Falling Blocks by Alasdair Post-Quinn
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Falling Blocks

Knitting
January 2010
Sport (12 wpi) ?
24 stitches and 26 rows = 4 inches
in double-stockinette
US 4 - 3.5 mm
432 - 576 yards (395 - 527 m)
20", 23.5" (others adjustable by needle size)
This pattern is available for $4.95 USD buy it now

Note: For now, the standalone version of this pattern is still the original revision as published in 2010. If you buy this version, you will get an automatic update to the new version (currently only in the 2018 printing of Extreme Double-knitting) when I have time to update the pattern. Thanks for your patience.

From the pattern:

I consider this hat sort of my flagship piece. I even named it after my online handle. Despite appearances, the name “Fallingblox” is not derived from this pattern — it is a reference to my erstwhile and sometime obsession with Tetris and falling blocks games in general. I took the handle a long time before I started knitting. Also, the correct name for the Layer-1 pattern on this piece is “tumbling blocks”. But the accomplishment of a two-pattern piece with three colors in every round is still something I consider worthy of a place of honor in my repertoire of patterns.

That said, this hat is very warm. Warm enough for a winter in the Arctic, probably. At the brim fold, it’s about 5 layers thick, and it’s made of alpaca-blend wool. One layer is a typical tumbling blocks pattern; the other appears to be a simple Celtic knot but is actually a chart I got as part of a collection from the Armenian Museum in Watertown, MA.

What’s New?

Like the previous pattern, this hat is worked in a lighter version of the yarn used for the original one. Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light is the sport weight version of Berroco Ultra Alpaca, and I expected something similar to happen when I swatched in the lighter yarn as happened with the Cascade. Strangely enough, it didn’t. The original Falling Blocks pattern was done entirely in twisted stitches. Since I am no longer designing things this way, I removed the twisted stitch requirement for this hat. When I swatched (untwisted) in the Ultra Alpaca Light, on correspondingly smaller needles, I ended up matching my worsted (twisted) gauge perfectly. This was a surprise, but a pleasant one: I didn’t need to change the pattern at all, and the fabric is still more wearable than the previous version.

However, that wasn’t all I wanted to do with this hat. Originally, I had created a pattern that used two different all-over charts, but only up to the crown decreases. I didn’t want to have to figure out how to decrease both charts at the same time, so I made an elegant end to the Layer-2 chart before the crown decreases began and opted for a color-rotated version of the crown instead. This had always irked me, so for the updated version, I figured out a clean closure that works for both layers. However, it did require a new way of thinking about double-knit decreases in two-pattern charts.