We’ve been swizzling, dipping, and boosting all sorts of skills over in this month’s Boost Your Knitting KAL! We’re just over two weeks in, so it seems the perfect moment to share some of the hot topics (and beautiful knits) that have been popping up over on the Ravelry threads.
What cast on to use?
The pattern for Thea Colman’s delectable Apple Swizzle Hat suggests using a cable cast on (I love when designers tell you what cast on they used!) which gives a nice neat edge for the hat’s ribbed brim. But you know what else does? May’s Boost Your Knitting technique, the tubular cast on in the round! This serendipitous fact has not missed by clever BYK knitters, and quite a few people have opted to use the Apple Swizzle Hat as a chance to revisit the tubular cast on or try it for the first time if they missed last month’s knitting festivities. Jen’s top tip for them? Use a needle one size larger for the cast on for a bit of extra flexibility (no one like’s a hat that’s too tight!)
Cabling without a needle
In addition to featuring those addictive dip stitches, the Apple Swizzle Hat relies on a series of 1x1 cables for it’s distinctive texture. Always looking for chances to practice more skills, many BYK knitters have used this small project to build confidence in cabling without a cable needle (which, as Jen shows in this tutorial, can be done with no loose hanging live stitches when it’s just 1x1 crosses involved).
One of the great things about hats is you can try them on as you go (we’ve had some fun with in-progress selfies in the threads and on Instagram #boostyourknitting!). A few people, looking for a closer fitting cap, have shortened their Apple Swizzles … something that’s easily done (bonus: the pattern has suggestions on how best to do it!)
To Block or Not to Block
We’ve also been discussing the pros and cons of blocking hats this month. With a highly textured project like this one, a soak will certainly relax the fabric a bit (and give it a lovely uniform finish). If your hat has grown more than you’d like at the spa, a very short trip to the dryer (on a low heat!) can be the solution — just do check it every few minutes (and don’t try this if you’ve subbed a non superwash yarn!) And if you decide to skip blocking all together and just start wearing your hat (which has been surprisingly tempting for me, thanks UK summer!), we won’t tell anyone.
The Great Pom Debate
Thea’s sample hat is topped off by a cheerful pompom. I myself am a huge fan of a pom — and they tend to evoke strong feelings in my fellow knitters. Some have opted to replace a yarny pom with a fluffy fur-type one to great effect. There’s been discussion of attaching poms with buttons, to make them easier to remove if/when the hat needs a wash — or in case you’re just not feeling in a pom-y mood! Others have floated adding a decorative button to the top for an individual finish. And still others are foregoing the pom altogether. There are no wrong answers here!
Want to join the fun?
If you’ve already cast on but haven’t ventured over to the Ravelry group, why not come over and say hello and show your work? And if you’ve not cast on yet, there’s still plenty of time to whip up this delightful little number — I worked mine up almost entirely during one seven hour flight! You can find Boost Your Knitting in the online shop along with seven stunning shades of Fyberspates Vivacious DK (one skein is all you need!)