The Background Info
I admit it. My husband is no hipster. I see fun and funky patterns for men; skull caps, sweaters featuring flames and skulls and cozies for every type of techno-geek imaginable, and I think, “Hmm, yeah, no.” As much as I love those patterns, my effort would be wasted on an item my husband simply would not use and would not appreciate. He’s a mixture of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Cash and Tux the Linux Penguin. What do you knit a man who wears cowboy hats instead of stocking caps and T’s and flannel shirts instead of sweaters?
As I began experimenting with alternative fibers, an idea struck me: Leather lace. The perfect fiber for my husband; a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll. Not exactly easy to work with, but if you keep it simple, it isn't difficult.
Working with leather lace isn't easy. The lace itself is almost as thick as it is wide, and it has very little give. It is important to experiment a little until you have the knack, because reworking it is almost impossible. It can be done, but the leather doesn't like it. It becomes brittle and mars the finish. Give yourself a chance to get used to it before you start out on the hatband itself. Fortunately, the hatband only takes about half a 25yd spool, so you'll have plenty to experiment on.
If possible, work this piece in one sitting. Because of the nature of the lace, the rhythm of laying the lace around the needle in the same way each row is important to the look of the finished piece. Taking breaks often leads to slightly different wrap patterns, causing a disjointed look to the final product.
Gauge: 3 sts / 6 rows = Approx. 1" in pattern
- 1 25yd spool of 1/8" leather lace in color of your choice
- 1 pair US 10 straight needles
- 1 crochet hook of any size large enough for the lace
- 2 beads (optional)
Row 1 and all subsequent rows: Slp 1, K 2
To begin: Leaving a tail of lace at least 10 inches long, cast on one. K 1 and slip off left needle. With lace in back of work, bring under right needle and wrap up and over to make second stitch. Insert crochet hook in front of cast on stitch, pull lace through as if knitting a stitch and slip onto right needle. 3 stitches on needle.
Work in pattern until work measures 22 inches.
Cut lace at least 12 inches from work. Carefully remove needle from live stitches, bring lace end around to first stitch, thread through all three live stitches, pull tight and knot.
Finishing: Trim lace ends to one-half inches longer than desired length. Thread one bead on each end and knot.