November 20, 2013

Misanga: a hat pattern from Coloring Book

Misanga

The first pattern in the Coloring Book collection:  Misanga!  (on ravelry)

Misanga!

It’s a hat in any weight variegated yarn, custom fit to any size, worked from the top down with a slip-stitch body pattern and a sideways-knit modular brim.

Misanga!

The way the stitch pattern looks is dependent on the colorway of your yarn, since the woven slipped stitches happen as the colors change.  I found the variegated Malabrigo Silky Merino (DK weight) and Malabrigo Selección Privada (aran weight) to be perfect fits for this pattern!

Misanga yarns

The Rasta super bulky weight worked, but not quite as well, since the colors were a bit less contrasty than the other two, and had less length per color (colorway Arco Iris).  The keys to picking a yarn for this pattern are length of color runs, total number of colors, and contrasty-ness of the colors.

Misanga!

Four main colors seems pretty perfect – it’s enough that you can experiment with weaving two colors at once if you want to, and not too many colors so that the woven color gets lost in the crowd.  And having color sections short enough to work with the body pattern (no more than 10 inches / 25 cm long), but long enough to really show the chevron pattern of the brim, is excellent, as you can see in the Silky Merino sample (Marruecos colorway):

Misanga!

The Selección Privada (Code G Color Base) sample doesn’t show the brim chevrons quite as well, but I still really love it, and it’s my favorite of the three samples for how the woven stitch pattern turned out (especially where I used both the yellow and green at the same time as the stitch pattern slipping color, around the bottom).  It has color runs around the 6-10 inches / 15-25 cm range.

Misanga!

Here are some other things I learned from my sample knitting and my test knitters…  Smooth yarns are best for this pattern – thick+thin is just too much going on at once.  The pattern recommends color sections of at least 2 inches – definitely don’t go under that, and try to be more in the 4 inches and up range.  As you can see in this sample, having one color that clearly pops out against the others is ideal – if your yarn has four different colors which are all equally contrasty with each other, it will be harder to see the stitch pattern.

Misanga hat

The body stitch pattern was inspired by basic weaving – potholder loom type weaving, or basic nail loom weaving like the one pictured on the cover, which was my actual loom with the weaving still on it from when I was a kid!

Misanga! Misanga!

The brim pattern was inspired by knotted chevron friendship bracelets.  Fun side note: when I was a kid, I made tons of the rainbow spiral style friendship bracelets, but I never had a good teacher show me how to make the stripes or chevron styles successfully.  I tried, but they always came out terrible looking; I must have been making the knots in the wrong direction or something.  So I always loved the chevron style bracelets but never made one… and then I designed this hat, and decided I wanted to make a chevron bracelet to go with it, so I found an online tutorial and I totally successfully made one!  Thanks internet!

friendship bracelet!

The pattern includes a list of links to several different kinds of friendship bracelet tutorials, so you too can make bracelets to go with your hats!  The word Misanga is a Japanese word for a friendship bracelet, or a handmade good luck bracelet.

Misanga!

As for the shape of the hat, the brim pulls in at the bottom, so the body of the hat is not fitted – it doesn’t have any negative ease, like most knit hats do have.  So you can make it short, and have a loose-fitting style hat like the Silky Merino one; or you can make it a bit extra long, and have a slouchy style hat like the red/yellow/green aran weight sample.  The super bulky one looks more fitted, but while the wide brim is super tight, the body is actually pretty loose, it’s just pulled down on my head…

Misanga!

You can also make an optional pom-pom to pop onto your Misanga, if you want to.  (I kind of want to make pom-poms for a bunch of my hats now… it’s not a thing I usually think of doing, but it’s pretty great.)

Misanga hat

So that’s Misanga!  If you have a really contrasty skein of variegated yarn that just can’t find a home, perhaps you’ll consider this!

Misanga hat

(This pattern is from the Coloring Book collectionhere on ravelry – which is an assortment of accessory patterns designed to make the most of your colors, using basic stripes and easy slipped stitches!)

Filed under: Coloring Book,hats,knitting,yarn — leethal @ 9:54 am
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