How to Knit a Hat (no pattern): Part Three (TIPS!)
Posted on November 10 2021
In this chapter, we go into the knitting weeds. We talk about the bar increase used in this hat method and ways to keep track of where you are while knitting the crown of your hat. Knowing how to read your work as you go is vital for gaining confidence and expertise.
So. What to do if you lose track of where you are vis a vis increase rounds or designated increase stitches? Below are some ways to stay on top of things:
1. In garter stitch, it's easy to see where you are by looking at ridges (purl rounds) and troughs (knit rounds). The increase round is always a trough round. The three rounds after an increase round present this way: Ridge, trough, ridge. If you place a locking marker or a strand of waste yarn on an increase round (trough round), you can easily count 3 rounds to the next increase round. You can move this marker to each new increase round, or leave it put for a while. If you lose track, just count from your marker: Increase round, ridge, trough, ridge, increase round, ridge, trough, ridge, and so on to see what kind of round to work next. If you place that marker in the first increase section after the beginning of the round, you'll know when you're starting a new round and switching from purl to knit or vice versa.
Sometimes your purl stitches will lie so close to the needle that it's hard to know if your last round was knitted or purled. When you're examining your knitting right up on the needle, pull slightly on the fabric to stretch it away from the needle. If the purl bumps are tight up on your needle, then your next round should be knitted. If you see tiny knitted stitches worked into the purl bumps, you're looking at a knitted round. Next round will be purled.
Above: The white marker is pinned in an increase (trough) round. You can see the ridge-trough-ridge sequence that follows that round. The next increase round has just been worked and it's right up on the needle. It's a bit hard to see. Ridges are more prominent than troughs.
2. Get acquainted with the bar increase. For this hat we increase by working two stitches in one. When you come to the designated increase stitch, which marks the start of an increase section, you add a new stitch like this: Knit one in the front of the next stitch as you normally would, then, before sliding the old stitch off the needle, put your needle in the back of the same stitch and knit again—two stitches in one.
Being able to recognize your increase stitch can be helpful. The next time you work a k1-f/b increase, pause to take a good look at it. Inside the designated increase stitch is a normal knit stitch followed by what looks like a little bump or bar (on the left). If you end up losing a marker, and you can locate your last increase stitch, you can count stitches from there to get back on track.
3. Every round will be a multiple of eight stitches. If a marker between increase sections fall out, no worries. Count the total number of stitches and divide by eight. The answer will give you the number of stitches in each increase section. If your current section reads K1-f/b, k6, then you'll have seven stitches in each section. You're home free.
Let us know if you have any questions. We'd love to answer them!