Sunday, October 3, 2010

Top Down Tunisian cloche

After working the Bottoms Up hat, I had to try another version from the top down.

Looking through my stash, I dug out some super bulky (6) Wool Ease Thick and Quick I had left over from other projects.  I wasn't sure I'd have enough of two colours to finish a hat, but there was enough to figure out how to do one from the top down. 

Normally I'd work the super bulky yarn with a 9.00mm hook, but I've only got one size double ended hook.  That changed things a fair bit, which I will cover later on.

Top-down Tunisian cloche

Using one end of my double ended hook, I started by doing a spiral disc of sc working into the front loops only, so it wouldn't be as dense as it would have been if I went through both loops.  I made several false starts before I figured out when to start working the Tunisian Simple Stitch.  Increases are worked in the forward pass, so right from the start, I worked an increase.  To just pick up loops without increases, I worked through the front loops of the previous sc.  The first loop for the increase was pulled up through both loops of the sc, then the second loop was pulled through the front loop of the sc.  Once I was past the disc, the increases were worked by pulling the first loop from the back, in between the vertical bars, then the second loop of the increase was worked through the next vertical bar as usual.  You can see in the above photo that these increase stitches are far less visible than decreases.

Top-down Tunisian cloche

Like the Bottoms Up hat, this one is 56 stitches around at the widest point.  Once I increased to 56 stitches, I just kept going until I started to think I'd be running out of yarn.  The body was a bit longer than the Tunisian portion of the Bottoms Up hat, but not by much. 

Top-down Tunisian cloche

I finished by working rounds of sc in the front loop only. 

Despite being the same number of stitches around and using the same hook size as the Bottoms Up hat, the super bulky yarn made this into a much tighter hat.  Too tight.  The finished size would fit a child much more comfortably. The length would probably look better on a child, too.  The extra thickness made for a fabric stiff enough to hold its own weight.

Top-down Tunisian cloche

Here you can see where I switched from the Tunisian to sc in the front loops.  I kept working in a spiral, too.

Here's a comparison of the insides.

The discs of the crown look completely different with the two methods.  Although top down was easier to work (the curl was not as much of an issue), I like the look of the bottom up method better.  In fact, how the blue middle looks on the inside is how I'd rather it looked on the outside.  

With the top down method, I found I had to make the beginning disk quite a bit larger before I could start up the Tunisian portion, though that might have as much to do with the thicker yarn as the method.

Tunisian hats, inside

In this side view, you can see the transition from the first (blue and red) and last (green and pink) stitches of Tunisian and the brims. 

Getting feedback from the family, they all prefer the Bottoms Up hat.  They like the look the decreases made, as well as the decorative brim, while I preferred the less obvious look of the top down method.

Both methods worked up well, but the bottom up method was harder to actually do because of the curl.  I liked the thickness and extra warmth of the super bulky yarn, though I would have preferred to use a larger hook.  Were I to do it again with the super bulky yarn and the hook I do have, I'd have to make sure to increase the number of stitches for a larger hat, since the density reduces the size significantly.

While the Bottoms Up hat went over better with the family, the aesthetics of both are pleasing.  Top down was slightly easier to work, though it required a larger disc on the crown before I could start the Tunisian.  In the future, if I were to do a top down version, I would work both colours into the starting disc so that it's not so blatantly different. 

In the end, I find I really enjoy doing hats with the double ended hook even with the irritation of how much it curls.  Certainly enough to now be wondering what I have in my stash to try again, this time using a stockinette stitch.

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