Whorled by Sarah Sipe


September 2013
DK (11 wpi) ?
18 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches
in stockinette
US 6 - 4.0 mm
US 4 - 3.5 mm
Circumference: 22 [23.5] inches at widest point. Depth: 11 inches.
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This pattern is available for free.

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The whorl joined the stick to form the spindle as we know it in the Neolithic period. Whorls have been found in archaeological sites across the world, but sometimes are misidentified as beads or even, strangely, buttons because the wooden spindle shaft has long since rotted away. Ancient whorls were crafted from stone, pottery, bone, wood, and in later periods, glass.

Inspired by the beautiful patterns scratched or painted onto these ancient spindle whorls, Whorled is knit from crown to brim. The slightly slouchy shape flatters many shapes of face, and the ribbed brim can easily be adjusted to fit a larger or smaller circumference head without impacting the rest of the hat design. Note the gauge: the sport-to-DK weight yarn is knit at a loose gauge for a drapey shape. Substituting a thicker yarn would create a denser, warmer hat.

The handspun hat is knit using Bugga! fiber from Cephalopod Yarns. I saw the little bump of mottled greens and maroon at an impromptu trunk show at a friend’s house and knew instantly that it wanted to be something earthy and ancient: the spindle whorl pulled straight from the ground at a dig site.

I’d never spun a cashmere blend before, but Cephalopod Yarns made it surprisingly simple. The fiber was incredibly well blended, and the strength of the nylon helped to make up for any problems my cashmere-inexperience offered. Spinning from the fold with a short forward draw helped to keep the even blend of short and long stapled fibers and created a lofty yarn with a slight halo.

Many thanks to Naomi Parkhurst for her support and help with this pattern, as well as for inspiring the take on a spindle whorl in the first place!