Some folks in my Two Strands Ravelry group recently asked me to recommend a great project for a first try at stranded knitting. I could point out a few fine places to start but, to tell you the truth, I couldn’t think of a perfect stranded starting point. So, I decided to create one. And I didn’t have to look too far for my inspiration, either – check out the banner on my Ravelry group, Two Strands, and you’ll see what I mean.
There are several virtues which I think are important for a first-time strander’s project: First, it should be a simple motif with consistent repeats and no long floats. Of course, it should be something useful and attractive. It should be unisex and it must be free, to openly welcome anyone to give it a try. And “fun” would be nice! I think I’ve squeezed all of those virtues into my Two Strands Headband, below. Give it a
try and tell me what you think!
Two Strands Headband
Average adult size; finished circumference = 20”, allowing for 1 to 2 1/2” negative ease.
3 50-g balls of Dale of Norway Falk washable wool yarn, each in a different color.
Colors used in sample:
A – Deep blue #5545; B – Purple #5036; C – Lavender #5224
Either a 16” long circular or a set of double-pointed needles may be used.
Two different sizes of needles are required – larger for the outside of the headband, smaller for the headband lining. To get the main gauge which is used for the outside of the headband, most knitters will want either US 4(3.5mm) OR US 5(3.75mm); however, those who tend to knit quite loosely might want US 3(3.25mm) and those who tend to knit quite tightly might want US 6(4.0mm).
USE WHATEVER SIZE YOU NEED TO OBTAIN THE GAUGE, BELOW!
Once you know which size needle produces the correct main gauge for you, drop down one or two sizes smaller for the inside of the headband. (The smaller the size used on the inside, the snugger the fit.)
Gauge: 24 stitches and 28 rows = 4”/10cm in stockinette colorwork on larger needle.
Abbreviations: K = knit; P = purl; rd(s) = round(s); st(s) = stitch(es).
Using A and SMALLER NEEDLE, cast on 120 sts. Place end of round marker and join work circularly. K 11rds. P 1 rd. CHANGE TO LARGER NEEDLE. K 3 rds. Work Star Chart, below, according to notes in box:
|Star Chart:||Work Star chart as follows: Begin at lower right, i.e., row 1 / column 1. Read all rds across right to left. Each square = 1 st to be K in color shown. Once you have K the 12 sts of a chart row, repeat columns 1-12 of that row 9 more times for a total of 10 instances to complete each rd. Complete rds 1 through 13 of Star Chart.|
Using A, K 4 rds. CHANGE TO SMALLER NEEDLE. P 1 rd. K 10 rds. Bind off all sts. Fold upper and lower linings to the inside on the purl lines and sew together each respective cast-on and bind-off st.
If you want to get really fancy, you can cast on using scrap yarn, then K 1 extra rd at the end, don’t bind off, remove your scrap yarn and graft the beginning and end together for a seamless effect. For notes on grafting, see this article on my blog:
As always, post away with any questions/comments. Happy knitting!
Oh, wait! Hey, don’t go yet! I forgot to show you something. You know, I can’t resist goofing around with endless color possibilities, so take a peek at the first few that jumped out at me…and let me know what you come up with!