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.┬áThis 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┬áversion 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.

Doubled

I think these are super cute and so do hundreds of others who’ve knitted Jelka since Isabell Kraemer released the pattern as a freebie in December of 2021. Jelka is a very easy slip stitch pattern, with a doubled brim that will keep ears warm and dry.

It starts with a provisional cast-on. Here’s my favorite crochet provisional cast-on, demonstrated by Lucy Neatby. Don’t groan. This one is easily worked. And it pulls out beautifully when you need it to, no unraveling or tangling. Just be sure that your first row after the cast-on is all knits or (I think) all purls. Jelka’s first round after the cast-on is all knit. Such an alert call by Kraemer. Other than working the provisional cast-on properly, another hint for the joining round is to pick up the cast-on stitches onto a needle 1 or 2 sizes smaller than your working needle.

Of course the pompom is optional. I think they usually look ratty after the hat is washed, so I often steer clear of pompoms. But this hat just seemed to want one. So I obliged.

I knit my first Jelka in Malabrigo Rios. The main color is Sunset and the contrast color is Teal Feather.

The hat benefited by a steam blocking to encourage the slipped stitches to relax into the fabric.

Why would anyone want to knit something more than once? I know that there are many knitters who ask that question out of sincere puzzlement. They want each knitting adventure to be, well, an adventure. Take it from someone who’s knit 50 Acorn Hill Ponies, 26 Calorimetry earwarmers, 16 Sunrise Side Bears, 15 Windschief hats, 13 Noro Striped Scarves, 11 Fetching fingerless mitts, 11 The Thinker hats, 11 Rambling Rows blankets, 10 Better Dorm Boots, and 9 Rib Sampler Scarves, that some knitters take solace in the familiar. Sometimes knitting adventures aren’t what I crave.

As soon as I knit my first Jelka, I wanted to knit another. I don’t think there’s a much higher compliment to a designer than to feel that way.

My second Jelka is knit in Plymouth Yarns Select Merino superwash.

I was curious how a much more tame color combination would work out. My sense is that it worked out quite nicely.

I even decided to add a two-color pompom.

I’ve already mentioned that I’ve knit The Thinker hat 11 times. Recently I realized it had been nearly 2 years since I’d returned to Susan Villas Lewis’ excellent pattern. Thinkers look especially nice in solid colors that show off the stitches. And I had recently purchased some solid skeins of Sugar Bush Bold worsted. First came one.

And immediately came another. The second is worked in a nice bright shade of Bold tailor-made for walks during hunting season.

The Thinker has an excellent pinwheel crown decrease. It looks a little odd laying flat. But just tell your recipients to stop laughing and put it on their heads because what first looks pointy behaves absolutely non-pointy.

One of my best knitting buddies, Dot, has knit multiples of this next hat. I figured that must mean it’s an excellent knit. Jesie Ostermiller’s Portsmouth Beanie did not disappoint. I knit my first one in Cascade Yarn’s Elysian. It’s a new yarn to me. It’s an easy-care worsted in 60% merino, 40% acrylic. I liked the yarn. I really like this unisex pattern.

The pattern also eats yarn very daintily. I knit the largest size and only used 127 yards.

I knit a second Portsmouth Beanie in Sugar Bush Bold. I apologize for that funny little purl hiccup in the middle of my ribbed brim. If I’d have seen it before the photograph, I’d have fixed it. But it’s still a very serviceable and attractive hat.

And the no-nonsense crown decreases work well.

I see no shame in knitting doubles. Maybe there’s a little bit of shame in knitting 50 of the same ponies or 11 of the same blankets. I’ve already confessed my guilt on that score. At a minimum it shows my knitting imagination is easily satisfied. I genuinely enjoy seeing the same pattern knit in different yarns. But likely the major motivation is that such knitting feels comfortable and familiar. Sort of chicken soup for my hands.