Here is the promised finished knitting project. I've had fair isle mushrooms in the back of my mind for a few years now, so I'm very glad to see them realized.
This hat is for Ben, and I made it from Pattons Classic Wool. I planned the project be starting with the colors. Red and white were a given, and we added the very dark coal grey because I thought is seemed warmer and less stark than a pure black would be.
The mushroom chart is 16 stitches wide, so I spaced them 4 stitches apart, thinking that would look good since the space is an exact quarter width of the figure. It also gave me a 20 stitch repeat, which made the rest of the math very simple.
I cast on 100 sts (16 inch size 6 circular needle) and made a pretty deep 2x2 ribbing. It's six inches of ribbing, because Ben likes to turn up the ribbing on his winter hats. That's also the reason I didn't do any stripes or color work in the ribbed portion, because he is no respecter of the "wrong side" of stripes.
After the ribbing, I did the colorwork. I broke a bunch of fair isle rules while doing it, as well. I carried the yarn across 10 stitches at a time, and used three colors in the same row through most of it. I know, I'm a rebel. Actually, I'd not usually leave such long floats, but I figured it was safe enough inside a hat, where fingers or toes never go. I did catch the floats with the working yarn in some places, but didn't care for that for a couple of reasons. It twisted up my working yarns, showed a definate line on the right side and really broke my knitting rhythm to remember to do it.
After the colorwork, I decreased 10% of stitches every other row until there were 40 stitches left, and then decreased 10% every row until there were ten sts. I decreased by 50% and threaded these remaining 5 sts on the working yarn to gather them up.
This ended up being a taller sort of winter hat, not a skull cap tight fit. It's really warm with the three colors of floats in the colorwork band and the doubled 2x2 ribbing.
Ben's pretty happy with it, and I'm deciding how matching mittens would look.