Teen Spirit, a free knitting pattern from Knitty.com.
by Maren Odenthal
Rom-Com Revival of the '90s – oh my! I don't know about you, but I am an '80s kid and a '90s bitch, which means I navigated through that decade on a hormone-filled rollercoaster, indeed trying to find a middle-ground between the sweetness of a Meg Ryan and the brutal darkness of a Kurt Cobain.
When Knitty called for designs for this issue, I tried to remember where I searched for romance during that time… and honestly, it was at the halfpipe. At 13, my mum and I moved to a small town in the middle of nowhere. It was very dull, so I tried to fit in with the cool kids (spoiler alert: it never worked).
However, at the halfpipe, the guys were friendly and chill, it was fun to watch them skate, and one of my girlfriends, well, you can guess…
What still connects me to that time is a fondness for casual, comfortable clothes that make me look effortlessly stylish and a particular pair of shoes – Vans with a black and white checkerboard pattern, to be exact.
My checkerboard Vans and the need from my knitters for a simple colorwork beginner pattern are the inspiration for these designs.
If you already know how to knit stranded colorwork, making this matching set will be a walk through the park – relaxing with a breeze of fresh air. If you are a beginner, this is your best pattern to start – pinky swear!
Don't forget – skateboarding is not a crime – and knitting stranded colorwork isn't either!
model + photos: Maren Odenthal
Hat: Toddler[Child, Teen-Small Adult, Med-Large Adult]
Fits head circumference of approx 17-18[18-20, 20-22, 22-23] inches/ 43-45.5[45.5-51, 51-56, 56-58.5] cm.
shown in Size Teen-Small Adult
Cowl: One size
Hat Circumference: 15.25[16.5, 19.5, 21] inches/ 39[42.5, 49.5, 53] cm
Height: 8.75[9.75, 11.25, 12.25] inches/ 22[25, 28.5, 31] cm
Cowl Width: 6.5 inches/16 cm wide
Cowl Circumference: 52 inches/132 cm
John Arbon Textiles Appledore DK [40% Devon Closewool / 40% Romney / 20% Exmoor Blueface; 273 yd/250 m per 100g skein]
[MC] color: TomPutt; 2 skeins
[CC1] color: Sheep's Nose; 2 skeins
[CC2] John Arbon Textiles Alpaca Supreme Heavy Lace [40% Superfine Alpaca / 40% Organically Farmed Falklands Merino / 20% A1 Mulberry Silk; 328 yd/300 m per 50 skein]; color: Pearl; 1 skein
To make the hat only, you need 1 skein each of the MC and CC1.
To make the cowl only, you need 2 skeins of the MC, and 1 skein each of CC1 and CC2.
These patterns use a worsted loosely spun DK, with a distinctive rustic halo. The fiber mix makes it perfect for color work and blooms beautifully by blocking. Choose a DK-weight yarn that is suited for color work. Stitch definition is not important, but you need a yarn that can be blocked, has grip, elasticity and memory. The best suited fiber is non-superwash wool.
Additionally, one stockinette section of the cowl is knit with a second strand of Alpaca Supreme yarn in lace weight, which is breathtakingly soft, lustrous and smooth with sumptuous drape and shine. Choose a complimentary lace weight yarn that adds softness and a bit of luxury. A mohair and silk combo would work equally well.
Choose contrasting solid colors for the DK yarns (MC & CC1). The lace weight yarn (CC2) should match with your CC1.
Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below - every knitter's gauge is unique]
Note: This pattern uses multiple needle sizes to accommodate the different yarns and fabrics.
1 US #5/3.75 mm (or size needed to obtain gauge for stockinette stitch worked with MC and CC2 yarns held together) 12-14 inch/30-35 cm circular needle OR your choice of needles for small circumference in the round (smaller needle)
1 US #6/4 mm (or size needed to obtain gauge for stockinette stitch worked with MC yarn only and Small Check Stranded Colorwork Pattern) 12-14 inch/30-35 cm circular needle OR your choice of needles for small circumference in the round (middle needle)
1 US #7/4.5 mm (or size needed to obtain gauge for big check stranded colorwork pattern worked with MC and CC1 yarn) 12-14 inch/30-35 cm circular needle OR your choice of needles for small circumference in the round (bigger needle)
1 US #6/4 mm (or size needed to obtain gauge for stockinette stitch worked with MC yarn only and Small Check Stranded Colorwork Pattern) 16 inch/40 cm circular needle OR your choice of needles for small circumference in the round (middle needle)
1 US #7/4.5 mm (or size needed to obtain gauge for big check stranded colorwork pattern worked with MC and CC1 yarn) 16 inch/40 cm circular needle OR your choice of needles for small circumference in the round (bigger needle)
waste yarn in DK weight and contrasting color (a yarn that is easy to unravel, e.g. smooth cotton)
G/4 mm crochet hook or size close to this (for the provisional cast-on)
4 stitch markers (one of them differing)
Note: gauge is always taken after blocking.
23 sts/30 rounds = 4 inches/10 cm in stockinette stitch worked with MC yarn US #6/4 mm needles
23 sts/30 rounds = 4 inches/10 cm in Big Check Stranded Colorwork pattern worked with MC and CC1 yarn, and US #7/4.5 mm needles
29 sts/26 rounds = 4 inches/10 cm in Small Check Stranded Colorwork Pattern
Note: The small check section at the cowl is intentionally worked tighter to give the visual impression of a shawl cuff.
[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]
These patterns, especially the cowl, are meant to be your playground – or should I say skatepark!? Feel free to alternate as much as you like. You can knit the cowl much shorter to wear it as a single loop closer to your neck (approximately 23.5 – 29.5 inch/60 – 75 cm length) or choose any size in between to create a jewellery chain-like item. Pick more than just 2 colors and play with the length of the sections. Graft straight or add a moebius twist… The possibilities are endless!
If you enjoy the softness of the second strand of yarn, you can add it to the body and crown of your hat, too. Don't forget to pay attention to your gauge and try to match the regular stockinette stitch gauge with smaller-size needles.
The Teen Spirit Cowl is knit sideways with the magical loop in the round to create a long tube and the two ends are grafted together. It starts with a provisional cast-on and alternates simple stranded colorwork sections with stockinette sections. Three needle sizes are used, and in the instructions they are referred to as smaller, middle and bigger needles.
Teen Spirit Hat is knit bottom up in the round. It starts with a provisional cast-on and a very short double brim, made with stranded colorwork. The slouchy body is worked in the round and ends with a minimal crown shaping. Two needle sizes are used, and in the instructions they are referred to as middle and bigger needles. (These sizes are the same as the middle and bigger needles for the cowl.)
- Provisional Cast-on photo tutorial and video tutorial
A note about the provisional cast-on: because you will be undoing the edge to join the stitches to another set of stitches, it is important to make sure that you pick up exactly the number of stitches that you cast on.
- Grafting photo tutorial and video tutorial.
- Stranded colorwork photo tutorial.
With scrap yarn and crochet hook, use your preferred provisional method to CO 72 sts on middle-size needles. Join MC.
Row 1 [RS]: Knit.
Place marker and join in the round being careful not to twist your sts.
Section 1 – Stockinette with 1 strand of yarn
Knit until this section measures 12 inches/30 cm.
Section 2 – Small Check Stranded Colorwork Pattern
Rnd 1: [K1 with MC, k1 with CC1] around.
Rnd 2: [K1 with CC1, k1 with MC] around.
Rep Rnds 1-2 until this section measures 4 inches /10 cm
Section 3 – Stockinette with 2 strands of yarn
Cut MC and join CC2.
Switch to smaller-size needles.
Knit with both yarns held together until this section measures 20 inches/50 cm.
Section 4 – Big Check Stranded Colorwork Pattern
Cut CC2 and join MC.
Switch to bigger-size needles.
Rnds 1-2: [K2 with MC, k2 with CC1] around.
Rnds 3-4: [K2 with CC1, k2 with MC] around.
Rep Rnds 1-4 until this section measures 16 inches/40 cm.
With MC only, knit one round.
Cut both yarns, leaving a short tail of CC1, and a tail of MC approximately 40 inches/100 cm long.
Slip sts to a holder or scrap yarn.
To wet block the cowl, turn the completed cowl inside out and submerge it in cool water, with or without a small amount of rinseless wool wash, and squeeze gently to help water penetrate the yarn. Soak for 10 minutes, then drain water and squeeze cowl to remove excess water (never twist or wring!). Place cowl on towel, fold towel over cowl, and press to remove more water. Put your hands inside cowl to gently stretch it, then lay it flat (still inside-out) on a dry towel, re-shaping it f necessary. Allow to dry until just slightly damp, then turn cowl right side out, gently reshape if needed, and lay flat until completely dry. Weave in ends.
Undo provisional cast on and place stitches on the smaller-size needle. Transfer sts from scrap yarn onto the middle-size needle.
Graft the two ends together, using the MC tail. Weave in final ends.
With scrap yarn and crochet hook, use your preferred provisional method to CO 88[96, 112, 120] sts onto bigger-size circular needle. Join MC.
Row 1 [RS]: Knit. PM, join in the round being careful not to twist your sts.
Double brim – Big Check Stranded Colorwork Pattern
Rnds 1–2: [K2 with MC, k2 with CC1] around.
Rnds 3–4: [K2 with CC1, k2 with MC] around.
Repeat Rnds 1–4 one more time.
Cut CC1. With MC only, knit one more round.
Remove the scrap yarn at the CO and return the live stitches to your middle-size needles. Weave in or secure ends.
Fold, the cast-on edge of the inside brim to meet the top edge of the outside brim, with wrong sides together. Match the stitches of the outside brim to those of the inside brim, with the outside brim stitches in front.
Joining round: *Insert right needle knitwise into the first stitch of the front left needle (outside brim), then insert right needle into the first stitch on back left needle (cast-on edge) and knit them together. Rep from * to end of rnd.
Body – stockinette with 1 strand of yarn
Switch to middle-size needle.
Work in the round in stockinette stitch until the piece measures 6.25[7, 8, 8.75] inches/ 16[18, 20.5, 22] cm from the folded bottom edge.
As you work decreases, change to needles for small circumference (middle size) when the hat gets too small to work on the circular needle.
Rnd 2: Knit.
Rnd 3: (K2tog, k to 2 sts before next m, ssk) around. 8 sts decreased.
Rep Rnds 2-3 until 8 sts remain.
Cut yarn leaving an 8 inch/20 cm tail and thread through the remaining stitches twice with a tapestry needle.
To wet block the hat, turn the completed hat inside out and submerge it in cool water, with or without a small amount of rinseless wool wash, and squeeze gently to help water penetrate the yarn. Soak for 10 minutes, then drain water and squeeze hat to remove excess water (never twist or wring!). Place hat on towel, fold towel over hat, and press to remove more water. Put your hands inside hat to gently stretch it, then lay it flat (still inside-out) on a dry towel, re-shaping it t if necessary. Allow to dry until just slightly damp, then turn hat right side out, gently reshape if needed, and lay flat until completely dry. Weave in ends.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
Maren Odenthal (she/her) is a knitwear designer based in Cologne, Germany. Formerly a Senior Art Director specialising in brand experiences, she now uses this knowledge for her minimalistic designs, beautiful knitting patterns, and to create fun adventures for the fibre community.
Check out knitterista.com for your next creative journey!
Pattern & images © 2023 Maren Odenthal