Luxe, Calme et Volupté

The human eye is drawn to symmetry and repetition and there is something both thrilling and soothing in the observation of simple, classical lines.  We sense beauty in the smooth, imposing height of marble columns and derive satisfaction from glancing down a line of them, each exactly and inevitably like the one that preceded it.

A recent brush with an exceptional yarn got me thinking about line, structure and the beauty of repetition.  I happened upon an angora yarn of surpassing whiteness and delicacy and knowing that I wouldn’t be able to leave the shop without buying some, I began thinking of what I could knit with it that wouldn’t mask the beauty of the yarn itself.  This yarn required a simple, repetitive pattern, something that would showcase its pure color and sumptuous texture.  And then a phrase popped into my head, one I now often repeat to myself when thinking about a design, particularly an accessory for the head or neck.  Luxe, calme et volupté.  To me, Baudelaire’s words are the essence of what a plush knit should represent; I like to envision that putting on the garment imbues the wearer with a sense of luxury and the calmness that comes from having precisely the right garment for a given occasion.  A knit of this distinction is made from the highest quality materials, with careful attention to detail and a complete lack of ostentation, and above all it should make you feel beautiful when you put it on.

Of course, a garment is best created to serve a specific purpose and angora is made to keep one warm.  So a little dollop of inspiration was gathered from Innsbruck’s crisp, mountain air.

The wind off the mountains can very often nudge its way under the brim of your hat so a densely ribbed foldover brim is the best way to insure that you stay toasty warm until closing time at the Christmas market.

So here it is, The Sumptuous Cabled Hat.  The geometry of Greek architecture suffused with a hint of luxury and Austrian cheer. The Sumptuous Cabled Hat is made of a simple repeating cabled rib with a thick doubled rib brim that is folded over to provide extra protection to the ears.  And the sensation of angora between your skin and the cold is the best sort of luxury I can imagine for winter.

The Sumptuous Cabled Hat

Yarn:  2 skeins Acker’s Acres Bunny Blend (40% Angora, 60% Superwash Merino)

2 oz= 190 yds

Pattern uses approximately 250 yds of yarn so you will have enough left over for a neckwarmer if you like.

If you can get a hold of this dreamy yarn, Classic Elite Fresco knits up at the same gauge and comes in a variety of lovely colors.

Materials: Size 2 (3.00 mm) 16” needle and size 3.00 mm double pointed needles

or 2-3.00 mm circular needles at least 24” long

Smooth waste yarn in sock or fingering weight

Stitch markers

Gauge: Unblocked in rib 35 sts=4” and 36 rnds=4”

Unblocked in pattern stitch   42.6 sts =4 in

Unblocked dimensions:

Brim:               17” unstretched circumference (20” slightly stretched) , ribbed section is 3.5” deep

Height:            9.5” from brim to crown

Blocked dimensions:

Brim:               20″ circumference

Height:           9.5” from brim to crown

Using the tubular method and size 3.00 mm needle cast on 184 sts in K2, P2 ribbing.  You will begin with either a crochet chain or a cast on row in waste yarn of 92 sts that will be expanded to 184 sts in k2, p2 ribbing.  Place marker at beginning of round.

Knit 3.5 inches in k2, p2 rib (approx 33 rnds after 4 tubular foundation rows)

Using same 3.00 mm needle switch to pattern stitch:

(23 sections of 8 sts consisting of 4 purl sts and a 4 stitch cable that twists every 4th and 6th rnd)  Pattern repeat is 8 sts and 10 rnds. Repeat directions between ** until last 2 sts of rnd.

Pattern set up:

Rnd 1: Slip marker, p2 ,*k4, p4, * p2

Rnd 2: Slip marker, p2, *k4, p4, * p2

Rnd 3: Slip marker, p2, *k4, p4, * p2

Rnd 4: Slip marker, p2, *slip 2 sts to cable needle and hold to back, k2, k2 from cable needle, p4,* p2

Now begin 10 round repeat.

Rnd 1: Slip marker, p2 ,*k4, p4, * p2

Rnd 2: Slip marker, p2, *k4, p4, * p2

Rnd 3: Slip marker, p2, *k4, p4, * p2

Rnd 4: Slip marker, p2, *slip 2 sts to cable needle and hold to back, k2, k2 from cable needle, p4,* p2

Rnd 5: Slip marker, p2 ,*k4, p4, * p2

Rnd 6: Slip marker, p2 ,*k4, p4, * p2

Rnd 7: Slip marker, p2 ,*k4, p4, * p2

Rnd 8: Slip marker, p2 ,*K4, p4, * p2

Rnd 9: Slip marker, p2 ,*k4, p4, * p2

Rnd 10: Slip marker, p2, *slip 2 sts to cable needle and hold to back, k2, k2 from cable needle, p4,* p2

Repeat rounds 1-10 three times.  With correct row gauge hat should measure 8” from the cast on edge.

Begin crown shaping.

Decrease round: (Rnd I of cable pattern) On this round you will continue to cable the knit stitches and at the same time decrease in the purl stitches as follows:

Slip marker, p2tog, *slip 2 sts to cable needle and hold to back, K2, K2 from cable needle, (p2tog) 2x,* p2tog (138 sts)

Continue in cable pattern for 7 rounds (rnds 2-8 of pattern) working the cable pattern as set, but replacing p4 with p2.  On rnd 8 of the pattern move the marker as follows: knit to the last stitch, slip it to right needle, remove marker, slip stitch to left needle, replace marker.  New beginning of round.

Decrease round: p2 tog, k4  (115 sts)

Knit 7 rounds in cable pattern, working the cable pattern as set, but replacing p 4 with p1.

Decrease round: p1, ssk, k2tog (69 sts)

Knit 1 round even, crossing the 2 knits stitches to the right, as for cables.

Knit 1 round as follows: p1, k2

Decrease round: p1, k2tog (46 sts)

Decrease round: k2 tog all around  (23 sts)

Decrease round: *k2 tog,* end p1 (12 sts)

Cut yarn and draw through remaining sts.  Darn in the yarn tail with a sharp needle, splitting the plies if necessary.  Wet block and lay flat to dry.

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