I have loved wearing a tam, since I was young. I like to pull my tam to one side of my head. Our grandfather loved wearing a tam. He was a tall, striking man of Norwegian heritage and wore a tam all of the time. I loved seeing them on him. I am sure this is why my tam love-affair started. In fact, Q made sure grandpa was wearing his favorite tam when he was buried.
I have always worn the felted tams that everyone is familiar with. (Q – she is adorable in tams!) A few years ago, I decided it was time that I try to knit one. I bought the book Knitted Tams by Mary Rowe, picked out one of the patterns, and attempted to knit it. It was a total disaster and I’m not quite sure why. Something just went horribly wrong. I did not try to knit another one until I saw THE HAT on the front cover of “Vogue Knitting” Fall 2009. The article was called “Head Trips”. The name of THE HAT is Vine and Leaf Beret on page 75. I love THE HAT so much that I have made 3 of them! This is a picture of Q wearing THE HAT on our Northwest Trip, she didn’t bring a hat so I took pity on her and let her wear it. I made it as a gift for mom. (Q – being the wonderful sister that she is, she ended up knitting a tam for me on the trip.)
When Q dyed the gradient, green yarn (see our post in March “It’s All About the Dyeing“) I was ready to try a Fair Isle tam. I looked through all my books and online to find just the right tam that would work well using gradient yarn colors. I found the Three Tams by Angela Sixian Wu on Ravelry and choose Tam C to knit.
It has been a blast to knit this tam. I start out using the darker colored green yarn at the bottom and the lighter color at the top this way it follows shadows and light. The yarn is Stitch Nation’s “full o’ sheep” and it is a little heavier than I usually use for a tam. I used a size 5 to cast on for the standard rib (k1,p1,) then I changed to a size 7 to do the body.
I used the twined method of knitting, so I wouldn’t have a lot of strings on the inside to get caught on something. See the inside, notice strings are not carried across as in a regular Fair Isle. This is going to be my Spring hat so colorful to wear. Look how wonderful the gradient looks!
Blocking the tam is very easy. First, hand wash in a mild soap. I use Eucalan No Rinse Delicate Wash. Shampoo works great, too. After gently washing, sandwich the tam between two towels and press out most of the moisture. Remember Do Not Wring!
Now get a dinner plate about 10 to 10 1/2″ and gently stretch the damp tam over it. Check the bottom to make sure the tam is centered and equal on all sides of the plate.
Note: The picture below is the finished tam off the plate. Next time I do my tam I shall put the top of the tam on the top of the plate. I did it this way per instruction, but, as you can see, it left the shape of the bottom of the plate on the tam. The bottom of the plate should come out of the bottom of the hat.
Let the tam totally dry, it might take up to 2 days. If it doesn’t look as if it has a sharp enough edge shape for you, lightly steam it. Do Not Iron. Since ironing will flatten the tam and the yarn will loose all of its bouncy look. Notice the nice sharp edge. Perfection! 😎