Hat weather is here

The lake hasn’t frozen yet, though it’s getting close. On cold mornings there’s a skin of ice extending out from the shore. And the foam that the winds froth up is sort of smoothie texture. Without a hat, ears will soon be feeling pretty frozen.

This hat is “Hungry Horse Hat” a newer DK-weight pattern from Aimee Alexander of Polka Dot Sheep. I don’t know the origin of the pattern name. But I still know that I like the hat. It’s an interesting mix of garter stitch and mesh, designed to be tri-color.

Here’s a look at its well-behaved crown.

Alexander definitely knows how to tame the crown decreases. No pointy head syndrome here.

My Hungry Horse is a mix of critters-of-origin. The gold is Anzula Cricket, 80% merino sheep, 10 percent cashmere goat, and 10 percent nylon chemistry lab. The mesh section is Mountain Goat by Mountain Colors, described on the Mountain Colors’s site and on Ravelry as 50% merino and 45% mohair (which is where the goat comes in). Apparently it’s 5% unidentified something else. And the earband is Shalimar Yarns Breathless DK. Breathless is 75% merino, 15% cashmere goat, and 10% silk. I hesitated before mixing and matching yarns, but I was trying to get a proper color scheme. I’m completely pleased with the outcome. I guess it wouldn’t be too good a hat to test a person’s fiber allergies, though. If your head itches, you could be allergic to just about anything.

This next hat is Jo-Anne Klim’s new fingering weight slouchy: the Woodmere Slouchy Hat.

There’s always a lot of knitting (and yardage) in a fingering weight slouchy, but Woodmere is worth the time and effort. From twisted rib at the start, through that soothing ribbed waffle stitch, and finishing with another well-planned crown.

I knit Woodmere in Wollmeise Twin, a bouncy 80% merino, 20% nylon that worked up very nicely in this pattern. Great stitch definition. And that deep saturated color. I might not be able to put this one out for my holiday pick-your-gift baskets. Klim’s KBJ Design patterns are always keepers!

Here’s another hat from Klim that I’ve knit before: Araluen 

This is knit in one of my personal favorite worsted yarns, Malabrigo Rios. It’s their Purple Mystery colorway. I guess it’s no big mystery why it turned my hands and stitch markers purple while I knit it. That’s not my favorite part of the yarn. And it’s not normal in terms of my experience with Rios. I’ll just need to be watchful if any of the bald men in my circle reach for this one in my holiday gift baskets. I’ll need to steer them to another hat because I’m not sure this one is done bleeding yet. And, yes, another excellent crown decrease.

In fact, an extremely well thought out crown.

And now, for something completely different.

This is Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Maltese Fisherman’s Hat. She is often quoted as saying that the good thing about knitting hats is that some people will put anything on their head. This must be a prime example.

Mine is knit in the Sheepswool Super Bulky that the pattern calls for, available from Schoolhouse Press. It’s actually Bartlettyarns‘ superbulky.

I’m waiting to see if any of my holiday guests reach for this one. Laying flat it looks innocent enough. It isn’t obvious at that point that the hat makes you look like a royal airhead. But there’s nothing warmer than this hat. Maybe ice fisherman should adopt this look. Ice fisherman who actually fish out on the ice, not in a heated ice shanty. Ice fisherman who fish out on the ice alone without any companions and who keep this hat in their pick-up truck and only put it on once no one will see them.

Maltese Fisherman’s Hat is actually a quick fun knit. It puts a knitter in touch with her knitting ancestors. You just have to be brave and wear it with pride.

Wolkig Trio

Sometimes designs just grab hold and I want to knit something in multiples to see how they’ll work up. Wolkig (cloudy in German) is Martina Behm’s free one-line pattern and it had that effect for me. No joke. One line.

First I knit this one, in Dream in Color Jilly:Oops. That’s Wolkig wrong-side out. Here it is right-side out:

That’s part of the charm of this fingering weight cowl.

I decided to stop mine short of the 21 inches Behm suggests. Mine is about15 inches and is soft enough and scrunchy enough that it doesn’t look like some kind of Queen Victoria wooly neck-brace.

This next one is also about 15 inches tall, knit in Thede, one of Rhichard Devrieze’s fingering weight speckled yarns. It’s 80 percent merino, 20% nylon, and would typically be used for socks. But I like the way it turned out in Wolkig.

My Thede Wolkig bunches more easily than the Jilly one.

I kind of just couldn’t stop at two. Here’s Wolkig in Mirasol’s Khusku. Khuska is an interesting combination of 40% bamboo, 40% wool, 20% nylon. Right side out:

Wrong side out:

Glass Head declares it very soft. She wonders why I’ve never knit anything in bamboo before. Who knew it would feel so excellently soft?

Calorimetry time, again

A chill hits the air and I often start thinking of knitting headbands. And Kathryn Schoendorf’s Calorimetry, a free pattern available on Knitty, including via Ravelry, is definitely my favorite knit of this sort. These two are knit in Plymouth Yarn Boku. I know, off the head they look a little lip-like. Just ignore that because when worn they’re just cute. One 99-yard skein of Boku, a few hours of knitting, a foray into your old-button stash and you’ve got a great gift–for you or for others.

Here’s how Calorimetry looks buttoned up minus glasshead.

 I had some Queensland Collection Brisbane left after knitting up a Colonel Talbot scarf. Brisbane is a definite Aran weight, so this Calorimetry is almost a beanie. It would be great for the messy-bun or pony-tail crowd.

I think it’s nifty the way the colors worked out. It reminds me of photos of far away galaxies.

Sometimes I do think that I knit mostly to keep my eyeballs entertained. Very lively colorways often capture my attention. So I decided to try a Calorimetry in a very tame color. Here it is knit in the WEBS housebrand Valley Yarn Amherst. The yarn was on sale. 100% merino. I bought one 99 yard skein to take it for a test drive. Very nice yarn. Great little pattern!

Baby’s bed buddy

Evelyn came to visit her grandmother. Grandmother Me. Evelyn is two. Evelyn’s parents were comfortable with her still sleeping in her Guava. Well, she doesn’t sleep in an actual guava. She sleeps in a Lotus when she visits. OK. She sleeps in a Guava Family Lotus. It’s a…a…fancy Pack ‘n Play. It seemed sturdier to me, when I purchased it for her brother. It has served well for visits.

Anyway, Evelyn’s favorite stuffie is not something handmade. It’s a doll. Sort of an odd doll, actually. She goes by the name of “Baby” or “Baby Doll” or sometimes “Doll Baby.” Whatever you do, do not even think of separating Evelyn from Baby.

The Guava Lotus looked a little empty for a just-turned two year old. I thought Baby might like a pillow and a blanket. So I knit them. The blanket is actually Dishcloth Diva Deb  Buckingham’s pattern, Neutrals. Baby’s Neutrals is hot pink though. It suits her better. And the pillow is just a two motif, folded-in-half Neutrals.

I had a little extra time waiting for the young ones and their parents to arrive, so I added a teddy bear for Baby to sleep with. This one is a teeny version of Lesley Anne Price’s fine pattern, “The Bears.” I knit him with leftover sock yarn, Quaere Fibre‘s sportweight, in the Spring Flowers colorway. You just never know when those little bits of leftovers can come in handy. I knitted Teeny on size one needles. One leg is the width of a U.S. dime. So, very very teeny.

Baby only seems to have eyes for Evelyn. Baby ignored her new bedding and toy. But Evelyn was quite taken with this little set. She mostly kept them in her Guava Lotus. During Evelyn and her family’s week-long visit, I regularly found Teeny tucked under his blankie. Teeny couldn’t quite get the hang of the pillow thing, but all told this grandmother declares her knitting effort a success.

Stay Put

This is the Staying Put Wrap, an Erica Kempf Broughton pattern available on Ravelry. It first caught my eye because, well, because it did. I thought it was pretty and I liked the idea of a small shawl that would stay put. It didn’t hurt that the color-changing yarn called for by the pattern is Noro Taiyo, an Aran weight. I’d had one skein of this in my stash for a few years and hadn’t found the right pattern for it. It was a single skein relegated to the sale bin. It sort of followed me home.

And the other yarn needed to be a worsted. But which worsted and what color was a difficult choice. I chose an old stand-by: Plymouth Yarns Worsted Merino Superwash Solid. And, as you see, I decided to tone this down a bit so I used an off white. I am very satisfied with the way the yarns played together.

Here’s a look at how nicely this wrap sits on shoulders.

You may notice, from comparing the size of the wrap to the size of the hanger, that this is quite a petite wrap. That’s OK. I am 5 foot 3. I used to be 5 foot 4, but that’s another story. It’s pretty. And it definitely stays on the shoulders. This shape is the reason for its good behavior:

Pretty cool, actually. Pretty thing. And it was also a fun, quick knit.