I said I would blog more about my winning entries at Maryland Sheep and Wool.
One of the entries was a hat. This was the winner in category K14: Miscellaneous knit from commercial yarn.
The design started out as socks.
For the sock pattern, I decided to investigate just how stretchy reversible lace is. Socks normally have a heel turn. For some sock knitters, this is part of the fun. You work in the round for awhile, sometimes in pattern, then you have the excitement of a heel turn, then you work in the round some more. For others, this is exactly why they don't knit socks. For many people, working in the round without increases or decreases is perfect television knitting. Paying attention to a heel turn is not. And of course, there are multiple ways of dealing with heel turns. So many choices! So many options to like or dislike.
While I typically enjoy the challenge of a good heel turn, I sometimes don't like the design options. If I'm working a pretty lace pattern, there is the challenge of marrying the pattern with the heel turn. There is, of course, the option of working tube socks. Many people do not like tube socks because they don't fit well. After all, there is a right-angle turn where a foot and a leg meet. Making a sock without that turn means the sock and the foot don't match in shape. But knitting also stretches. Recall my post about negative ease. The reason socks are knit rather than sewn — and have been for hundreds of years — is because knit fabric can more easily take on the shape of the underlying body than woven fabric can.
Reversible lace can stretch a lot. This means socks, hats, or other garments can stretch to fit a variety of sizes. In this case, reversible lace stretches enough that you can knit a tube sock. Once the lace pattern is established, you don't need to interrupt it to turn the heel. If you are unconvinced or just uncomfortable with the idea, I did include instructions to increase and decrease in pattern if you would like more fabric in the heel. You can also use the increase instructions if you are making knee-high socks and want more room for shapely calves.
The socks were worked toe up. I like this type of construction, because I can work until I run out of yarn and minimize waste. I loved the leaf pattern, but I realized when I was about to bind off that simply stopping at the end of the repeat would cut a row of leaves in half. I wanted to emphasize the leaves. It took a couple days of swatching, but I was able to figure out how to bind off each multiple of pattern individually by working back and forth to continue each leaf. Yes, this meant more ends to weave in. I feel the effect is worth it. The edging was so pretty on the socks, I knew I had to try it on a hat.
The hat is worked from the same pattern and chart as the socks. The only difference is in the first few setup rows, number of multiples of pattern, and gauge. I've named the pattern Kennesaw Kudzu. "Kudzu" because in the south what else would a pattern of leaves spreading everywhere be? "Kennesaw" is the name of a mountain here in Cobb County, remembered as the site of a Civil War battle.
In both projects, I've used regionally-sourced yarn. The socks are Fiber Charmer Shangri-La. Fiber Charmer is a local dyer based here in Atlanta. The hat is Tale Spun Yarns Heavy Sport. Tale Spun Yarns are sourced and dyed in Tennessee and carried by Smoky Mountain Spinnery.
As per my usual practice, over the next few days I will post video support for this pattern.