Red hat days

Recently I noticed that I’ve been knitting a lot of red hats. Not that it’s been red red red all in a row. But I looked over my “knits4blog” file and found an abundance of red hats that I’d not yet featured.

This first one is the great Wooly Wormhead’s freebie, Meret, left free to be a beanie instead of a beret. That’s just a matter of not blocking it as a beret. My Meret is knit in Malabrigo Rios in the Cereza colorway. It’s a rich red with undertones of almost black. My apologies if that sounds wine-connoisseur-silly (“woody, with a hint of apricot and mushrooms”). But then lots of us are yarn connoisseurs in this robust knitting universe.

I was a smidge disappointed that the crown decreases turned out rather porous. It’s not beyond the pale though that sometimes we might need an air conditioned beanie.

Next up is yet another version of Jesie Ostermiller’s Portsmouth Beanie. This is such an excellent unisex hat pattern. This time I knit it in Anzula’s For Better or Worsted. 80% merino, 10% nylon, and 10% cashmere. This is the Watermelon colorway. I’m pretty sure it’s the 10% cashmere that keeps me reaching for this hat when I’m looking for cozy.

I’m frugal enough that I very much enjoy knitting multiples of purchased patterns. Six dollars for three hats–with likely more in the future–would please even my rubber-band-saving grandmother.

What would especially tickle Gram is that I knit this version in yarn I frogged from a prior, less successful, hat. I unraveled the hat, wound the yarn onto my swift, tied it in a few places, and then steamed it. That did an excellent job of unkinking the yarn and saved me the trouble of washing and reskeining it.

Here’s another version of Galina Shemchuk’s excellent freebie, Just a Hat. It’s a somewhat new hat pattern that’s drawn a lot of attention with 450 project pages in just a few years. There’s a lot to like about the pattern. Unisex. Very forgiving size-wise. Tidy crown decreases. And free.

 

I knit my Just a Hat in Malabrigo Rios using the Desert Rose colorway. This hat seems to look especially nice knit in a yarn, like Rios, with shading and depth to make the hat’s furrows furrow just right.

This next hat is Hill Country Hat by Clara Parks, the only bulky weight in this post. It’s part of her “Knitters’ Book of Wool” but the pattern’s been released as a freebie.

I’ve knit Hill Country (ahem) eight times and already posted this hat’s predecessors. If you search on this blog you’ll find them all and be able to see the interesting stitch choices that make this bulky-weight a standout. What makes my latest version different is my unusual yarn choice: Lana Grossa’s Fusione. If you want to give it a try in this yarn, I’ll just wish you luck because it’s discontinued. Personally, I liked its 30% cotton, 26% alpaca, 25% wool, 19% nylon mix, for some purposes anyway. Very cozy. But I didn’t like it’s-time-to-take-out-a-mortgage price. And then I bumped into a huge markdown on the stuff and I was all in. This Hill Country wiped out my stash though.

Admittedly, not the best choice if you’re looking for stitch definition. But it will keep some head totally warm.

Last up is another Maria Socha beauty: Rioska. Mine is knit in Sugar Bush Yarn’s Bold, unfortunately another discontinued yarn. It’s a worsted weight with excellent stitch definition. I’ve often knit with solid shades of Bold. This was the first time I used a variegated shade: Rose Garden. I was concerned that the mock cable details would be overwhelmed by a too busy yarn. But I’ve decided that the result is excellent.

So pretty, including Socha’s trademark well-planned crown decreases.

Knitting multiples, again

Sometimes a hat should just get down to basics. Galina Shemchuk’s freebie Just a Hat does just that. A nice simple 1 by 1 rib. The body of the hat is what Shemchuk calls False English Rib. It’s a form of what I know as Mistake Rib, but worked in the round. By whatever name it’s a very easy two-round stitch pattern.

The crown decreases are well behaved. Nothing fancy. But sometimes that’s perfect. I knit my hat in Malabrigo Rios. I couldn’t be more pleased about how nicely the Indicieta colorway shows off this simple but very satisfying knit.

I’ve been having fun knitting the same patterns in different yarns or different colorways. Here’s Just a Hat knit up in a yarn that’s new to me: Merino Mix by Schoeller + Stahl. It’s labeled an Aran weight. But I knit both my Just a Hats on the same size needle, US 7 for the body of the hat and US 5 for the rib. The size of the hat and the fit are the same. GlassHead declares these are both super cozy.

GlassHead especially likes that the deep brim keeps her ears extra warm. Glass skin, especially glass ears, allow for a lot of heat loss and warm hats are a must.

Switching now from heads to necks, this is a cowl that I’ve written about many times. It’s Stephen West’s Windschief. The pattern is a twofer. You can knit it as a cowl. Or you can continue on and work crown decreases for a great unisex beanie.

I knit this Windschief in Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherd’s Wool. 100% merino and super soft. It will pill, but my experience with it has been that it still wears well. Picking off some fuzzballs isn’t the end of the world. This close-fitting cowl only needs about 125 yards.

Often I’ve knit Windschief in Berroco Comfort. Comfort is, well, very comfortable. Perfect for this next-to-the-skin cowl. A great yarn for those who don’t tolerate wool well.  My lemon yellow cowl is the, ahem,15th time I’ve knit Windschief. These next two Comforts were numbers 14 and 13.

Maybe I’m too easily amused, but just a change of colorway or change of yarn livens up working a pattern I’ve knit so many times.

This next double is Aimee Alexander’s Hungry Horse Hat. I knit my pair in  Plymouth Yarns’ DK Merino Superwash. Three 130-yard-skeins yielded two excellent hats.

Never underestimate the yardage-saving power of a brimless hat. Well, Hungry Horse isn’t exactly brimless, its brim just doesn’t fold.

And such a nice pinwheel swirl of a crown decrease.

Some might accuse that if a knitter knits a pattern over and over and over that knitter’s in a rut. I might be. But I know these patterns work out well. I know that those in my giving circle appreciate receiving the final product. And I can just settle in and relax into a familiar conversation with my yarn and my needles. There are lots of days in a long life of knitting when that feels just exactly right.