We all have that special wool that you’ve bought, adored and just can’t commit to making into something. What if another pattern you love comes along later? What if you can never get that yarn again? Well, that special wool was made for this pattern.
The wool in question is Organic Shetland Aran by the wonderful Uradale Yarns. I have in fact managed to stash this yarn for so long that it looks like it’s now discontinued! I bought it here in Shetland at a wool week many moons ago and I’m fairly sure the colours are Tormentil (yellow) and Selfheal (pink) but I’ve made a marvellous job of losing the ball bands so I can’t be sure.
Over the years, I’ve knitted (and stashed!) a fair few of their yarns and I would really recommend them. As an islander, I’m always going to be a sucker for a Shetland yarn but this wool has great character, perfect for colour work, and both the natural and dyed shades are absolutely divine. Personally, I’m also really into the fact that it’s an organic wool and pretty reasonably priced for all that. Their website is also cracking so definitely check them out.
The specialness of the wool demanded a specialness of pattern but for literally years, nothing really caught my eye. Then I saw the Verso hat and I knew what I was meant to do with this yarn. The only issue was that the yarn I had was aran weight and the pattern called for double knitting. Hmm.
Never one to be deterred (or swatch!), I just decided that I would cast on the smallest size of the pattern and hoped that with my big head, it would work out at roughly the right size. I cannot for the life of me mind what size of needles I used for this but I think it could be 4mm or 4.5mm. It was knitted in its entirety using magic loop and I’m pretty happy with the hat, although I don’t think I got the top quite right. Luckily, a big pom pom covers up the slightly dodgy bit!
Would I recommend this cavalier approach to hat making? Yes and no. Yes, because I’ve got a hat I love in a yarn I love and to my mind, although the colour combination is super loud, it’s pretty darn great. No, because my sizing is a bit off due to the yarn weight swap and resulting row gauge change. I’ve basically knit a rather tall hat and that’s fine, because it’ll go slouchy with wear and washing, but it wasn’t entirely my intention.
This pattern isn’t just gorgeous in its design, it’s really well written and any difficulties I had were entirely due to the changes I made. You do need to be able to read a colour work chart but other than that, there’s nothing complicated and I’d say go for it!
Overall, the yarn. The pattern. This hat. Basically, it’s the stuff my more outrageous knitterly dreams are made of.
Pattern – Verso Hat by Bristol Ivy
Modifications – I used aran weight wool instead of the DK the pattern calls for. I knitted the smallest size but I’m definitely not experienced enough yet to give any advice about how to do a conversion between the two yarn weights! I hadn’t anticipated the change in row gauge and that has changed the shape of the hat (basically taller) so maybe keep that in consideration if you’re also thinking to try aran. Or just knit it in DK like a sensible person would.
Cast on – long tail cast on. As ever, this video from Wool and the Gang keeps me right.
Cast off – followed the instructions in the pattern for crown decreases and cast off
Colour dominance – I did a night class with Donna Smith last year and that really got me thinking about colour dominance. This tutorial from Ysolda Teague has a really good explanation and examples about how to work out which colours should be dominant. For this hat, I made the yellow the dominant colour which is probably the reverse of what it should be. I’m pretty happy with the effect though.
Needles – I can’t remember!
Wool – Organic Shetland Aran from Uradale Yarns in the colours Tormentil (yellow) and Selfheal (pink). I think the Aran has been discontinued but their other yarns are equally great.