Winding Trail 2 Central Ave

This is a new pattern from Linda Courtney of Knitwise Design: Winding Trail Headband. Courtney writes that “The trail is rarely straight – and neither is this headband!” I knit mine in a long-ago discontinued yarn: Classic Elite Tapestry. It’s a 75% wool, 25% mohair, beefy worsted.

The pattern calls for Malabrigo Merino worsted, but any worsted or Aran weight should work well. Just be sure to keep a sharp eye on the row gauge. Or, if you’re off on the row gauge, adjust the number of pattern repeats. This headband is a one evening project.

Here’s a look, off-head:

The winding trail starts with a provisional cast-on and ends with a three-needle bind-off. A knitter could chose to do garter stitch grafting. I find that a bit of a bear though, and the three-needle bind-off worked well. There’s a tiny extra ridge at the bind-off. Only if wearers suffer from serious cases of “Princess and the Pea Syndrome” will they be able to feel the ridge.

I cast off and soon cast on for a second.

This one is knit in Harrisville Design’s Orchidville Cashmere. It’s a 70% wool, 25% goat mohair, 5% goat cashmere, Aran weight. I’d provide a link but the agedness of my stash strikes again. It’s discontinued too. Orchidville Cashmere, like Tapestry, was a very good yarn.

Here’s another look, off-head:

Headbands are such sensible headgear, since ears are what mostly get cold on many people. And headbands are ponytail-friendly. You can keep one in the pocket of every coat, for the days you didn’t think you’d need a hat.

Recently, while reorganizing my stash, I was reacquainted with two wonderful skeins of worsted. Colorbug and Quaere Fiber:

 

I’d been saving these two beauties for something special. Aimee Alexander’s Central Ave has turned into a bit of an obsession for this knitter so I decided to break out the good stuff. My first two Central Aves (scroll to the end of the post) were very well received by my nieces. So I decided to cast on:

And cast on again:

There are a number of hat patterns, some of them free, that look a lot like this one. But Alexander’s version has a few design sensibilities that I feel the others lack.

And it even has a nicely behaved crown decrease.

I sometimes test knit for Alexander and for Knitwise Design. And I look forward to it every time. Even in the testing stages their patterns are clearly written, without errors.

Knit on!

Winter blues

Blues. It’s too soon for the real wintry blues, since winter is only just getting revved up here in Michigan. But blue hats. Well, blue hats seem to be leaping off my needles. This one is Dani Sunshine’s Rockhound. One of her free patterns. Anything feathery and fanny is fun for me. This is knit up in Plymouth Yarn’s Worsted Merino Superwash Solid. Excellent stitch definition. Glass head likes how well it works with her blue vintage mohair cheekbone.

Here’s a look at the nicely rounded crown.

This next bit of blue is Speargrass, in another shade of the same Plymouth worsted superwash I used for Rockhound. It’s another free pattern, this time by Susie Gourlay.

How cool is that? Possibly, very cool. “Holey hats, Batman!” But not every hat has to be super-warm. This one is a lot of fun to knit. And the pattern is easily memorized.

At first I thought that I didn’t care for the way the ribbing transitioned into the body of the hat. And next time I might try knitting a round to make the transition to the body a little more defined. But the more I look at it, I sort of like the added texture.

Here’s another view, this time off-the-head.

The crown decreases lay nice and flat and maintain the pattern well. In those last few rounds, that’s not easily done. But it looks neat. And anyway, the very tops of hats aren’t visible. Well, unless they suffer from PHS (Pointy Hat Syndrome) and this hat doesn’t.

Next up is another freebie, “Jaye a Copy of CC,” by Elaine Long. I had no idea who or what CC referred too. About the only thing I know about current popular culture is what can be gleaned from HGTV. (What waterfall islands are, that everyone wants “open floor plans,”  and that for some reason parents now want to be able to see their kids all the time when kids are playing in the house.)  But, the internet teaches that the CC Beanie is Colorado Chick‘s. Hopefully imitation, especially with attribution, remains a sincere form of flattery.

My Jaye is knit in, you guessed it, Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash, this time in one of their hand-dyed hanks. The rim is doubled, which will definitely help eliminate cold ears.

The crown decreases work well. My only modification was to continue the decreases a few extra rounds so that there would be fewer stitches to gather at the top.

Here’s my favorite hat of this style: Aimee Alexander’s Central Ave. It’s not a freebie, but the few extra touches make it worth the purchase.

Alexander’s pattern uses an easy “trick” to get the reverse stockinette ridges to pop nicely. Same for the twisted rib. Great pop factor. And the crown decreases are well-organized too.

Even though I knit this one in Brown Sheep worsted, which made it a bit stiff, I am very pleased with how it worked out. It disappeared quickly from my holiday pick-your-gifts stash.

In fact, as soon as I finished my Central Ave in Brown Sheep, I cast on for another. This time in Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Worsted. I can be forgiven for that purchase because I bought the skein at half price, which made it only twice more expensive than seems right. Not so. Organic. I get it.

Oops. Not blue. So not blue. The colorway is Bittersweet. By now, I figure we’re sick of the blues anyway. Central Ave is an especially satisfying easy knit.

And reports are that people who don’t tend to look good in hats, look good in Central Ave.