wurm toque - tips and tricks

22.9.13

Well, if you are addicted to knitting - like I am - you have likely come across two very popular patterns: the Wurm and the Beekeepers Quilt. The Wurm pattern is available for free. You just need to have a Ravelry account - also free. And today's post is about the Wurm (which is a toque). I will cover the Beekeepers Quilt in an upcoming post.

Yes, today's post is about knitting, which may not be of much interest for some of you; however, if you comment on this post, next time I have a giveaway (which is not always knitted items) and you comment on that giveaway post - I'll enter your name twice. So read on, or at least scroll to the bottom and comment (remember: if your comments don't post, please email them to me at bigheartsmalltown@gmail.com) 
P.S. If you are ever interested in a handmade knitted item made by yours truly, meaning it will be made with sooooo much extra love due to my extra big heart, please email me any questions or requests *Christmas is fast approaching* *babies are always being born* *infinity scarves are cool* *so are fingerless gloves* *I could also use the motivation and the money*

I'd like to introduce you to the Wurm: a squishy, comfy, trendy, warm, ageless, stylish and fun to wear toque. In the past month or so, I have knit 4. Here is my first:

One of the interesting design elements of this toque is that the brim is doubled for extra warmth on your ears. When I was first trying to understand this pattern, I really wasn't sure what the heck I was doing. But it's not so bad; basically you knit 12 rows, 1 purl row, and then knit 13 more rows. So you have a wide piece with a single purl row dividing it. I think the 13th knit row somehow makes the brim even-out better. Once you have all those rows done, you are ready to make the extra warm brim. This is the most time-consuming part of the entire hat, and one of the best things about it, so way to go! And although the pattern mentions double blending, don't be intimidated - it's not like traditional double knitting where you are knitting with two left needles the entire time to make something very thick and often reversible. All you do is fold up the cast-on edge away from you (so that it's going into the soon-to-be toque) and hold it there.

THE BRIM
You are working with the bottom cast-on stitch together with the current working stitch. To do this, simply take the cast-on stitch (remember it's folded up so just hold it there) with your right needle and place it on the left needle in front of the knit stitch already there, and just knit them together. And then repeat all the way around until all your working stitches are knit with the cast-on stitches.
So yea, I was a little off count with my first toque doing this, so as I went I counted ahead and every so often knit 3 together; then at the end of the row I had to knit a few more than two together. It was kind of pretty brutal and completely made up with no reasoning. Note to self: don't ever try to write my own patterns. But honestly, you can barely tell. And I'm sure my friend I gifted it to certainly cannot, even if he's reading this - sorry Dan :) 
Well, that's that - there's your brim! Continue to follow the pattern. I broke this part down because I had a hard time figuring this out myself, so if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.

Because I didn't particularly like that my stitches weren't adding up, I looked into the provisional cast-on. It seemed perfect because your cast-on edge has live stitches so when you fold it over for the brim, you don't have to pick up any stitches. I thought it would be a great time saver and prevent the stitches from not lining up. I tried really hard to figure out this method for the second Wurm I made, but I found it so hard to do. I kept dropping stitches at the end, or something. Plus it's so loose because you wrap it around two needles, so your first round is really confusing and difficult. I spent at least an hour of trying and frogging. So for my second Wurm I went a head with my regular long-tail cast-on. And well, not only did I get confused with the number of cast-on versus live stitches, the brim turned out kind of crooked! :/ (Sorry Nathan)

Wurm attempt number three... I was ready to just get this cast-on figured out to see if it was really better than my traditional cast-on. So I conquered the provisional cast-on. It took a long time and some red wine (it's heart-healthy in moderation).

The top picture is what the cast-on looks like after I've knit several rows. All those loops around the orange yarn are live stitches. The orange yarn just held them in place until I was ready to use them. The bottom picture is me demonstrating how much EASIER it is to pick up the stitches this way vs. from a long-tailed cast-on edge. So is it worth the time?

Long-Tail Cast-On - it leaves more of a bump where the brim edges meet
Provisional Cast-On - a much smoother transition where they meet
BUT it's on the inside and will anyone notice besides you? Probably not. I have also read that some people just fold the brim and sew it to save the hassle of picking up stitches at all. However, if you look back at the orange brim - you can see how it runs on an angle (it's not because of the camera angle or how I am holding it. It's because I didn't line up my stitches correctly. So for me, that's enough to take the time to do the provisional cast-on. Sorry again Nathan, I am glad that you are only 3 and probably won't notice *fingers crossed*.

Here are a few more helpful tips for casting on regardless of what method you use. Since the regular adult size pattern calls for 110 stitches, I place a stitch marker at every tenth stitch. That way if I get distracted or lose track, it's easy to find my spot. Then I remove them on my next round.

I have also made two other Wurm's that have colour that pop in between the "purl bumps." I really like that look. The trick for that is to K3 in the contrasting colour, then K1 in the main colour and continue your purl rounds from there. If you don't do this, you don't get the right effect. You can see the right effect in the very first picture on this post, with red and grey and also with my most recent Wurm toque:

I did the Provisional Cast-on for this - it took f.o.r.e.v.e.r. This is also knit with Alpaca. 
This was my first time knitting with Alpaca, and well, I despised it. I'll break that down a little later.

TO BLOCK OR NOT TO BLOCK?
Another common debate in the knitting community about the Wurm is whether or not to block it and how. The first Wurm I made (first picture on this post), I did not block. (I'm just sort of starting to block items since I am new-ish to knitting. And no I still have never made a swatch to check my gauge. Eeeeep.) The first turned out ok - great, really. BUT the next two I blocked and, WOW, what a difference it made.

I wasn't sure the best way to go about blocking it so I tried two methods. I wet blocked both and rolled them in towels. One of them was placed flat on an airy cookie sheet and the other one was placed on my homemade hat blocker (two bowls on top of each other) so it dried round not flat.


I certainly liked the shaping of the one on the bowls better, but the flat one turned out lovely as well. I do think I will continue to block any upcoming Wurms with bowls.

People always ask me how long it takes me to knit things, so for my most recent Wurm, I timed it. This is the purple and grey Alpaca one in the picture above. I went so far as to use a stop watch so I could be as accurate as possible by pausing it for IG breaks or snacks etc... I must admit, though, aside from the provisional cast-on which required my full attention for 48 minutes (including my first row), a lot of the time was knitting while I was either reading, listening to an audio book or watching Netflix. But is there really any other way? I mean, I am a patient person, but just sitting knitting for hours on end, staring at the needles then the ceiling then the needles...  would probably drive my crazy-er. And knitting is supposed to be a source of sanity for me.
So please help keep Jessie sane and send in requests for knitted items. My prices are reasonable! It's always good to support such an important cause like my personal mental health ;) 
Anywho, I consider myself to be an average speed knitter because, well, why not? And I've only ever seen really really fast knitting on IG videos, so I figure only the superstars post those. I estimated a Wurm from start to finish, including cast on and sewing in ends, would take me say 5-7 hours.

THE VERDICT
16.5 hours! What? And that doesn't even include me weaving in all the ends of this Alpaca two coloured toque.

Awesome, can't wait.
So it's true. I am officially overworked and underpaid. Eight years of post secondary education and I get paid 3 cents an hour. Good thing I don't actually work and have time to knit these Wurms....silver lining right?  But I must add that this particular project was knit with Alpaca wool that I absolutely despised working with. It was like it had no memory. If I dropped a stitch, I'd lose an entire line. And if I had to tie a knot, not only would I have to at least double it,  but by the time I got back to it, the knot would be unravelled! It was so soft and just rolled off the needles and never held its form.What is up with that, fellow knitters? I think I hate Alpaca. That sounds so criminal. 

With all that being said, the toque turned out beautifully and so so super soft and I suspect it will be quite warm. But in the future I will stick to my regular wool. I wouldn't be surprised if that knocks off a few hours of my time. I have one to knit soon so I'll time that and see.

Well friends, thanks for reading and learning :P
Have a wonderful Sunday. I plan on weaving in ends...... oi
Flaws unnoticed! Enjoy your toques, you two!

27 comments:

  1. These are so cute! I would love one for me and my daughter.

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    1. Thanks so much! I would love to make you them! Please email me at bigheartsmalltown@gmail.com so we can discuss colours.

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  2. Your skills have no end.

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  3. You make me want to knit. Or at the very least, you make me want to have you knit me a cool touque :)
    - Kmac

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    1. Well I am honoured! You should really try it out! I really like it and there are a lot of helpful You Tube videos.
      If you want me to make you one, please email me at bigheartsmalltown.com
      Thanks!

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  4. Darn alpaca! Looks so warm and soft though! Can't wait to put it on my head :)

    Sarah

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    1. hehe you're gonna looooove it my friend. Once I get all those darn ends weaved in...
      I'll pop it in the post. :)

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  5. This was my favourite post! Not because of the picture of the two adorable children or anything :) Oooookay, it was totally because of the two adorable children. They love love love their toques, so much so they sleep with them. A HUGE thank you for putting so much love in making their awesome toques.

    Hugs!
    CM

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    1. Thanks!
      See below! Someone else mentioned how wonderful the models are :)

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  6. Thank you for your great post. It helped me with the colour changes. I thought there was a bit of a trick with it and you cleared that up thank you. The toques you made look amazing, the kids are super cute. I'm just wondering, is there a reason that you didn't just carry the non working yarn up the back instead of having all those nasty ends to weave in?

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    1. I great! I'm so happy to hear it helped with your colour changes! What's your Ravelry User name? mIne's raisinlove I'd love to see how it turns out.
      Thanks for the compliment. :)
      The reason I didn't carry the non working yarn up is because with my first one - it really showed and I didn't like it. But with all the other ones I have done since, I have been carrying it up - HUGE difference!
      Thanks for reading!

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  7. I was cruising around raverly looking for easy chemo cap patterns for a 10 year old boy..saw this wurm and thought looks easy enough kinda kewl looking ...then I read pattern and had not 1 clue as to the brim instructions..then I found you and now I get it ..also get how you can also mess up your count so I am going to try my 1st provisional cast and also do the markers every 10 stitches..thanks so much this really helped me to at least understand brim, now achieving wearable results will be another
    p.s you may hate that alpaca but dang that's a handsome looking combo hat I must say, almost as handsome/cute as your models

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    1. Hi!
      I'm so happy you found my post helpful. The provisional cast on definitely results in a cleaner look, so it's worth it, even though its tricky at first. And yes, marking every ten was very helpful for me. I really like the brim of this hat, how it's doubled and I may even use it for other toques in the future. I've also read that some people count stitches by 5 instead of 2s and have less errors. I have been trying that but find it difficult to get used to.
      hahah thanks so much. yes no more alpaca for me, I will let the boys know they did a good job :)
      Good luck with your project.

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  8. I'm so glad I found your post! I've been wanting to try this for a while, but was a little confused as to how to get the brim started. By the way, what size needles did you use?

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    1. Hi Cammy. Yes, I struggled with that too. It's tricky to "get" but once you do these are really fun to make.

      US 4 - 3.5 mm for the brim
      US 6 - 4.0 mm for the body

      Best of luck!

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  9. I really enjoyed this post, with its information and your sense of humor.
    -Sarah in Brooklyn

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  10. Thank you for your your post! I found your blog from the link on Ravelry. I really appreciate you going into detail about the brim of the hat and also about how to do the striping. I can't wait to knit one of these up. Thanks so much!!!

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    1. That so great to hear! Good Luck! It's a fun-knit.

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  11. I see these posts are a little dated but hope you're still replying. I've be re-learning knitting after many years and enjoy making "hipster" beanies. I can do basic stitches and small cables. I want to try a Worm hat and have gotten as far as joining the brim but the yarn I had chose was too stiff to finish the last few stitches. I plan to try again with a more elastic yarn and use the provisional cast on method this time.
    My question for you is about the second colour effect. When you talked about "The trick for that is to K3 in the contrasting colour, then K1 in the main colour and continue your purl rounds from there. If you don't do this, you don't get the right effect." Did you mean that I knit 3 rows of the contrast colour then knit 1 row of the main colour? You don't mean to knit 3 stitches of contrast colour then knit 1 of the main colour in order to carry both yarns across the row, right? Guess I'm asking if you actually break the yarn at that point, start with the new colour, break that one then re start with the main colour.
    Thanks much,
    Kevin

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    1. Hey Kevin - Thanks for your question. And it's great to hear you at back-at-it! What I mean in the post is to K3 rows in the contrast colour and then k1 row in the main colour and continue the following purl rows with the main colour. You can also carry your yarn up as you go to save the hassle of weaving in all the ends, unlike me in the post. I hope this helps. Good Luck!

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    2. Excellent! Got my new yarn and ready to give it another try. Thanks much for the help, I really appreciate it!

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  13. How does the decrease row (k1. K2tog) work out evenly? I cast on 100sts then increased to 110. 110/3 is 73.3. What am I missing here?

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  14. So glad I found you! I want to try a wurm but found the directions a tad confusing. You've made it much clearer. Not sure I'll do the provisional cast on but hey! Now for yet another ? - can I use an ordinary circular needle for this instead of either dpns or super long circular needle? I know when I get to decreasing I'll have to use the dpns but the pattern seems to suggest doing it all the way through. Gorgeous kids by the way. i suppose they are in college by now. Ha.

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  15. So glad I found you! I want to try a wurm but found the directions a tad confusing. You've made it much clearer. Not sure I'll do the provisional cast on but hey! Now for yet another ? - can I use an ordinary circular needle for this instead of either dpns or super long circular needle? I know when I get to decreasing I'll have to use the dpns but the pattern seems to suggest doing it all the way through. Gorgeous kids by the way. i suppose they are in college by now. Ha.

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