Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Knitting a Tam Family Style

Some projects are as easy as just thinking of them. I wanted a tam, I have a tam! The knitting was almost an afterthought it went so quickly.
Using Mary Rowe's recipe for a basic 10" tam, I plugged in the palm pattern from Eunny Jang's Anemoi Mittens, and then for the wheel, I used the first wheel pattern in her appendix in the back of the book.

The book reads much like a Chinese restaurant menu - 1 from column A, 1 from column B, and finish your meal with the Chef's Special wheel. There's a chapter on knitting a basic tam (there is also a very math heavy chapter on changing the size of your tam, but I just thumbed passed any page with a square root sign on it), with different numbers for different weight yarn. To add color fair isle patterns, she refers you to her 2 appendices - one with traditional xo patterns, and the second section, for the pattern that will border the wheel - pick one from Group A, one from Group B. In her book, both of these patterns form the "body," and her wedge shaped charts form the "wheel."

Even though there's a very detailed section on the different wheel patterns - scallops, petals, leaves, etc., I had a hard time visualizing how the wedges were going to come together - huh? That makes a flower, really? And, because the "body" in the book is also referred to as the "border," this kind of confused me. The body is 3.5 to 4 inches long, and the wheel is 26 rows. So, when looking at pictures, with the tams already blocked, I wasn't sure how far up the body traveled(was the Group "B" pattern the pattern that appeared above the blocking line/fold and what she was referring to as the border or is the whole body the border, I thought to myself), and what was the beginning of the wheel. So, while I toyed with the idea of throwing in another pattern in the body, I was gunshy because I didn't know exactly how much would be on the underbelly, and how much would border the wheel on the top. Nor, did I get exactly where the wheel started, I mean, I could see the decreases, but the few rows before, that had like "squiggly" patterns,little bits of color, sort of - was that B or the first row of the wheel? - so the planning process was also kind of like a Chinese dinner - pork, chicken and shrimp in the soup, pork, chicken and shrimp in the eggroll, and pork, chicken and shrimp in the entree - kind of hard to draw the digestion line.

Knitting the tam put it all in perspective.

The tam starts with a corrugated rib, and goes straight into what Mary describes as the body. On my tam, the body goes all the way to the "border" 3 rows of one row blue, one row main color, one row blue, and then the wheel pattern begins. So, if you put 2 of her traditional patterns in (an XO pattern, and a larger pattern), the XO will be on the underside post blocking, and the "border" pattern will be the top half of the body.

So, now in this 50+ degree weather, I finally have my perfect winter ensemble! Yes, Mindy, it is a little matchy matchy for me, but I think throwing Maude, and a little Koigu in the mix completes the picture just fine.


Lolee said...

What a pretty set! I usually don't like "matchy matchy" except in winter accessories.

Bridget said...

It looks great! Congratulations on a project well done.

Kat said...

I love it! Looks great!!!

Macoco said...

The tam is absolutely gorgeous. You did a great job on it and it is a great look for you.

Emily said...

good fit, great colours on you. Did you block on a plate? I want to make a tam (whines).

EmilyG said...


I love it. Nice work!

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