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.)

“Yes, she’s knit even more hats.”

rikke3

I know. It’s summer here in Michigan. (It did finally arrive.) It’s warm. And, if you knew me better you’d know that I don’t really even wear hats very often. But I do enjoy knitting them.

This is Rikke Hat, by Sarah Young of Happy Knits. It’s a free pattern on Ravelry. Young designed it for DK, but I knit mine in Mountain Colors Twizzle, a fairly lightweight worsted. The colorway is Beartooth. It must be a bear’s tooth after the bear’s been been munching on some sun-ripened protein. Anyway, I love the colors.

The pattern calls for using a German Twisted Cast-on and refers the knitter to YouTube for the “how to” on that. I just could not get the hang of it. I ended up using a wonderfully easy cast-on from page 41 of Cap Sease’s excellent 2014 book, “Cast On, Bind Off: 211 Ways to Begin and End Your Knitting.”  She calls it Thumb Cast On and writes that it’s also called the Twisted Right Finger Half-hitch Cast On. Sease says it’s a suitable substitute for the German Twisted. It’s a nice stretchy cast-on.

Here’s a look at the top. As always, no pointiness is what I favor and this crown decrease delivers.

rikke4

Rikke sits lightly on the head and several knitters have commented that it doesn’t give its wearer a case of hat-hair. Rikee is a very popular hat on Ravelry. 8,143 knitters have completed the hat and posted it on their project page.

This next one is another very popular Rav freebie: Wurm by Katharina Nopp.12,971 Ravelers can’t be wrong. The pattern is available in German, Finnish, French, Italian and English.

orange_wurm2

Wurm calls for a sportweight, though it’s quite forgiving if you use other weight yarn. I knit mine (this time) in sportweight “Hat Box by Mrs. Crosby.” I have no clue about that yarn name, but it’s great yarn. It’s a 5-ply, 75% merino, 15% silk, 10% cashmere. We can cut good yarn some slack on the silly name scale. I call my hat Creamsicle Wurm.

Here’s the crown.

orange_wurmtop

A bit unruly, but in a interesting way. Here’s a few other versions I’ve knit: here and here.

Kelly McClure’s Antelope Slouch Hat is another worthy entry in the free hat patterns on Ravelry. Mine is knit in Cascade 220’s freshly hatched Effects, a new superwash. I enjoyed working with it.

antelope2

Some knitters decrease the number of eyelet rows in Antelope. But I know folks who think the slouchier the better when it comes to hats. The fold-back picot brim adds a nice touch. You knit a few rounds, do a round with yarn over, knit 2 together, and knit a few rounds more. Next you knit together each live stitch in the round with one of the cast-on stitches. It’s awkward at first, but hands catch on pretty quick. When you’ve completed the maneuver, the cast-on is knitted into the working round. And that yarn-over round becomes the picot brim.

This is also not the first time I’ve knit Antelope Hat. Here’s a few more samples, including views of the crown decreases.

Michigan Crazy

wurm_head

This Wurm is Crazy. That’s Katherina Nopp’s wildy popular Wurm hat pattern (mine is Wurm # 11,992 on Ravelry) and Stonehedge Fiber’s Crazy f/k/a Crazy Mill Ends. Nopp writes that Wurm has 3 special features: you can wear it with whatever kind of hair, it’s unisex, and it keeps ears extra warm. There are zillions of cool Wurms walking around on warm heads all over the world. The pattern was originally written in German and it’s been translated into English, French, Italian, and Finnish.

Of some interest on the extra warm ears part? That’s not one-by-one rib you’re looking at. It’s stockinette folded inward at a garter stitch turning ridge.

Here’s a better look at the top.

wurm_head3

Stonehedge Fibers says that Crazy is made from mill ends of Shepherd’s Wool and that it’s 100% merino. It’s considered a DK weight.

I used a different skein of Crazy, but actually they are all different, for another Chinle Cowl. This cowl, by Stephannie Tallent of Sunset Cat Designs, is a personal favorite. I’ve knit it four times in the past year and still don’t have one to call my own.

The work went from this:

StonehedgeFiberCrazy

To this:

chinle_crazy

My glass head finds it very cozy.

chinle_crazy2

Warm wurm

This is Katharina Nopp’s hugely popular slouch hat: Wurm. It’s a free pattern on Ravelry, available in German, Finnish, French, Italian and English. I chose English.

I know this stitch as a variant of “Quaker Rib.” It’s a wonderfully rhythmic knit. Once you make a quick review of the pattern, you won’t be needing to consult it again until the crown decreases. The band uses an easy “tuck” stitch that results in a warm, firm fabric.

Wurm is knitted here in Stonehedge Fiber Mill‘s  “Crazy Mill Ends.” It’s basically a DK weight, with surprises of color and even fiber. The pattern is a real yarn-eater. Mine took about 315 yards.