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Designer Spotlight: Skullcracker by Carissa Browning

Carissa Browning wouldn’t design just any old hat. She prefers to “fiddle around with unusual construction methods.” That’s how she came up with her latest design, Skullcracker.

This seemingly simple, stockinette cap starts with a magic cast on and is knit in alternating rectangles that are created by picking up stitches from the previous edges. Lost yet? Carissa’s creative design is sure to keep knitters fully engaged, but she promises it’s more fun than frustrating. In fact, you’ll probably want to knit one for the entire family once you get going – and you can, because she provides instructions for infants through adults! Her pattern is free in the latest issue of Knitty, so all you’ll need is some Berroco Ultra Alpaca.

Skullcracker by Carissa Browning
Skullcracker by Carissa Browning

How did you come up with this design? 

I love to turn knitting on its head (I also love puns!) and find new ways to create the same old shapes. This pattern includes short rows and modular knitting, which are excellent techniques to keep in your back pocket for just such an occasion.

Did you make it for anyone in particular? 

I made it for everyone! I wanted to create a simple, gender- and age-neutral hat with a fun twist.

What made you decide on Berroco Ultra Alpaca? 

I wanted to find a yarn with widespread availability, so knitters everywhere could get their hands on it. I thought it should be something with a subtle halo to add a softness to the jagged lines of the pattern, with a variety of color options. Berroco Ultra Alpaca fit the bill perfectly! 

Any interesting knitting stories?

I enjoy knitting in public and seeing the reactions it elicits. I have gotten the usual queries about whether I am knitting or crocheting, presumptuous statements regarding the status of my womb and wistful stories of someone’s Grandma, Nana, or Meemaw. Once, at a library, I was approached by a complete stranger – an older woman with a foreign accent. She offered me a bag of yarn, saying it would be too expensive to ship it to family back home, and she could no longer use it due to arthritis. I thanked her and said I would be glad to give it a good home. She told me she only lived a short distance away and would be right back. Soon after, she returned with a big black garbage bag full of fiber. It’s amazing the connections you can make through a mutual love of wool.

Skullcracker by Carissa Browning

Do you have a cool design you want to share?  Or did you recently finish a project with Berroco yarn?  You can email Ashley: or post it to the Berroco Lovers forum in Ravelry.

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