A PROJECT FOR DR. WHO FANS
My Graeme is a bit (a lot) of a Dr. Who enthusiast, amongst other things. So when I found this pattern on Ravelry one day, I felt it was my duty as his girlfriend to knit him a tribute to the Doctor’s most formidable opponent: the Daleks!
I personally think it’s a lovely little project, and if you aren’t an expert in the series it just looks like a nice pattern. But don’t tell him that…
This pattern is a great introduction to knitting in the round with circular needles and changing to double pointed needles. It is also a great way to learn ‘two handed stranding’, a technique that basically uses two different colours when knitting in the round. These are two techniques that were new to me at the beginning of the project, so I am going to share some tips with you on how to conquer them. Both methods are much easier than they look, and once you get your hands working you’ll feel like you always knew how to do it!
You can find and download the pattern for this hat here.
TWO HANDED STRANDING
This technique is simply knitting with two different colours, in two different stitches. You hold one colour in each hand, knitting your right-hand colour ‘English Style’ (easy) and your left-hand colour ‘Continental Style’ (a little more complicated). This avoids the frustration of getting tangled up in your work because each way of knitting keeps the yarn separated neatly at the back. The only exception to this is if you are knitting a long set of stitches in one colour; in this case, carry the unused yarn across the back of your work by twisting it over the current yarn, which holds it in place.
STEP 1: Knitting ‘English Style’
Knit your right-hand colour (WHITE) as you would knit a stitch, by inserting the right-hand needle into the front and through the loop.
With your second colour (GREY) in your left hand, insert the right-hand needle into the left-hand loop as you would normally to knit a stitch.
Continue knitting ‘English Style’ with your right-hand colour, and ‘Continental Style’ with your left-hand colour whenever the chart uses both colours in the row.
CHANGING TO DOUBLE POINTED NEEDLES
When you reach the top of your hat, you will inevitably have to begin decreasing your stitches in order to finish. This means that you will soon be unable to use your circular needles (unless you know the magic loop technique, but we’ll leave that for another day). The way to solve this problem is to switch to double pointed needles, allowing you to knit your hat shut, so to speak. Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds – I only learnt how to do it with this pattern, and I survived!
One tip I did pick up along the way is to put elastic bands at the ends of your needles to stop the stitches sliding off, which can happen as it can get quite fiddly. It is also important to count the amount of stitches you want to knit onto each needle, as you need to make them as even as possible. I counted around 14 on each needle for this project.
You will need 4 double pointed needles (they are usually sold in packs of 4 or 5 for this reason). Three hold the stitches, while the fourth is used to knit them.
Use your fourth needle to knit the first row of stitches. It will ‘replace’ the first needle. Then take that needle and knit the second row, replacing that needle and so on until you reach the end of your chart.
That’s the hard part over! You can now finish off your hat and enjoy wearing it, just like Graeme!
I would love to know how you get on making your own versions of the Dalek hat, and I hope my directions help! Please send me news and pictures of your ‘hand made love’ by emailing email@example.com