Hat weather is almost here

This is Leslie Taylor’s Mayfly Hat, knit in Mountain Colors Perspectives RiverWash Sport. This was a Mountain Colors’ kit, purchased at a local yarn shop closing at a ridiculously wonderful discount. The pattern is also available for purchase on Ravelry.

With the gradient reds doing their thing, it’s a bit hard to see in my photo, but that’s three Estonian braids just above the ribbing. Honestly, I don’t much care for the effect of the braids in this yarn. But it does dress the hat up a bit.

I made a few modifications. I didn’t do a provisional cast-on–not with the first row planned as a 1 by 1 rib. A provisional cast-on might have worked well if the next row was knit plain. Otherwise my sense is it would have been difficult to pick up and knit that mix of knits and purls in sportweight yarn on size 3 US needles. Instead, I did my folded brim by knitting a turning round of purl. Then I knit ribbing for a few more inches. Next I knit the cast-on stitches together with the live stitches and I was off to the races to tackle the body of the hat.

My only other modification was to move up one needle size for the body of the hat. I think that’s a common convention that works well.

The colors are what make this hat shine. And, as always, well-behaved crown decreases (no pointy problem) are much appreciated.

This next hat is Herriot, a free pattern, by Nicole Montgomery. Let’s do this in reverse. Here’s the crown, knit in Malabrigo Rios.

The pattern calls for a bulky weight, and Rios is only a worsted. But I couldn’t get gauge (18 stitches and 25 rows to each 4 inches) in any bulky weight in my stash. Again, a totally not pointy crown. Perfect.

What makes Herriot special is the use of a stitch that I don’t think we see enough of anymore: smocking stitch.

I decided to use up some precious Rios leftovers for this hat, in two favorite colorways (Sunset and Lettuce). I also worked a bit of a fade between the two colors. This is a cool hat worked in a solid color as the designer intended. But I rather like my quirky stashbuster version.

This next hat is Windshield by Niina Talikka. The pattern calls for a DK weight and I knit mine in Anzula Cricket.

I’m unsure how the diamond motif of this hat became so indistinct on one side. Cricket has good stitch definition, so I didn’t expect the hat would have that problem. The designer says that “blocking is highly recommended to make the motif visible and for the hat to form its gentle slouch.” So, as directed I blocked. It helped make the motif come to life, but not as much as I hoped.

Still, I like this hat quite a bit. Cricket is 80% merino, 10% nylon, and 10% cashmere goat. It feels wonderfully soft. No one will complain “…but it’s so itchy.” And I also don’t see anyone complaining “where’s the second side of my diamond motif.” If you decide to knit Windshield, take a look at the project pages for this hat on Ravelry. The patterning definitely pops better in a solid color. Windshield is a top-down hat. That can be a bit of a bear to pull off. But the bear only roars for a few rounds and then it’s tamed.

No bunch ‘o hats post would be complete without including another rendition of one of my favorite hats, Susan Villas Lewis’s “The Thinker.”

I’ve posted about it many times, here‘s two, and here’s another and here’s two more. My newest version is knit in Malabrigo Rios. It used to be something else, part of a (sort of) poncho. When a knitting buddy’s husband saw her working on hers he asked if she was knitting a lampshade. Every time I was tempted to wear it all I could think of was how nice a lampshade it might have made. Anyway, I frogged the thing and now I have a lot of extra Rios. Knitting The Thinker was a good save, I think. And now there’s much more Rios for me to knit with.

My rows are rambling again

My major knitting since mid-July has been to work up nearly 3300 yards (15 skeins) of Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted into a throw. Well, a blanket really. I’ve knit nine of these guys. Yep. Nine. Rambling Rows Afghan by Cottage Creations’ Carol A. Anderson is my all-time favorite afghan pattern.

Rowan Superwash is quite a lightweight worsted. So I didn’t knit it to gauge, which would have needed a heftier worsted and size 8 or even size 9 needles. I used US size 6 needles and the fabric came out just right. It’s a lightweight blanket. Here it is laying atop a queen-sized mattress. (Forgive the clashing quilt.)

This Rambling Rows will live in a TV-watching/office room decked out in earth tones. I think the grays, gold and orange worked out great and the blanket really pops resting on the back of the sofa.

Did I come up with these colors, Charcoal, Granite, Moonstone, Seville and Gold on my own? No. Never in a million years. I first bought the yarn intending to knit Star-Eyed Julep Throw by Kay Gardiner, Ann Shayne, and Kirsten Kapur. Here’s that throw. It uses these same five Rowen Pure Wool Superwash colorways.

I asked to be gifted the book containing this throw, Drop Dead Easy Knits, specifically so I could knit Star-Eyed Julep. I even worked through the errata supplied on Ravelry and started knitting the first quadrant of the throw. I was not satisfied with the not-crisp edge-turns of what’s basically the Mason-Dixon log cabin technique adapted to create that star. Apparently it takes a better knitter than me to master the technique. After starting the Star-Eyed 3 times I decided I might drop dead before I completed the thing. But oh my those colorways are so perfect together.

So, I acquired the additional yarn I needed (difficult, since the Seville colorway is discontinued) and my new Rambling Rows was hatched.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the project. And I credit the Drop Dead Easy Knits trio with my success because this Rambling Rows is all about their inspired colorway choices.

P.S. Even though I picked up the garter stitch mitered edge the way I always do on my Rambling Rows, this more lightweight yarn picked up a little ruffle. I’ve steamed it a bit since these photos were taken and it’s tamed.

Here’s the rest of my Rambling Rows, if you’d like to see how this blanket works up in different colorways: here, here, here’s four, and another here. I know, that’s not nine. You’ll just have to take my word on that.

Fetchings

Recently I had a major knitting stutter. I knitted a series of four Fetchings, Cheryl Niamath’s wonderful free pattern. I used four skeins of Noro Silk Garden in two colorways. I got started during a long drive, continued during a week-long visit to Ann Arbor, and finished the fourth pair once I returned home.

It’s such a satisfying knit. I’d knit the pattern six times before and managed to keep only one of the six for myself. Fetching is a handy mitt to tuck in a coat pocket for those times when there’s just a bit of a chill in the air.

In previous Fetchings I’d used solids–mostly Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherd’s Wool. They worked up great in that yarn. Check out my first half-dozen. But this time it was those great Noro color changes that kept me trying just one more, just one more.

Four of the mitts are one colorway and four are another. But it’s difficult to tell which sprung from the same colorway.

The current count of posted Fetching projects on Ravelry is 21,138! 6065 Ravelers have Fetching in their queues awaiting the day when they’ll cast on. If you’re one of those 6000, seriously consider knitting Fetching soon. It will not disappoint. And if it’s not in your queue, just skip the queue and cast on straightaway. There’s already a chill in the morning air here in Michigan. And we’ve gotten into the mid-forties at night. Pretty soon you’ll welcome slipping your chilly fingers into a pair of these mitts.

Three heads compete

To my way of thinking, neither of these cowls look right laid out flat. The first is Delicious Yarns’ Layer Cake Cowl. And the second is Amelia Lyons’ Willow Cowl.

Neither of them look like something that would go around a neck. Layer Cake looks like it would make a good throw pillow and Willow looks like a lamp shade. Layer Cake was knit from a kit of Delicious Yarns’ Sweet Sport sport weight merino. Willow was knit from Classic Elite’s Alpaca Sox, a fingering weight. Both are easy knits and both are knit on circulars.

But, my goodness, worn round the neck they are quite delightful. BlueHairFeltedHead and GlassHead have been competing for wearing rights to Layer Cake.

I might just get selfish on this one, though, and keep it for me. And, speaking of me, I wrestled Willow Cowl away from both my heads and decided to model it using my own.

These cowls, which look so odd laid out flat, are completely tamed by necks. Willow Cowl naturally stacks into well-behaved rolls. And Layer Cake drapes into soft folds.

Rainbow Road and Turtles’ Journey

Isn’t BlueHairFelted head pretty? (GlassHead is jealous that her competitor gets top billing today). Blue Hair is wearing Rainbow Road, by Jenna Krupar. Mine was knit from a kit that contained 5 mini-skeins of Frabjous Fibers’ March Hare, an Aran weight. March Hare is a 100% merino. It’s next-to-the-skin soft.

Here’s a closer look. It’s actually a sampler cowl, worked in simple knits and purls patterning. Especially in Aran weight, you’re finished so quickly there’s no time to be bored.

That’s a fake button band. Normally I’d just continue the patterns over the stitches of a fake button band. But, I saw this cowl knitted up at a local shop and decided it worked well. I chose very thin, lightweight buttons. They won’t weigh the cowl down.

I decided to keep this one for me. So, nieces, this one won’t be in the holiday choose-your-gifts extravaknitza.

This one is for me too.

GlassHead has modeled this twice before for you. It’s Heather Anderson’s Turtles’ Journey Cowl. I knit this new one in Michigan’s-own Yarn Hollow Tango, an 85% wool,15% silk DK weight.

The way GlassHead is wearing it, it’s a little hard to see the story. These photos show the turtles’ journey through the dangers of the sand into the relative safety of the water.

 

Knitting the sand, well not too exciting. The waves are an easy lace pattern. And the turtles? Well the turtles are some of the most fun a knitter can have. Watching the bodies form is lots ‘o giggles.

GlassHead gets a far-off, starry look in her eyes as she sits on my dining room table, staring out at Long Lake. I told her, no sea turtles here. But we’ve got snappers, painted turtles, and the occasional (OK, twice seen) Blandings turtles. She’s not getting the finer distinctions.