Classic Ravelry freebie hats

This is Kristine Byrnes’s 1898 Hat. I first put this hat into my queue in…in…possibly closer to 1898 than 2021. Byrnes explains that the pattern is inspired by a photo of a hat pictured in a magazine that was published around 1910. Odd details sometimes trouble me about pattern naming. And that leads me to ask why this isn’t the 1910 Hat. But my brain on fiber fumes is an unruly thing.

This is a great pattern. Truly. It’s double garter stitch over the ears. So this is a very warm hat. The pattern calls for worsted weight. That’s what I used. I knit this one in Stonehedge Fiber Shepherd’s Wool in the Aurora colorway.

Here’s a look at the well-behaved crown decreases.

Off-head it looks a tad squat. That’s an illusion. It’s just a deep head-hugger.

The construction is clever. Before I knit the hat, I assumed that was an applied i-Cord edge at the bottom of the hat. It isn’t. Possibly I should just leave it that and entice you to download this freebie and give it a test drive. But Byrnes provides the reveal in her Ravelry pattern page description. The edges of the headband, that is the part that fits around the head and over the ears, are folded together along a slip stitch seam. Then the edges are knit together as you move from the garter stitch section to working in the round for the stockinette section. So what seems to be i-Cord is actually a slip stitch section running through the flat section of the garter stitch.

I finished my first 1898 and immediately started a second one.

This one I knit in a yarn that’s new to me: Novita 7 Veljesta Solid. Before returning to 1898, my apologies to any Finnish speakers I’ve offended. The yarn name has what I know as an umlaut above the “a” in Veljesta. I have no idea how to type an umlaut on my keyboard. So think “:” over that last “a,” but with the dots cozying up to one another, flipped over sideways. I hope leaving off the umlaut hasn’t said something naughty. Veljesta is an interesting 75% wool/25% nylon mix. I highly recommend the yarn. It has the warmth of wool, with nylon for strength, and was great to work with.

Back to 1898. My first one was a tad small for an adult. FeltHead’s head size is smaller than Glassheads. And I wanted to fiddle and flatten the crown decrease just a tad. So this time I added 2 rows to the ear flaps and 4 rows (or thereabouts) to the front. I ended up picking up 93 stitches–a few more than the pattern directs. Basically, you need to pick up a stitch for every furrow in the garter stitch. I reduced the stitches down to 91 in the first round. Then, in the decrease section, I started out with K11, K2tog across the round. I knit 2 rows after the first 3 decreases, and 1 row after the next 2 decreases, and then I decreased each round. The resultant crown turned out a bit more round than in my first version.

If I can just find 2021 heads who like this 1898/1910 look, these hats will be popping off my needles like crazy.

One thing that occured to me (and I’m not the first)? Just stopping after the headband and stitching the edges together makes for a great headband. This past winter…oh, wait, it still seems to be winter in the north country…this winter lots ‘o folks were asking me for headbands.

This next Ravelry classic is really a Purl Soho classic. It’s Garter Earflap Hat. Every newborn I’ve encountered in the last several years has almost gotten one of these hats. I finally knit one.

I had one ancient skein of Nautika, an Aran-weight by Knit One, Crochet Too. The pattern calls for Aran weight. So I was off to the races. More than 11,000 Ravelers have project pages on the site with their version of this cutie. Except for the Pixie top, it’s got a bit of 1898 going. Obviously the earflaps are much less exaggerated.

The pattern is easy, but oddly written–especially in the short row sections. After you set the markers and work the first set of short rows, you are wrapping the stitch after the divide/space in your row. I’m not sure why the directions on that are a bit garbled.

There are also quite a few questions that arise around the double decrease directions. What I did, which worked well, was to put a removable marker at the first double decreases. Then vertical rows of stockinette make it clear where you work the decrease: slip the stitch before the vertical row and the vertical row stitch, knit the next stitch, then pass the two slipped stitches over the knit stitch.

It’s such a sweet thing. And I think the bright topper was a great finish.

Garter Earflap Hat is sized from infant to large adult. If there are large adults out there wearing this hat I don’t think they’ve made their way into Montmorency County, Michigan yet. But babies? Babies pretty much let you put anything on their heads especially if it doesn’t have chin ties. They will look so cute in this one!

Lovie backpacks

The “lovies” are decked out in their backpacks. What a grandmotherly oversight! This knitter had to be asked (and so sweetly) if she could make another backpack. The one made a good bit ago just wasn’t cutting it. Apparently the lovies were squabbling about who got to wear it.

This pair is wearing Jane Peirrepont’s freebie “Dustbag Rucksack.” Personally, I’ve never heard of a dustbag. I looked it up and find it technically means something that’s intended to protect expensive leathergoods from, well, a bunch of stuff including dust. This is sized for a doll called “Dusty” so maybe it’s just a designer pun. But a rucksack I get. It’s a bag with shoulder straps. In my neck of the woods that would be a backpack.

Pierrepont’s pattern is cute and very adaptable. I made the blue one in the DK weight yarn the pattern calls for. Except I used US size 5 instead of size 2 needles. I decided I wanted a larger one, so I knit the orange one in worsted weight. I increased the cast-on to 20 stitches and added some rows to increase the depth of the backpack. The pattern doesn’t mention it, but after studying the pattern photo I decided it was obvious that a knitter was supposed to knit two straps instead of just one long one. Cute pattern.

Reports are that the lovies are squabbling much less now. Here’s a look at Dustbag Rucksack off the lovies’ backs.

I was on a backpack roll and decided I’d knit a few more. These are “Dolls’ Day at School” by Rebecca Venton. It’s another Ravelry freebie. You’ve seen me knit this once before (scroll to the end of the post). It’s the backpack that started the whole lovie scuffle in the first place.

Such a cute pattern. Designed for Aran weight. Sized for an 18″ American Girl sized doll.

Here’s hoping that the unruly lovie crowd has turned ruly.

Botanical dishcloths

This is not a gold Christmas tree. I mean, it could be a gold Christmas tree but this is mid-April, and even though it’s been below freezing at night, this is actually and merely a gold fir tree. It’s Amy Marie Vold’s Fir Sprucing Up cloth. I knit mine in Paintbox Yarn’s Cotton Aran. 18 grams of the main color and 16 of the contrast is all the yarn you need.

Here’s another version, knit in the same yarn. This time it’s a fir tree standing in the sunshine.  Ok. I guess it has some snow on its branches.

Sticking to a botanical theme, here’s Vold’s Sunflower at the Sink. Again, this is knit in Paintbox Cotton Aran. What tickles me most about this cloth is that the sunflower’s petals are irregular. Too many knitted sunflowers suffer from perfectly-uniform-petal syndrome.

In the real world sunflowers are messy whirls of yellow petals. In the real world sunflowers are wild things. Comparing one to another is a bit like comparing snowflake shapes. This is easily seen in Steve’s 2009 photo of a field of sunflowers near us.

Vold’s design captures another feature sometimes missed: the seed pod in the middle is huge and dwarfs the petals. This cloth is such a fun knit. Consider giving it try.

Next up is another design of Vold’s: Sunny Dish Position. This time I knit the pair in Drops Paris, another workhorse “kitchen” cotton:

The pattern is designed for DK weight. But Aran weight and US size 6 needles worked great.

If you haven’t yet dipped your knitting toes into mosaic a/k/a slip stitch knitting, trying out the easy colorwork technique with a dishcloth pattern should tempt. Vold’s patterns are presented both charted and line-by-line. Her patterns are tested. And they are clear. You alternate two rows in one color yarn and two rows in the other color, being sure that your yarn is on the non-public side of the work when you slip stitches. That’s about all there is to remember. Easy peasy.

Fingerless mitts

This was a totally fun knit. Brigit Grunwald’s Norwand. I knit it a pricey yarn that I do not enjoy working with: Kate Davies’ Milarrochy Tweed fingering weight. Apparently it’s high on the fair isle authenticity rating but to me it just makes the work look indistinct. Not a look I like for fair isle. Compare Grunwald’s sample and I know who wins.

But. The point of this knit was to give this unusual fingerless mitt pattern a try. What’s so unusual?

You start with the thumb. If you haven’t knit fingerless mitts before, just trust me that you never knit the thumb first. You’d no sooner knit the thumb first than that you’d knit a butttonhole before you knit the sweater, or frost a cake before you bake it. Here, you knit the thumb. Then you increase and knit the mitt to any size you like and the slightly sloped edge ends up covering your fingers. I was skeptical it would really work. But it does.

Here’s another look. I decided that mine depicts nightfall.

I used a three needle bindoff for the final (and only) seam. And to keep the bind-off comfortably stretchy, JSSBO (Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off) worked well.

Next up is, “…yes Virginia, there really is …” another pair of Fetching mitts that snuck its way onto this blog.

Most of the time a skein of Noro Silk Garden doesn’t do this weird of a color changing trick. Not sure what happened to Noro. But I have a high tolerance for its color quirks.

Such an excellent pattern. This is Fetching #11 for me!

Two color-full scarves

I’m quite fond of this scarf. I guess other people like this style too because you’re looking at the 12th Jared Flood Noro Striped Scarf I’ve knit and I don’t own any of the other 11. Flood is the first to say that he didn’t invent this scarf. But, as his blog post containing the pattern shows, he did refine it. This is just a one-by-one ribbed scarf. But I believe Flood came up with alternating two skeins of Noro Silk Garden every two rows. That’s the magic ticket on this one. Color changing yarn makes a wearer smile and keeps a knitter interested in what is otherwise a totally mindless knit.

And Flood also recommended that you slip (purlwise) the first and last stitch of every second row in the pair. It creates a great edge and also hides your colorway changes. The only modification I make is casting on 45 stitches instead of the 39 stitches the pattern calls for.  Mine come out about 6.25 inches wide and 66 inches long. A bit more width than the original is what I prefer.

Of course, you can knit the pattern with any yarns you choose. They don’t have to be color-changing. And they certainly don’t have to be Noro. Noro can be an exasperating yarn, with its embedded debris, and occasional knots that totally disrupt the flow of the colors. Plus it’s more rustic than some people like. I think of working with Noro as increasing my tolerance for imperfection. As you’ll see from the next knit in this post, I’m making progress on that goal.

Noro always surprises. I’ve knit this a dozen times and never been disappointed that my two colorways didn’t play well together. I do try to look for two skeins that don’t repeat (or at least don’t repeat very many of) the same colors. Because alternating colors is the plan, not a glob of the same color spread over several rows. If you get a glob, you can just cut out a section of color from one skein and work it in later if you need the yardage.

These were my two skeins:

The blue-toned skein is colorway 475. And the brown-toned one is colorway 467. Here’s a closer look at how that slip stitch edge works out. And, if you want to see my other versions of this scarf check here for most of them.

This next full-of-color scarf was was was–just spit it out knitter–a real slog. For me, it wasn’t a fun knit. I still rate the pattern very highly, though. It’s a beautiful design. It just required both too little and too much of my attention. I started with 430 yards of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi. I found LL on a sale rack back in 1492 or thereabouts. My eyeballs fell in love and I didn’t give much thought to what I’d knit with it.

I eventually decided to knit Christy Kamm’s very popular Ravelry freebie ZickZack Scarf. For that, I needed a basically equal amount of another color yarn to pair with Lorna. I decided on this copper-colored Loopy Ewe fingering weight from their Solid Series.

Light fingering weight yarn on size 3 needles in a stitch that moves along at a typical fine gauge garter stitch snail’s pace. Well, of course it’s a zig zag pattern. But that’s just garter stitch with a few properly placed decreases and increases.

Here’s the result. I had to knit it over the course of a little more than two months, breaking up its knit with other projects. I’d knit 6 inches or so and then go off and knit some instant gratification project.

I’m OK with what LL did to my ZickZack, though it’s certainly not what I planned. Have you seen it yet? About one-half of the first skein pooled in a way I didn’t especially like. But I decided I could live with it. The reds lined up with the blues and the yellows with the orange and green, so there were blobs of color. I hoped for something different and less pooled. I continued to knit and at about 24 inches I suddenly realized my yarns had started behaving very differently and just as I’d hoped. No more weird pooling. This photo shows the issue more clearly.

About a third of my 64-inch ZickZack has the blobby pooling and the rest just looks intensely colorful.

I debated with myself and even consulted one of the Ravelry forums about whether I should start over and try to fix this. Somehow. I didn’t alternate skeins, and I probably should have. But I’m not sure the dye placement on the one skein would have fared much better if I had. Or should I give up and start over without Lorna.

Some knitters liked the interesting difference. Most figured it would bother them and I shouldn’t continue. I eventually sided with the first group. This effect makes it clear that hands knit this and not some machine. I’m OK with that, though it did take some convincing. And, honestly, having knit 24 inches, I just didn’t want to start over. Maybe sometimes a knitter needs to go easy and not obsess that the work isn’t as perfect as in our imaginings.