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.

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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