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.

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.

Blue & yellow & sunflowers

This is Maria Socha’s Mimoza. Actually, and obviously since you see Glasshead wearing it, this is my Mimoza. It’s knit in Hikoo by Skacel Simplicity Solid, an excellent DK-weight yarn. It was a fun knit. As always, Socha’s crown decreases are totally beautiful.

I almost always make the largest size in a hat since even little tots in my neck of the woods like oversized hats. This one is a bit tall for beanie wearing in this size–except for the often-discussed pumpkin heads who surround me. The peacock blue shade is such an excellent colorway.

Next up is Subversively Stitched’s worsted weight freebie: Alignment. This one was a real hoot to knit, but I’m fairly sure there’s a hiccup in the pattern. And there is one caution that falls into the idiosyncratic pattern writing category.

At first I missed the idiosyncratic definition for the use of square brackets. They first appear at the clumped-together rounds 2-7 and repeat in other rounds. The brackets are defined to mean “a repeating set of 2 rounds; each round inside the brackets is set inside parentheses like ( ).” Hmm. So, e.g. for the clumped- together notation for rounds 2-7 that means:

Rnd 2: K4, P 1, K104, P1
Rnd 3: 2X2RC, P1, K104, P1.
Rnd 4: repeat rnd 2.
Rnd 5: repeat rnd 3.
Rnd 6: repeat rnd 2.
Rnd 7: repeat rnd 3.

Everything was working out perfectly with this pattern until I got to rounds 20-24. Maybe it was my mistake. But I checked it a few times and couldn’t make it work as written. Then I just followed the photo of the hat. Those rounds are the midpoint of the textured pattern. There are rectangles/almost squares in that section.

Rounds 20-23 call for repeats of P4, K4…with a few specified stitches (knit or purl) before that repeat and a few specified stitches (knit or purl) after that repeat. I had to end the repeat with a P4 to properly form the square. Then the specified stitches at the end of the round didn’t work out. On Rounds 20 and 22, I needed K2 at the end. On Round 21 and 23, I ended with a P4, K1. On Round 24, I ended with a K4…and I wasn’t sure what to do with the last two stitches so I just K2.

The first of the rounds of crown decreases are not placed to align up with the rest. Especially if you’re working in a solid color yarn, it sticks out like a sore thumb. I assume this is necessary to get the stitch count to work out. If I knit this again, I’ll decrease in the last set of garter stitch rounds to hide those necessary decreases.

I knit my Alignment in Berroco Comfort. Easy care and very…well…comfortable.

My next blue hat is Beverly S.’s Slip Sliding Hat. It’s designed for Malabrigo Rios and that’s what I used. The brim starts with an easy modified twisted rib. The body of the hat’s worked with slipped stitches every other row. Those slipped stitches slide back and forth, creating a zigzag pattern.

This turned out to be a fun, quick, knit. I worked 4 repeats of the 12-round pattern and then began the crown decreases because I wanted more of a beanie than a slouchy.

One caution. Be careful to slip the 3 stitches (with the yarn in front) keeping an even and not-too-tight tension. Otherwise the stitches will bunch and the fabric will tend to pucker. At some points I think I wasn’t totally successful in heeding my own caution.

Very nice crown decreases. I was completely satisfied to forego the slipped stitches for the crown.

Speaking of zigzagging, it’s back to yellow. Another Boon Island by Aimee Alexander. This one is knit in Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash Solid. Definitely two many nouns in a string. But great yarn.

I especially appreciate this hat’s versatility. A great slouchy. And an interesting beanie.

This final blue hat is Anne Claiborne’s Tenure Track. And I didn’t suddenly learn to crochet. It’s knitted. I love this hat’s in-your-face double ring of big bobbles. The stitch pattern is granite stitch. I’d not worked it before my first Tenure Track. It’s easy and looks great.

The bullseye crown decreases continue the granite stitch right down to the last rounds.

Such an excellent hat.

This used to be an excellent field of sunflowers near where I live. They always filled me with a sense of hope and resilience. The farmer doesn’t plant them anymore.

Putting leftovers to use

This is Aimee Alexander’s Kicking Horse cowl, knit in DK-weight Malabrigo Silky Merino. Excellent yarn. Excellent pattern. The pattern is easy to work and clearly written. Just be careful not to forget a yarn over in the mesh sections. And be sure to not add a yarn over at the end of the right-leaning mesh section. ‘Cuz if you do that the diagonal leaning mesh gets scrambled and you’re toast. You probably already guessed how I know that.

I made the largest circumference cowl. Blocked it’s 9 inches by 52 inches. I soaked it, blotted out the excess water in a towel, and then dried it flat without pinning it.

Our beloved Malabrigo, with its frequent color differences between skeins, can bedevil us knitters. The gnashing of teeth here resulted from shopping online, though truthfully it often simply can’t be prevented. Here’s what arrived from Lovecrafts.

It was immediately obvious, upon unpacking my yarn, that one skein had much more blue in it than the other two.

Kicking Horse didn’t need much yardage from a third skein. And like Gaul (which would have been a better name for this cowl) it’s divided into three parts. Once I realized that I didn’t need much of the 3rd skein, I figured that the solution was to knit the center left-leaning mesh section (only) in the more-blue skein. That worked nicely.

Sometimes I work hard to figure out what’s to be done with leftover yarn from a project. I work even harder if the yarn is something I especially like. Malabrigo Silky Merino qualifies on that score. Sue Brady’s freebie pattern, Basic Fingerless Mitts, was perfect for my leftover Silky Merino. These mitts took just under 90 yards, even with a few modifications that increased the yardage.

I worked 8 extra rounds before starting the thumb gusset. I also lengthened the mitt beyond the gusset stitches by 4 rounds. And I decided to pick up 4 rather than 2 stitches for the thumb to better close the gap. Plus I lengthened the thumb by 2 rounds. It’s a great fit, both for my hands and the yarn.

Next up is yet another pair of Kris Basta’s excellent freebie slippers Better Dorm Boots for Men. This is the 6th pair I’ve knit in the last few years. Of course there’s nothing that says these need to be for men, though it’s true that Steve’s feet already claimed this pair. I always make two modifications. I knit them in chunky or bulky yarn, rather than worsted weight doubled. This time I used King Cole Shadow Chunky. And I add a generous cuff.

I had two skeins. The slippers used only 1.3 of the 166 yard skeins. What to do with the rest was a bit of a challenge. The new Ravelry freebie by Svart Lamb, Little Fisherman’s Beanie, worked out well. I didn’t want to knit this hat with 3 strands of yarn as the pattern calls for– fingering plus fingering plus Aran–so I simply used a chunky weight. The hat is knit on only 60 stitches. Even though it’s mostly all rib and very stretchy, my modification means that it will have to be a little fisherman who wears this. It’s basically an adult small which, in my experience means that kids can wear it just fine.

When I joined the caston round with the working round to create that distinctive edge ridge, I goofed.  I missed the import of the designer’s instructions at the join stage to “fold these 8 rows so purl stitches would stay inside.” I didn’t have any purl stitches, just ribbing, so I didn’t understand that. What I did to create the error, which would have ended up with the ragged side facing outward when the cuff was folded, is I joined a stitch from the live stitches with the caston edge by reaching inside to pick up the stitch-to-be-joined. That put the smoother edge on the outside of the tube–which isn’t where you want it. What I should have done was folded the work so that the caston edge was on the outside of the tube, picked up a caston stitch first, and then joined those stitches to the working stitches. To fix my mistake, in case others make it too, I turned my work at the first stockinette round and then pushed the work through the center to switch the direction of the knitting. This maneuver created a bit of a hole. But that filled in as I continued to knit.

For a chunky-weight hat, the crown decreases worked out well. 

This is yet another free Ravelry pattern: Finlandia, designed by Paige Buursma. I had one skein of Malabrigo Rios left in a favorite colorway: Archangel. As it turned out, Finlandia is a very dainty hat when it comes to yarn-eating. It used only 50 grams, 105 yards.

I thought I might not be up to knitting a lacy hat. It required a bit of concentration. But this is very easy lace so I gave it a go. I’m so glad I did. It’s an excellent hat.

Finlandia even has a nice set of pinwheel crown decreases.

So, 50 grams of beautiful Rios left. Jessica Ays Narragansett Fingerless Mitts fit my yarn and my yardage perfectly. My friend Harriet has knit 6 pair of these mitts in recent weeks. I decided to join in on the fun.

 

I confess I almost decided against giving them a try after I purchased the pattern and learned that the beautifully textured top of the mitt is created by knitting in the round below. I last knit in the round below on a small sweater for my baby son. My baby son turned 35 in June. I’d worked the sweater in what I now (think) I know as a form of brioche ribbing. When I made a mistake I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. I must have restarted that little sweater a million times.

But it turns out that knitting in the round below is easy peasy because, in this pattern, every other round is all purl stitches on the tops of the mitts. So if you do goof, all it takes is ripping out one round to get back to what amounts to a lifeline of well-behaving purl stitches. Whether just knowing a fix would be easy relaxed me, who knows, but I made no mistakes and the knitting was easy.

These mitts proved the perfect way to use up my Rios skein. I knit the mitts with no modifications and used only 48 grams (101 yards).

It’s a fun challenge to try to keep smallish amounts of yarn out of my leftovers bag.

Strong solid color hats

Brace yourself for a hatapalooza. The theme is hats in solid colors. Gloriously pretty and deep clear colors. And even dull and boring colors. But all solids. No speckles. No variegateds.

This first hat is Kathy Zimmerman’s Back Seat Driver Hat, a Ravelry freebie. I knit mine in Sugar Bush Yarn’s Crisp, a DK weight. The colorway is Good Gold. The pattern is an easy, quick knit. The solid color is busy doing what solids often do: showcasing texture.

I have a giant pumpkin head and so do many in my neck of the woods. So I knit the largest size. A 120-stitch cast-on is a very large hat, even in DK. But I love the generous feel of this hat and that the ribbing isn’t stretched while someone wears it.

I’d like this hat more if the crown decreases were a little less fluffy. That can be solved by flipping the ribbing up to pull the hat down at the crown. But I sort of prefer an uncuffed ribbing in this one.

Next up is a classic balaclava: Easy Balaclava by Nanette Blanchard. It’s also a freebie, but you’ll have to step into the Wayback Machine, here, for the pattern.

I knit my helmet in Berroco Ultra Wool. Worked in a solid black there’s no busy yarn to obscure the simple lines of the ribbing.

And the crown decreases are nicely well-behaved too.

I made almost no modifications to the pattern. But instead of using a backward loop cast-on above the bind-off (as the pattern directs), I used a cable cast-on. And to strengthen the opening, on both sides where the cast-on met the body of the helmet, I knit 2 together. In the final decrease round, I substituted knit 2 together for the pattern’s knit 3 together. Then I closed the hat with 6 stitches instead of 4.

Next up is Rafa’s Hat, a freebie by Joji Locatelli. She says it’s “a very easy manly hat worked in worsted weight yarn…designed for a friend who (like every man) had very little requirements.”

This time I knit Rafa’s Hat in Berroco’s Ultra Wool in the “Green” colorway. Don’t you love the shade name? Not “Pond Scum in the Moonlight” or “Moss Lurking under a Wet Rock.” Just, “Green.” A no-nonsense yarn for a no-nonsense hat.

My round gauge is always way off when I knit this hat. This time, I knit the largest size but stopped the ribbing in each section at 15 rounds. After 3 repeats, I worked only 4 rounds of ribbing before starting the crown decreases. That worked well. Otherwise the hat would have been too long.

Wouldn’t this hat be cool with that perfect circle of crown decreases knit in a bright yellow?

This next hat is a frequent visitor to the blog: Aimee Alexander’s Boon Island. Not a freebie, but worth every penny. This is the 5th time I’ve knit this pattern and this time I decided to use Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash Solid in the “Gold” colorway. Here’s Boon Island as a slouchy.

Here’s the hat cuffed and showing off its underside. If you work this hat with care, in terms of weaving in ends, it’s almost a reversible.

Here’s the tidy crown decreases.

The next pattern and yarn are both new to me: Susan B. Anderson’s Baker’s Hat and Louett’s Gem’s Fingering weight.

I used a cable cast-on, alternating between knit and purl stitches. It worked out well and made for a very neat edge. My stitch gauge was correct. My row gauge was off. At the end of the twisted-rib stitches, I was already 8 inches from the cast-on (rather than 7.5). I eliminated the extra rounds (5 for my size) and just started decreasing at the end of the twisted-rib rounds. Whether because of the yarn or the pattern, I’m not sure, but I needed to sternly wet-block this hat to tame the ruffle that formed just after the ribbing, as the hat moves into its stockinette section.

The Baker’s Hat crown is a bunch of organized elongated puffy folds. Normally that wouldn’t sit well with me. But for some reason I feel like it works here. Maybe the audacity of how exaggerated they are makes those puffs more acceptable. And, once again, the simple twisted-rib section shows to good advantage in a simple solid yarn.

This last hat is Smith’s Hat, a Ravelry freebie designed by Sanne Kalmbacher. From my first look at the design I imagined Smith’s Hat in a solid, mostly to show off the unusual structure with its twists of ribbing. I knit mine in Plymouth Yarn’s DK Merino Superwash. The colorway is Copper Heather. I see you rolling your eyes already. OK. Heathers are not solids. All I can say is that this “heather” isn’t a heather. It’s a solid. Nice yarn, too.

‘Tis a very strange knit. Which is what drew me to it. It’s given some folks fits to knit. It did for me too but then I found some assistance from other Raveler’s project pages.

The puzzler is how to get that slanted rib panel to slice its way across the hat.

The M1L and M1LP are worked typically, though the abbreviation key sets out the directions in a way I’ve not seen before.

For the M1L, I picked up the horizontal bar from the front, put it on the left needle point, and knit it through the back loop.

For the M1LP, I picked up the horizontal bar from the front, put it on the left needle point, and purled it through the back loop. Purling through the back is an unpleasant maneuver. Sharp needle points make it easier. Purling through the back closes up a little hole that will otherwise appear in a rather prominent place.

There is a horizontal bar to pick up on every round. Especially at the beginning, it’s a little hard to see. It’s a bit tucked to the nonpublic side, maybe because there’s some pulling going on from all this stitch manipulation.

My fairy godmother on this project is Raveler ESB4. Ethel has line-by-line instructions on her Ravelry Smith’s Hat project page for rounds 6-11 as you leave the twist and form the M1Ls. They work perfectly. Basically, Rounds 6-8 create 3 stitches as you exit the twist, and 3 disappear just before you enter the twist as a result of knit 2 togethers. Same for rounds 9-11. The first trio of rounds creates a set of 3 knits, while the last trio creates a set of 3 purls. As those trios “grow” they become a full 3-stitch vertical rib. I know that if you haven’t already knit this it’s probably not making much sense. But it all works out.


I’m not thrilled with the crown decreases, especially at the start. But that very prominent line of decreases mostly fades into the background once it’s on a head. Felted Head says the hat is quite cozy.

I’ve been doing a good bit of knitting with solids partly because I’ve been gravitating to lots of texture in my knits. Both are good trends. Comforting. Soothing. With nothing to hurt your eyeballs.