Sorry no post in so long; I was away for a few days and was certain I'd be able to upload this from a remote location--but I was wrong.
There they are, in all their glory: courtesy of my brother Jonathan, who had a camera on the spot, these are all the kippot, a few hours before the wedding, lined up on the vent/windowsill in the hotel room in Pittsburgh.
I'm a lot more cheerful about the whole event than I was a month ago--largely, I suspect, because I've regained better than 95% of the sensation in my right middle finger. I hadn't wanted to say anything before, because it seemed petty to complain about such a minor injury, but the way I was holding the crochet hook must have been pinching a nerve or something. The last joint on my finger had gone all numb and tingly, and not just while I was working, but all the time. But things began to improve within a couple days after I stopped using that size hook, and now they're pretty much back to normal, and I can even contemplate the two remaining kippot--one for the bride, one for Suzanne--with equanimity. Which is not to say I'm working on them just yet.
But for those who wondered, here's the pattern I developed. It's approximate; no two of the ten I made are exactly alike (even putting aside the colorwork bands).
Finished size: approx. 6" in diameter. This is smaller than Grandmom used to make, but larger than a lot of the crocheted ones you see in stores nowadays.
Approx. 45 yards of Euroflax sport-weight linen in Main Color (MC)
Approx. 10 yards in Contrast Color (CC)
crochet hook, 3 mm, or size to obtain gauge
Gauge: approx. 6 sc per inch? Exact gauge isn't crucial, as long as the fabric is firm.
Using MC, use Emily Ocker's Circular Beginning to form the center ring into which you work the star motif: Ch3, (yo, insert hook through center ring, pull a loop through; yo and pull through two loops) twice, yo and pull through all 3 loops on hook; ch2; *(yo, insert hook through center ring, pull a loop through; yo and pull through two loops) 3x, yo and pull through all 4 loops on hook; ch2;* rep from * to * 4 more times--6 clusters formed. Slip st to top of beginning ch3.
Round 1: Ch1, 4 sc in next ch2 sp; then 5 sc in each ch2 sp to end of rnd; join with sl st to top of first st. 30 sts.
Rnd 2: Ch1; sc in next sc; *2 sc in next sc, 1 sc in each of next 2 sc;* rep from * to * to end of round, ending with 2 sc in last st. 40 sts. Do not join; from now on, work in a continuous spiral, but mark the beginning of the round.
Rnd 3: *sc in each of next 4 sts, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 3 sts;* rep from * to * to end of rnd. 45 sts. Note: The goal here (and from now on) is to stagger the increases from round to round. This is accomplished in part by changing the number of sts increased each time, but it's still easy to wind up always increasing in the last st of the rnd if you don't anticipate and avoid doing so.
Rnd 4: 1 sc in each st around.
Rnd 5: *1 sc in each of next 4 sts; 2 sc in foll st;* rep from * to * to end of rnd. 54 sts.
Rnd 6: *1 sc in each of next 2 sts; 2 sc in foll st; 1 sc in each of next 6 sts;* rep from * to * to end of rnd. 60 sts.
Rnd 7: *1 sc in each of next 4 sts; 2 sc in foll st;* rep from * to * to end of rnd. 72 sts.
Rnd 8: 1 sc in each st around.
Rnd 9: *1 sc in each of next 7 sts; 2 sc in foll st; 1 sc in each of next 4 sts;* rep from * to * around. 78 sts.
Rnd 10: *1 sc in each of next 3 sts; 2 sc in foll st; 1 sc in each of next 9 sts;* rep from * to * around. 84 sts.
Rnd 11: *2 sc in next st; 1 sc in each of next 9 sts;* rep from * to * to end of round. The round won't come out even. Don't worry about it. 93 sts.
Rnd 12: *1 sc in each of next 7 sts; 2 sc in foll st; 1 sc in each of next 7 sts;* rep from * to * around, with a couple left over. 99 sts.
Rnd 13: *1 sc in each of next 10 sts; 2 sc in foll st; 1 sc in each of next 9 sts;* rep from * to * around. 104 sts.
Everything from about Rnd 4 onward is just a guess. The idea is to get to a number of stitches between 100 and 110, choosing the exact number based on the color pattern you want to use, and taking between 12 and 15 rounds to get there. If your color band is a narrow one, you'll want to have more solid rounds; if your color band is wide, you'll want fewer.
If you think of it, start joining in the CC a few sts before the end of the last plain round.
Colorwork: To see how I manipulated the two strands of yarn, look back at the blog entry for July 7. (Sorry, I don't know how to link back to other entries within the blog yet.) Choose any simple geometric pattern. Chart books for Fair Isle knitting are a great resource; look at the small borders and peerie patterns. (Pause a moment to enjoy the multicultural aspect of the experience.) I tended to choose patterns with 6-stitch repeats, worked over 4 or 5 rounds.
There's no increasing during the colorwork. This should be reassuring if you're (a) intimidated by working with two colors at all, or (b) worried that your kippah looks too close to flat after Round 14.
After the colorwork is finished, do 2 more rounds of MC, still with no increasing. Fasten off and weave in ends.
Blocking: Block like hell. I mean, you need to even out the fabric--don't panic that your "finished" piece looks more like a casserole lid than a headcovering, it's not finished until it's blocked. The Euroflax has a surprising amount of give when it's wet. Soak it thoroughly, in several changes of water (the dark purple I used had a lot of dye discharge). Then pull and tug and stretch it into a nice shape, and let it dry over a likely-shaped inverted bowl. When it's dry, you'll be surprised how soft and drapey it is--not at all like the stiff cotton ones.