Whirling by Hunter Hammersen

Whirling

Knitting
October 2019
Aran (8 wpi) ?
16 stitches = 4 inches
in blocked stockinette
180 - 300 yards (165 - 274 m)
Written in three sizes and five gauges to fit most anyone (see notes below for more).
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Whirling adj
- characterized by rapid movement round and round

I had the house to myself, and I was supposed to be taking the week off. That was the plan. I was supposed to read indulgent books and go out to dinner with friends and finally sort out the absolutely shameful pile of stuff in the garage that I really do have a plan for but just haven’t gotten to yet.

Instead I knit this. I stopped by the yarn store (a totally valid thing to do on a week off), grabbed these two yarns, took them home, and immediately cast on. Two days later, the books remained unread. I had not gone out to dinner. And the garage was still a shambles. But I had finished a rather fetching hat.

And really, I’m not even a little bit sorry. Half the point of taking time off is doing whatever sounds good. Once I started this hat, nothing sounded as good as sneaking in just one more row.

If you want to indulge yourself in something similarly enchanting, this could be just the thing. You’ll want two different yarns. I like ones with a lot of contrast between them (for me, the thing that works best is to use my phone camera’s black and white filter to look at the yarns, if they still look different in black and white, they’re high contrast and I’ll generally like them together in brioche), but color preferences are personal, and you know your own color sense best. You can work this with a huge range of yarn weights. I did mine with an aran weight yarn (that’s a big part of why I finished it in two days), but I’ve written the sizes and gauge so that you can use pretty much anything (fingering, sport, dk, worsted, aran, it’s super flexible). The two yarns don’t even have to be the same weight, brioche looks amazing with yarns of different weights put together.

Now, about that brioche thing…if you’re walking around telling yourself brioche just must be hard so you don’t want to do it, that’s ok. I totally told myself exactly that for years. But then one afternoon I spent an hour or two watching some videos (this one is especially handy) and swatching. At the end of the afternoon I had one of the biggest ‘oh…is that all there is to it?!?’ moments of my life and was totally hooked. Seriously if you can knit, purl, and yarn over you can brioche. You don’t have to if you don’t want to…but if the only reason you’re not doing it is because you are worried it’s hard, give it a try. You may surprise yourself with just how much you love it! I know I totally did.

The hat is written in three sizes (castons of 64, 80, and 96 stitches), and you should feel free to adjust your gauge a bit to fine tune the fit of the hat. Just be sure that you’re working at a gauge that gives you a fabric you like with your chosen yarn!

I recommend working at something around 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, or 5 stitches per inch, and I’ve included a table to help you figure out what gauge you’ll want to use for your size. With that range of sizes and gauges, the hat will fit a head between 18.5 and 24.5 inches (with lots of points in between).

You’ll need two different yarns, about the same amount of each. You should be able to very comfortably make any size with 150 yards of each yarn. That’s a very generous estimate. I knit a hat for my large head with about 90 yards of each of my two aran weight yarns. But if you’re making a folded brim or knitting at a tighter gauge, you’d need more, so I’ve said 150 just to be safe.

This is perfect for you if:

  • You’ve got a long weekend coming up and you suddenly find you want to have a hat at the end of it
  • You’ve decided it’s time to finally just go ahead and give brioche a try (in which case welcome, welcome to the club, we have really good snacks)

It’s not for you if:

  • You don’t like charts (the pattern uses charts)
  • You hate swatching (you need to swatch to check your needle size)
  • You don’t already know how to brioche and you don’t want to learn (the pattern is not a brioche tutorial, but the resource I linked to above will get you up and running if you’re new to it)