Fishtrap Swatchcap

fishtrap hat post washing

Pattern: Fishtrap Aran Swatchcap from Knitters' Almanac
Yarn: School Products Bulky Cashmere / Merino Blend
Needles: US 10.5 Addi Turbo
New skills: Twisted stitches, aran swatching

Notes: Less a bona fide finished object than a swatch for the Fishtrap Aran Cardigan from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitters' Almanac, the Fishtrap Hat certainly provided a great exercise in aran gauge. Though EZ and I had the same gauge in stockinette (3.5 st/inch), my cap turned out 22" around whereas hers was 20". I have a feeling the yarn is part of the problem - because it's wholesale and comes in spinning oil, its thickness varies in all its different states - on cone, on needles, in garment, post-blocking. My gauge also tends to be a great deal looser at the beginning of a project. So I must figure out how to proceed with the sweater - I'm shooting for a 40" sweater, so I've got to lop off those 2 extra inches somehow. I might omit one of the ribbed cables in the pattern repeat, or I might try going down to size 10 needles (though I don't know how much of a difference that will make).

The pattern is basically constructed from boatloads of twisted stitches, which are merely two-stitch cables - the smallest cable possible. Eunny has posted a timely piece involving twisted stitches (along with her beautiful Bayerische Socks), which is recommended. She and I use the same method, which is basically cabling without a cable needle. You merely switch the order of the stitches on the needle, then knit them. I attempted EZ's method from KA, but my right twists were honestly disastrous. Here are closeups pre- and post-washing of the stitch pattern:

fishtrap hat stitching pre washing fishtrap stitching post washing

Um, also I accidentally felted the cap a little while washing. School Products recommends a warm wash the first time 'round. Sadly, while at the laundromat, I neglected to read that their "Warm" cycle consists of a warm wash and a cold rinse. Felt city. The yarn does plump up and fuzz a bit regardless, so what you see is not the result of the felting alone. Thankfully the hat was a little too large as it was.

Here it is modeled by Chris pre- and post-wash - it's quite large on him (but not as much after washing):

fishtrap hat pre washing fistrap hat FO

I thought about giving it to someone else... who needs a matching hat and sweater these days? But as it may be quite a few weeks until the cardigan is complete, Chris may claim it to tide him over.

And because there's always a surfeit of photos, here are some additional views:

fishtrap hat 1 fishtrap hat pre washing 1 fishtrap hat silly

I sense this will be a well-documented project.

As you can see, I've been knitting for miles in recent weeks compared to my normal pace. The past three weeks have blessed me with more mental space, and time, than I've had for years. One more week remains. Like all weeks-before-work, it will fill with errands and chores and things to do before I no longer see daylight. Starting something new is exciting, of course. But I'll miss all the space and time I've had lately to just be and do. It makes you feel kind of well-adjusted. This is all to say that I expect a knitting slowdown starting about now. As for the Fishtrap specifically, it's also been pushed one spot lower in the queue. I have to finish my friend Emily's baby blanket. My niece has also requested a sweater for her birthday next month.

A more reflective entry lurks below this quick paragraph, I assure you... but honestly I'm writing this very quickly since I'm dashing off to the Atlantic Antic!

Posted by jess at September 17, 2006 12:58 PM | TrackBack

Aren't you speedy with the Zimmermania! The cap looks great - and you can always wear a cap more often than a sweater without comments about hygiene.

Posted by: meg at September 17, 2006 2:27 PM

Aren't you quick with the Zimmermania! And caps are great because you can wear them multiple times a week without people commenting on the lack of hygiene.

Posted by: meg at September 17, 2006 2:28 PM

Mmmmmm. Semi-felted cashmere. So soft and lovely.

Posted by: Lauren at September 17, 2006 2:52 PM

OOH, I love that cap! I'm joining Zimmermania, and just ordered Knitter's Almanac and Knitting Workshop. I'm thinking of doing something simple, but I really like the look of the fishtrap....Hm.

Posted by: Mia at September 17, 2006 2:59 PM

Wow, that was fast! I'm sure the sweater will be killer.

Posted by: jenna at September 17, 2006 3:38 PM

Love the hat! That sweater is (somewehre, far down) on my to-knit list...
Thanks for the Zimmermania info, by the way. It will be lots of fun!

Posted by: loribird at September 17, 2006 4:24 PM

The hat looks great! Did you feel that the yarn you used is more floppy (and soft!) than the somewhat stiff wool that's usually used for these types of sweaters? If so, do you like the effect?

Posted by: Veronique at September 17, 2006 4:48 PM

The hat looks great! I'm glad we'll get to see a lot of the project as it goes. I really like that pattern.

I also like the new look of your blog. Acorns really say "fall" to me!

Posted by: Katherine at September 17, 2006 5:38 PM

shucks -- i was there and didn't spot you.
i applaud you for attempting to felt at the laundromat. i've just given up on felting altogether until i someday own a washer or dryer. tried it by hand and failed.

just picked up "knitting without tears" -- thanks for the inspiration!

Posted by: carrie m at September 17, 2006 6:02 PM

The hat is perfect for Wisconsin, when the cold north wind blows and the ears are at risk of turning to ice. I love your devotion to EZ. Her patterns are the best.

Posted by: gail at September 17, 2006 7:03 PM

oh boy... it really did felt up. the crispness of the stitches was lost :( i would ask school products again what they think and see if maybe handwashing will get out that spinning oil. glad to see that it got a bit smaller though! that hat was massive!

Posted by: gleek at September 17, 2006 7:09 PM

The swatch cap looks great! That is going to be one amazing sweater knit with that luscious School Products yarn!

I just joined Zimmermania! Yay! Thanks for starting it!

Posted by: Kirsten at September 17, 2006 8:33 PM

Neat! I actually like the semi-felted version better--it makes the hat less busy, I think. It looks very very comfy.

Posted by: Amy at September 17, 2006 10:39 PM

Awesome post! Good things ahead...good luck with school. The fishtrap aran looks very promising, and I *love* your new banner! it's awesome.

Posted by: Julia at September 18, 2006 1:35 AM

I love the hat. That's a project worth making for the product alone, the swatching is just an added bonus! The sweater is going to be beautiful.

Posted by: Kelly at September 18, 2006 8:00 AM

Semi-felted or not, that hat looks so great! I almost like it better all fuzzied up. Enjoy your last week of space.

Posted by: Jenna at September 18, 2006 9:08 AM

The hat looks great. I played with bavarian twisted stitches a year or so ago and have the "Ueberlieferte Strickmuster aus dem ... (can't think of the rest of the title right now)" books, which i love. They have great patterns and i love the added texture twisting gives. I need to pull those books our again for some inspiration. Eunny's article on the technique was very nice.

Also a fan of acorns: I have two on my desk year round and recently added one to my car that i picked up in the gamble oak around here. The banner is lovely.

Posted by: holly at September 18, 2006 12:22 PM

Looks like the perfect winter hat. It looks great! Like your new banner too!

Posted by: Delica at September 18, 2006 5:05 PM

damn, that *was* fast! the hat looks really good felted... soft and cozy. wish i could get the boy to wear cables but i'm going to do a modified raglan in stockinette for him for zimmermania... even that might be a little wild :)

Posted by: amisha at September 18, 2006 8:35 PM

Wow, that really was fast! I like it! I think that if you wound the yarn into skeins from the cone, and wash them, then knit, you might have more consistant results with gauge. Good Luck!

Posted by: Julia at September 19, 2006 12:42 AM

This hat is absolutely divine, I so adore the pattern - I think I like it even more due to the fact that it seems a bit semi-felted, it gives it a very special touch. Great work!

Posted by: Dipsy D at September 19, 2006 4:25 AM

Yeah, those School Products ladies sold me some laceweight baby camel and a lace shawl pattern, and told me to toss the whole thing in the washing machine. I don't think I can do that. Your cap is lovely, tho'--I can't wait to see the start of the sweater!

Posted by: Jessica C at September 19, 2006 10:57 AM

Wow you are a knitting maniac!

Very nice hat and it suits him. I think he should get to keep it. After all, it's not like he'll always be wearing the hat and sweater together. Sometimes one or the other might be in the wash.

Posted by: Dorothy B at September 19, 2006 2:38 PM

Wow! The hat looks divine! I love the hat kick you've been on lately, and this one is just so beautiful.

Posted by: maritza at September 20, 2006 12:09 PM

I've found Barbara Walker's method of twisting stitches to be the neatest for me (neat in anything other than stockinette with cotton yarn is hard to do), as it has a unique way of working the stitches so you're not tugging at them too much. She works twists as follows: right twist: knit 2nd stitch on left needle, knit 1st stitch on left needle, slip both from needle together. Left twist: knit 2nd stitch on needle through back loop, knit 1st st, slip both from needle. She has another method but I have to get up and find the book to post it. She said the other method was neater for her, but I find that particularly post-blocking this is neater for me. I'll post the other later. :)

Posted by: Jade at September 20, 2006 5:27 PM

Oh, and my point was, this^^^ way is MUCH faster since you aren't manipulating the stitches as much. In a big ol' men's sweater we gotta cut as many corners as possible. :P

Posted by: Jade at September 20, 2006 5:30 PM

I hemmed and hawed about posting again because I don't want to come off like a know it all, so just to put it out there, this isn't coming from a bossy place, but a helpful one.

The other method given of working twist stitches is....

Right twist: k2tog, leaving sts on left needle then insert right-hand needle from the front _between_ the two sts just knitted together and knit the first stitch again. Then slip both sts from needle.

Left twist: With right needle behind left needle, skip one st and knit the second st in the back loop, then insert right needle into the backs of both sts and k2tog-tbl.

The only problem with the 2nd one is that it will, in fact, _twist_ the stitches, so you could slip the first stitch knitwise and then k2tog-tbl to alleviate it.

ACK. Someone stop me. I am dreading clicking send, but maybe this will help someone--if it comes off in any way irritating, please ignore. :D

Posted by: Jade at September 22, 2006 1:19 AM

my man would love it!!! great!! it's not usual to see patern for men but this one is super!

Posted by: le chat qui coud at September 24, 2006 2:16 PM

I am halfway through with my Fishtrap swatchcap, but I'm wondering how you worked the decreases at the top. Any special formula?

Posted by: amy at August 22, 2007 3:54 PM

I would like to propose not to hold back until you earn enough amount of cash to order different goods! You can just get the mortgage loans or financial loan and feel yourself free

Posted by: HammondRaquel24 at June 24, 2010 7:18 AM
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