Yes, it’s true…more hats

This is a Woolly Wormhead’s DS Slouch. It’s one of Wooly’s freebies. She is a “hat architect” with more than 300 hat patterns available in her Ravelry store or on her website. Her hats are often stunning, colorful, shaped in unusual ways. You can join her Woolly Hat Society on her website and get special offers, including occasional special “pick a freebie” invitations. But DS Slouch is a free-for-all.

It was a good knit. I used my recycled Malabrigo Rios. Yep, the one from the frogged poncho that bore some resemblance to a lampshade. That frog just keeps on giving!  Here’s the top.

I left mine unblocked, but not unruly.

The next hat is one I’ve knit a number of times. Sort of the ultimate test of a good pattern. It’s Rikke, a free pattern by Sarah Young.  I enjoy knitting it. People around me must enjoy wearing it because I don’t yet have one in my personal hatbox. More than 10,700 Ravelers have knit Rikke and posted the hat on their project pages.

Mine is a Red-Winged Blackbird Rikke. That’s the colorway of Washtenaw Wool Company’s Huron that I used. Here’s a look at the beauty of a worsted all skeined up. You might say it called to the birdwatcher in me.

Pretty cool, don’t you think?

Yep, the hat’s cool too. Here it is laid flat.

I especially like the way the band swooshed. It reminds me of the red-winged blackbird’s wing-patches. And, as always, we’re not done looking at the hat until we see its crown.

Ok, it’s a bit over the top. But why not? Some people will put anything on their head. And when hats make enough of a statement, sometimes they don’t get claimed in my holiday pick-a-gift, which means I get to keep them. I will stand out in a crowd in this one.

Here’s a few more Rikkes I’ve knit. (You’ll have to scroll down to get to them). A Mountain Colors Twizzle Rikke in a Mardi Gras colorway. Another again in Twizzle. And a few were made so long ago that they’re lost to the antiquities. The pattern is designed for a DK weight. But it also works well in worsted. Garter stitch was perfect to tame the wild variegated Huron colorway.

One more. Linden Slouchy Hat by Jo-Anne Klim. Mine is knit in Anzula Cricket, a DK spun of 80% merino, 10% nylon, and 10% cashmere goat.

I really like this hat. I am of an age when the pure close-to-the-head beanie look doesn’t cut it anymore. But this beanie has so much texture to it that it tricks the eye a bit and looks good on my head.

Linden, like the Washtenaw Wool Company yarn, is also mimicking nature. Klim’s design interprets the leaf of the Linden tree.

And, as always with the best hats, the crown lays nicely and without a point.

The texture of this hat really makes it special.

Hat weather is almost here

This is Leslie Taylor’s Mayfly Hat, knit in Mountain Colors Perspectives RiverWash Sport. This was a Mountain Colors’ kit, purchased at a local yarn shop closing at a ridiculously wonderful discount. The pattern is also available for purchase on Ravelry.

With the gradient reds doing their thing, it’s a bit hard to see in my photo, but that’s three Estonian braids just above the ribbing. Honestly, I don’t much care for the effect of the braids in this yarn. But it does dress the hat up a bit.

I made a few modifications. I didn’t do a provisional cast-on–not with the first row planned as a 1 by 1 rib. A provisional cast-on might have worked well if the next row was knit plain. Otherwise my sense is it would have been difficult to pick up and knit that mix of knits and purls in sportweight yarn on size 3 US needles. Instead, I did my folded brim by knitting a turning round of purl. Then I knit ribbing for a few more inches. Next I knit the cast-on stitches together with the live stitches and I was off to the races to tackle the body of the hat.

My only other modification was to move up one needle size for the body of the hat. I think that’s a common convention that works well.

The colors are what make this hat shine. And, as always, well-behaved crown decreases (no pointy problem) are much appreciated.

This next hat is Herriot, a free pattern, by Nicole Montgomery. Let’s do this in reverse. Here’s the crown, knit in Malabrigo Rios.

The pattern calls for a bulky weight, and Rios is only a worsted. But I couldn’t get gauge (18 stitches and 25 rows to each 4 inches) in any bulky weight in my stash. Again, a totally not pointy crown. Perfect.

What makes Herriot special is the use of a stitch that I don’t think we see enough of anymore: smocking stitch.

I decided to use up some precious Rios leftovers for this hat, in two favorite colorways (Sunset and Lettuce). I also worked a bit of a fade between the two colors. This is a cool hat worked in a solid color as the designer intended. But I rather like my quirky stashbuster version.

This next hat is Windshield by Niina Talikka. The pattern calls for a DK weight and I knit mine in Anzula Cricket.

I’m unsure how the diamond motif of this hat became so indistinct on one side. Cricket has good stitch definition, so I didn’t expect the hat would have that problem. The designer says that “blocking is highly recommended to make the motif visible and for the hat to form its gentle slouch.” So, as directed I blocked. It helped make the motif come to life, but not as much as I hoped.

Still, I like this hat quite a bit. Cricket is 80% merino, 10% nylon, and 10% cashmere goat. It feels wonderfully soft. No one will complain “…but it’s so itchy.” And I also don’t see anyone complaining “where’s the second side of my diamond motif.” If you decide to knit Windshield, take a look at the project pages for this hat on Ravelry. The patterning definitely pops better in a solid color. Windshield is a top-down hat. That can be a bit of a bear to pull off. But the bear only roars for a few rounds and then it’s tamed.

No bunch ‘o hats post would be complete without including another rendition of one of my favorite hats, Susan Villas Lewis’s “The Thinker.”

I’ve posted about it many times, here‘s two, and here’s another and here’s two more. My newest version is knit in Malabrigo Rios. It used to be something else, part of a (sort of) poncho. When a knitting buddy’s husband saw her working on hers he asked if she was knitting a lampshade. Every time I was tempted to wear it all I could think of was how nice a lampshade it might have made. Anyway, I frogged the thing and now I have a lot of extra Rios. Knitting The Thinker was a good save, I think. And now there’s much more Rios for me to knit with.

Passing the buck

This buck was headed to the water’s edge in Ghost Bay last week as we paddled in our kayaks. We don’t see bucks often, so he was quite a treat.

White-tailed deer are named for that large patch of white fur on the underside of the tail that you see as the deer beats a retreat. Odocoileus virginianus to you scientific types. There are many subspecies of deer in North America and those subspecies are very difficult to tell apart.

These are the Hillman Long Lake subspecies. This is the subspecies that especially likes to eat Japanese Maples in people’s gardens. They wait until the leaves fill out nicely, the rain washes away the Deer-B-Gone stinky spray, and then they enjoy a nice red-leafed salad. They are the subspecies of deer that eat hostas before the slugs can. And they eat every day-lily bloom just before the flower opens. That subspecies.

Oh well. We don’t really begrudge them feasting on what passes for our garden. We are completely undedicated to gardening. We do sort of wish they’d leave us something for our trouble though.

White-tail herds are a matriarchal society. But we’ve been surprised this year to see that the herd browsing in the morning and evening on our property still has a young male moving with it. We don’t think he’s the same buck we saw in Ghost Bay, though. The one with the herd is small, with just two dinky spikes. The Ghost Bay buck had four points.

Here’s a look at one of the females, drinking in the narrows.

Some of the deer in Montmorency County have chronic wasting disease. That’s why bait piles and other unnatural ways of drawing deer in to feed are banned here. When deer gather snout-to-snout the disease spreads more easily.

On our lawn, the deer gather this time of year to eat the acorns falling from the large oak tree near our deck. At the water’s edge, they will stand on their hind legs with their front legs resting on the cedar tree trunks to browse. And we even see deer jumping on two legs to reach some tasty bits of cedar.

My rows are rambling again

My major knitting since mid-July has been to work up nearly 3300 yards (15 skeins) of Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted into a throw. Well, a blanket really. I’ve knit nine of these guys. Yep. Nine. Rambling Rows Afghan by Cottage Creations’ Carol A. Anderson is my all-time favorite afghan pattern.

Rowan Superwash is quite a lightweight worsted. So I didn’t knit it to gauge, which would have needed a heftier worsted and size 8 or even size 9 needles. I used US size 6 needles and the fabric came out just right. It’s a lightweight blanket. Here it is laying atop a queen-sized mattress. (Forgive the clashing quilt.)

This Rambling Rows will live in a TV-watching/office room decked out in earth tones. I think the grays, gold and orange worked out great and the blanket really pops resting on the back of the sofa.

Did I come up with these colors, Charcoal, Granite, Moonstone, Seville and Gold on my own? No. Never in a million years. I first bought the yarn intending to knit Star-Eyed Julep Throw by Kay Gardiner, Ann Shayne, and Kirsten Kapur. Here’s that throw. It uses these same five Rowen Pure Wool Superwash colorways.

I asked to be gifted the book containing this throw, Drop Dead Easy Knits, specifically so I could knit Star-Eyed Julep. I even worked through the errata supplied on Ravelry and started knitting the first quadrant of the throw. I was not satisfied with the not-crisp edge-turns of what’s basically the Mason-Dixon log cabin technique adapted to create that star. Apparently it takes a better knitter than me to master the technique. After starting the Star-Eyed 3 times I decided I might drop dead before I completed the thing. But oh my those colorways are so perfect together.

So, I acquired the additional yarn I needed (difficult, since the Seville colorway is discontinued) and my new Rambling Rows was hatched.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the project. And I credit the Drop Dead Easy Knits trio with my success because this Rambling Rows is all about their inspired colorway choices.

P.S. Even though I picked up the garter stitch mitered edge the way I always do on my Rambling Rows, this more lightweight yarn picked up a little ruffle. I’ve steamed it a bit since these photos were taken and it’s tamed.

Here’s the rest of my Rambling Rows, if you’d like to see how this blanket works up in different colorways: here, here, here’s four, and another here. I know, that’s not nine. You’ll just have to take my word on that.

Fetchings

Recently I had a major knitting stutter. I knitted a series of four Fetchings, Cheryl Niamath’s wonderful free pattern. I used four skeins of Noro Silk Garden in two colorways. I got started during a long drive, continued during a week-long visit to Ann Arbor, and finished the fourth pair once I returned home.

It’s such a satisfying knit. I’d knit the pattern six times before and managed to keep only one of the six for myself. Fetching is a handy mitt to tuck in a coat pocket for those times when there’s just a bit of a chill in the air.

In previous Fetchings I’d used solids–mostly Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherd’s Wool. They worked up great in that yarn. Check out my first half-dozen. But this time it was those great Noro color changes that kept me trying just one more, just one more.

Four of the mitts are one colorway and four are another. But it’s difficult to tell which sprung from the same colorway.

The current count of posted Fetching projects on Ravelry is 21,138! 6065 Ravelers have Fetching in their queues awaiting the day when they’ll cast on. If you’re one of those 6000, seriously consider knitting Fetching soon. It will not disappoint. And if it’s not in your queue, just skip the queue and cast on straightaway. There’s already a chill in the morning air here in Michigan. And we’ve gotten into the mid-forties at night. Pretty soon you’ll welcome slipping your chilly fingers into a pair of these mitts.