My little Emilia in the toddler sized hood.

My little Emilia in the toddler-size fox.

I’ve been super busy knitting! This time last year I hadn’t picked up my needles in months, but I’ve been on a binge lately. (I kind of bounce between crafts) This week I made my third fox hood and my first in an adult size. It’s big!!! (24 inches long to be exact) I will say, when I first tried this pattern I wasn’t too happy with the result, but after working through it a few times, I’ve decided the problem was that my seed stitch is just too tight. Does this ever happen to you?

Heidi May, the designer of this “Failynn Fox Cowl” and owner of the Velvet Acorn shops on Ravelry and Etsy, uses seed stitch quite a bit. And while it’s pretty, I find mine becomes too tight to keep her patterns as loose and natural as they should be. I don’t seem to have a problem with seed stitch in a more structured pattern, but when I combine it with a free-moving stockinette stitch… I fail.

I first discovered this when I made her billed hat pattern “Aralynn Slouchy.” The hat worked up beautifully, but when I added the bill to it, the thing just curled up to the body of the hat and wouldn’t lay flat. Like any other knitter, my hand just doesn’t jive with every pattern… which is why we must adapt.

For my fox hoods, I ditched the seed stitch detail on the bottom of the work and substituted a rib stitch. When I made it with the seed stitch, the bottom opening was too tight to really stretch over the chest area like it does in Heidi May’s photos. A rib stitch, as we knitters know, has plenty of stretch… and visual interest. Functional, practical and pretty — perfect combination! Either a 1×1 or 2×2 will work fine with the pattern. If you end up purchasing this pattern, or already own it, you will notice it begins with an odd number of stitches to accommodate the seed stitch. Simply drop one stitch and you will find it aligns perfectly with her first decrease row. Easy-peasy change.

I also omitted the seed stitch detail around the face opening. Her hood lays away from the face, but mine closed-in quite a bit. Leaving the top portion of the hood “plain,” just knit in stockinette, certainly makes for faster knitting – but you lose texture. I compensated by using more rows of crochet edging when I finished the hood. I used 3 to 5 depending on the size of the hood… use your judgment!

Side view!

Side view!

Speaking of crochet… I’m terrible at it. I dread crochet details even though I use them fairly often. It takes all my concentration to make something as simple as a circle. I look like an idiot doing it too! Last year I promised myself I’d learn it… better than I already knew it. I may actually be worse now LOL! Because my stitches have a tendency to tighten, I used the biggest hook I had to make the edging (11mm). It calls for a smaller needle. It also calls for single crochet, but I used half-double since I can usually make this stitch look good and my hand is comfortable with it.

I know, I know, I made a lot of changes… it seems like I’m bashing the pattern, but really it IS a great design. I’ve found the math in this pattern to be right on-point, which is really the most important part. I’ve made a toddler, child and adult size… they fit great! What I am saying is… don’t be afraid to ad-lib. If you’re having trouble, try these suggestions.

Links to buy this:

This pattern is certainly unforgettable. Don’t believe me? Go see what they’re selling for on Etsy — you might just choke. Apparently I’m not the only one who loves them!

Oh! I will also mention that a craft-show friend of mine wanted to make the crochet version of this pattern, but was shocked that it called for 4 skeins of Lion Brand Thick and Quick. That’s a lot of yarn! I’ll tell you now, this is one of those times when knitting is an advantage. A toddler size used one skein, the adult took two and the child size was right in between. I got my yarn ON SALE at Michaels for $5 a skein!!! Then I nearly cried today when I saw it was down to $3.99! The only time I’ve found a better price on this yarn was when Hobby Lobby discontinued it to replace it with something crappy. It was marked down to $3 a skein and I bought it ALL. Unfortunately it’s already gone from my stash. So naturally, I bought 20 skeins when I was at Michaels. I have a problem. Happy knitting peeps!