King Harald’s Hat Part I

Originally published  Monday, March 30, 2009

I promised you progress reports, and since a Fair Isle hat progresses rather quickly, the reports will come quickly. I managed to get quite a lot done while watching Little Dorrit on Masterpiece Classic on PBS last night. I just love Dickens, don’t you? Anyway, I digress. You can see the result. The picture just doesn’t do justice to the colors.

Because of the nature of Shetland yarn, the knitting tends to crumple up instead of lying smooth, hence the use of the wooly board to dress Shetland sweaters. The Fair Isle Workshop beanie I made from Jaggerspun Maine Line looked fabulous before I washed and dressed it, and, to be honest, washing and dressing it didn’t make a noticeable change in its appearance.

King Harald will be a different story. It looks good now, but blocking it will make a world a difference. Here’s a close up of the OXO pattern:


The hat is on a 16-inch needle, so I couldn’t spread it out a lot, but, as you can see, the X on the left looks pretty good, but the O to the right of it, with the checkerboard pattern in the middle, doesn’t lie smoothly. It will after the hat is washed and dressed. Trust me. It will. LOL

Fair Isle knitted with Shetland yarn is similar to lace knitted in any yarn in this regard. The dressing is a very important step. Dressing makes a far more dramatic effect in lace than it does in Fair Isle, but still, good blocking transforms a Fair Isle piece just the same.

Here’s an example of the difference dressing (or blocking) can make in lace. I knitted the Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl from A Gathering of Lace using J & S lace weight yarn. This is a corner before dressing:


Yuck! What a horrible, horrible mess! This will never, ever lie flat, will it?

Here’s the same corner after dressing:

Pretty amazing difference, eh? Ah, the wonders of wool.☺



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