Not quite Pantone 7406C and blue

When my grandson asked for a knitted hat in University of Michigan colors, maize and blue, I set out to find the exact right colors. Valley Yarns Valley Superwash looked perfect (to me). I didn’t have to research anything. I’ve lived in Michigan for 66 years. I know what’s what. Little did I know that somehow maize has brightened up a lot over the years.

You probably want to know about that hat you’re staring at. I will get to that. According to the official U of M site, these shades–based on none other than Pantone itself–are the school colors.

The official colors look like yellow and blue to me. Maybe we should just start calling the school colors 7406C and 282C. If questioned by Isaac I will explain that his hat colors are the vintage colors. When maize was still maize, as in CORN, the color of corn.

OK. Back to that cool hat that started me down the rant path. It’s Knitwise Design‘s Spiral Style Hat. The hat is a top down slipped stitch beanie, with a matching pair of mittens if you’re looking for a set. Top down hats can be a bit fiddly for the first few rounds. But here, depending on the size, you start with 9, 10 or 11 stitches. So, not bad at all. And the increases come quickly.

Here’s a look at the top.

The only modification I made was to use an Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn bind-off rather than to bind off with a needle-size larger than that stockinette roll on the bottom. That’s always a good choice when what’s needed is a well-behaved but very stretchy bind-off.

My grandson requested a hat with earflaps and dangling braids. His sister got one for her birthday, yes in the official Pantone colors, and he likes that hat a lot.

I am hoping that Cynthia Spencer’s Cabled Earflap Hat from the book 60 Quick Knits From America’s Yarnshops will fit the bill.

The Sixth & Spring Series of 60 thises and 60 thats have a proven track record of creating a boatload of errata. They didn’t do right by Spencer on this one.

From the Ravelry project page, heed this fairly important errata: “Note that the cable chart has been printed upside down.” Yup. Make a note of that. And then make a copy of the chart and turn it upside down to knit from it. Then you’ll work in the normal fashion, from right to left, beginning with what will be numbered round 23.

Other than the problem the publisher caused, this is an excellent pattern.

Oh. I caused that little trough of stockinette between the cable work and the garter stitch all on my own. So don’t hold it against Spencer. In my defense, it’s not as noticeable in person as it is in a photo. I wanted to create a 2-color hat out of what’s supposed to be a solid color. And I didn’t want any half ‘n half rows. My idea was a good one. It just went a bit awry.

The next entry in the Wolverine tournament is a classic Fiber Trends pattern first publlished in 2002 and still available for download on Ravelry: School Colors Hat AC-53.

The pattern includes three sizes, with instructions for sport, worsted and bulky yarn. Back near the turn of the century, I’m pretty sure that DK weight didn’t exist. At least not in the United States. And also back then designers gave their patterns sensible names like School Colors Hat AC-53 instead of names like Caffeine-Free Fizzledop or Sunshine in the Cow Shed.

Here’s glasshead modeling the side view.

The first time you knit this hat, you’ll be mystified about exactly what’s going to create that clever roll. Some knitters have emailed me to say that the pattern must be wrong. It isn’t wrong. Don’t “trust your feelings, Luke.” Trust this pattern. It will all work out. Here’s the deal: this hat is knit entirely in stockinette, from the bottom up. You cast on with Pantone 282C–the main color.

Oh. Just in case you think I’ve no feelings for that other university in Michigan with that other football team, the Sparty colors have been known to infest my needles.

More hats

Kylie's_spiralLately it’s (almost) all hats all the time. I’m incentivized, as you’ll see at the end of this post. This is “Off-the-Cup Caps for Kids,” an Effectiveness by Design pattern by Michele Wyman. The pattern provides three variations and this is the spiral design. It was a “go to” pattern for me when my son was young and I haven’t knit it in ages. I used Lorna’s Laces Shepard Sport, but double-stranded it. The bow on top is a minor modification of mine. With 8 stitches left, I knit two 4-stitch I-cords.

It’s always a surprise to me to see how this:


Turns into a most unexpected this:


You’ve met Vogue Knitting’s Pompom Hat before on this blog. It’s back, jazzed up this time in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted in RPM Pink. Using a worsted, even though this is a beefy one, down-sized it to fit a child.

Sadie_pompomhatThe cables are great fun and look and feel totally cozy. But I also think that the seed-stitch back is a great touch.


This next one is Robin Melanson’s Hugs and Kisses Cabled Hat, from her hat and mitten set published in Tanis Gray’s “Cozy Knits: 50 Fast and Easy Projects by Top Designers,” published by Interweave.


I also knit this in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted (Lotus Pink) rather than in the bulky weight called for in the pattern. Again, the point was to downsize for a young one.

And this next cutie has a story to tell of knitting perseverance. But I’d not have been able to pull it off without the designer, Cynthia Spencer, having gone the extra mile and without Ravelry being available as support for our communication.


Kylies'cablehat2This is a two-color, one-pompom, no-top-tassle, modification of Spencer’s Cabled Earflap Hat included in “60 Quick Knits From America’s Yarn Shops.” It’s a Sixth and Spring Books publication. The errata are starting to pour in from the many corners of the knitting world on this book. I’d link to it, but for the last few days the website has been down. Spencer’s corrections hadn’t made it to the errata list as of about a week ago, though.

The pattern is correct except for the chart that is the body of the hat. I wouldn’t have been able to figure it out if Spencer hadn’t been so generous as to email me the chart she provided to the editors. She gave them line-by-line instructions too, but they only printed the chart and only after shrinking it down so small as to assure these senior eyes could barely read it. Well, that’s an old story and Sixth and Spring can’t be faulted for that any more than any other publisher can be. So, as for that chart–here’s the skinny:

Knit rounds 1 and 2. Then flip the chart upside down and start reading it backwards and knit rounds 23, 22, 21…and so on..down to round 3. Except when you get to round 17, 15 and 7 and 5 (reading the lines with their original chart labels, that is, upside down), reverse the 3-ST RPC and 3-ST LPC cables so that you switch the positioning of the 3rd and 4th set of cable crosses in each of the two halves of the figure eight.

Sigh. And then twirl around three times, shout “Callooh! Callay!” and chortle in your joy because once you knit the hat that Spencer entrusted to the publisher to print, you’ll have a great hat. Mine is knit in Cascade 220 Superwash Worsted.

kylies_cablehat3About being incentivized to knit these hats? Isn’t this just the best incentive ever?