I have a somewhat fraught relationship with what some folks call mindless knitting. I often reach for my knitting when I need a distraction from the world. If a project is too mindless, it won’t provide the necessary level of diversion. Worse yet, if it’s too mindless, I’ll get bored and never actually finish. And then the project will go to the pile of abandoned dreams in the corner and make me feel no end of guilt.
But not this time! This time I absolutely raced through what is, by any reasonable measure, fairly simple knitting. Because this time, when I was done, I knew that I was going to do something absolutely enchanting. I was going to embroider all over my knitting!
Should this have been enough motivation to push me through yet one more round of plain stockinette? Probably not. Was it? Oh very much so. Will it work for you? Every knitter is different, so I can’t make any promises, but I suspect it very well might!
This 32-page pattern is tremendously detailed and holds your hand every step of the way. There are pages and pages of step-by-step photos to show you exactly what to expect as you work. It walks you through the embroidery (and the optional though delightful little braid at the top) with dozens and dozens of photos.
The pattern is almost absurdly detailed, but it really does mean you can totally make this, even if you’ve never embroidered on your knitting before!
Skills & scope
The actual knitting is delightfully simple, ribbed brim, plain stockinette body, nice mellow decreases. All the excitement comes from the embroidery you work at the end, and that's all spelled out in alarming detail in the pattern, so you can totally make this!
The pattern uses charts, so you will need to know how to follow a knitting chart.
Yarn, gauge & sizing
The hat comes in eight sizes (everything from an 80 stitch cast on to a 136 stitch cast on) and is written for seven gauges (from four to seven stitches per inch in half stitch increments). That means you can use just about any weight of yarn from fingering up through bulky, and there will be a size to fit pretty much anyone's head. Basically anything that will give you a smooth, even fabric with a drape you like somewhere in that range of gauges will work.
You'll also want yarn to embroider with. Each panel of embroidery takes about 12 yards of yarn (six lengths of yarn, each 2 yards long). That could be 12 yards of the same color, or 2 yards each of six colors, or something in between. You can do as many or as few panels of embroidery as you’d like (I did two, you can do up to four).
You can absolutely use scrap yarn for the embroidery.
The hat in the pictures took about 175 yards of aran-weight yarn for the body and about 25 yards of aran-weight yarn for the embroidery (evenly divided among three colors). If you're working with thinner yarn, 250 yards for the body is a safer bet.
Tools & supplies
You’ll need needles that let you work in the round (circulars or DPNs) in whatever size lets you get a solid fabric with your chosen yarn plus the general knitting tools you need for most projects (scissors to cut your yarn, a darning needle to weave in ends, the occasional stitch marker or bit of scrap yarn to hold stitches). You'll also want a piece of scrap yarn at least three feet long and eight locking stitch markers.