Our snow is forecast for later this week, but my daugher already has knee-high snow, so I have been knitting to keep her warm this winter.
Interweave Knits Holiday issue has a pattern for a hat and gloves in linen stitch. I wasn't keen on the pattern they offered, but it did serve to remind me how much I like linen stitch. So here is my linen stitch hat.
The interesting thing about linen stitch is that it produces a very dense, warm fabric, attractive on both sides (useful for hat brims!), and which looks more woven than knitted.
On an odd number of stitches:
Round 1: Knit 1, ( slip the next stitch but with the yarn at the front of the work, Knit 1)
Round 2: Slip the first stitch with the yarn in front, (Knit 1, slip the next stitch with the yarn in front)
You can either use one colour throughout, or you can work 2 rounds in one colour and 2 rounds in another alternately. In this case I have gone a step further. I used two different Twilleys Freedom Spirit yarns. These are shaded yarns. But to give a more unified effect, and make a warmer hat, I used 2 strands of yarn A held together for two rounds and 2 strands of yarn B held together for the next two rounds.
As this stitch is dense and has less stretch than ordinary stocking stitch you really do have to swatch to determine how many stitches to cast on.
Measure the head around where the brim of the hat will sit. For a well fitting hat you need a little negative ease (as linen stitch is not very stretchy you don't need much) so you should cast on a few fewer stitches than the total equal to your head measurement. How many fewer depends on taste, hair style and conditions in which you are going to wear the hat.
Once you have cast on, work in linen stitch until the hat, with rolled back brim if wanted, is long enough that when tried on, the top is at the point where the crown begins.
Because of the construction of linen stitch, you need to do double decreases (ie, decreasing 2 stitches, not 1, every time you decrease.)
In this case I have decreased gradually to give a rounded crown to the hat, but the rate of decrease is a matter of choice.
As I was given some fine soft yarn (composition unknown) that was a good colour to go with the hat, I also knitted a Feather and Fan scarf.
Manufacturers tend to want to sell sets of matching hat, scarf and gloves, which is natural enough, but I think that a good hat yarn a good scarf yarn and a good gloves yarn are rarely the same yarn, so I tend to make sets that go together without exactly matching. It also makes the elements remain useful even when one bit has got lost (my daughter is a loser of gloves, scarves and hats!) I'll show you the gloves another time!