... to discover the best way to make a knit hat without knitting it.
As I've mentioned before, I hate knitting. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that a pattern I like & promised to make for a friend to gift to someone ended up being a knit project! Thought it was crochet when I saved the link originally, & just had it in my head all this time that it was crochet. So now I have a comissioned project to complete, and by golly I'm not going to knit it! Mostly because I haven't learned how to knit in the round, or how to do colorwork in knit, and I certainly don't care to learn.
Enter tunisian crochet.
Tunisian is the odd middle child between crochet & knitting. With tunisian, you "cast on" loops of stitches like in knitting, using a very long crochet hook, then work them back off the hook with a return pass in a method more like crochet. The resulting fabric is denser & less stretchy than either of the other yarn crafts, and can also make textures unobtainable otherwise. If using multiple colors, interesting effects can be created, including "peekaboo" or illusion efects & reversible fabrics. Tunisian can also create fabrics that look just like knitting, albeit denser.
So I've been working on the hat, trying different methods of tunisian to achieve the correct finished look. So far, I've gotten close, but I'm not quite there yet. (my initial attempt to make the hat in sc was abandoned when I realized that sc stitches don't stack one directly above the other, which skews the text of the pattern's chart into something unreadable.) I started off making the hat just as the pattern calls, replacing true knit with tunisian knit stitch (tks). Working bottom up, the result was SUPER huge! Frogged & tried again, with fewer stitches around the brim of the hat, discovering a stitch number that fit better. Of course, this meant completely reworking the pattern chart to fit in a smaller number of stitches. Once figured out, I worked up the hat a bit beyond the wording section & was overall happy with how it was turning out. Tried it on again & discovered that the hat tightened up a lot as I worked. Just the nature of tunisian I suppose. So it was time to start over on the hat. Le sigh.
But opprotunity can be found even in our failed attempts! In my tunisian research, I found out that you can use tunisian crochet to create a true knit fabric. Without touching those dreaded knitting needles.
I HAD to try this! And looky here, I had a piece of tunisian crochet with no use that I could play with!
The example I found took a hat made with tunisian simple stitch (tss, aka afghan stitch), and once finished, completely removed the yarn used for the return pass, leaving the creator with a true knit.
Here's my attempt at the same, with a piece made in tks:
When I tested the amount of stretch on the original tks piece, I found that a 1 inch section stretched to an additional 1/8 inch, at maximum.
Overall, I'd say not a bad experiment here. The verdict: yes you can cheat your way into a knit fabric using tks. I wouldn't do this with color changes, without more practice to see if it can be done without becoming so sloppy looking. Also not sure how the finished look would turn out when starting with tss vs tks. The increased holey-ness in the resulting knit could be countered by doing the tunisian with a tighter guage.
But the quest for this hat continues...