Something is woolen in the State of Denmark

Published on Sunday October 26th, 2008

Friends, the Danes have been holding out on us. They’ve been smugly sitting on one of the nicest yarns on the planet, just hoarding it all, apparently. But the secret is out, and now that we Americans can buy Marianne Isager’s Alpaca 2 without traveling to Europe (which this American loves the excuse to do, but there’s this teensy problem with the economy just now), my life may never be the same. Sweet heavenly saints, people, I don’t know where this stuff has been all my knitting days. I saw. I touched. I read the ridiculously reasonable price tag. I bought. I knit, immediately.

As you can see, I couldn’t resist whipping some some stranded colorwork. I’d already been salivating over Kate Gagnon’s beautiful Selbu Modern beret on Ravelry for a week or so. Now, I love me a beret, but I’d just made one and didn’t think a fine, drapey, alpaca fabric would be exactly suited for the tam shape anyway. So I improvised: I started the brim like a sweater hem (with a purl turning round in the contrast color); then threw in a couple of tuck rows (so easy with a contrast color involved: work a round in it, then knit some rows – five, in my case – in the main color, then on the next round reach down the backside of the work, lift the top of the CC stitch onto the left needle tip, knit it together with the next regular stitch; repeat all the way around); worked a tier of pretty berry sprigs, a classic Selbu motif seen on mitten cuffs; added another tuck round; increased a bit to get my stitch count up to a multiple of 24; then began Kate’s colorwork chart. I omitted one repetition both horizontally and vertically to account for my desired clochey shape, but otherwise the rest of the hat is just as Kate wrote it.

I just love those tuck rows. They’re so simple, and they add a lot of shape and style, don’t you think? I may have to put them on all my hats. I’ve already worn this one five or six times. It fits under my bike helmet (which looks totally weird, but keeps my head warm), and I can wear it with my dressier jackets or, as seen here, with my dog park duds. Love the versatility. (And also the mild fall weather we’ve been having.)

Go knit one now! You won’t be sorry. And you can tell your Danish friends you’re onto them.

I’ve also been working on my Confectionary vest experiment. It may be too small. It may also be bulletproof. But the color changes are so seductive that I’m just gonna keep on knitting…

P.S. I’m naming my firstborn Marianne Isager. (Okay, maybe just Isager if it’s a boy.)