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The Marsan Watchcap

Recently ('96 actually), I had dinner with an old flame, and to my surprise, he was still wearing a watchcap I had knitted for him a few years ago. At the time, I'd made him quite a few in different techniques, but this pattern turned out to be his favorite.

Even though we have gone our separate ways romantically, I decided to knit him another one, so the old one could get washed (and not by me!). If you can, wash the ones you make once or twice a season, because dirt will erode the fibers, hastening the caps eventual demise. While I was knitting the new one, I thought about the meaning of friendship, how nice it is to know people over a long period of time, and how the most important thing for me about knitting something for someone, is that it gets used, even used up. It's the highest compliment.

So, if you have a past, present or future sweetie around who loves knitted caps, the Marsan Watchcap might be the pattern you're looking for. It's a cuffed, 1X1 twisted rib staple.

January 2003 UPDATE: Mr. Marsan is still wearing the watchcaps I knitted him 9 years ago. Daily. Shocking, but true. They've held up remarkably well. I did not smell them.

December 13, 2005 UPDATE: Mr. Marsan continues to wear the insanely well preserved, original caps. They have now been in service for 12 years! Here's one of them!

October 26, 2007 UPDATE: Added a gauge and WPI, broke the pattern down into two sizes, and made it slightly longer.



UTENSILS:

  • size #7 (US) circular knitting needles. 16" length is good.
  • 5 double pointed knitting needles, size #7 (US).
  • 1 Yarn needle.

THE YARN:
  • You'll need about 3.5-4 ounces of worsted weight wool (one 100 gram skein is plenty). My absolute favorite yarn for this project is "Lamb's Pride Worsted", an 85% wool, 15% mohair blend spun by Brown Sheep Company, Inc., Mitchell, Nebraska. It's pretty easy to find, and the finished product is warm, soft, luxurious, and hard-wearing. The label says use size 8 needles, but I have found that to be too loose for this hat.

  • Obviously, you are free to use any yarn you like, as long as it works on a #7 needle. The Brown Sheep makes 11 WPI. Try to match that to get gauge.

GAUGE:
  • 4 stitches and 6 rows per inch, over twisted rib.
    This pattern is sized as a men's medium, the numbers in {blue} are a for size large.
    You can make rather dramatic changes in size by just using different needle size or yarn, if you want to make one for a child without changing the pattern. If you decide to add or reduce the number of stitches, be sure to do it in groups of eight, so the crown decreasing isn't messed up.

THE PATTERN:
  • Cast on 81{89} stitches , loosely, on your circular needles. Being careful not to twist the row. Pass the first cast-on stitch over to the left needle, and knit the first two together, for a total of 80{88} stitches.
    *K1, P1* repeat *-* for one round.
Rows 1 -24:
  • *K1 in back of stitch (this twists the stitch), P1* repeat *-*. I always put a loop marker of different colored wool at the beginning of the round. Keeps vertigo at bay, and is always a good place to stop and start.
Row 25:
  • Turn, accomplished like this: Purl the last stitch on the round, bring yarn to the back of the work, slip one stitch from the left needle to the right one, bring yarn to the front of the work, slip the stitch back to the left needle. Push your knitting through the middle of the needles, make sure your yarn is in back of the work, ready to knit the first stitch of the new round. Now your knitting is turned around, and what was the inside of the hat is now the outside.

  • The reason for a 24 row cuff( wider than usual), is that you can turn the cuff at various places, and the pattern is always correct, rather than a fixed turn spot, which is hard to determine with accuracy.
Rows 25-46:
  • *K1 in back of stitch, P1*, repeat*-* round and round.....
CROWN SECTION:

Row 47:

  • Put wool markers every 20{22} stitches, this is the start of the decreasing crown section.
Row 48:
  • After every marker SSK, (slip, slip, knit. Put the needle in the 2 stitches as if to slip them off the left needle on to the right one, but knit them together instead, This give you a left leaning decrease, and preserves the twisting of the stitch on top. Knit the rest of the stitches in pattern, till you get to the next marker.

  • Keep decreasing like this every row, until the knitting is too tight to go around the circular needle. Change to DPNs then, and continue until there are 6 stitches left in each section. Stop decreasing, and go around once more.

  • You should have 24 stitches left.
FINISHING:
  • Cut the yarn, leaving about 18 inches left, and thread the end on the needle. Run the yarn through all the stitches, and pull tight. Run the yarn through again. Tuck in that end carefully. Tuck in the end of yarn at the beginning of the hat.

  • Wash in warm, soapy water, rinse well in the same temperature water 2 or 3 times, squeeze in a towel to remove excess moisture, and air dry flat.

Questions or Comments?

Beam me up, Scotty.....

©1996-2007 Staceyjoy Elkin, all rights reserved. Permission for electronic duplication of this pattern is granted with the limitation that this entire notice remain intact. This hat or pattern may not be reproduced in hard copy, with the exception of personal use, or for profit without my written permission.