Knitting comfort food

I believe it’s true that most long-term knitters have certain patterns they return to over and over. You just know that you’ll be satisfied when you cast off. You know it will fit. You know there aren’t any errors in the pattern. You can put your knitting brain into gear and just cruise.

Wonderful Wallaby by Carol A. Anderson of Cottage Creations is a pattern like that. Comfort food. This pattern is so retro that you won’t find it available for download anywhere. Head to your local yarn shop. Or buy it direct from Cottage Creations and they will m-a-i-l it to you. Yes, mail as in an envelope with a stamp. That still works!

I knit this one in Plymouth Encore. Easy-care works better for the young ones. I’m a big fan of the garter stitch hood. And I love the kangaroo pouch. Everyone can use a sweatshirt. My pattern booklet includes sizes for a two year old to the very portly. It looks like the newer booklets include one for kid sizes 2-12 and another for adults.

Bayfront Cap by Melinda VerMeer is more comfort food for me. I’ve knit at least six in the last few years. This yarn has some issues with thick and thin that didn’t quite do the pattern justice. As you can see, you knit miles of ribbing. And about when you are beginning to think maybe this is a tad too much ribbing,

…you get to this beautiful crown decrease. So pretty. So well thought out. So not suffering from PHS (Pointy Hat Syndrome.) Bayfront Cap is a wonderful knit.

Here’s another knitting recipe that always works up right: Katharina Nopp’s Wurm.

Mine is knit in Stonedge Fiber Mills Crazy. Crazy is basically a DK weight that’s constructed of a number of colorways. No knots, just spun together. No two skeins are the same.

I call this my Earth Wurm. Wurm is a yarn eater.  I always need more than the 175 yards of sportweight the pattern calls for. I guess I like extravagantly slouchy Wurms.

And then there’s what some now apparently call the Dairy Queen Hat. But it’s no Dairy Queen Hat. It’s Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Snail Hat. I’ve knit mine in exactly what the pattern calls for: Sheepsdown, sold by Schoolhouse Press.

I use size 10 needles. And I’ve made several over the years. You need to be very brave (or very cold) to wear the snail hat.

I very much enjoy knitting it. Just because no one eats the jello salad anymore–you know the one, with all the colorful layers–doesn’t mean you don’t make it anyway. (I still sort of like that salad, by the way.)

Knitting hats when it’s too hot to wear them

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I knit warm hats year round. It’s never too warm to try one on. And it’s not like the knitting needs to rest on your lap.

This is Shilling, Chris Terramane’s contribution to the free pattern library. Shilling is available on Ravelry and on Terramane’s Simply Savvy blog. The pattern alternates garter stitch and stockinette squares and columns of what the designer aptly calls “purl-sandwiched” cables.

The directions include a variety of sizes, both child and adult. Directions are given for knitting flat (but don’t do that–why deal with the seam) and in the round.  The chart is super-sized and very easy to read. Wonderful!

My Schilling is knit in Plymouth Yarn Galway Worsted. Here’s a view of the top decreases.

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This next hat is yet another version of Melinda VerMeer’s great pattern, Bayfront. It’s knit here in  Saki, by Prism, a wonderfully springy 75% merino 25% nylon fingering weight.

prizm_bayfront

I modify the pattern to lengthen the hat and create a folded brim. Whether you knit the original version or add the folded section to warm up the ears in your vicinity, this is one great pattern. I’ve knit Bayfront six times now. The star of this knit is the top decreases.

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Bayfront is available in VerMeer’s Ravelry store.

Another fav is Stephen West’s Windschief. This is also a multiple knit for me. This time I knit it in Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lana D’Oro, a 50% alpaca 50% wool worsted weight. It’s a tad hairy for my taste, but it’s still very soft and not a bit scratchy.

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My glass head doesn’t wear this hat very well because, time for a confession, I ran out of yarn and ended up abbreviating the length. So this Windschief is child-sized. I’ve knit Windchief as a hat before. But it’s also a seriously great close-fitting cowl. You just stop before the crown decreases and bind-off “early.”

It’s been much warmer lately in Michigan. So, for this twisted knitter, it’s time to knit hats.

Melinda VerMeer’s Bayfront Cap

bayfrontMany knitters have favorite patterns that they knit many times over. For me, those patterns are often hats. Melinda VerMeer’s Bayfront Cap, available for download on Ravelry at the very reasonable price of $2.99, is so far the only sockweight yarn hat that keeps me coming back for “just one more.”

I like to knit it extra long, so that it can be cuffed over the ears. But it’s wonderful without the cuff as well. Here it is knitted in Lorna’s Laces Solemate, an interesting yarn of 55% superwash merino wool, 15% nylon, and 30% of some Rayon concoction that goes by the trade name “Outlast.” Outlast is supposed to “interact with the body’s microclimate to moderate temperature from being too hot or too cold.” I’m not sure about that. But the yarn has a nice soft bounce to it.

The very best part of Bayfront is this knock-your-socks off crown section:

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Here are various versions I’ve knit in recent years. Click on the thumbnails to get a more clear view.

 

One more Bayfront Cap

Any regular reader is probably getting tired of hearing how much I like Melinda VerMeer’s Bayfront Cap. But it really is a way cool pattern. I’ve modified it just to add a cuff. You cast on 168 stitches, with fingering weight yarn on about a size two circular needle, and you’re off to the races. Granted it’s a bit longer race than most hats, but it’s well worth the extra effort.

Knitted here in two drab colors to complement my son’s drably colored winter coat during a winter of drab dull weather. A perfect combination. But I’m happy to knit it. I still want to steam it some. This 10% nylon, 90% merino Aussie Oasis sock yarn is a bit uneven and steaming will improve the appearance of the hat.

VerMeer’s pattern is available as a Ravelry download. For my “investment”–the price of the pattern is now 2.99 US– this will be the 4th Bayfront I’ve gifted.

The ribbing can get a bit tedious. But the interesting crown decreases keep a knitter motivated to move forward.

Here’s a slideshow recap of my earlier Bayfronts:

Bay(front) watch cap

Bayfront Cap, by Melinda VerMeer, gets my 2011 award for best crown decreases. The hat looks great on all size heads and fits well. You will get it off your needles and be sure that it won’t fit anyone, but it stretches to fit even the pumpkin heads among us. It’s such a fun knit, and has been so well-received, that this is the third one I’ve made in the last few months.

The pattern is available on Ravelry for $2.99. It is so so worth it. This Bayfront is knitted in Oasis Yarn’s Aussie Sock, in the cherry tomato colorway. 90% merino, 10% nylon.

Casting on 168 stitches and knitting a cap in fingering weight yarn would not have been my cup ‘o tea in years past. Quick knits are still fun, but so are slower knits. If we like to knit, just doing it is the pleasure. A knitter doesn’t always have to be in a hurry.