I gave you a sneak peek of my Solas hat in my Indie Pattern Month post – now here is the full review. Solas is an unusual design and one that didn’t catch my eye when it was first published for Ysolda Teague’s Knitworthy 3. But as I was in need of beanies this winter and wanted to experiment with different styles, I figured I’d get my money’s worth from my Knitworthy purchase and give it a go.
As well as having an unusual design, the construction of this hat is slightly different to a typical beanie with a rounded crown. The lightning bolt cable pattern is worked for a portion of the round, with the rest filled in with moss stitch. Decreases are worked on two sides of the beanie then the final stitches are finished with a tight 3-needle bind off, creating an almost trapezoidal shape with ruching at the top.
I have to admit that I found the instructions a little confusing, and had to drop back and reknit a few lines of stitches. My confusion came from having to work from a chart and written instructions at the same time – which usually isn’t a problem for me, but I got a bit lost trying to follow the written instructions.
For those who had the same trouble, here are my Ravelry notes: on each decrease round of the chart, decreases are also worked in the plain moss stitch body, in stacked lines. On plain rounds, the stitches above the decreases are worked as knits, while the other stitches maintain a moss stitch pattern in line with the stitches below – this pattern becomes out of step across the row as decreases are worked.
The final decrease round (final round of the chart) decreases are only worked in the chart, not the body, then the sharp decrease round is worked (marked in the pattern as “next round”, but it could have been more clearly marked).
I was also unsure if I had performed the 3-needle bind off correctly, as the pattern calls for a smaller needle which created quite dramatic ruching. Other Raveller’s hats seemed quite smooth at the crown, and there was no pattern picture of the top to compare it to.
Another reason I chose this pattern was to try The Fibre Co. Arranmore. It seems to be latest crush of the online knitting community, featuring heavily in cabled cardigans and jumpers. Because it is so flipping expensive, I wanted to test a small amount before committing to a full garment in it. I am so glad I did! This yarn was nothing like what I expected.
Despite being a 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% silk blend, Arranmore looks and handles like a soft cotton. I was shocked! And can’t really understand how a yarn predominantly made of wool could be so…..unwooly. It even mimics cotton’s inelasticity, meaning it was extremely hard on my weak hands. Knitting this hat was an exercise in fiery pain, and there is no way I could knit with Arranmore for any longer than I already have.
This isn’t a negative review – Arranmore is a beautiful yarn, one that fulfils its description of reflecting the wild Irish coast. The natural-looking tweed flecks add life and drama to the knitted fabric, and the colours blend perfectly to create a lemon-curd-like shade. It’s a nice yarn, but I’m not convinced it’s a $37 / skein-nice yarn.
This was an experiment that definitely paid off! I’m glad I branched out and tried different shapes, styles and techniques. And even though Arranmore wasn’t for me, at least I know that now rather than spending $300+ for a garment amount. Now I have the lofty goal of knitting all the designs from Knitworthy 3 (bar the socks!). It will 100% not happen, but I’ve already acquired the From Galway to Shetland kit for the Ljós Hat…watch this space!
Pattern: Solas by Ysolda Teague (my Ravelry notes)
Pattern details: “A slouchy bottom up hat featuring a simple, modern cable pattern. The moss stitch background is perfect for showcasing the texture of a tweed yarn — in this case a luxurious take on a traditional Donegal tweed. The blend of wool, silk and cashmere is beautifully soft with a sturdy hand that gives the hat body and structure. The pattern includes four sizes, with a scaled down chart for the child’s size.” Available as a single PDF pattern download or as part of collection Knitworthy 3.
Yarn: 0.73 skeins / 116.9 meters / 127.8 yards / 73 grams The Fibre Co. Arranmore in Finian
Needles: 4mm for brim and bind off, 4.5mm for body of hat
Mods: None. Knit adult size L for finished circumference 20″.