Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fishtrap Swatchcap

I hope I'm not jumping the gun by cross-posting here, but I already put this up at la blog and, technically, it's just swatching, right?

fishtrap hat post washing

Pattern: Fishtrap Aran Swatchcap from Knitters' Almanac
Yarn: School Products Bulky Cashmere / Merino Blend
Needles: US 10.5 Addi Turbo
New skills: Twisted stitches, aran swatching

Notes: Less a bona fide finished object than a swatch for the Fishtrap Aran Cardigan from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitters' Almanac, the Fishtrap Hat certainly provided a great exercise in aran gauge. Though EZ and I had the same gauge in stockinette (3.5 st/inch), my cap turned out 22" around whereas hers was 20". I have a feeling the yarn is part of the problem - because it's wholesale and comes in spinning oil, its thickness varies in all its different states - on cone, on needles, in garment, post-blocking. My gauge also tends to be a great deal looser at the beginning of a project. So I must figure out how to proceed with the sweater - I'm shooting for a 40" sweater, so I've got to lop off those 2 extra inches somehow. I might omit one of the ribbed cables in the pattern repeat, or I might try going down to size 10 needles (though I don't know how much of a difference that will make).

The pattern is basically constructed from boatloads of twisted stitches, which are merely two-stitch cables - the smallest cable possible. Eunny has posted a timely piece involving twisted stitches (along with her beautiful Bayerische Socks), which is recommended. She and I use the same method, which is basically cabling without a cable needle. You merely switch the order of the stitches on the needle, then knit them. I attempted EZ's method from KA, but my right twists were honestly disastrous. Here are closeups pre- and post-washing of the stitch pattern:

fishtrap hat stitching pre washing fishtrap stitching post washing

Um, also I accidentally felted the cap a little while washing. School Products recommends a warm wash the first time 'round. Sadly, while at the laundromat, I neglected to read that their "Warm" cycle consists of a warm wash and a cold rinse. Felt city. The yarn does plump up and fuzz a bit regardless, so what you see is not the result of the felting alone. Thankfully the hat was a little too large as it was... and the circumference remains the same anyway.

Here it is modeled by Chris pre- and post-wash - it's quite large on him (but not as much after washing):

fishtrap hat pre washing fistrap hat FO

I thought about giving it to someone else... who needs a matching hat and sweater these days? But as it may be quite a few weeks until the cardigan is complete, Chris may claim it to tide him over.

And because there's always a surfeit of photos, here are some additional views:

fishtrap hat 1 fishtrap hat pre washing 1 fishtrap hat silly

I sense this will be a well-documented project.


  • Excellent start! I just hope my dear spouse doesn't wander his way to our blog and discover that while his wife is knitting KAL project #1 for herself, other partners are already happily sporting aran swatchcaps!

    By Blogger Deb, at 11:10 AM  

  • it's lovely!! how is knitting with oily yarn?

    By Blogger curlypurly, at 11:36 AM  

  • Oooh...School products cashmere-merino for the fishtrap...that's a recipe for pure bliss!

    By Blogger Kate A., at 7:57 AM  

  • The hat is wonderful, and I think I like it's post-wash/slightly felted fit better. Great job!

    By Blogger nanc, at 8:09 AM  

  • I actually think it looks really nice after its been slightly felted. You didn't happen to take notes while you turned your swatch into a hat did you? If you did, I'd love to knit it. I've never attempted Aran before, and I think it would make a great starting point. Thanks!

    By Anonymous emily, at 10:24 AM  

  • thanks, everyone! i like it felty too. at least it will be super-warm!

    emily, do you mean notes for the decreases? i honestly fudged them. after about 7" of straight knitting on the pattern i started hiding decreases in random spots - mostly on the outer edges of all the various motifs, preserving them as long as possible. Then for the final rounds i just switched to stockinette. my philosophy is that decreasing for hats needn't be an exact science, as long as the finished product is head shaped. ;)

    By Blogger Jessica / Fig & Plum, at 7:36 PM  

  • of course this is an actualknit!!! Its very very nice I really love it and think my lovely partner may even wear one sohope to try one out

    By Blogger Lothlorian, at 9:31 AM  

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