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.

Golden

I just realized that I’ve been on a bit of a golden jag in some fairly recent projects. This one is “Little Lonely Cable,” a freebie by Joji Locatelli, available on Ravelry. Locatelli is a talented Argentinian knitwear designer who released this hat pattern free, back in 2013, to honor 3 years of support by Ravelers around the world.

The pattern is designed for DK weight. I knit mine in Shalimar Yarns Breathless DK. It’s a 75% merino, 15% goat mohair, 10% silk yarn and works up beautifully, with great stitch definition.

Here’s a look at the crown decreases. They are rather abrupt–by design, of course. The decreases create a garter stitch snowflake top. And that one lonely cable continues throughout.

Next up is “Linden Cowl” by Jo-Anne Klim of KBJ Designs. Klim hails from Penrith, New South Wales, Australia. My version of Linden Cowl is knit in Fleece Artist Woolie Silk 3-ply. Woolie Silk is, well, wooly silk. 65% wool, 35% silk. It’s also a DK weight.

I especially like the texture of this one. The lace is inspired by the shape of Linden Tree leaves.

Linden Cowl is an excellent fun knit. The yarn and the feel of this is so yummy that I kept the cowl for myself.

This next golden one is “Delfino,” another freebie available on Ravelry. This hat is designed by Luciano of LucianoLoop. She’s fairly new to her knitwear designer path.

I knit my Delfino in Anzula’s For Better or Worsted. It’s a worsted (obviously). And it’s yet another great yarn: 80% merino, 10% cashmere goat, 10% nylon.

Delfino passes one of my key tests for a good hat. It has a nicely behaved crown decrease and doesn’t come to a poked-out point.

While I was knitting the crown, I thought that ditching the cables so suddenly caused the crown to get disorganized. But I was wrong about that. It looks great.

So, it’s Jojo Locatelli from Argentina, Jo-Anne Klim from Australia, and Luciano from Montevideo, Uruguay. With the incredible assist from Ravelry, every knitter’s work is enhanced by having access to designs from, well, from everywhere.

Araluen

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Araluen is a town in New South Wales, Australia, that had 293 people at the 2011 census. Araluen means “water lily” or “place of the water lily” in the language of the first people of Australia. Before the local gold rush wrecked the place, there was an Araluen Creek that was filled with water lilies. No more. But Jo Anne Klim of Penrith, New South Wales, and kbjdesigns has her own view of Araluen. And I think I see echoes of water lily in this interesting but repetitive organic stitch.

This Araluen is a cowl. The pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry. My version is worked in Malabrigo Rios in the Archangel colorway. Here’s a closer look.

araluen_cowl

I wanted a really stretchy bind-off, so I used “Ribbing Bind Off” from page 118 of Cap Sease’s great book, “Cast on, Bind off.” You purl 2 together, knit one, lift the right stitch on the right needle over the left stitch and off the needle, then bring the yarn to the front, slip the stitch purl wise back from the right needle to the left. And keep repeating. It worked really well. It’s so much fun when old dogs learn new tricks.

I enjoyed knitting Araluen so much that I decided to cast on for another cowl right away. This next, much more calm version, is knit in Anzula’s great yarn For Better or Worsted. It’s 80% merino, 10% cashmere goat, and 10% nylon. Soft, flowing, great next to the skin.

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Klim has released a number of patterns in this stitch, including socks, fingerless mitts, a hat, or an ebook with the entire collection of four patterns.

I completely enjoyed knitting the cowls and also gave the hat a whirl.

araluen

I knit mine in Malabrigo Rios. I’m a big fan of the Carrot Tops colorway. It can be just the ticket to banish the winter blahs. An interesting ribbing. An easy-to-memorize 4-row main pattern. And, a must for me, a doesn’t-come-to-a-point crown.

araluentop

A very nice way to echo the stitch pattern in the crown because it keeps the squiggles in line.

In fact, I’ve now knit another. This time in the Rios colorway purple mystery. (And I have the purple fingertips and hands to prove it. The dye leached out like crazy.)

arauluen_purple

The Arualuens even have a surprise for knitters.

araluenreverse

The reverse side looks great! So, when you give it to someone with a knitwear I.Q. in the single digits, they can wear it inside out and it will still look good and you won’t be shamed.

More Totalee Slouchee

slouchee

If I find a pattern I like, especially a hat pattern, I’ll often make more than one. That’s odd because I suffer from Second Sock Syndrome (and Second Mitten Syndrome) and I often have to push hard to get the second of something done. This is Totalee Slouchee by Jo-Anne Klim of KBJ Designs.

The pattern is incredibly simple. It uses an interesting slipped rib brim that progresses very quickly. And the rest is just totally wonderful mindless knitting. There are times when that’s what a knitter wants. Combined with Schachenmayr’s great self-striping DK weight, Merino Extra-Fine Color 120, this simple knit is enlivened. You want to see how the next row of color and the next and the next will line up. Soon you reach the excellent crown decrease.

slouchee_top

Recentlly I knit this one and then promptly cast on for another Slouchee in another colorway of the same yarn.

PInk_blue_slouchee

And, to remind, this was my first.

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Great yarn. Great simple pattern.

As the weather turns…more hats

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I typically proceed through the world hatless. It takes super cold weather or knowing I’ll be out in the cold for prolonged periods before I wear a hat. But still hats are among my favorite things to knit. You only need to make one. And gauge isn’t super important because I always have access to some some head of the right size. Twenty below this winter in Michigan has even managed to improve my personal attitude toward wearing hats.

This is “Totallee Slouchee” by Jo-Anne Klim, of KBJ Designs. The pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry. The hat uses an interesting, easy, slipped-rib brim. Slouch seems to be a currently popular style and this hat slouches nicely.

My Slouchee is knit in my new favorite self-striping DK weight yarn: Merino Extrafine Color 120 by Schachenmayr Original,  I used the London Mix colorway. The yarn had no knots or color breaks in the two skeins I used. I’ve since found some knots in another colorway I used for a project, but these two skeins were perfect. One of the cool things about this yarn? The skein has a slotted band with the proper end to pull taped and easily accessible. No more yarn barf!

slouchee

This next hat is Amy van de Laar’s “Paper Planes” from her Paper Hats series. The hat features a ring of classic paper airplanes as seen from above, outlined with twisted stitches that make for nice crisp edges. Well, honestly, you have to let your imagination roam a bit to see that. Still, it’s an interesting design.

paperplanes

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The pattern and the entire series of origami-inspired hats are available for purchase on Ravelry. This was a fun knit. I used String Theory Caper Sock. Caper Sock is an 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon mix that worked up beautifully in this pattern. I’d have been a tad more pleased with this toddler-sized hat if I had increased the length to the crown decreases by an inch or two.

This next one is Alicia Plummer’s “Rainy Tuesday.” The large-size version, which mine is, maintains the raindrops motif around the entire hat. It’s an appealing stylish hat. The challenges the pattern presents are all surmountable, with a bit of experience and a bit ‘o help from your Ravelry-mates.

Rainy_Tuesday

My Rainy Tuesday is knit in Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash. Great yarn with excellent stitch definition.

Here’s a few more views of Plummer’s Hat.

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Rainy_Tuesday2The instruction for taming those pointy crown decreases was to block aggressively. I haven’t tried that yet, but it’s a tall order. I’m prepared to declare it a design feature.