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Mighzal, the Kufic Square

Knitting
September 2013
DK / 8 ply (11 wpi) ?
18 stitches and 30 rows = 4 inches in mosaic colorwork
US 4 - 3.5 mm
US 2 - 2.75 mm
175 - 200 yards (160 - 183 m)
9.5 inches [25cm] deep, 20 inches [50cm] circumference, to fit 22 inch [56cm] circumference head.
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Mighzal is inspired by two spindle whorls: the first, seen on an auction website, was identified as a whorl bearing Arabic script in a Kufic style. On close inspection, my middling Arabic skills couldn’t pick out a readable word. However, in Norway, archaeologists discovered whorls with readable words scratched into them: “Gunnhildr made the spindle whorl”.

My fascination with Kufic script combined with the idea of leaving a message on a spindle inspired this hat. The design on this slouchy hat is a Kufic square, a
traditional Arab design that takes a word or phrase in Arabic and makes it into an attractive design.

Mighzal is Arabic for spindle or spinning wheel.

Note: the example hat is knit with a yarn that blooms considerably after blocking.

Materials

  • Peace Fleece Sport (70% Wool/30% Mohair; 350yd/113g) in 2 colors (Color A: 125yds, Color B: 50yds)
  • Spinning specifications: unwashed singles: 20 wpi; washed and finished 2-ply yarn: 11 wpi. Grist: 1400 ypp.
  • US size 2 2.75mm 16 inch circular needles
  • US size 4 3.5mm needles for working in the round

Techniques:

  • Two-Color Cast On: This is a long-tail cast on using two colors of yarn. Make a slipknot with both colors of yarn. Then, do a long-tail cast on with color A over the index finger and color B over the thumb.
  • Mosaic Knitting: This colorwork technique uses one color per round. Stitches are knit with the color indicated at the beginning of the round or chart; slip stitches indicated by the opposite color in the chart.

A chart is included for the mosaic design only, using Barbara Walker’s style of mosaic charting.

Thanks to technical editor Steph Boardman, photographer Kathryn Walbert, and my wonderful test knitters!