Anniversary of Schoolhouse Press (100th issue of Wool Gathering)

Dear Knitter,

Yes, the 61st year of Schoolhouse Press; 100th issue of Wool Gathering (WG) (and we have several new designs jostling for position in WG #101).

Some of you have been with us from the very beginning, which we find most heartening; plus we happily welcome the new knitters who join our family and add a level of excitement which - combined - encourages us to continue onward. I spoke about today’s astonishing knitting community with Trisha Malcolm as we taped Vogue Knitting’s very first podcast:

That is yet another cause for celebration: I recently handed in our 108th article to the magazine (subject: Corrugated Ribbing). Since Trisha and I taped that podcast, we have turned in #109: Kindred Knitters. Coming up with 5 topics a year keeps up hopping. 

The video above gives you a very brief history of Schoolhouse Press. If you wish to skip forward to today’s knitting technique, it starts @ about 2:40, and demonstrates the very specific increase method needed to produce Elizabeth Zimermann’s Snail Hat. There are numerous ways to increase and usually you may simply employ your favorite. However, in certain instances a particular method is required to achieve the desired effect, and the Snail Hat is just such an instance.

   My mother’s original Snail hat had 5 spirals. Her design includes a combination of increase and decrease (separated by a few purl stitches) to maintain a static number of sts, but which causes the fabric to spiral. When she began to shape the hat to the top, she simply continued the dec, but eliminated the inc - which also eliminated the knife-like fold.  

two spiraling cone hats one green one cream

   This design was published in Newsletter #19 (1967), but over time the top section bothered Elizabeth. She came up with the following improvement (which I added to The Opinionated Knitter): by maintaining the inc, and adding a second dec, she could keep the sharp fold all the way to the tip. And she further streamlined it by reducing the number of spirals from 5 to 3. Nice. You can knit one in an evening.

     For a long time, I thought it was only knittable in super-thick Sheepsdown wool - and, indeed, that remains the idiosyncratic version. However, I have knitted several of them in 4-ply Unspun Icelandic, which makes a lighter weight yet equally handsome model.

model wearing a cone spiral hat, snail hat in Sheepsdown cream   spiraling cone, snail hat in unspun green

Keep on Knitting,