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.

Chinle Cowl

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This is the Chinle Cowl by Stephannie Tallent of Sunset Cat Designs. It’s a quick, fun, rhythmic  knit and one of many close-fitting cowls that I’ve been knitting lately. As Tallent puts it, “the textured and stockinette chevron patterns really let your yarn talk!” The yarn “talking” here is the very articulate Crazy 8s from Gecko Yarns, a 100% merino, DK weight. Here’s a closer look without the distraction of my glass head and its vintage mohair stuffing.

chinli_greenThe pattern calls for a worsted weight, but I decided to modify it for a DK. I cast on more stitches (143), used a size 5 US, and knit 5 chevron patterns. Tallent explains the math for the modification. I used 84 grams to complete the cowl.

Here’s the Chinle Cowl knit in the worsted that the pattern calls for: Anzula Cricket. Cricket is an 80% merino, 10% nylon, 10% cashmere concoction. It’s wonderful to work with. I had only a partial skein remaining, so I knit the small size. Even the small fits over my pumpkin head. My niece Kelly look great in it!

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Here’s another look.

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Karel

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I’ve got an already-identified thing for knitting bunnies. In fact, one of my early bunnies recently surfaced and put in an appearance on the blog. Isaac’s baby bunny was a recent addition to the bunny hutch.

This is Karel, Dutch knit designer Annita Wilschut’s enhancement of the knitted bunny kingdom. Wilschut’s patterns are available on her blog and on Ravelry. My Karel is knit in an extravagant luxury yarn for a critter: Cricket, by Anzula. Cricket is DK weight, 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon. Perfect for socks and for small rabbits. Karel’s overalls, which are included in his pattern, are knit in Quaere Fibre self-striping sportweight.

The details on Wilschut’s patterns are wonderful. Not just the obligatory bunny tail hole. (But isn’t it a cute one?) She is a master of short row placement. This gives just the needed shaping for rounded bellies and for butts that let the animals sit upright. And, as with all her patterns, when you finish the knitting there’s no parts to sew together.

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