Yep, more hats

I’m still thinking cold weather. Weather wizards predict 94 today and it’s humid. And after I finish this post I believe I’ll head to the dock and dangle my feet in the water.

This first hat is one I’ve featured often on my blog. It’s Aimee Alexander’s Hungry Horse Hat. I’ve already made enough hay commenting that I think it’s a goofy name for a hat, no matter that Alexander lives in Whitefish, Montana. So I won’t go there today. Except I guess I sort of have. This time I knit the hat in 3 shades of Debbie Bliss Rialto DK. Rialto is a 100% merino and is next-to-the-skin soft.

I used the same shades of Rialto DK for a second Hungry Horse.

I didn’t have much of the red shade left, so I just worked a few stripes into the garter stitch sections. As always with my favorite hat patterns, this one has a nicely behaved crown decrease that ends without being pointy.

Next is a trek into the Ministry of Silly Hat Toppers. This next hat (minus the dangles) is an early version of Jacqueline Fee’s Three Rib Beret (minus the beret). Ravelry dates the pattern to 2009 and 2011, published in Piecework and Interweave Knits respectively. But I have a paper copy published in the Fall 1996 issue of Knitting Now, Vol. 1, #1. It is comforting for me to hope that I’m not the last knitter on the planet to recall that interesting publication. I believe it published 6 issues a year, possibly only for 2 years. One of the things I liked about Knitting Now–a black & white newspaper printed on good stock with a few color photos on an insert sheet–is that it supplied the backstory of many of its patterns.

Fee recounted that her daughter Nancy gifted her an “infant’s beret-type cap” that she found in an “antique/flea market().” She says the original was “worked flat and the back seam sewn, then the seam line was decorated at each rib change with tiny pompoms.” She included a photo of the original as part of the article. She changed the pattern to circular needles and opted to position 3 small pompoms of varied colors along the straight bound-off top. Also, the pattern includes instructions for a worsted weight adult version as well as a fingering weight infant version.

The article reports that an even earlier version of this hat appeared in the Fall, 1994 issue of SpinOff magazine.

I’m not sure why I don’t like berets, but I don’t. So I didn’t block the piece and just left it as a full beanie. At the top, instead of 3 little pompoms, I added the corkscrew dangles with a pompom on each dangle. I knit my not-a-beret in Malabrigo Rios, a worsted weight.

I grafted the top seam, using Kitchener, instead of doing the 3-needle bindoff the pattern called for. I made 3 corkscrews. For one I cast on 20, the next one I cast on 30, and then 40. I knit in the front and the back and the front again of each cast-on stitch. Next row, bind off in purl. And behold, 3 corkscrews.

The reference to “3-rib” is that the initial ribbing is 3 by 3, then 5 by 5, and at the end it’s 2 by 2. Where I added striping is stockinette, which is what the pattern calls for. It’s an interesting vintage pattern. My guess is that I’ll be looking at this one in my pick-your-gift stash for years to come. But then, as Elizabeth Zimmermann observed, the good thing about knitting hats is that some people will put almost anything on their head.

After such a silly hat, I should include a more sedate one. This is Asita Krebs Towards North Hat. I knit my version of this excellent Ravelry freebie in Berroco Ultra Wool, a worsted weight.

The pattern calls for an Aran weight yarn and an 80-stitch cast on for an adult-sized hat. I cast on 92 stitches in worsted weight and the hat fits a small adult head. It’s a fun pattern to work and even incorporates an easy Vikkel braid at the transition from the ribbing to the body of the hat. My understanding of a Vikkel braid is that it’s one knitted laterally.

At first I thought that the crown decreases were a tad untidy. But I ended up changing my mind. It works.

Next is another really wonderful Rav freebie, Erin Ruth’s very popular Molly.

Molly has everything I like in a hat. Plenty of texture. A little slouch. And that great horseshoe cable on one side worked gracefully into the orderly crown decreases.

I knit mine in Plymouth Yarns Worsted Merino Superwash Solid. Molly’s a yarneater and my version needed 201 yards (92 grams). Good golly Miss Molly, this one’s worth your time.

Now, for some time dangling my feet in the lake.

Crazy: think winter

The world is roasting. I’m thinking about hats. Winter hats. Warm ones. Worn in snowy cold times. I’ve found some snow-filled photos of previously unblogged hats. Maybe it can be a breath of cool air. Probably a crazy idea.

Crazy is what Michigan’s Stonehedge Fiber Mill calls this version of its sport weight merino. Those colors have enchanted many a knitter. And, methinks, it’s exactly those colors that can keep the yarn languishing in stash while we look for what to do with it. I had plans for these 3 skeins. What plans? I don’t recall. But I remember getting help at a yarn shop with a great selection of colorways because I wanted two skeins that were somewhat alike and one skein that was different but would work well with the other two. Time passed. And passed.

Last winter I decided it was time to knit up some of the beautiful yarn in my stash. Crazy qualified as beautiful. I retreated to one of my favorite places in the knitting universe: hat patterns.

This is Katushika’s Wurm, a great Rav freebie. I had a lot of blue in my skeins. I decided to manipulate the colors a bit so that a band of red and some brown would anchor the middle of the hat.

The crown of the hat just happened as the colors in the skein progressed. I’ve knit 7 of these now and only have this one left in my gift stash. They’re a popular gift pick. You can adjust the extravagant slouch, of course. But I like them super slouchy. Rav has more than 17,000 project pages of Wurms. You might want to add one of your own.

Next up is Chrissy Graham’s River District Hat. In her pattern page version, the hat is beautifully sedate. In my version it looks like it could use some sedation. But I really like it like this!

This time I just let the colors progress as they lined up in the skein. That’s often when Crazy is at its best.

Here’s another River District Hat and another example of how Crazy colors progress in a skein.

That short length of black and white worked out perfectly to frame the crown decreases.

And, all together now, a long sigh for how nice that snow looks.

Yep more hand stuff

These are Susie Rogers Reading Mitts. Yep, the pattern is old enough that they aren’t texting mitts. They’re reading mitts. This is the old Susie’s Reading Mitts from Dancing Ewe Yarns (now closed) updated by the original designer, Susie Rogers. You can work from the English directions. Or the French directions. Or the Polish or Korean directions. I picked English since my Korean is a little rusty. It’s a great little free pattern with an international pedigree. Thousands of Ravelers around the world have knit these mitts and taken the time to post their knits to a Ravelry project page.

My mitts have a bit of history. They are knit from String Theory Merino DK in the Rose Madder colorway. Wonderful yarn.

In 2014 I knit myself a hat. Jo Klim’s Dawnlight Slouchy Hat. It was beautiful. Was is the operative word. Somehow it didn’t work well on my head and I wasn’t wearing it much. But I really liked that yarn. So eight years later, I unraveled the hat, steamed the yarn while it was on my swift, and started over.

I knit my mitts slightly under gauge, using size 4 US needles. Instead of picking up one stitch at the beginning of the thumb, I picked up two. In fact, I picked up two stitches together and knit them as one and another two and knit them as one. Then on the next row I knit those two stitches together. That worked well to pretty much eliminate those pesky holes at the base of the thumb. My size called for 13 stitches in the thumb gusset. I knit until I had 15 stitches. The result is an excellent-fitting mitt that’s a tad long (5.5 inches, as the pattern directs) to the start of the thumb gusset.

I really like these mitts. I know I’ll wear them often, though probably not while reading.

Next up is another incredible freebie mitt: Gansey Wristers by Kalliopi Aronis. I knit mine in yarn that’s been in my stash since 2017: the discontinued Kollage Yarns fingering weight Sock-a-licious. My “was” theme continues. Sock-a-licious was 70% merino, 20% nylon, and 10% silk. I wanted something with excellent stitch definition for this pattern and Sock-a-licious fit the bill.

These mitts are a foray into the slow knit movement. It was fun. I used US needle sizes 1 and 1.5. I wanted the mitt to cover more of the hand so after round 116 I added 16 rounds of knit 2 rounds purl 2 rounds. And for a longer thumb, I knit 10 rounds (rather than 6) before starting the ribbing. The top of the thumb, elongated this way, came out a tad wide because there are no decreases in the thumb. If I knit these again I might decrease a few stitches about half way through the added thumb rounds. But the mitts are still a great fit.

These next mitts you’ve seen before: Alicia Plummer’s rather barrel-shaped Raw Honey mitts. This time I used a new-to-me yarn: Berroco Lanas. Berroco says it’s a “special blend of South America wool.” It’s good worsted weight yarn. I found it at a wonderful price point at Fillory Yarn a few months back.

Raw Honey is a roomy fit on most hands. But that’s OK by me. The chevron pattern is an easy knit that looks complex but knits easy.

Here’s another recent version of Raw Honey.

For this pair I used the now-discontinued Sugar Bush Yarns Bold. Wear this pair while you’re directing traffic. Yep, “Clover” was that bright of a shade.

For the next two pair of mitts I gave myself a yarn chicken challenge. Would I or would I not have enough yarn in one skein of Malabrigo Rios to knit two pair of fingerless mitts. And the answer is…”Yes.”

First is another in a long stream, actually 12, of  Fetching(s) I’ve knit. At 21,274 project pages on Ravelry, Fetching is the most-knit pair of fingerless mitts on the web. Inquiring minds want to know what’s the second most-knit pair? It’s Susie Rogers Reading Mitts. Fetching is a free pattern published on Knitty and designed by Cheryl Niamath. I made zero modifications to the pattern. It used up 46 grams of yarn (96.6 yards) of my 100 gram skein of Rios.

Jessica Ayr’s Narragansett Fingerless Mitts was even a more dainty yardage gobbler than Fetching. All it needed was 44 grams (92.4 yards).

Narragansett mitts use what I think of as “cheater” brioche. I am not casting aspersions on brioche or trying to elevate it by dubbing it a cheater stitch. However, despite buying Nancy Marchant’s first book and her Craftsy class and taking an in-person brioche class from Olga-Buraya-Kefelian, and even though these designers are excellent teachers, I haven’t been able to learn brioche well enough to fix mistakes or use two colors of yarn. True Confessions time.

But I can manage this mitt’s knit-in-the-row-below kind of brioche. It’s still very difficult to fix mistakes. But the stitch is easy enough that I can keep my head together and power through it. As with all brioche, it’s the texture of the stitch that commands the knitter’s and wearer’s attention. Ayrs’s pattern is an excellent and fun knit. Give it a try. If you are brioche-impaired like me, tell yourself that it’s not real brioche.

100 grams of yarn, two pair of mitts. I even have 17 yards left for my Rios oddments bag.

Slip Stitch magic

Doesn’t it remind you of a creamsicle? That yummy vanilla ice cream-on-a-stitck dipped in something like orange sherbet?

This is Elena Nodel’s Polarity pattern.

Nodel was a very talented British Columbian Canadian designer who died in 2017, way too young. Jenny F of Sweaterfreak handles pattern support for Nodel’s considerable design portfolio now. Nodel was a good and gentle soul with a devoted husband and a young daughter. Tragically, cancer won.

I knit my Polarity in Gedifra Lani Mia Uni, a fingering weight in 80% merino 20% nylon. It’s the first time I’ve use a Gedifra yarn. I hadn’t seen it anywhere before. Apparently I’ve just been asleep at the switch because the company sells an extensive selection of yarns. It was an excellent yarn to work with.

Why Polarity? According to Nodel it’s because the shawl has “no right or wrong side, but rather two mood sides. Whichever side you favor today is the right way.” It’s a versatile and cheerful small shawl. And the slip stitch pattern is super easy. Fall into a rhythm knitting this one and set your needles on cruise control.

My grandson educated me recently about this next knit: Alina Appasova’s Prismarine scarf/wrap. Um. Let me see. You get prismarine, crystals I guess, by defeating elder guardians or guardians. Goodness that sounds rather personally threatening. But not really. This is the world of Minecraft–the incredible popular video game. Prismarine crystals are dropped by sea lanterns. I know. Enough of that. But Isaac was quite tickled that his old grandmother consulted him on the subject of Prismarine crystals. This is apparently what they look like in the real world. Well, the unreal world.

Here’s my Prismarine. I see the resemblance to the Minecraft original.

I’m not going to fib. This was a slog. Basically the same six rows (followed by a couple of garter stitch rows) over and over. But I love the results. I stopped at nine sets of the crystal pattern repeats, instead of 10. That got me to 64 inches, unblocked (as you see it here). My width, again unblocked, is 7.5 inches. I was after a scarf more than a wrap. Appasova envisions a fairly aggressive block to 9.5 in width. But I’m really liking the texture of mine and decided not to block it at all.

I used Urth Yarn’s Uneek Fingering and Uneek Harvest Fingering. Excellent yarns with wonderful consistency and zero knots. This project was also the first time I’ve used an Urth yarn. The price was always off-putting. But I found it at Fillory Yarn at 15% off awhile back and took the plunge. The solid fingering (Harvest) is the Fig colorway and the color-changing Uneek is the 3019 colorway.  So this

changed into this:

I’m liking my Minecraft-inspired knit. A lot.

Almost warm hands

The current series of blog posts is focusing on hands. OK. The last one and this one is not exactly a series. But on this little blog, it’s close. My last post was all about mittens. This one is all about mittens that are missing their fingertips. They’re almost as warm as mittens.

These are Aimee Alexander’s Farm to Market Mitts. I’ve posted about Farm to Market a number of times, since this is the 7th pair I’ve knit. This time I used Plymouth Yarn’s DK Merino Superwash. The yarn has great stitch definition even in its DK version.

These are totally fun to knit. At one point in the cabling you need to use two cable needles. But don’t be daunted by that. It’s easy peasy. You will be putting one set of stitches on a front cable and another set on a back cable, and you simply work the cables in the order the pattern directs. The palms of the mitts are stockinette.

The instructions are arranged very helpfully, with both line-by-line and charts. Plus an extra chart tells you what round of the cable chart you should be on as the mitt progresses through the thumb gusset increases. Very useful for keeping a distracted knitter from goofing up.

Next is a new pattern to me, Nici Griffin’s Escape Mittens. I used the same Plymouth Yarn DK Merino Superwash.

The mitts took only 44 grams of yarn and worked up totally cute! They look kind of shrimpy off my hands. But even my large hands fit very comfortably in them because the stitch pattern is super stretchy.

Excellent pattern, very clearly written, with both charted and line-by-line instructions.

Sensibly, the palms of the mitts are smooth stockinette.

Today I’m apparently in a tell-it-in-purple world. The next pair is Clara Parkes’s Maine Morning Mitts. A freebie.

I didn’t think I had enough yarn to finish these in my purple leftover Queensland Brisbane, a lightweight bulky. So I started with wine colored Brisbane. It worked out rather cute.

Off the hand, these guys look a bit like two Saguaro cacti. Skinny. Ungainly. Prickly. But slip your hands into them and they stretch to wonderfully cozy.

You probably already know the little trick for keeping your ribbing color changes nice and crisp?  If you just join the new color and rib away the first round will have half ‘n half stitches (half one color, half the next) in the purl sections. But if you knit all the stitches of one round in the new color, and then start ribbing, you avoid the dreaded split-color purl stitches.

Yesterday it was 93 here. Today’s almost as hot. Much of the United States is suffering under dangerously high temperatures. And I’m writing to you about how to keep your hands warm in chilly weather. Think cool. Knit warm.