With it being what should be the coldest part of winter here, a bonnet was obviously the ideal gift, and Cat’s Pajamas was the perfect yarn (soft, washable, wonderful). Now, how best to construct it in the most painless manner? Creating a pleasing edge to a piece of double-knitting is one of the newish to DK knitter’s major woes. Ah, perhaps an I-cord could be incorporated along the edges of two-colour DK? That would eliminate the edge frustrations.
A narrow swatch followed. Now, if each row of the fabric were begun with a row of I-cord with one or the other yarn, it would work. But doing that meant the growth of the cord would lag behind that of the central fabric. So, two rows of cord would need to be worked before each row of DK. Should the two rows be worked in one colour only, or one row of each?
Experimentation followed. Although the single colour cord worked, its attachment to the DK fabric was less attractive (albeit not hideously ugly). I preferred the striped I-cord from a structural perspective. You could stripe with one row of each colour in turn to produce an alternating stripe A/B /A/B /A/B, or you could use A/B on one row and B/A on the next, producing a two-row stripe: A/B B/A A/B B/A.
This last variant I quite liked, but it would add considerable further complexity to writing (and reading) the pattern for no significant gain. I could mention the two-row stripe option in the Variations section. In fact, you could work your initial bonnet cords in a similar stripe pattern if you didn’t like the change in the cord when you reach the bonnet.
It seemed a little tedious to have to begin by knitting the I-cord bonnet ties (before you even had a bonnet), so I considered starting them provisionally with a view to returning to them later, but that didn’t really help. My idea had been to take the two established cords and add one to either end of the cast on edge so that they would be seamlessly incorporated.
I intended that the bonnet edge should be begun with an elegant tubular cast-on. However, that is not a well known cast-on and, as some of you have discovered, it can be subject to a few vagaries of fate. So I headed for the computer and drew as well as described the tubular cast-on in a step by step format and wrote words of encouragement for any faint-hearted knitter. I followed that by creating a short-cut using Long-Tail cast-on for those that didn’t meet with ‘tubular’ success or had no wish to try this cast-on. (I’d hate to lose a knitter just because they don’t know or don’t like a certain cast-on method.)
Now followed the needle size transitions and experimentation. Swatches were made and needles sought. Once a happy combination was found, I was ready to get on with the patterns and knitting: that part was fun, as the project grew so quickly. The plan was to complete the flat part of the bonnet (worked to and fro) and then to put the stitches from the cords onto holders and fold the remaining stitches into the round and to complete the crown of the hat in the round from there, which would avoid the need to bind off any stitches at all! (That comes out sounding more complex than it actually is: it’s fairly straightforward in real life.)