The blues, again

It’s time to sing the blues again as in 2020. First up in this blues redux is Benjamin Matthews’ conveniently named Art Deco Redux. I worked mine in Malabrigo Rios in the Teal Feathers colorway. Rios is right up there among my favorite yarns for knitting worsted weight hats. And Teal Feathers is a beautiful vibrant deep blue.

Some don’t like purling in the round. That’s not a problem for me. The reverse stockinette sets off the gradually increasing height of the rib section very nicely. The simple architectural design ends at the crown with some excellent swirling decreases,

Next up is Vanessa Ewing’s Dodging Raindrops Cowl. I knit mine in MCN Fingering, by Sun Valley Fibers. It’s 80% Merino,10% nylon, and 10% cashmere goat. I’ve been enjoying fingering weight cowls these days.They can take the chill out of air conditioning or take the chill out of winter. Very versatile.

It’s easy to see the falling raindrops in this pattern. I wasn’t sure if raindrops would be closer together at higher or at lower altitudes. I’ve been known to wonder about things like that. But this is the way the designer’s project page features the cowl, so I’m sticking to that.

It’s a fun knit. And this cashmere-content Sun Valley yarn has wonderful drape and feels great next to the skin.

You’ve seen Joji Locatell’s fingering weight Bobble Cowl once before on this blog. This time I bobbled away using Anzula’s Domino. Domino is an unusual mix of 80% merino, 17% acrylic, and 3% polyester. Honestly, the merino doesn’t shine through as much as I’d like. But what a great cowl.

Here’s a closer look at how the short rows and bobbles create the interesting design.

Though I miss the softness of the merino, Domino folds over onto itself very nicely and drapes well.

Back to hats. This is Ellissa Gilbert’s Hazelnut Hat.

The yarn is Jagger Spun of Springvale Maine’s “Super Lamb.” Gilbert’s pattern includes directions for DK  and worsted weight versions. I wanted a hat for a big noggin so I worked the 104 stitch DK version even though I used a worsted. I didn’t think that an 88 stitch hat would work for my bigheads, especially because of the twisted ribbing. The pattern directs you to twist the knit and the purl stitches. I dutifully twisted both and had the very sore hands to prove it. It is a nice effect though.

Pouffy slouchies are a thing these days. Uncuffed, Hazelnut poufs. And cuffing tames its pouf quite nicely.

A solid good hat pattern.

That’s all for today’s blues.

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.

Joji Locatelli and Madelintosh


This is Joji Locatelli’s Suburban Wrap, knit in Madelintosh Tosh Merino Light. I was gifted three skeins of this yarn. Gulp! I wanted to find a pattern that would do it justice and I believe I succeeded.

This wrap was a little hard to photograph. But it will be very easy to wear.

I thought the lace would be a challenge for me, but it worked out well.

Following the lead of a few others on Ravelry, I  knit the first stitch of each row instead of slipped it–mostly to help neaten the striped section edges. For me, that slip stitch as the yarn colors change ends up looking sloppy. Others manage it just fine. But I must not quite have the knack. Ok. It doesn’t help that occasionally I forget to slip and then you get that galumph on the edge.

As is true of others, I substituted a CDD (slip 2 together knitwise, knit one, pass the slipped stitches over) for the sk2p (slip 1, k2 together, pass slipped stitch over) that the lace section called for.

Thanks so much, good friend. The yarn was a joy to work with. Here’s my yarnie bouquet as it arrived from Jimmy Beans:

The yarn was so lovely to work with that I didn’t want any to languish in my oddments bin. Since I was on a Joji Locatelli roll, I decided to work up the rest of the yarn by knitting her long, tall Three-Color Cashmere Cowl with the remainder. Well, I needed to add one other yarn to get the required length. And Tosh Merino light is obviously not cashmere. So let’s just call this my More-Than-3-Color-Not Cashmere Cowl.

You know from my recent posts that orange and I are having a good run. I think my partial skein of Classic Elite Yuri was just the thing to make this cowl pop.

 

Yep, that does nicely.

Fall at the lake is hat weather’s start

Long  Lake has been spectacular lately. This was the view one day this week about an hour after sunrise. The weather is crisp. OK, the weather’s pretty cold. It reminds that winter isn’t far away.

Time for hats. This purple one is Claudia Eisenkolb’s Not Cabled. I knit mine in Berrocco Ultra Wool, a worsted weight superwash that is a new favorite of mine. Not Cabled just looks like it uses cables. The illusion is achieved by merely working knit and purl stitches.

In this view you get a better sense that this isn’t cabling.

And, as always with hats I like to knit, the decreases successfully continue enough of the pattern to create an attractive crown.

This sunny hat is Lion Brand’s Seed Rib Hat. The pattern calls for  a DK weight. I used Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherd’s Wool DK. My sense is that this hat will be a hit in my holiday choose-your-gift basket.

OK. People will likely say “I like the pompom” and overlook that the crown decreases nicely continue (and properly dispose of) the pattern stitch. But as knitters we will be pleased by what’s under the pompom, a series of organized crown decreases.

Given the death of Classic Elite and its yarns, this next hat might be called “Ode to Classic Elite Fresco.” But it’s actually Susan Mills no-nonsense Fresco Simply Slouchy Hat available now, via Ravelry, as a freebie.

Such a sweet and simple thing. And knit up in sportweight Fresco, it’s kitten-soft.

Next up is Joji Locatelli’s free pattern Rafa’s Hat. I decided to knit mine in a skein of Worsted Merino Superwash Hand-dyed, a Plymouth yarn that I’ve had in my stash for a good long while. Speckled yarns don’t entice me much anymore. But I think this pattern works well in this yarn.

A very simple crown decrease. And it works!

And finally, an oldie-goodie, knit in Berroco Comfort to satisfy the wool-adverse.

It’s the delightfully named School Colors Hat AC-53. It’s a Fiber Trends pattern by Betsy Lee McCarthy, available direct from the Fiber Trends website and on Ravelry. This hat has a trick up its sleeve to create the double roll. The trick is all about the rolling and not much about the knitting. I’ve knit many of these and posted about them on my blog. I get questions about how to form the double roll. The answer is to finish knitting and then just do exactly what the pattern says. Exactly. Without any overthinking. The double roll will happen. This pattern was released back in 1492 and, no, you haven’t discovered that the roll doesn’t work.

The crown knits up neatly even though Comfort shows the decreases more than I think ideal.

Ribbed hats with pizzazz

It’s snowing like crazy this afternoon, April 11th. So that clearly means it’s time to write about …more hats. If this snow keeps up and foils our plan to not shovel again this season, since we assume that because it’s mid-April it will melt quickly, maybe we’ll still be wearing hats in May.

This is Rafa’s Hat, a freebie by Argentinian designer, Joji Locatelli. And, yes, if you’ve clicked on that link, maybe your man will end up looking like Locatelli’s model if you knit him this hat. Probably not, though. She sees it as a “manly” hat and it is. But it’s a perfectly proper womanly hat too. I knit mine in Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash, one of my favorite worsted weight hat yarns. This knit looks best knit in a yarn with excellent stitch definition.

Here’s the well-behaved, attractive crown decrease section. I decided to work fewer rounds (only four) after the last pattern repeat that ends with the line “divider” because I thought that the hat was tall enough. This is a hat I’ll be returning to again. In fact, maybe sooner rather than later because snow always energizes my hat knitting.

This next hat is an Aimee Alexander (Polka Dot Knits) design: Boon Island. I knit mine in Berroco’s Ultra Wool, another excellent newer superwash worsted. The “cracked rib” a/k/a “broken rib” stitch is an easy two-round pattern that makes for excellent social knitting. I couldn’t quite get the gauge of 22 stitches and 34 rows to 4 inches in Ultra Wool. My gauge on size 7 US needles was 23 stitches to 4 inches. But the hat is very stretchy and gives a knitter a Get-Out-of-Jail Free Card on minor gauge problems.

The hat can be worn slouchy.

Or it can be worn cuffed.

Either way, every head, all sizes, will find that Boon Island suits. And the hat really flies off your needles because every other round of broken rib is a knit round.

Boon Island is a close cousin to Jennifer Adams’s Graham, a Ravelry freebie. Adams’s hat uses a traditional ribbing at the outset. This time I knit my Graham in Berroco Peruvia. Peruvia is considered an Aran weight, but the hat worked out just fine. Graham’s pattern calls for Berroco Ultra Alpaca, which is labeled a worsted but knits up (for me) a tad beefier.

Here’s Graham’s slouch look.

The crown treatment on the two hats is different, with Boon Island’s creating a more pronounced “x” of decreases as compared to Graham’s more traditional simple shaping.

And here’s Graham cuffed.

Both Boon Island and Graham are completely reversible. That’s a nice touch in any simple hat because the knit-clueless among us often seem to wear their hats inside out. With these hats, it won’t matter.

A number of knitters, myself included, have altered the Graham crown decreases thinking to eliminate any hint of a pointy top. For me, at round 19 I knit 2 together across the round. I worked K1, P1 across round 20. And for round 21, I k1, k2tog across the round. That left 14 stitches remaining to close the top.

Here’s the Graham I knit a few years ago, in Berroco Ultra Alpaca. I didn’t modify the crown and the off-head pointy crown totally disappears. My son prefers to wear his Graham cuffed.

Personally, I think “my” model rivals Locatelli’s. But I’m probably biased.

This next cracked/broken rib hat is Virginia Myers’s The Only Hat Your Teen Wants.

I knit mine in the lovely-to-look-at Brillo Pad competitor yarn, Caron Cupcakes. It’s a DK weight acrylic caked up in a really attractive run of five colors, complete with a pompom.

The look of this hat? Very, very nice in this yarn. The price point of this yarn? Excellent. The pattern? A really good one. It’s a DK take on mistake rib, with a twisted rib cuff. The feel of this yarn? Really, really rough with that unpleasant squeak-on-the-needles quality. That being said, after I washed the hat and put it in the dryer (before attaching the pompom), it softened nicely. There was no way this hat would do its slouch thing without a washing. First off the needles, the hat stood on its own.

If Cupcakes tempts, this pattern really shows off the yarn.

Haxann Evers’s Garter Rib Bliss is one last entry in the ribbed hat category. It’s another Ravelry freebie. I knit mine in Blue Sky Fibers Handspun Organic Cotton, a beefy worsted weight.

Check the other Ravelry projects for this hat to see its very different look knitted in soft acrylic or non-cotton natural yarn. The non-cottons bunch the yarn so that the ribbing looks more, well, ribbing-like. But I like the looks of mine.

I was prepared to not like the very abrupt K2 together all across the round crown decreases in this pattern. Instead, I’ve decided that I like the effect. Very nice ribbiness.

Often keeping it simple works really well.