Conspiring – Designed by Lisa R. Myers. (Ravelry Link): https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/conspiring
Conspiring (Fairmount Fibers Pattern Download): https://fairmountfibers.com/collections/free-patterns/products/conspiring-f120
Kits purchased: https://onebighappy.com/products/conspiring-brioche-hat-kit
I was browsing Facebook a couple of months ago when I ran across an advertisement for the cutest little hats. I had never heard of One Big Happy, but they were offering a kit for the Conspiring Brioche Hat, as well as some YouTube videos to help complete the project.
This seemed like a given for me – the hats were adorable, I loved the pompoms they came with, and I had always wanted to learn how to knit brioche. I figured there was no time like the present to start, so I went ahead and started to plan my future projects.
I ended up purchasing three kits to make hats for my son, daughter, and myself. My son wanted the stellar kit with the blue pompom, which created a gorgeous blue hat. The log cabin kit with creek nutria pom went to me. This hat was a cream color, with streaks of black and brown with a darker brown pompom. My daughter loves pink and purple, so I picked the autumn kit with the purple pom, and I knew she would love the hat.
The shipping was super fast on the kits. Two of them were shipped out within a day or two, and a customer service representative contacted me to ask if I wanted to be refunded for the third hat because it wouldn’t be back in stock for a couple of weeks. I let them know that I didn’t mind waiting, and as soon as the yarn was back, they sent it out immediately. I felt this was excellent customer service and honestly made me want to be a return customer. I thought that them reaching out to make sure that it was okay for me to wait for the yarn was awesome and the rep that I talked with was very kind.
Now for the knitting – which turned into a thing. I will preface this by saying that I’ve never done brioche before, so it’s not like there was anything wrong with the pattern. The pattern was perfectly fine. Honestly, I had no clue what I was doing until about the third time working through the first hat. I would get about two-thirds of the way through, mess up somehow, and have no clue what in the world I was supposed to do to fix it. I would be stubborn, decide I didn’t need to look anything up, try to repair the mistake myself, and make it a lot worse.
After the third iteration, I was done with being stubborn, though. I had also felt like I understood enough of what was happening in brioche. I also decided on two things. The first was that I would find an excellent YouTube tutorial on fixing brioche mistakes, which I found here. This is a tutorial by aknitica, which I found very helpful. The second decision I made was that I was going to use lifelines between decreases until I got the hang of it. This ended up helping immensely throughout the process, and by the third hat, I wasn’t using them anymore.
I really liked the end result for the Conspiring hat. I ended up modifying the pattern after the first one though – the design called for an increase section where you added some plain k1p1 rib, and then you decreased and swapped back to brioche. This is supposed to make a tighter band so that the hat sits better on your head. I didn’t think it was really worth the hassle after the first time I did it, and I didn’t like how the end result looked with the ribbing underneath the band. My kids would never keep their brim rolled up evenly, so the rib would show in some spots, and I just didn’t like that idea. So I dropped it and ended up liking the second and third hats better without it. I also cast on ten fewer stitches for my daughter. Her hat was last, and I knew that my son’s hat was big on her – and to be honest, I was pretty brioche-d out at this point.
The yarn that came in the kit was Manos del Uruguay Feliz (https://www.yarn.com/products/manos-del-uruguay-feliz) . It’s 70% superwash merino and 30% modal. The yarn comes in skeins of 350 yds, and it is a DK weight. I loved how it felt as I was knitting it and when it’s used in brioche, it’s extra squishy.
However, it lost some of its oomph when it was blocked. I feel like yarn stretched out as superwash generally does. I could probably fix it by throwing it in the dryer for a couple of minutes, but I’ve been burned by doing that on expensive projects, and I’d rather not risk it. If I had to do it again, I’d probably not block it, and just hand wash it when needed. I would also make sure to get it dry faster with fans. Hopefully, this would stop it from stretching so much.
With all the notes about the yarn, my children didn’t notice it at all. My son has been wearing his hat around the house since I made it, and my daughter is a big fan of hers as well. I think that the pattern (and kit!) counts as a win, but I will probably take a much-needed break from doing any brioche for a bit.