-has-gone-before is the best part! 

Do this sort of thing until your hat knits to a depth of 6 " from the cast
on edge (the ribbing will fit flat on your head...if you want to turn the
ribbing over for a cuff effect...knit the hat depth to 8 ").  Add as many
patterns as you can fit, allowing a round or two of base color between new
patterns. You will have roughly 4" of hat space to put patterns into, so
if you figure your row gauge after you finish the first pattern, that will
give you an idea of how many more rows you have to fill EVENLY before you
come to the crown. Kids hats need to be shorter...so make the ribbing less
and the hat depth less, too...at least an inch altogether.

At the crown, abandon your fun colors, and work in the base color only. 

Round 1: *k 13, k2tog, repeat from *
Round 2: k
Round 3: *k 12, k2tog, repeat from *
Round 4: k
Round 5: *k 11, k2tog, repeat from *
Round 6: k

Continue in this manner until 48 sts remain, then decrease EVERY round
until 6 sts remain.  Cut yarn and draw thru last sts...fasten off. Weave
all your cut ends into your hat. Voila! 

Good luck.

Claudia knitting at Countrywool overlooking Blue Hill in the Hudson Valley
of NY State in the USA
get the complete Anyknitter's Revolving Aran Network (A.R.A.N.) pattern
at: Esther's Knitting Page  http://www.cs.oswego.edu/~ebozak/knit

Page maintained by Esther S. Bozak, ebozak@cs.oswego.edu
URL: http://www.cs.oswego.edu/~ebozak/knit/ck-patterns/fairisle.html