Pattern: French Braid

Hat1

A sweet baby knit that you could whip up in a weekend, this little hat is ideal for last-minute gifts.
The slip-stitch design is worked over just two rows, so it’s easy to memorise for knitting on the go.

Download the PDF at French Braid or follow the instructions below. Happy knitting!

MATERIALS
1 (2: 2) 50g/100m balls of Rooster Yarns Baby Rooster (shade 405)
3.25mm (US 3) knitting needles
Tapestry needle

TENSION
25 sts x 34 rows measures 10x10cm in stocking stitch

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
30 (36: 42)cm circumference

ABBREVIATIONS
K Knit
P Purl
Psso Pass slipped stitch over knitted and increased sts
Rep Repeat
RS Right side
Sl Slip
St(s) Stitch(es)
WS Wrong side
Wyib With yarn at back
Yrn Yarn round needle

PATTERN

HAT (MAKE 2)
Cast on 42 (50: 58) sts using 3.25mm needles.
Row 1 *K2, P2; rep from * to last 2 sts, K2.
Row 2 *P2, K2; rep from * to last 2 sts, P2.
Rows 1 and 2 set K2, P2 rib.
Work in K2, P2 rib for 8 more rows, ending with a WS row.

Row 1 (RS) K1, *K1, sl1 purlwise wyib, K1, yrn, psso, K1; rep from * to last st, K1.
Row 2 (WS) Purl.
Rows 1 and 2 set slip-stitch pattern.
Work in slip-stitch pattern until hat measures 15 (17.5: 20)cm from cast-on edge, or desired length, ending on a row 2.

WORK TIES
Next row K2, sl1 purlwise wyib, K1, yrn, psso, K2, turn work.
Next row Purl to end.
Continue working these two rows over the first 6 sts of the row only until tie measures 4cm.
Cast off and break yarn.

Rejoin yarn to sts on needle.
Cast off 30 (38: 46) sts, K2, sl1 purlwise wyib, K1, yrn, psso, K2.
Next row Purl.
Next row K2, sl1 purlwise wyib, K1, yrn, psso, K2.
Next row Purl.
Continue working the last two rows until tie measures 4cm, ending with a purl row.
Cast off.

Make second hat piece the same.

MAKING UP
Join side seams using mattress stitch. A one-stitch seam edge has been provided for this.
Join cast-off top edges using mattress stitch, then knot ties together. Weave in ends and block gently.

Hat2

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Three things…

It’s been a tough week, so I thought I’d take some time out to focus on life’s little positives. Here’s what’s making me happy today…

  1. Knitting these Zigzagular Socks

Zigzagular socks

I’m always on the lookout for patterns that work with variegated yarns. So many designs seem to fight with the colours rather than enhancing them, but not this one. These are Susie White’s Zigzagular Socks, and I think they might be my new favourite. They have a little cable running down one side – you can’t see it in the photo, but I promise it’s there. Best of all, they’re free!

This is the first time I’ve tried knitting socks on a tiny circular needle rather than DPNs, and so far I’m… not convinced, to be honest. The needle is sharp and sleek, and the cable is smooth and flexible, but somehow it just seems way too small. I feel like a giant trying to knit for a mouse.

This is only the first sock, though, so hopefully I’ll be won over in the end. The yarn is Tiger’s Strømpegarn, by the way, and despite its bargain-basement price tag it’s really rather good.

2. Reading An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

An Astronaut's Guide…

When I was at school I met Helen Sharman, the first British woman to go into space, and decided that despite short-sightedness, asthma, claustrophobia and a fear of flying I too was going to be an astronaut. Many years on I’m still yet to leave Earth’s atmosphere, but that fascination with space travel has never left me.

I’ve been following Tim Peake’s adventures on the ISS closely, of course (did you know there’s a live video stream of the view from the space station? There’s a live video stream. From space! My productivity has seriously suffered this week). I also picked up a book by one of his mentors, Chris Hadfield.

Not only is Hadfield mind-bogglingly smart and driven, he’s also disarmingly down-to-earth about his achievements. His book takes life lessons from his time in space and applies them to everyday situations – it’s a great read and one I’d definitely recommend.

3. Making plans for this sailboat fabric

Boat fabric

I’d been visiting my favourite tiny-but-packed-to-the-rafters quilting shop for a long time before I made a huge discovery: they had a whole other fabric room that I’d never even noticed. It was like opening your wardrobe one day to find it leads to Narnia.

Ever since then I’ve made regular trips, usually to buy, but sometimes just for that lovely peaceful feeling of being surrounded by beautiful things. I’m very much a novice when it comes to sewing, but as with knitting my philosophy is not to turn down gorgeous fabrics because I don’t think my skills can live up to them. If you’re going to put that much effort into creating something, it should be made with fabric (or yarn) you love.

I think this is going to become a dress – most likely a slightly wonky, not remotely pattern-matched one, but a dress nonetheless.

What’s making you happy today?