Yep…more hats

I do like knitting hats. A bit too much, some might say.

This is Scrappy Ski Cap by Justyna Lorkowska, a freebie on Ravelry. Instead of making it out of assorted oddments as Lorkowska suggests, I used leftovers from two colorways of Plymouth Yarn’s Worsted Merino Superwash. So, mine is a somewhat more organized looking scrappy hat.

I’m very pleased with how it worked out. The last few years have been the years of the pompom, pom pom, pom-pom…however you want to spell it. Possibly that’s the star of this hat.

Everyone who looks at my Scrappy Ski Cap chortles on about liking the two-color pompom. There’s no trick to that, of course. I just wound a second color onto one section of my trusty Clover pompom maker. It comes in three sizes. I have them all. For this one I used the largest size. And, in case you’re wondering, Clover thinks pompom is spelled “pom pom.”

Also, in case you’re wondering, Webster’s apparently favors the hyphen and says that “Pom-pom is derived from the French word pompon, which refers to a small decorative ball made of fabric or feathers. It also means an ‘ornamental round tuft’ and originally refers to its use on a hat, or an ‘ornamental tuft; tuft-like flower head.'”  OK. I did not know that.

“And now for something completely different.”  A beret. Lordy. She’s knit a beret. She’s knit Natalie Larsen’s Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret. I used the Aran-weight Berroco Peruvia rather than the suggested Malabrigo worsted. It’s a different look.

Here’s Glasshead wearing it like a beanie because she doesn’t much like berets either. Why did I knit this beret? Mostly because I’m knitting hats for others and Ravelers have knit and posted projects on this hat 14,754 times (as of today) and the pattern is in 13,916 Ravelers queues of patterns they hope to knit. So, apparently, some people do like berets. And a lot of people definitely like this particular beret.

After knitting my beret, I steamed it gently, placing the round of increases on the edge of an appropriately sized bowl. Speaking of the increases, at least in this yarn and knit at this gauge, they show up in a rather unpleasant ring as the hat broadens out to a beret. Knit 2, make one (along the whole round) by doing a backwood loop on the left hand needle and knitting into the back of the stitch seems a bit too prominent an increase for me. And I think that would be true whatever the yarn. So, if I knit this again, I’ld probably try a different increase. It is a pretty head-thing, though–as berets go.

This next hat I’ve knit twice before. It’s Breck, by Susan Vilas Lewis. It’s a great sport-weight slouchy. I knit the body of the hat in Mrs. Crosby Hat Box. Hat Box is an unusual (but wonderful) merino (55%), cashmere (12%), acrylic (33%) mix. I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino for the red of the mosaic work. Hat Box’s heathered quality, which I normally think is a plus, caused the mosaic work to be a bit subdued. But I still really like this hat.

Here’s the mosaic-work detail.

My only modifications were to: (1) knit the ribbing at the start on size 5 needles, down one size from the main body of the hat, and (2) add a knit round before and after round 10 on the crown decreases–just to pull the stitches a bit closer together as the crown closes.

Breck is one hat I believe deserves a LOT more attention than it’s gotten so far. There are only 6 projects posted on Ravelry and three of them are mine! Maybe the sport weight scares people off. But this hat could also work well in DK weight. It’s a cool hat and if you want it to be beanie style, you just stop knitting the body a tad sooner.

This next Ravelry freebie, Irma Hat by Anneta Gasiorowska, totally surprised me. I knit it because a hat-of-the-month group on Ravelry chose it as our group knit-along one month.  I decided to go along with the crowd even though I thought the zigzagging and a ton of make one lefts and make one rights would be a pain. I even dug out what I took to be an unpleasant colorway of Berroco Comfort, thinking I’d at least further my stash-down efforts.

It was a bit more work than most hats. That’s partly because my brain often gets confused by the combinations of left leaning and right leaning make 1s. But wow! I think it worked up great. I even now think that the colorway is pretty. And check out the crown:

That much cool detail on a free pattern makes me incredibly grateful for the generosity of the knitting universe.

For your neck

This is the Verna Glass Copycat Cowl. It’s a freebie on Ravelry that echoes a very popular mass-produced hat, the CC Beanie.  Probably, in the mass-produced hat, the “CC” didn’t refer to “copycat.” But who knows how far back these copies go? Anyway, the CC Beanie has  been copied and refined in a number of hand-knit hats, including Jaye and Central Ave. And now Glass has added an interesting cowl to the mix.

On the neck, the Copycat tumbles in well-behaved purl ridges. This one is knit in Malabrigo Rios, an excellent draping worsted. Here’s the cowl laying flat.

The colorway is a big favorite of mine: Frank Ochre.

Since copycatting was fully out in the open, I decided to borrow some of Aimee Alexander’s refinements from her Central Ave hat in my blue version, knit in Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherd’s Superwash.

I worked twisted rib instead of plain K1, P1. So, that means I knitted in the back of each knit stitch in the ribbing sections. And I knit 1 round after each of the increase knit rounds in the pattern. And instead of 1 round knit after the purl rounds, I knit 2 rounds. I was trying to give more definition to the ribbing and to set off the purl ridges a bit. The purl rolls are still distorted some from the tug of the increases even though I added an extra round of knit, but I believe the extra round (and a light steaming) helped tame that.

Finally, my lightweight superwash worsted wasn’t holding up well to 7 rounds of purl, so I purled only 6. And, in the final set of purl rounds, I purled 7 rounds instead of 8.

Here’s the modified Copycat.

The twisted rib stiffened the fabric some and made the purl ridges more pronounced. I like the look. But I’d probably knit the Glass version if I knit this again. The fact that so many folks are working with versions of this motif made me feel more free to experiment.

When it comes to textured cowls, the DK weight Chinle Cowl by Stephannie Tallent is a huge favorite of mine. There are only 12 projects posted on Ravelry for this cowl. And five of the projects are mine. This will be the first one I’m keeping for me. I see it as a pattern that definitely deserves more attention than it seems to be getting. I made my first one in the fall of 2014. $6.00 for the pattern, amortized over my five knits, is $1.20 per knit. I think I should probably make the math even easier and knit another one.

I knit mine in Anzula Cricket, a next-to-the-skin soft DK in 80% merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon. Cricket knits up with great stitch definition. The Chevron Welt  biases the fabric to encourage the seed stitch layers to ripple. Brilliant!

Jo-Ann Klim’s Araluen Cowl is another great textured cowl that I’m loving but, at least in terms of number of Ravelry projects, it isn’t being much supported yet by knitters. There are 10 projects on Ravelry and three of them are mine. This is my latest, in Malabrigo Rios in the Archangel colorway.

It’s a seriously excellent pattern that has what I see as a vintage, almost-crocheted look. And, including because I don’t know how to crochet, that’s appealing to me.

I’ve gotten a ton of use out of my cowls this winter and spring. It’s been rainy with temperatures in the mid-30’s lately so, sadly, I am still wearing my cowls (even indoors) where they feel so very cozy. Our kayaks are resting near the lakeshore and I hope that this weekend it will be warm enough to get out for a paddle. But yesterday? Yesterday I was indoors, knitting while wearing one of my cowls.