If you knit a hat from the top down, then you could say that the ribbing is truly a finish! But working bottom up, it’s a little ironic to call the ribbing a finish, when you start with it first. Nonetheless, good ribbing can make or break the headband part of a beanie or toque.
On the beanie pattern I shared with you yesterday, I used a ribbing that isn’t really reversible. You can turn the band up and over the other fabric, but the exposed ribbing won’t look like [K2, p1, ktbl, p1] ribbing.
But reversibility isn’t always important. It’s key to have a stretchy cast-on edge (or cast-off for a top-down hat) so that the wearer doesn’t suffer pressure marks from that edge. To compensate for a relaxed cast-on, you need a stretchy ribbing that holds the hat in place. Enter twisted stitches.
In this hat I only twist one column of knit stitches in every pattern repeat, and I don’t twist the purl stitches, but if you were to do that, your ribbing would have a real sturdy grip…I just didn’t want to purl in the back strand that often.
I knit another swatch with two different ribbing patterns.
The first is a knit in the back loop of every knit stitch, and again, I didn’t purl in the back loop of every purl. I like the crispness of the lines of this ribbing, and it has a good grip too.
The second type of ribbing involves a purl 1, knit 3 repeat. Then, just for the fun of it, the middle knit stitch in the group of three is twisted every odd round and slipped every even round. This creates a very slight ‘mounding’ of the three-knit-stitches group when the ribbing is relaxed, but creates a nice ‘hold’ on the wearer’s head.
I invite you to try these different ribbings.
Version 1 over an even number of stitches
Rnd 1: [Ktbl 1, p1] around.
Repeat Rnd 1 for pattern.
Version 2 over a multiple of 4 stitches
Rnd 1: [P1, k1, ktbl1, k1] around.
Rnd 2: [P1, k1, sl 1, k1] around.
Making a pompom
In addition to the ribbing being a key element to good finishing, hats do benefit from a topper. What’s more fun than a pompom?
Granted, they aren’t for everyone, but Clover has made a new (to me at least) pompom maker that’s so much nicer than the cardboard circles I used to make, that I couldn’t help but add one to this beanie. I think I’ll be yarn-bombing lots of things with pompoms if I’m not careful.
It comes in 5 different sizes: 4½ʺ [115mm] is the largest. The one in the picture is 3⅜ʺ [85mm]. And then there are 2½ʺ [65mm], 1″ [25mm], and ¾ʺ [20mm] pompom makers.
Here are my step-by-step written instructions on how to use Clover Pom-Pom Maker. I also included a short video at the end of this post, if you prefer to watch it.
To use this pompom maker, you simply open up the C-curve-shaped arms.
The device does come apart, which is essential in the end, but for now, the two halves should be together. Insert the metal pin into the center core of the opposite half.
Wrap the yarn around one of the C-curve arm, going back and forth, distributing the yarn evenly and for 3 to 4 layers worth of strands.
You’ll want to end the first wrapping session at the outer tip of the arm. Then fold the arm into the middle so that the yarn is just at the inner curve of the 2nd arm.
Then you wrap evenly around that semi-circle until roughly the same amount of yarn has been wrapped on the second arm.
Cut the yarn and fold both arms into the center of the device and it will look like a wheel with the yarn being the tread and the device forming the hubcaps.
Next, take scissors that have a sharp cutting tip and go between the two halves of the pompom maker. Cutting along the ditch that you’ll find between the two halves.
Insert a good length of yarn in between the two halves of the pompom maker, and tie a knot.
I like to secure all pompoms by using a sturdy cotton thread to tie another length around its core and trim the thread short enough so the ends remain buried inside the furry ball.
Lastly, pull the maker apart completely and holding the yarn ends, comb or massage the pompom into shape.
You may need to trim a few ends of the pompom to clean it up. Don’t be too over-exuberant about trimming it or you’ll end up with one that you could have made with a smaller pompom maker!
I attached the pompom to the beanie by threading each end of the tying yarn through a different spot at the top of the beanie, knotting and weaving in the ends on the inside.
The gradient and marled look of Major made the pompom look amazing.
I love the color effect that appears in this format as much as in the knitting itself. Thanks for exploring the merits and uses of Universal Yarn Major this week. I’m pretty sure I have enough yarn in this huge skein of Major to make another hat. I’ll use a different ribbing, and maybe even a different texture on the body of the hat.
Below is the video I mentioned…Enjoy!
See how to use the Clover Pom-Pom Maker, it takes less than 5 minutes to make it! – YouTube
This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: Knitting a beanie using marled yarn and THIS spiral textured shaping
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