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Quick Knits Project Notes Week One: Berroco Mercado

Posted by Odessa Reichel on

Every Monday from November 2nd to December 21st we'll have a new Quick Knit of the Week. We pair favourite yarns and patterns to help give you some gift knitting ideas. For that week, the yarn we're featuring is 20% off. Most of the patterns are one skein projects in worsted to super bulky weight yarn. You can find the quick knit yarn pick for this week here. This year, things are so uncertain and up in the air. We here at the store have turned to knitting and crocheting gifts as a way to unwind. Our needles and hooks are working overtime to make warm handmade gifts from our hearts to hug people we care about and make up for all the warm hugs we aren't physically giving. 



This week's yarn pick is the wonderfully wooly Berroco Mercado. A chunky weight yarn that comes in wonderful colours, it's a favourite for quick accessories around the store. It makes stitchwork pop so we've paired it with two great hat patterns. Originally $15, Mercado is on sale for $12 this week.



Portage by Alison Green is a free pattern from Berroco available on Ravelry here or on the Berroco website here. It has a deep folded twisted rib brim and fun cable panels running up the hat. The rich gold colour, 4142 Oro, makes this hat shine. The folded brim is great for added warmth around the ears. There is a sneaky wrap and turn built into the folded brim. It makes sure that the twisted rib faces outwards when the brim is folded up. You can always skip it, but it will change the look of the hat as you'll just have a regular looking rib facing out. This wrap and turn is hidden under the fold so there's no need to worry about making it look perfect. After the second hat we'll have a few more tips so keep reading.



Capstan by Norah Gaughan is another pattern from Berroco. It's available for purchase on Ravelry or the Berroco website and also includes a pattern for matching fingerless mittens. The hat takes one skein, but if you want to make the nice matching mitts, a second skein is needed. It has a quick ribbed brim that gives way to winding cables that look great. It has a slouchy fit that is very comfortable to wear. Odessa knit this hat when the pattern first came out and it's been her favourite since. The cables fit around the shape of a head so nicely and the soft colour of 4135 Aloe makes those cables pop.

The pattern called for a yarn that is now discontinued, but Berroco Mercado matches up quite well gauge-wise. So well that the new hat knit up in Mercado has the same dimensions as her original hat. This hat is a little spicier in terms of cables than Portage. There are more different kinds of cables as well as more cables that combine knits and purls in different ways so you have to pay attention a little more. If you're printing this pattern out in colour or working off a screen, the cables and key are colour coded to help you out. If you're printing it in black and white we recommend you use light coloured markers or highlighters to colour code the key and chart to help keep you on track.



A few tips that work for both hats:

  • If you tend to need a visual guide or are new to cables, use stitch markers! Portage has 5 cable sections with the small and large cables and Capstan has 3 - putting a marker between each repeat can help
  • Keep good notes! It's a little trickier to read cables and see where you're at, so marking off rows as you finish them helps you from spending lots of time trying to figure out what's going on, especially with Portage which has two different cables going on
  • Haven't worked cables before? Scroll down to the cables section of these great videos for some tutorials from Knit Purl Hunter
  • A quick thing to remember when reading cables - you'll see something like C4F - C means cable, 4 means over how many stitches and F means front. It's a good idea to check the pattern, but usually this would mean that you hold 2 stitches to the front of your work on a cable needle, knit the next two stitches on your knitting needle and then knit the 2 stitches off the cable needle.
  • Here's a post from Modern Daily Knitting with some great cable knitting tips.
  • And another from Modern Daily Knitting about cable knitting without a cable needle - this is a good skill to try as it can speed up your cable knitting. A wooly yarn like Mercado is a good yarn to try this out on as it is harder to drop stitches with a woolier wool.
  • The colour palette of Mercado lines up pretty great with hat trends we're seeing in stores with a focus on rich neutrals and soft colours, warm browns and golds, dramatic woodsy tones and a few bright pops of colour like the nice pink and gold. Pair any of these colours with Portage for a hat that's sure to please almost anyone.

We hope you enjoy our first Quick Knit of the Week for this year. Check back next week for something colourful...