This week’s release from Bold Beginner Knits was born of the need to swatch.

The Corryvreckan is the third largest whirlpool in the world. Lying in the strait between the isles of Jura and Scarba, powerful Atlantic currents pour over an unusual underwater topography in the narrow channel to create the whirlpool and standing waves. Yikes! 


Have I told you about my fear of deep water? In fact just this week I was experimenting with a meditation soundtrack to help me relax as I go to sleep. A soothing narration and sounds of waves gently breaking on the shore soon led to seals diving into the deep. In my head the narrators voice switched from calming to creepy as I had a frightening vision of being dragged to the inky depths. Needless to say I won’t be listening to that again!


When I first saw the Upstream Sweater, released last week, I imagine my reaction was much like voyagers-of-old encountering the Corryvreckan for the first time – How on earth are these crazy waves made?!


Thankfully they are not formed by a malevolent sea creature but instead simple slip stitches.


I needed to swatch before committing to knitting Upstream’s striking yoke. The pullover is knitted in the round, so my swatch would need to be too. So we thought we could turn my swatch into an opportunity to make something useful. Why not continue working the pattern a little longer, throw in some decreases and make a hat? (Kate tells me hat swatches often appear in the work of designer-teachers, like Elizabeth Zimmermann)


Initially I was daunted by this design. But I assure you, if you’re a bold beginner knitter like me, it is not as difficult as it appears.

It really is a very simple stripe sequence. The genius bit is slipping stitches. With the working yarn held in front, a series of woven floats appear to undulate across the fabric.

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There you have it, the genesis of a whirlpool hat.

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If you’re bold enough to take on the mighty maelstrom of the Corryvreckan Hat you will find the Upstream sweater plain sailing.

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Download Corryvreckan Individual Pattern on Ravelry

Corryvreckan kits are in the shop

Pre-order Bold Beginner Knits book

For fun – look back at the time Kate and Tom found buried treasure in the cliffs above the Corryvreckan in 2009


Have fun!