Sweetie Pie hat

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This is Be Sweet’s Sweetie Pie hat, designed by Tanis Gray. It’s sold as a kit. The hat pattern is printed on the inside of the ball band of a skein of Be Sweet Bambino Taffy. The yarn is 70% cotton, 30% bamboo and it’s very soft to the touch. No little tots will complain the hat is scratchy.

I’m a Tanis Gray fan. And I think this hat worked up really cute. But honestly the pattern is a bit of a mess. It’s arranged in a disorganized way. Anyone other than a beginner knitter will figure it out, though. The pattern is printed in ridiculously light ink. Eye strain really shouldn’t need to be part of the deal, Be Sweet!

I made a few modifications. I cast on the recommended 74 stitches, but increased one stitch (to 75) before the heart motif started. That way the hearts, and later the bobbles, are  all evenly spaced. I also modified the puny bobbles and did them this way: (K1, P1, K1, P1, K1) into the same stitch, turn and purl the 5 stitches, turn and knit the 5 stitches, then pass each stitch over the first one, in turn.

Here’s a better look at the crown and my ring of oversized bobbles.

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This kit has a surprise in store for the knitter. This isn’t a gradient ball of yarn. Instead, at every color change the new yarn color is just knotted in. Yipes! Of course, I undid the knots and worked the ends in. Erica, one of my guild members, knit this same hat. She said that Russian join worked well for her.

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It’s a pretty little thing. Your little sweetie pie will look cute in it.

Knitting hats in polar vortex country

hobbit_hat2I’ve gone rather hat-crazy lately. This isn’t even the half of them. Friends and family who like to wear hats have ordered up a few and they’ve kept me busy. Hats are one of my favorite things to knit. You knit a sock or a mitten and then you really do need to make another one pretty much the same. But hats, you can try this or try that and when you’re finished you don’t have to start all over again.

This is what I call a Hobbit Hood and what CreatiKnits calls her “Pixie Hood.” It’s a paid pattern, available on Ravelry. My niece liked the shape and style of this one, so I purchased the pattern instead of just winging it. As you can see more clearly below, this is not a rocket-science knit. The recommended yarn is LIon-Brand Woolease Thick and Quick Solids and that’s what I used. The pattern called for two skeins, but I only used about 5 yards of the second skein. Melanie reports, and you can see it on the glass head, that it curls under on the bottom edge–not really an endearing trait. Maybe a more loose bind off would have helped what steaming didn’t.

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Trilobite is a favorite hat that I’ve knit a number of times, including here  and here. The newest Trilobite is knit in Lion Brand Martha Stewart Craft Extra Soft Wool Blend, let’s not call it LBMSCESWB for short.

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Trilobite is a free pattern from a 2009 Knitty edition. It’s designed by Hannah Ingalls. It’s such a hoot to see those Trilobites emerge as you knit. LBMSCESWP–I know, I wasn’t going to call it that–has a few issues with unsightly knots hidden in the midst of the yarn every once in awhile, but if they could just lick that problem I’d give it very high marks. It’s 65% acrylic, 35% wool but it feels like the reverse might be true. Plus, of course, it’s easy care.

This is Knitwise Design’s Castle Hat, available on Ravelry or via Linda’s website. I knit it in Berroco Comfort–a great yarn for the sensitive heads among us.

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This is also a repeat knit for me. Check it out here in another shade of Comfort. Of course the knitted castle is the star of this hat, but the crown decreases are also nicely done, with the placement of purl stitches.

castleHere’s what I think is another cool hat, again worked up in that alphabet soup yarn LBMSCESWL. Such a delicate shade of pink for a hat that designer Robin Melanson named Silver-Plates Dragon Scale Cloche. Since my young neighbor chose pink rather than gray yarn, the name doesn’t quite fit. But the dragon scales still show up clearly.

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Melanson’s pattern is included in Tanis Gray’s Interweave book, Cozy Knits: 50 Fast and Easy Project by Top Designers. The book features Cascade Yarns, great yarns at a value price point. But I’ve been knitting hats from stash and this substitute worked well.

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Copernicus shawl

This is Copernicus. A shawl so named because.  Because. Because of something having to do with “the first person to formulate a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology” of our solar system. So says Wikipedia. No, that must not be right because I’ve seen paintings of Copernicus and I’ve not seen him wearing a shawl. The Copernicus shawl is so named because. Because. Because something about it would have bothered the Vatican back in the 1500’s. No, probably not correct on that theory either. Best not to ponder the “whys” of modern-day pattern names.

Copernicus is Tanis Gray‘s lovely worsted weight heavily cabled rectangular shawl. A digitized version is available on Ravelry. Gray’s pedigree as a knitting guru is impecable. Her Ravelry profile explains that she’s a former yarn editor at Vogue Knitting, Knit Simple, Knit.1, Yarn Market News and the Debbie Bliss magazines and was co-editor of Knit.1. She writes that she’s “fairly certain knitting is the best thing in the world.”

Gray’s pattern calls for a worsted weight that will knit up at 14 stitches and 22 rows over 4 inches, in stockinette. That gauge wouldn’t happen for me with the workhorse Patons Classic Wool I’d set aside for Copernicus. But, undaunted, I just knitted on size 8 needles–a good choice for this wool–until I ran out of yarn. With about 100 yards more than the pattern called for, my Copernicus turned out to be 51 inches long and 22 inches wide–longer and skinnier–than Gray’s.

There’s an unusual technique used for the two borders. It worked, but I was skeptical. You knit the center panel, knit the two borders, then pick up a zillion stitches on the length of a border and an equal zillion on the corresponding length of the center panel, then do a three-needle bind off. I’d probably just knit the borders as I go if I knit this again. Even with a fairly aggressive block, the borders are flipping forward a bit. But, particularly near the neck, the flip becomes a fairly nice design feature. It looks a bit like a collar.

Michigan has turned chilly. There’s a nip in the air. More than a nip actually. We’ve already had a 38-degree evening. Soon it will be time to turn the furnace on. For now, a comfy warm shawl like Copernicus is perfect.