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Recently I have been reading “Weekend Knitting” by  Melanie Falick, so let me start by reviewing the book.

The Book

This book looks at knitting from a “lifestyle” perspective, fusing knitting patterns,with recommended literature and baking recipes, all intent on making for a perfect weekend.

However this book falls short of all that it promises. It lacks heart from the author and almost seems to have been pieced together, with the theme as an after thought.

Equally as all the patterns and recipes and provided by contributors, the only part of the book that gives us any insight into the authors personality are the blurbs, which are brief and lackluster.

The Pattern- Brioche Hat by Wendy Eaton

The pattern for the brioche hat is an interesting one. And I must confess I have a love/ hate relationship with it. I really love the texture, the look of the end results, and the ease of the technique after the first few rounds. However, the cast on is incredibly frustrating, and the decrease baffled me, meaning that my decrease was not in pattern.

Both of these elements are no fault of the designer though I do believe that the instructions could be a little clearer. Equally the addition of some pictures would help.

I would recommend the pattern, however if this is something you want to try take these steps to prepare, to make it as easy as possible.

5 Tips to creating a brioche hat in the round

1. You only need the smaller circular needle.

Firstly the pattern in the book requires two circular needles, one larger than the other, but Ms Eaton’s ravelry profile for this pattern states that this is not necessary.

2. Watch some video tutorials

The “tubular” or “Italian” cast on is tricky. Once you have finally got all the stitches on the needles, the set up rows (first 3 rows) are a nightmare. I really recommend watching this video from cotton and clouds  to learn the cast on….

… and then this video by lchilton275 to understand the theory behind the stitch.Whilst she does take a slightly different approach to the pattern itself, by watching this video you will be able to see whether your work was correct from the get go. Before watching this video I frogged my cast on rows 6 times!

(She also has a video on how to decrease)

3. Understanding the technique

If the videos don’t work for you here is an explanation from what I have learnt.

When you work a purl row (sl1, yo p2tog), the color you working with (purple in my case) will “sandwich” the other color. So once the row is finished you will have 2 dark stitches, 1 light all the way along.

If you put your yarn to the back of the needles, then slip a stitch and p2tog, it will make it easier to see this pattern emerging as you go.

The same is true the other way around, so on a knit row your light color with sandwich your dark stitches.

3. Find a quiet haven

Pick a time and a place to start this project. Because the first few rows are tricky you will need to concentrate and be patient. Once you get in the swing however, the pattern becomes second nature and you can easily complete it while watching a film.

4. Shaping

Before you make the pattern be sure you know what you want from your hat. Because the decrease is very rounded, it is not wearable as a baggy toque. If you want the option to wear it without the cuff you will need to make a steeper increase, or choose another pattern. The shape is well suited for males, and I found that adding the pom pom to mine made it much more feminine.

5.Colors

Really think about your colors before you approach this project. You will see that Ms Eaton takes great care to use a dark and a light color. I made mine in two very bold colors, which I love, and are suited to the my “ski bum” lifestyle.

** Extra tip!

I recommend plain colors. Using variegated yarn, or self striping will take away from all your hard work on the texture and will look messy.

You should be ready to go now, so happy knitting all!

Please post your pictures of this hat in the comments below, or ask any questions!

And as always if you have something you would like reviewed email knittygrittywhistler@gmail.com

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