Drum roll, please … I’m happy to reveal that we are knitting the Corkscrew Hat to accompany my popular pattern, Corkscrew Mittens! (Available in the Pattern Store or Ravelry) Fans of the two-color cable mittens have been requesting a matching hat for years and I’m delighted to bring it to our KAL. The dizzy cables are deceivingly easy to knit and very addicting.
A note on gauge and needle selection for the Body of the hat. My completed Adult size Band measured approximately 2 1/4″ wide using US #4 needles. (See below) Note that the purl stitches are hidden making the rib stitches a bit tricky to count. Perhaps you needed to go up or down needle sizes to achieve the rib gauge. If you adjusted the needle size for the rib, then the needle size for the Body must be adjusted as well. For example, if a#3 was used for the rib, then use a #7 for the Body. I have heard from some knitters who needed to go down three and four needle sizes for the ribbing. While getting gauge on rib may have been difficult for them, it may not be necessary to make that drastic of a change in needles for the cables. To help calm any lingering doubts, I knit a flat stockinette swatch on US #8 needles and achieved a gauge of approximately 19 stitches = 4″. See which needle size give you this gauge and you will be fine.
The cables are extremely tight and need the larger stitches that the bigger needle will produce. The good news is that the hat is very forgiving and will stretch and hug most heads. If you are unsure as to which needle size to use, work the cable pattern for a repeat and evaluate the stitches for their gauge and appearance. I have provided a picture of my hat (below) for your comparison showing a gauge of approximately 36 stitches = 4″. As you can see, the intricate cables make it very difficult to count stitches with crossed stitches hidden. If your work is close to this gauge and the stitches look even – knit on!
The mittens have a standard cuff with a vertical rib, but the Band of the Corkscrew Hat has the rib running horizontally for a stylish topper. To begin the Body of the hat, stitches are picked up and knit along one long, horizontal edge of the Band. When picking up a large number of stitches along an edge, I find it best to place markers to aid in picking up the correct number of stitches that are also evenly spaced. First fold the strip in half and place a marker at this midpoint. Next, fold each of the halves in half and place a marker at its midpoint to create four equal sections. (See photo below) One-fourth of the required stitches should be picked up in each section.
When picking up and knitting, work from right to left with Right Side facing. (That marker pinned to the RS in Part 1 will guide you.) With US #8 16″ needle (yep, it’s snug) and Main Color (MC), insert needle tip from front to back between the edge stitch and the second stitch. (See photo below)
Wrap the yarn around the needle tip as if to knit and draw through a loop to the Right Side – one stitch has been picked up and knit. Continue working in this manner picking up approximately 1/4 of the total number of stitches in each marked section. Four stitches have been picked up and knit in the photo below.
Because there may be more rows in the Band than the number of stitches that need to picked up, you will need to skip a row every now and again as you are picking up to achieve the correct number of stitches. For example, if there are 120 rows in the Band, and 112 stitches must be picked up – skip a row 8 times over the course of the edge to create the correct number of evenly spaced stitches. The good news is that there is no need to count rows since we have our handy markers sectioning the Band into quarters. Simply pick up 1/4 of the needed stitches in each section skipping a row as needed to space as evenly as possible. In the photo below, there are 28 stitches in each quartered section.
The standard procedure when picking up stitches along a horizontal edge is to pick up three stitches for every four rows. However, in our pattern we need a huge number of stitches to accommodate the cable so this usual ratio is abandoned. If you are new to picking up stitches, I recommend watching my Pick Up and Knit Video. Remember, you will pick up and knit as demonstrated in the video for a horizontal edge except you will not pick up 3 stitches for every 4 rows. Instead, pick up the number of stitches indicated in the pattern. After picking up the stitches, consider placing a lifeline in this row to safeguard the hard-earned work.
With the stitches in place along the Band, they will now be joined in the round to form the Body of the hat. When joining in the round, be sure that the Right Side is facing before placing a marker to denote the beginning of the round. Please don’t worry about the opening in the Band – we will take care of that in a future clue.
A Set Up Round is required to increase the stitch count to further accommodate the upcoming cables and to establish the color sequence. With the working yarn that is attached to the last picked up stitch along the Band, begin the Set Up Round into the first pick up stitch along the Band. A *Kfb is worked first in MC and followed by k2 in Contrasting Color (CC), k2 in MC, k2 in CC. Repeat from the *. There are now 16 stitches to the left of the beginning of the round marker. (See photo below.) I recommend placing a marker after every 16 stitches to section off each repeat of the upcoming cable pattern. To avoid confusion, these markers should be a different color than the beginning of the round marker. See Corkscrew Hat – Part 2 Video
Continue working the Set Up Round to the beginning of the round marker. Note that the round is comprised of k2 in MC, k2 in CC – this color sequence will remain in tact for the entire Body of the hat. In other words, all MC stitches will remain in MC and all CC stitches will remain in CC. Never knit a stitch in the opposite color!
If you are new to stranded color knitting, as used here, there is lot of fun in store for you! The most basic way to knit with two colors is to place one skein to your left and one to your right. Use the first specified yarn color and knit the indicated number of stitches, dropping the yarn back to the side where its skein is located when finished. Use the second color of yarn and knit its specified number of stitches, dropping the yarn back to the side where its skein is located. This procedure guarantees that your strands will be neat and evenly tensioned on the wrong side of the work.
Constantly dropping and changing yarns can be quite time consuming which is why color knitting is most easily worked holding one yarn in each hand. The right hand will throw the yarn (Western/English style) while the left hand knits Continental style. With two-handed/two-color knitting, the strands are evenly spaced and speed is increased. Watch my Two Handed/Two Color Knitting Video and you will be knitting like a pro!
The intricate cable design is actually simple to execute. The eight-stitch cables are worked in the usual cable manner with the only difference being that the eight stitches in the cable are worked as k2 in MC, k2 in CC, k2 in MC, k2 in CC. Remember, the stitches in the cables will always be knit in their established color. When knitting the cables, take care that the stitches on the cable needle are held to the correct position (front or back) to create the dizzy spirals.
Work the Cable Pattern to the specified length, measuring from the lowest edge of the Band (not where the stitches were picked up). It is important to end the pattern after Round 1 or 5 for a beautiful finish to the Crown.
This week’s clue is the largest amount of knitting in the hat. The remaining two clues are very short, so take your time with Part 2 and work carefully. As always, I’m here to help and answer questions. Happy knitting!
Click here to download printable version
C8B – slip 4 stitches to cable needle and hold in back. From left hand needle, k2 in MC, k2 in CC. From cable needle, k2 in MC, k2 in CC. (8 stitch cable) See Cables Video
C8F – slip 4 stitches to cable needle and hold in front. From left hand needle, k2 in MC, k2 in CC. From cable needle, k2 in MC, k2 in CC. (8 stitch cable) See Cables Video
kfb – knit into front and back of stitch. See Kfb Video
Using US #8 16″ circ needle with RS facing and MC, pick up and knit 112 (140, 154) sts along long end of Band. See Pick Up and Knit Video
Place marker and join in the round taking care not to twist sts.
Set Up Round
*Kfb in MC, k2 in CC, k2 in MC, k2 in CC; repeat from * to end of round.
128 (160, 176) sts. See Corkscrew Hat – Part 2 Video
Corkscrew Cable Pattern (mult. of 16 sts)
Round 1. *K2 in MC, k2 in CC; repeat from * to end of round.
Round 2. Same as Round 1.
Round 3. Same as Round 1.
Round 4. *C8F, k2 in MC, k2 in CC, k2 in MC, k2 in CC; repeat from * to end of round.
Round 5. Same as Round 1.
Round 6. Same as Round 1.
Round 7. Same as Round 1.
Round 8. *K2 in MC, k2 in CC, k2 in MC, k2 in CC, C8B; repeat from * to end of round.
Work above Corkscrew Cable Pattern until piece measures 4 1/2, (6, 7 1/4)” from lower edge of Band ending after Round 1 or 5.
For a two-color knitting tutorial, see Two-Handed/Two-Color Knitting Video