This snug alpaca hood can be a quick gift, or simply a way to try out a luxury yarn. It took me about two days to knit the first one. It is a seamless 30" tube, knitted upward from an edging of a simple narrow lace scallop pattern, incorporating a few inches of a multicolored mohair blend to highlight the face, and finished with an I-cord border.
Cast on 17 stitches, and work two repeats of the openwork leaf pattern (it's a multiple of 8 + 1). It should be 5" wide; if it's wider, you risk running out of the alpaca and should maybe plan on using all your mohair, or going down a needle size; if it's narrower, it might be too tight to wear, and you should use a bigger needle. (I get 4 sts/in in stockinette with this yarn and needle size.)
Cast on 5 stitches in the alpaca, and work 32 repeats of Barbara Abbey's "Very Narrow Edging." Bind off the 5 stitches along with the 5 cast-on stitches, which will join the edging into a circle. Turn it so that the rough side of the seam is to the inside.
Each repeat of the edging has three loops along the inner edge (formed by the "yo, p2tog" at the beginning of the odd numbered rows); pick up a stitch through each of these 96 loops. Knit the last pick-up stitch together with last of the bindoff stitches, if necessary, to get the correct number. This is the first round of the main pattern, which is Barbara Walker's 12-row Openwork Leaf Pattern. A full repetition of the pattern consists of 8 repeats per round, and 12 rounds.
Work 4 repetitions of the pattern (to round 47, actually), and change to the mohair yarn. Work 2 repetitions in mohair (to round 71, actually), change back to the alpaca, and work one repetition. I have changed yarns on round 11 of the repeat, since the color change is less conspicuous at the narrow ends of the diamond patterns.
Bind off using a 3-stitch I-cord bindoff, thus: cast on 3 stitches by backward loops on the right needle. Slide these three stitches onto the left needle. *Knit 2, knit 2 together, slide 3 stitches to the left needle.* Repeat this until the entire edge is bound off, then using the tail of the yarn, graft the 3 stitches to the 3 cast-on stitches, and fasten off.
Very Narrow Edging
Cast on 5 sts and work back-and-forth. ("kpk into yo" means make 3 stitches by knit, purl, knit into the loop formed by the yo of the previous row)
Row 1: yo, p2tog, k1, yo, k2
Row 2: k2, kpk into yo, k1, yo, p2tog
Row 3: yo, p2tog, k6
Row 4: k6, yo, p2tog
Row 5: yo, p2tog, k6
Row 6: bind off 3, k2, yo, p2tog
This gives one scallop. Repeat 31 more times.
Openwork Leaf Pattern
(Chart is read bottom up, right to left) Work on circular needle; the extra edge stitch shown in parentheses is needed when working gauge swatch back-and-forth. At the end of rounds 8, 10, and 12, include the first stitch of the next round in the double decrease. A = double decrease, worked thus: slip 1 as if to knit, knit 2 together, pass the slipped stitch over (I used "A" because it resembles the usual three-lines-coming-to-a-point symbol, not available in a computer font) O = yarn over | = knit (this symbol merges into a vertical line in some typefaces) ^ = knit 2 together A O | | | | | O (^) Rnd 12 (end ^ in swatch) A | O | | | O | (^) Rnd 10 (end ^ in swatch) A | | O | O | | (^) Rnd 8 (end ^ in swatch) | | | O A O | | (|) Rnd 6 | | O | A | O | (|) Rnd 4 | O | | A | | O (|) Rnd 2 Rnd 1 and all odd numbered rounds: knit (purl in swatch)
Thoughts on possible modifications:
The gauge I used gives a 30" diameter tube about 15 inches long. This is fairly short and snug. A larger diameter would be fine, I'm sure. If much longer, it would bunch too much around the neck, and some way would needed to make it flare for the shoulders.
An additional 8 scallops of the edge pattern will allow 3 more repeats of the leaf pattern, a 25% increase in circumference. This sounds too big to me, unless the gauge is smaller. (My version uses 32 scallops and 12 repeats of the leaf pattern.)
Sources of pattern stitches:
Barbara Abbey, Knitting Lace. Schoolhouse Press. Pittsville, WI, 1993. (Very Narrow Edging, pattern #2, page 44.)
Barbara G. Walker, The Craft of Lace Knitting. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1971. (Openwork Leaf Pattern, page 34.)
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