Make an elf cap

Make an elf cap
elfcap.jpg

Yarn: Rauma 3-ply Strikkegarn (CYCA #3: 100% wool; 114 yd/105 m/ 50 g), 1 ball each: red 174, white 101, brown-black 110, green 145, yellow 131;  Rauma 2-ply Gammelserie (CYCA #2: 100% wool; 174 yd/160 m / 50 g) is used for the facing: red and black. This yarn is especially recommended for Christmas stockings as it's well-twisted and feels rather old-fashioned.

Needles: U.S. sizes 1-2, 2-3, and 4 / 2.5, 3 and 3.5 mm

Note: The cap is a bit large, so don't knit loosely. Change to smaller needles if necessary.

Abbreviations:

BO- bind off (British cast off)
CO- cast on
k- knit
k2tog- knit 2 together (decreases 1 stitch)
K-C)- Knitted cast-on: Make a slip knit loop, leaving a short yarn tail and place the loop on the left needle. *Knit 1 stitch into the loop but do not drop the loop from the left needle. Slip the new stitch from the right needle back to the left needle. Repeat from* until you have the desired number of stitches.
rep- repeat
rnd(s)- round(s)
sl-slip
ssk- slip, slip, knit: slip 1 knitwise, slip 1 knitwise, insert left needle into loops and knit two together
st(s)- stitch(es)
WS- wrong side

It's a good idea to start by getting to grips with two-colour stranded knitting:

Since the stockings will be used to hold presents, it is important that there not be long floats on the inside. The stockings can be hand-washed and rubbed to slightly full the surface on the inside but there is still a danger that something can catch on the yarn strands.

It is best not to strand over more than 3 stitches, preferably 2, particularly at the top of the stocking, the part most subject to wear. Because some of the pattern motifs are rather large, the yarn has to be caught quite often. Make sure that you don’t stack the yarn catches because the strands will be visible on the right side.

Method

  1. With smallest needle and 2-ply Gammelserie yarn, K-CO 126 sts. This cast-on method is more elastic. Join, being careful not to twist cast-on row, and knit around for approx 4 in / 10 cm. The facing can be single color or alternately knit with 2 rnds each of red and black Gammelserie yarn; end with 2 rnds red.
  2. Change to 3-ply Strikkegarn and needles U.S. 2-3 / 3 mm. The next round is an eyelet foldline: (yarn over, k2tog) around. Turn work and knit back = 1 garter ridge (ridges or "bead" rows result when you knit back and forth. To avoid holes when turning during knitting, you can wrap the last stitch when knitting).
  3. Continue, working charted pattern below. Change to largest needle when beginning the main pattern and change to medium size needle when two-color knitting is complete. You can knit the black eyes with short strands of yarn for each figure or embroider on the black eyes later with duplicate stitch. Finish with 2 rnds red.

  4. On the next rnd, decrease 6 sts evenly spaced around: (K19, k2tog) around. Knit 6 rnds.
  5. Now begin decreasing at 4 points evenly spaced around. Place a marker on each side of 3 sts centered at these 4 places. There should be 27 sts between each set of 3 marked sts. Begin decreasing at centre back.
  6. Decrease with ssk before each group of 3 marked sts and k2tog after the marked sts. A word to the wise, when decreasing with ssk, sl 1 knitwise, sl 1 knitwise, insert left needle from left to right (the tip of the left needle will be in front of the right needle) into the 2 sts on right needle and knit the 2 sts together. This will make the sts snug and the pairs of decreases will be mirror images.
  7. Decrease with 6 rnds between each decrease rnd 3 times. Now decrease every 6th rnd. When 16 sts remain, knit 5 rnds and then k2tog around until 8 sts remain. Cut yarn and pull through remaining sts; pull snug.

Finishing

  1.  Weave in all ends securely on WS. If the facing is too short, you can easily pick up and knit sts from the cast-on row and add a few more rounds. In this case, BO elastically: K2tog, *slip st back to left needle, k2tog; rep from * around.
  2. Sew down lining along a garter stitch ridge of the main pattern. Sew down the lining on WS using finer, 2-ply Gammelserie yarn, with 1 sewn stitch in each knit stitch.
  3. Wash and block the cap (turn the stocking inside out and wash vigorously with a piece of soap in warm water. Leave flat to dry.
  4. You can make a large tassel or pompom for the tip of the cap, either a really thick ball or a long tassel. You can decorate the tassel by winding on stripes of yarn  and securing it closely to the cap or letting the tassel hang freely.
  5. For the cap shown here, we made a little red and black pompom attached to a short cord. You can make a decorated pompom on a long cord instead:
    a) Twist a cord about 19¾ in / 50 cm long. Double the cord and let twist together. Bind into a circle.
    b) The pompom is wound around your hand with a little black first and then a lot of red. Secure at the center and clip open.
    c) Wrap three circles around  the outspread pompom so that the knot comes below, inside the “head” of the pompom. Sew it here and tie a knot on the doubled cord. It might be a little thick so use a needle to help pull it through.
  6. Gather all the loose yarn strands together and twist together with black. Decorate above and below the black with strands of other colors, such as yellow and green. You can then embellish the green strands with small stitches. Wash the pompom carefully and shake it into shape so it will be plumper. Attach cord securely to the tip of the cap.

Extract from Scandinavian Christmas Stockings: Classic Designs to Knit for the Festive Season, by Mette Handberg, from Search Press.