Category: Urban Necessity Hat

Urban Necessity

Another project that I finished but haven’t blogged was the Urban Necessity Tam/Beret from MagKnits.

Here is a shot from the top, so you can see the snowflake pattern.


And here’s what it looks like on me. The hubby took this photo in front of a mirror — a trick to show how it looks like from both front and side at the same time. So it might look as if I have a twin, even though I don’t!

Urban Necessity tam

Pattern: Urban Necessity Tam, from MagKnits September edition.
Yarn: About 1.5 balls of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed (10 ply) in Dove.
Needles: 4mm circulars and dpns.

I knitted this hat almost twice. The first time around, I used 5mm/US 8 needles. My swatch with the 5mm needles showed that my gauge was 19 sts to 10cm/4in. But how do you know what size to knit when knitting a hat? I measured my head, and got 54cm. But then again this is a tam/beret, which means it should be a slightly loose fit except for the band. Anyway, still unsure of which size to knit, I picked the medium size. Well, what do you know, I got to halfway through the snowflake pattern, which is only about 15 more rows to the end, and then I found out that it’s just too big. The diameter was 90 cm! Turned out my gauge when knitting in the round was different from when knitting flat, which I did when I was swatching. Sigh. So, unless I wanted to turn the thing into some sort of oddly shaped jumper, it just wouldn’t do. Into the frog pond it went.

The lesson to be learnt here is probably that, when swatching for something that is to be knitted in the round, swatch in the round too.

The second time, I used 4mm needles, and using the smallest size in the pattern. When I got to the halfway point, where the diameter is the largest, I thought it still looked rather big. But I really didn’t want to knit it a third time. I thought, what the heck, if it still doesn’t work I might as well jump in to a frog pond myself make some i-cord, attach it to the thing and call it a bag. But fortunately it didn’t come to that. The finished hat turns out to fit perfectly, even when I have my hair up in a bun.

Pattern changes: The snowflake pattern repeat, on the decrease rows, it begins with a k2tog on the right and ends with a ssk on the left, so when put together, the ssk and k2tog are next to each other. I found that (probably just with my tension), it produced an unsightly gap or laddering effect between the pattern repeats. So I added a knit stitch between the k2tog and ssk. And I think it made the pattern looked better. And to compensate for the extra stitches, at the top of the hat where it says k2tog across row, I did sl1, k2tog, psso across row.

The status so far

First, a dilemma

I’ve finished all the pieces of Beaded Cardi (actually finished that last sleeve last saturday), and here’s what it looks like right now:

Pre blocking

It is patiently waiting to be blocked. I do prefer to block before seaming, because it just makes the seaming so much easier when the pieces are nice and flat. It’s easier to match up the stitches, and what a great morale boost to see your knitting so professional-looking!

But right now I am stumped. I have a confession to make — I am a baby when it comes to blocking. I’ve only ever blocked one project, which was another cardigan for Annette (here’s a picture). I used Sirdar Snuggly yarn, which is 50% acrylic / 50% nylon in DK weight. I read Becky‘s mini-tutorial on steam blocking, and decided it was the way to go. It was easy and quick to do, and I’m very happy with the result. However with the (beadless) Beaded Cardi I’m not so sure… The fabric is a bit finer than the Snuggly cardi. I read in Knitty’s article on blocking that with merino fabric, especially fine gauge ones, it’s best to do the pin/spritz method (pin the pieces out, spritz each piece until damp, and wait to dry). But would that really make the pieces flat?

So I’m just wondering if anybody can share about their blocking methods, and whether they achieve the result you intended?

I am impatient by nature, especially now that it’s so close to finishing, I just want to finish it. (Not that I don’t enjoy working on the project, but I just can’t wait to see the end product, you know?) So I’ll probably end up steam blocking (since it’s probably the quickest). But I’d really love to hear your suggestions or any of your experience with blocking. I’d definitely consider it if there’s a better way! (Thanks in advance!)

And in the meantime…

… I have kept myself busy by starting another project (gasp!) because I have no self-control. It’s the Urban Necessity tam/beret from September MagKnits. I’m not making the gloves, just the beret. I’ve always wanted to knit myself a beret, and this pattern looks nice and simple, yet not too simple (there’s actually a snowflake pattern at the top, which you can’t really see from the picture on the website).

I’m making this with yarn from stash, Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed in Dove colourway. It’s light grey-blue-purpley colour with brown and purple flecks. Does that sound weird? But it looks ok. Overall it looks just like light grey-blue, which is a colour I would definitely wear.

Here’s what it looks like at the moment:

Starting Urban beret

It has 1×1 ribbing, so it’s a perfect opportunity to try out tubular cast on! That article in Fall Knitty is really the clearest tutorial on tubular cast on that I’ve ever found on the web. Thanks, Knitty! 🙂 I quite like the way the cast-on edge of the ribbing looks, it definitely looks better than with the long-tail cast-on or knitted cast-on. And I hope it will be more comfortable to wear as well.


I’m still working on Kiri, too. But now that the rows are getting very long, progress is indeed getting slower. I’m only up to 8 repeats. Boohoo…

Kiri, 8 repeats

And a trip to the frog pond

I started the Liesel lace scarf a while ago, with the variegated Lana “Moana” yarn. I like the pattern (love that drooping elm leaves pattern), I like the yarn (love the colourway and the way it drapes), but they’re just not meant for each other. You just can’t see the pattern very well in that yarn, and I think it would be a shame. Here’s what it looks like at last check:


Against the dark background of my couch you can sort of see the leaves pattern, if you squint maybe. But at other times you just can’t see it. So, off to the frog pond this one goes. I still want to make the scarf in the future, just not with this yarn.

Ok that’s all for now. Phew, what a long post!