Hats for a cold spring

Looks like spring. But this fingering weight hat will keep the wintery weather at bay. That’s been handy this April. Good news, though. Ice-out a few days ago on Long Lake! We’ve already been in our kayaks. The beaver were kind to our Ghost Bay trees and didn’t even munch the birch trees. The small-mouth bass are moving throughout the lake. Our dock went in today. Nick’s been wake-boarding this past weekend. So, we rush the season a bit, even while I cling to winter knits. There’s no time when I don’t knit wool hats. Even in the summer, hats keep popping off my needles.

This beauty is Joan Sheridan’s Hearts and Flowers Fair Isle Cap. Sheridan kits this up in seven shades of Jamieson’s Spindrift and and sells the kit at her shop. As always with her kits, there was plenty of leftover yarn–even though I knit the largest size. The pattern is also downloadable on Ravelry.

Here’s a look at the great crown decrease section.

Such fun to knit! And so much bang for your knitting bucks.

I think I feel a red(dish) hat blog post coming on. This next one is Dawnlight Slouchy Hat by Jo-Anne Klim.

I knit mine in String Theory’s Hand-dyed Merino DK, in the Rose Madder colorway. It’s a delicious shade of reddish-orange. I knit this hat over the winter and got tons of use out of it. The texture and slouch work well for me. I’ve learned, only lately actually, that head-hugger beanies aren’t the right look for me anymore. (That doesn’t stop me from wearing plenty of beanies anyway, though.)

This is one major beanie. It’s Dan the Plug’Ole, by Nathan Taylor. A little research and I learned the apparent origin of the pattern name: “Your hoglet has gawn dan the plug’ole”  is a line from an old Cockney dialect poem. I was drawn to the pattern exactly because of that spiralling ribbing and stockinette. It’s a fairly easy knit. You have to stay awake to make it work. But the effect is worth the effort. And that wide brim really keeps ears warm. Mine is knit in Cascade 220 Superwash Effects. Good hat. Good yarn.

Here’s a look at that spiraling top as it goes down the plug hole.

Honestly, I had a little trouble with the spiral. Snooze, you lose (a stitch or two). But it worked out well. Eventually.

This next hat, a freebie by Jan Wise, also has a great name: F309 Slouchy Hat with Picot Edge. This name tells a knitter all that needs to be known. I knit mine in a great yarn, now discontinued, Harrisviille Designs’ Orchid with Cashmere:

My top ended up a tad unruly. Here it is, unblocked. I kind of like it this way.

This next hat is Brick Sidewalk Beanie, an Ann Weaver design, free on Ravelry. I knit mine in String Theory Hand-Dyed Merino DK, in wisteria. Ok, not a red like the rest of the post’s hats. But sort of a pink. Sort of a lavender pink. Close enough.

It’s an interesting knit. The ribbing is unusual. And I really like the way the three columns of ribbing continue up the hat and taper gently through the crown decrease section.

I knit the largest size and mine turned out a bit long at the back of the neck. That’s easily remedied by shortening the body of the hat about an inch. Or it could be worn with a bit of slouch and a bit of attitude.

You only have to make one hat, so there’s no such thing as second hat syndrome to deal with. You don’t have to obsess much about gauge, because heads come in such a variety of sizes you’ll always find a head to fit. And knitting hats is the perfect portable project for all those waiting rooms we need to frequent. Go forth and knit hats! All. Year. Long.

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

araluen_cowl3

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.

araluencowl_gray2

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.

slouchee3

Great yarn. Great simple pattern.