I'm on a roll, trying to get as many charity hats done before the September 23 deadline when we have to turn them in for the Salvation Army. (IT'S SEPTEMBER ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!) I came up with a couple of time savers. You might benefit by them too if you do a lot of charity knitting. I don't think they compromise the looks, so they are working out great for me. Here they are (nothing earth-shaking, just tiny tips):
Pardon the pictures........hat is squished under the lid of the scanner and the yarn is softer than it looks........................................
1. I made some cast on rags a few years ago and never used them. Now I am and although they don't save too much time, they save on waste yarn. Just don't forget to use one row of ravel cord or crochet thread before you knit the main yarn or it's curtains for the cast on rag. You'd have to cut it out. Add some claw weights.
2. When you get to the top of the hat and are ready to decrease, with a one-prong tool, put 3 stitches on one needle across the work. Keep the out- of- work needles at the back of the bed so they don't knit and knit two rows. Then take off with your seaming thread. Cinch up tight and seam. It closes up nicely and if it doesn't look perfect, add a little something to the top, like the gender neutral knotted cord.
3. The gender neutral knotted cord doesn't have to be knit as an I cord. Just pull 3-4 needles to work, ewrap on, at tension 2 knit abt 100 rows (for the midgauge), hanging on with one hand as you run the carriage with the other, and bind off. Sew the two yarn ends into the tube that naturally forms, knot both ends, knot the middle and tack on securely. This is twice as fast as the regular I cord because every row knits.
4. Make the hat adjustable for size and age by knitting a large cuff that can either be folded up or down. This adds extra warmth around the ears. The cuff is stretchy enough to accommodate about a 2 inch increase in head circumference. The length of the hat also helps in adapting to different sized heads. Slouchy at first, more fitted later.
If you don't want the cuff so thick, knit 15 rows T5, 15 rows T6, hang a hem and knit the rest of the hat at T 7. Compensate by adding a few inches to the main part of the hat.
Here's the pattern I've been using of late:
YARN Pound of Love Baby Yarn -generously gifted to me by my good friend Sandy--so far 4 hats with enough for 2 or 3 more out of this one skein.
Start with waste yarn or cast on rag with one row of ravel cord over 78 (80, 82) needles. With main yarn (no cast on, just knit) Tension5, knit 30 rows, Tension 6 knit 30 rows. Hang a hem. Change to Tension 7 and knit 40 (44, 46) rows. Decrease for the top. Transfer using the 3 prong tool and move three stitches over two needles. Knit 2 rows, take off on long piece of yarn, cinch and seam with a mattress stitch. Remove waste yarn or cast on rag. Hide yarn ends, add embellishment cord to the top.
These have been taking me about 15 minutes to knit, 15 minutes to assemble. Try one and see if you like it.
PS----How to make a cast on rag-- any machine. At the left side of the bed, ewrap cast on 2 inches worth of stitches. Hang a claw weight. Knit 2 rows. *Decrease one stitch on the left by transferring the left most needle to the second needle, pull a needle out on the right to increase one, knit 2 rows.* Repeat. Make as long as you like. If you want one that accommodates the whole bed, you might have to remove the rag from the right side and place it on the left and keep going. By just pulling out a needle to increase, you get a loop that you can hang when using it. At the end, bind off. Steam/ kill the strip so it lies flat and is floppy.