Friday, February 28, 2014

Update - Toe to Top Sock bind-off

You may remember this earlier post where I discussed my attempts to bind off a toe-to-top sock in a stretchy bind-off but was unhappy with my results: sock bind-off. Well, I just finished one of my daughter's socks (I know -- these won't be finished for this winter at the rate I am going!) and experimented with a different bind-off I had liked better in the past. This bind-off is sometimes called a tubular bind-off, but Pricilla Gibson-Roberts simply refers to it as a "graft off at top" or "graft-off edge."

Basically, you are using Kitchener stitch to graft off the stitches. In order to do this, you must first separate the knit stitches onto one needle and the purl stitches onto another needle. This can be done on 1 by 1 rib or 2 by 2 rib very easily. You simply divide your sock stitches in half for front and back. Then begin with the front stitches on one needle and divide them onto two needles by slipping the knit stitches onto another dpn and by slipping the purl stitches onto a third dpn as you come to them. You will eventually have two rows of stitches, the knits in front and the purls in back, just like you do for Kitchener stitch when you close of the top of the toe in top-to-toe socks. When you get to the end of the first set of two needles, you will need to separate the knits from the purls for the back of the sock just as you did for the front.

Here are some illustrations to help you see what I mean. This first photo illustrates the way the knits and purls are separated on two needles and shows the first step in which you use a tapestry needle to enter the knit stitch as if to knit and then take it off the needle as in the first step of Kitchener stitch:

This next photo illustrates the way you use the tapestry needles to go into the second knit stitch on the front needle as if to purl and then you leave it on the needle.

Now, you bring the tapestry needle to the back row of purl stitches and enter the first purl stitch as if to purl and take it off the needle:

The last step is to enter the next purl stitch on the back needle as if to knit and then leave it one the needle:

I found as I always do with Kitchener stitch that I needed to sit in a quiet corner for 15 minutes and really concentrate. It is slower than a normal bind-off, but well worth the effort since it is stretchy while being neat and tidy. Here is a photo of the finished graft-off edge (note the sock pattern included a bit of ribbing at that top so it makes it easy to use this technique; if your pattern doesn't, you might want to add it.):

There are so many ways of doing things in knitting, so I encourage you to try different techniques. After trying a few of the different stretchy cast-offs, I have seen, this is definitely my favorite. Please share your favorites in the comments section.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Basketweave Stitch - Great Stitch for Interesting, Repetitive Knitting

Lately, I have been making a lot of progress on Kearsarge for my husband. I finished the back and have begun the front.

As are all of Lisa Lloyd's patterns that I have knitted so far (eight, including the ones I test knitted for a A Fine Fleece), Kearsarge is a well written pattern that is easy to follow and a dream to knit. I have loved basketweave stitch from my very early days a new knitter since it wasn't hard to execute or keep track of, but it provided interest; there were changes in the stitch patterns every few stitches. I highly recommend a pattern like this to a fairly new knitter who might want to take on the challenge of knitting a sweater made in pieces, which will need to be seamed together. Here is a closer photo of the stitch pattern so that anyone who is interested can see how simple yet fun the pattern would be to knit.

The stitch pattern consists of a combination of two knits and four purls, which alternate in terms of placement every so often. There is also a ridge in between each of the groupings of basketweave stitches consisting of two rows of stockinette (please note that this ridge of two rows of stockinette makes Lisa Lloyd's pattern different from the basketweave stitch link I provided above as does her specific combination of knits and purls). As you can see, these simple changes provide interest, but they aren't hard to execute or to see when you are trying to "read" your knitting to be sure you didn't make a mistake. Other features that provide interest from the beginning are the seed stitch border at the bottom and the plain stockinette section before the basketweave begins.

Another reason I really like this pattern for a newer knitter (or for anyone really) is that as soon as you get tired of the basketweave pattern (which I never seem to tire of somehow since it is so relaxing) after knitting the back and the front, Lisa has you knitting mistake rib for the sleeves, an interesting choice that provides a striking contrast with the body of the sweater. I also like this choice for the sleeves since it changes things up a bit when you go to knit the sleeves and makes it easier to focus on the increasing involved in making a sleeve (especially for a newer knitter).

The last reason I think this would be a great pattern for a newer knitter is that Lisa Lloyd does an excellent job of planning selvedge stitches at the edges of the garment to make seaming very easy. I haven't seamed this sweater yet, but if it is anything like some of her others that I have seamed, she will have spent time and thought making sure this fits together like puzzle pieces. I am expecting it to be a joy to seam (which isn't always the case). I will be sure to take pictures as I do it (maybe even a video clip) so that anyone who is new to seaming can see how simple it is using the selvedge stitches.

I can't wait to finish this sweater so I can see how happy my hubby is when he can wear it for his next ski trip (which might not be until next year -- oh well -- a girl can only knit so fast and stay so focused).

Monday, February 17, 2014

Musings on Different Knitting Techniques: right-hand yarn hold vs left-hand yarn hold

So much has been made of the split between knitters who hold their yarn in the right hand while knitting (frequently referred to as English style or throwing) versus those who hold their yarn in the left hand while knitting (frequently referred to as Continental style or picking). I have to admit to being someone who has followed this issue for a long time and to having read numerous blog post, articles, and writing about this in books. 

I was taught to knit with the yarn held in my right hand. Soon after I began knitting regularly, I was very lucky to have a master knitter who owned my LYS teach me how to tension my yarn a lot more effectively over my right index finger, under my middle finger, and over my index finger. Here is a link to a video of the way I tension my yarn: right-handed yarn hold (in the image to which I have linked, the knitter tensions in the same way that I do, except he adds one more tensioning point by wrapping the yarn around his pinkie in addition to tensioning over the index finger, under the middle finger and over the ring finger as I do).

My mentor was an extremely fast and effective knitter, so I was highly motivated to learn her technique. I found that with a little practice, I took to this method well and was very pleased with the results and the rhythm I was able to establish very quickly while knitting. This has been my primary mode of knitting for the last 20 years.

However, soon after this I began to encounter some knitters who knit with the yarn held in their left hands. Both of my friends with whom I first encountered this technique had learned to knit in other countries (one from Russia and another from Sweden). They both knitted in a similar manner in terms of how they held the yarn, but my friend from Russia actually created her purl stitches differently. I later learned she was knitting using a Combined method. It absolutely fascinated me that people could knit so differently and still produce very similar results. Even at the time, I had a small desire to learn what they were doing, but I was so used to my own method that it didn't really occur to me to do much more than giver their methods a half-hearted try in order to at least see what it was all about. I never seriously considered switching styles at that time.

Later, though, I began reading a lot about these different styles on knitting blogs, and I was fascinated to see how many knitters who held their yarn in the left hand were "coming out" to speak about the discriminatory comments they had faced over the years, being told they were "knitting wrong." I never understood that and always wondered why people were so quick to try to put those who do things differently into a category of "the other." I applauded these women for beginning to share their stories and for making these less well-known styles of knitting known to the general knitting public and for eventually making it so that these styles have become more than acceptable. In many instances, knitting with the yarn in the left hand has become more "normal" amongst the knitting community on the web than knitting with yarn in the right hand seems to be.

Which brings me to my own story.  Eventually, I began thinking that instead of half-heartedly trying to knit with the yarn in my left hand, maybe I should really try to switch. I had a few motivations to learn to do it well. First of all, I wanted to knit Fair Isle and wanted to use the two-handed method. In order to learn to do it well enough to make stranded knitting rhythmic, I figured I should really practice it alone first. I did this and became fairly proficient with the knit stitch. Of course, purl is another thing all-together when it comes to holding the yarn in the left-hand (one reason why I still prefer holding the yarn in my right hand for most knitting). No matter how proficient I have become holding the yarn in my left hand for the knit stitch and no matter how much I have practiced, I can't say I have ever become as comfortable with it as I am when holding the yarn in my right hand.

When I use my index finger to flick the yarn up over the needle, whether for the knit stitch or the purl stitch, I feel like my hand is a well-oiled machine. Everything just flows and it feel awesome. When I hold the yarn in my left hand, it feels a bit like work, and I find myself having to really concentrate. I can't take my eyes off the needles like I can when I use my right hand. I can't execute k2tog, ssk, yo, or m1 without thinking about it. I certainly can't execute the purl stitch without a lot of effort and concentration. And I still haven't found a really comfortable way to tension the yarn. I have tried them all, but none feels perfect in the way that my right-handed technique does. 

The one that I have found that works best for me when it comes to a left-handed yarn hold for the knit stitch is the one that I recently saw Elizabeth Zimmerman using on her dvds. She simply holds the yarn over her left index finger and tensions the yarn with her folded fingers against her palm. When I saw this a couple weeks back after purchasing her amazing dvds, I realized that she was tensioning her yarn in the same exact manner that I do when I crochet. This made me realize that maybe if it works for me for crochet, it would for knitting. Sure enough it does ... but only for the knit stitch. The problem for me comes into play when I try to purl and there doesn't seem to be enough tension to make it work. E.Z. seemed to manage, but she was famous for liking to knit a lot more than she liked to purl, which is one of the reasons she was so enamored with garter stitch and knitting in the round. Unfortunately, I am not quite as enamored with garter stitch or knitting in the round as she was, and I really want to continue to be able to purl comfortably. 

Lastly, knitting with the yarn in my right hand just feels right! I love the rhythm I get into when I do it this way, and even if I am not as fast as some who knit with the yarn held in their left hand are, who cares. First of all, I know plenty of knitters who hold the yarn in their right hand who are incredibly fast, my mentor being one of them. I am just not a speed demon at anything. However, I want to enjoy my knitting not win any speed contests. So much of my life needs to be lived in the fast lane as it is -- work, kids' schedules, etc. -- why should my knitting be a contest. I have decided that I will continue to use the right-handed hold as my primary method of knitting. I will continue to work on improving the rhythm of my left-handed hold for stranded knitting and for projects where it might be useful, such as something containing a lot of seed stitch. However, I don't think I will ever switch entirely.

It is nice to have more than one technique to depend upon, though, because we can never learn too much in life. Now I just wish that everyone would realize the value in all of the many ways that one can knit and be content to allow everyone to enjoy their own styles. Unfortunately, it seems that all too often one group or the other wants to make the other group feel like they are doing it "wrong." For far too long those who knit with yarn held in the left hand were the victims of that mentally; however, it is starting to seem like the tide has turned and now those who hold the yarn in their right hands are the ones who are all too often being criticized. This should not be. We all have different styles and sometimes those styles might correlate with how our bodies are designed. Isn't the most important thing that we do what makes us feel the most comfortable when it comes to our hobby?

By now you might be wondering why I have chosen to use the awkward phrasing of "knitters who hold the yarn in the right hand" and "knitters who hold the yarn in the left hand" instead of more common labels such as "Continental/English style" or "pickers/throwers." The reason for this is that after reading the excellent explanation that June Hemmons Hiatt gives in her book, The Principles of Knitting: Methods and Techniques of Hand Knitting, I became informed that the terms Continental and English-style were inappropriate. She points out the terms contain a Western bias since they exclude so many other parts of the world that have been knitting for as long if not longer than those in England and other parts of Europe, using these techniques as well as others that haven't even been discussed in this post (thumb knitting, sometimes called Portuguese knitting) (Hiatt 4). Hiatt uses specific labels for each method use with each of the larger categories, which she generally refers to as "right-hand methods" and "left-hand methods." However, when I have referred to them in this way when speaking with fellow fiber arts enthusiasts, I find that they sometimes think I am talking about which hand does most of the needle work rather than which hand holds the yarn.

The reason I don't like to use "throwers and pickers" is that I find those terms to be limiting. There is nothing about the way that I knit by tensioning my yarn over my right index finger that resembles a throwing motion in any way. Throwing also has a negative connotation to it since so many knitters who prefer to hold the yarn in their left hands seem to have a caricatured image of knitters who hold the yarn in their right hands: wildly out of control knitters, making exaggerated sweeping motions every time they complete a stitch. This in no way resembles the controlled, precise motions of my knitting mentor, nor of myself for that matter. On the other hand, "picker" has an inelegant sound to it that I feel does not capture the precise, efficient motions of many of the knitters who hold their yarn in the left hand that I have seen. Meg Swansen is an excellent example of someone who is not only incredibly quick when she knits, but who also makes knitting look beautiful as she performs it for the camera.

So, I choose to use the wordier phrases that refer to which hand holds the yarn when I categorize the two basic knitting styles that seem to be predominant in Western culture. I also think that by doing so, the two become more equalized and the emphasis is on a choice of how to hold something, not on a label that might contain connotations, even if they aren't intended by the speaker/writer.  I know that a lot has already been written about this topic, but I would love to hear from others out there who have wanted to weigh in on their own experiences. Feel free to share your own thoughts/ideas in the comment section below, but please remember to be respectful of everyone's style when commenting.

Remember that knitting isn't about speed unless you want it to be in order to knit for profit or for competition. If you are enjoying what you are doing no matter how you are doing it, you are doing it right!

Works Cited

Hiatt, June, and Jesse Hiatt. The Principles of Knitting: Methods and Techniques of Hand Knitting. New York: Touchstone, 2012. Print. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Adventures with Fair Isle - Follow-up

I was thinking about the post I wrote a few days ago with information about all of the sources upon which I drew to help me learn Fair Isle, and I realized that I left out a few. Recently, I found a great blog that inspired me to try Fair Isle again since the writer had knitted some glorious sweaters and had also taken the time to share her knowledge with others. The blog is called By Gum, By Golly, and the writer, Tasha, is an incredibly skilled knitter and seamstress. She loves vintage clothing, so her Fair Isle work is inspired by vintage Fair Isle patterns. I found her tutorial on stranded knitting incredibly helpful since she focuses on several aspects about which most beginners wonder:

  • How to hold the yarn using various techniques, depending on which suits the knitter best (I especially like that she admitted to dropping yarns, being careful not to let them twist, when she first began stranding. She asserts that this is actually a valid technique and that if one is comfortable using it, they should continue to do so. I have actually heard of prolific Fair Isle knitters using this technique, so it was nice to see it validated. As an FYI, I actually use the two-handed technique just because this is how I began.)
  • How to strand the yarn to avoid "puckers" and to produce "even stranding" (more on this below)
  • How to choose colors for vintage patterns
Tasha's writing on this subject has been especially helpful to me in calming me down a little bit about my worries that my stranding might be too tight (yes, I tend to be a perfectionist, but I always call myself the perfectionist who can never get anything perfect :) ). I can clearly see that my stranding on the wrong side looks very even and is not tight in any way, yet the front side still looks a bit uneven. Here is a photo of the wrong side to show the stranding:

It looks pretty even to me, and I even see a few spots where the floats actually look a little bit loose. That doesn't concern me, though, because Elizabeth Zimmerman always says in her videos "better too loose than too tight" because you can "snug up" loose floats. Please feel free to share your opinion if you see something here that indicates it might be too tight. Now here is the front.

I am fairly happy with it, but I keep having sneaking concerns that it might be a bit puckery. Here is where Tasha's By Bum, By Golly blog really helps quiet my inner-critic; she shared a post of the before- blocking and after-blocking photos, and the difference in evenness is distinct. Here is the link to the post: before and after blocking. This blog is the only place I have seen photographic evidence of the wonders of blocking on Fair Isle, so I am so grateful for Tasha for sharing. I am paying it forward by making you all aware of it, so hopefully I can help calm your own inner-critic.

Another source of constant help and inspiration to me has been WendyKnits. Wendy's writing on knitting has been so important to me for over 10 years, ever since I found her blog back in the very early days of blog writing. As you can see, she is very skilled at Fair Isle, and if you look at her archives, you will see that she has knitted many of the Alice Starmore Fair Isle designs. Her work is amazing! If you read the posts in the archives for some of her Alice Starmore designs (Mara comes to mind immediately), you will see that she talks about Fair Isle technique in many of them. 

Lastly, I just noticed that Spring edition of Interweave Knits has an article on Fair Isle knitting, and it seems to provide a lot of great information on it. I have yet to read it, but I am looking forward to a quiet evening without distraction to curl up and see what it has to offer.

As you can see from the scant progress made on the Ivy League Vest in the pictures above, I haven't had a lot of time lately to work on Fair Isle knitting since work has been busy, and family life has had me on the run. As a result, most nights I have needed something cozy yet simple to help me wind down from the day, which has allowed me to make significant progress on this glorious crocheted afghan by Lucy of Attic24, the Granny Stripe Blanket.

I am so grateful that I found Attic24 earlier this year since it has rekindled my love of crochet with the amazingly bright, adorable projects that Lucy shares with her followers. Being able to work on something colorful and warm in the evenings of this bitterly cold winter has been a blessing. Fair Isle also brings color to my life, but it isn't something I can do very easily in the evenings when I am tired since I am still too new to it for it to be mindless. Crochet, especially this type of repetitive, double crochet stitch, row-by-row crochet, really fills my need for color and mindlessness in the evenings. 

If any of you knitters have never tried crochet, I highly encourage you to do so. It is a lot of fun being "bi-crafty" (an expression I heard on one of the podcasts I listen to, but unfortunately I can't remember which one in order to give proper credit). I am loving crochet again so much that I have ordered a large quantity of Stylecraft Special DK (at Lucy's recommendation) on sale from Deramores so that I can begin another one of her afghan patterns as soon as I finish this one. I am considering either the Ripple Blanket or the Granny Patchwork Blanket. Crocheters out there, which one do you recommend more? They are both wonderful, so just let me know in the comments which one you like best if you have done them both or even if you are just looking at the pictures!

Happy knitting and crocheting, everyone!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Adventures with Fair Isle, Part III

I haven't disappeared in case anyone was wondering! Sorry to keep anyone who might be interested in reading more waiting, but it has been a busy week with work and the kids' schedules. I knew when I began this blog over vacation that it might be tricky keeping it going once work got busy again, but I am determined to hang in there. I am really having fun with this, and I hope those of you who are checking in from time to time are too. Please leave a comment to say hello or to add your two cents if you would like to do so. Just click on the area that currently says "no comments" and help me change that to "1 comment" or more. :)

So here is what I have been working on in the few spare minutes I have each evening -- something mindless and soothing: Granny Stripes from the delightful Lucy of the Attic24 blog.

We have been living through a very challenging winter here in Ohio, so I find the colors in this blanket to be soothing yet lively in contrast to the greys of winter. Lucy talks about "soul colors" on her blog, and anyone who knows her blog knows that her soul colors are deliciously bright and cheerful. My tastes run a little more to autumn colors, though, so this blanket provides me just enough pep to lighten my spirits yet make me feel at home.

Onto Fair Isle! I haven't been doing much of it this week since my mind hasn't been in shape in the evenings for any more challenges, but I have been thinking a lot about how I learned the little I do know. I want to share with all of you some of the wonderful sources of information that helped me to get to the point where I feel confident to try to knit a Fair Isle vest. Here are some of the books that have been my guide over the years:

Like many, my first introduction to Fair Isle techniques was Alice Starmore. Many years ago when I wanted to read about Fair Isle, her original book on the topic, Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting, was out of print and cost around $200 to buy on ebay. I couldn't begin to think about forking over that kind of cash for it, so I checked it out of the library and read and reread it, hating to part with it when it was due. Foolishly, I let an opportunity to buy this book at the regular price of $40 when I saw it in a knitting shop along side Alice Starmore's original Aran Knitting. I wanted both books very badly, but since Aran knitting is my first love and my true love, I decided I could only afford one of the two books -- it had to be Aran Knitting. I regretted not buying both within a week, went back to the shop to buy Fair Isle Knitting, only to find it had been sold that very morning to someone else. I will regret that mistake for the rest of my knitting life. I have since been able to buy the reprint of Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting much to my delight and as much as I love it, I still wish I had the beautiful, hard-cover original with the picture of Mara being knitted on the cover. 

I encourage anyone who is interested in Fair Isle to buy the reprint of this book immediately for the following reasons:
  • It provides an excellent historical account of Fair Isle and the island from which it developed.
  • It discusses patterns in detail, including how to choose them to create your own designs. It also includes many pattern motifs.
  • It provides an in-depth discussion of Fair Isle techniques such as stranding using the two-handed method that A.S. recommends and steeking. The illustrations used are excellent and easy to follow.
  • It provides an in-depth illustration of Alice Starmore's inspirations for her designs. 
  • It provides many patterns for sweaters and hats.
My second "bible" of Fair Isle knitting is Ann Feitelson's The Art of Fair Isle Knitting. I adore this book. In many ways it has been even more helpful to me than A.S.'s book. Feitelson does an excellent job of providing history and techniques, but she even goes one step further by providing in-depth explanations of color dominance (yarn dominance) in stranding. Before reading her book, I hadn't heard about the importance of consistently holding the background color of the pattern in one hand (usually the right hand when stranding with two hands) and holding the pattern color in the other hand (usually the left hand when stranding with two hands). After reading her book, I have a great understanding of how important it is to keep the background color strand running over top of the pattern color strand and the pattern color strand coming up from underneath the background color strand if one wants the pattern colors to stand out and wants the motifs to appear consistent. This tip alone (which she learned from speaking with Shetland knitters) makes this book worth its price in gold! Of course, Feitelson explains many other aspects of this craft brilliantly in her book and provides some great patterns. Here are some of the highlights:
  • History - great detail gained from her experience interviewing Shetland Isle knitters
  • Techniques - steeking, stranding, choosing colors, choosing patterns, and doing the math
  • Illustrations - helfpul, clear, and beautiful
The other two books I show above have been helpful to me, too. Stranded Color Knitting by Nanette Blanchard, seems to be out of print now, but I found it to be incredibly helpful since Nanette provides simple, clear instructions and illustrations of many of the techniques I learned in the previous two books I mentioned. I had followed Nanette on her former blog years ago where she provided many tips for Fair Isle knitting. You can still find some of her advice on the group pages for Stranded in Ravelry, but it appears that Nanette is no longer blogging. Lastly, Sheila McGregor's Traditional Fair Isle Knitting was one of the first well-known books written about Fair Isle. The motifs included in this book are very helpful to anyone who wants to create his or her own patterns.

Lastly, I must give a lot of credit to Eunny Jang! Her inspiring work on her former blog, See Eunny Knit, really got me interested in trying Fair Isle way back when. Her amazing instructions and illustrations in her Steeking Chronicles are still available for free online for anyone who wants to view them. I highly recommend them as I do her dvd, Introduction to Fair Isle: The Ivy League Vest

I must thank one more designer for her help to me in this process of learning Fair Isle, Beth Brown-Reinsel. For my fortieth birthday a few years back, my husband treated me to a two-day workshop with Beth focused on Fair Isle. She had us all make a small, teddy-bear-sized Fair Isle sweater with steeks to learn the entire process in a hands-on manner. It was the most wonderful birthday gift I have ever received! Unfortunately, I nearly lost my job, because the school at which I was teaching was closing, right after that and had to plunge full force into job-search mode and then become familiar with learning the ropes of a new college. Fortunately, I am very happy where I am now and I am blessed to have landed safely after nearly losing my teaching career. The knitting did take a backseat during those years, though, as it should have, so my inspiration to really master Fair Isle waned for a bit. I am now back on track and hope that all of this book-learnin' pays off soon! It is time to dive in and really make a go of it. We scholarly types can sometimes lose ourselves in reading and studying instead of doing, so now it is time for me to do. I recommend that you try some studying, though, if you are new to all of this since it is a whole lot of fun and time well spent. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Chemo Caps

There have been so many times in my life when I have been glad to be a knitter/crocheter (almost every day), but the time when I feel it is most helpful in my life is when I hear that someone I know or a person that someone else I know knows has received the dreaded news that they will have to face chemotherapy. It is at these times that I am so glad that I can sadly mumble condolences and then go off to pick up needles and yarn to try to do something small to help the situation. Over the years, I have found that knitting soft, cotton caps is a simple act that helps those suffering the agony of chemotherapy in a tiny way, but that it is at least something I can do in the face of news like this.

Here are two caps I made recently for a friend of my sister. The pink one is made of Cascade Sierra Quatro and the blue one is made of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece.

I have found that both of these cotton/wool blends machine wash well in cold water on delicate cycle (even if their directions say otherwise), and I have even been known to throw the in the dryer on low for a little while with no ill effects (warning: you should try this first on a swatch if you want to be sure it won't affect the yarn negatively since different colors can react differently as can different washers and dryers). Unfortunately, though, Cascade Sierra and Sierra Quatro have both been discontinued, so it looks like I will have to find a new worsted weight cotton blend. Any recommendations? Please share in the comments section below.

The pink hat is a simple rolled brim cap, which was based on the pattern from this website: Head Huggers Patterns List. I modified it slightly by beginning the decreases at 5.5 inches and then adding a couple more plain rounds between the decrease rounds. (Check out my Ravelry project page under suzknittyspinner for details).  The blue hat is a great pattern from Grumperina  called Odessa. It is a great pattern that I found out about on a discussion board forum in the Ravelry group called Chemo Cap Pattern Library. I highly recommend checking out that group if you are interested in making chemo caps since they provide a lot of advice about materials to use and other considerations when making these caps. They also provide a lot of links to great patterns like Odessa. Here is a better photo so you can see how nice the spiral detail of the decreases looks on Odessa:

Odessa will probably become my new go-to cap since it turned out so well and was fun to knit. I have another free pattern, which I got years ago online and which I cannot find the link to anymore. It is a simple hat with a fancy rib pattern. However, I think Odessa has become my new favorite.

Does anyone else have a favorite go-to cap? Please share in the comments if you do.