I thought I would do some reviews/share some things I have learned from different projects I’ve done. So first up is the R2-D2 hat by Carissa Knits.
- There are instructions provided for making this for a Child, Adult Small and Adult Large
- I used the recommended Caron Simply Soft in Black, Royal Blue and Grey Heather which I bought from http://www.woolwarehouse.co.uk. It’s quite nice to knit with and is soft so doesn’t itch. You’ll also have tons leftover if you want to make some more of them!
- The pattern recommends doing circular knitting for the main body using a 16″ cable and 4.5mm needles and then switching to 4.5mm double pointed needles for the decreases.
- I don’t have DPNs so for the adult large, I did the main body using 16″ circular needles but then switched to a 32″ cable using the magic loop method for the decreases (click HERE for a video tutorial of the magic loop method). For the child size and adult small I did it all using a 32″ circular needle and the magic loop method.
- I have now knitted up the hat 3 times. Well technically I’ve knitted it up 6 times as the first one I did took me three attempts… I haven’t done the 2 sticky out bits (I’m sure there’s a more technical term but, alas, I don’t know what it is. So sticky out bits it is). Although I thought they looked cool, the hat’s probably more wearable without. Especially as one of the hats was for my 36 year old husband.
- The pattern is easy to follow. The first part involves knitting up a striped blue and grey hat and the instructions for this are written in text. The designer recommends doing duplicate stitch to add the details, and a chart is provided for each size, which you can click on to make bigger. It is easy to follow, but I preferred to write out the instructions in text as I’m more comfortable reading patterns this way. Alternatively, you can knit it all using stranded knitting if preferred.
To Sell or Not to Sell
- The designer has very kindly shared this fab pattern for free, but she does not want you to sell your finished work.
- For my first attempt, I tried to do stranded knitting. Well, it was a disaster. The balls kept getting tangled together and took forever to untangle. And even though I thought I was doing ok with tension and keeping my floats at the back loose enough, the end result was a puckered horrible mess. Clearly not experienced enough for this method! My advice would be to only try it this way if you have done stranded knitting previously. A fellow knitter also recommended using a yarn bobbin to help stop the yarn getting tangled. I’m not sure it would have helped with the puckering though…
- For my second attempt I did an adult large and followed the pattern by knitting up a striped hat and then doing duplicate stitch (see here for an excellent description of how to do duplicate stitch http://www.purlbee.com/2007/10/28/duplicate-stitch/) All fine until I tried it on and it practically covered my eyes. Well, not quite, but it was still on the large side for both me and my husband. My advice: look at the rough sizes that are given BEFORE starting, to check which one will fit best and try it on before you do ANY duplicate stitch – ripping out knitting is bad enough. Ripping out duplicate stitch is soul destroying and takes forever!!
- I have never liked how the decreases look as I think they look messy and I wasn’t convinced I had done them properly (first row it’s a k2tog, second row it’s all knits, third row it’s a ssk). I spoke to the thoroughly excellent knitter and teacher Julia Billings (http://www.woollenflower.com) who goes to the same knitting group as me, and she suggested in future I decrease every fourth row, by doing a ssk followed by a k2tog. She also suggested I try a modified ssk (slip one knitwise, place back on left hand needle purlwise then knit 2 together through the back loop). If I ever knit one of these again then I’ll try it this way. It won’t be for a while though…
- I added a wee embellishment for my second and third hats. Well, ok, I added a red dot. But in order to fit it in I had to increase the second section of blue from 5 to 7 rounds (rounds 8 to 14 child size) and adjust the pattern for this part accordingly. I quite like it, but each to their own!
- For the large adult size, I used 16″ circular needles for the main part but switched to 32″ cable using magic loop method for the decrease section. For the small adult and child size, it was easier just doing it all on a 32″ cable with magic loop. You just need to make sure that you’re keeping the yarn close at the start of each half, to stop it being too loose at these points, and remember to twist your blue and grey yarn together as you go up the hat. She recommends every few rows, but I did it every row.
I hope this has helped anyone wanting to give it a go. Aileen x