- Denby is a stylish and practical hat with both a slouchy and beanie versions. The original inspiration for Denby came from Twageos from The Vintage Shetland Project, a dramatic over-sized tam; which features a multitude of motifs and a four-shade colour palette. My goal was to create a pared-down, simplified, easily-worn hat that 'nodded' to Twageos but was a significantly different and original design.
The hat follows a simple construction commencing with a 2×2 ribbed brim, which is folded over to create a frame to the face whilst also providing extra warmth over the ears and around the back of the neck. The body of the hat is knitted in stranded colourwork throughout, and is a great introduction to stranded colourwork and an enjoyable knit for more experienced Fair Isle knitters. I use the two-handed stranded colourwork method, holding one colour in each hand, picking the colour held in my left hand and throwing the colour held in my right.
Denby is the first Fair Isle design and the first accessory featured in my new book, Evolution, a collection of 12 designs inspired by The Vintage Shetland Project.
I found one of the motifs in Twageos particularly inspirational – an abstract 8-petal flower motif that seems distinctly reminiscent of the decoration found on Denby pottery; in particular the hand-sponged flowers on 1970s dinner sets. I decided to highlight this stunning motif by using it in isolation on Denby; working with just two shades across the entire hat, I further emphasised the drama of this striking pattern.
I have provided multiple variations in this one simple pattern, first of all by offering two colourway options: Colourway A uses cool 'pottery-esque' shades of Excelana 4 Ply with Himalayan Blue as the accent colour against the neutral background of Limestone. Colourway B reverses this with neutral Limestone as the foreground and with a darker shade, Dark as Night, as the background. These two chart variations give lots of scope for trying different colour combinations. In addition the pattern offers two styles; a fitted beanie style or a longer, slouchy version. Choose the relevant chart for the hat length and colourway you wish to knit. The colourwork sections of the pattern are charted with each line read from right to left and repeated around the hat.
The hats shown in photographs are the second size beanie and the third size slouchy, both worn by Susan who has a 55cm (22in) head circumference.
The pattern contains clear written instructions and full colour charts.
Susan Crawford Excelana 4 Ply, 100% British wool
(159m/174yds per 50g skein)
1 skein each, shades Himalayan Blue and Limestone
1 skein each, shades Dark as Night and Limestone
2.75mm (US 2) circular needle (40cm in length)
3.25mm (US 3) circular needle (40cm in length)
Set of 3.25mm (US 3) DPNs
Pom pom maker (optional)
- Following a chart
Increasing and decreasing
Knitting in the round
Long Tail cast-on
Working in the round