Hat weather is almost here

This is Leslie Taylor’s Mayfly Hat, knit in Mountain Colors Perspectives RiverWash Sport. This was a Mountain Colors’ kit, purchased at a local yarn shop closing at a ridiculously wonderful discount. The pattern is also available for purchase on Ravelry.

With the gradient reds doing their thing, it’s a bit hard to see in my photo,¬†but that’s three Estonian braids just above the ribbing. Honestly, I don’t much care for the effect of the braids in this yarn. But it does dress the hat up a bit.

I made a few modifications. I didn’t do a provisional cast-on–not with the first row planned as a 1 by 1 rib. A provisional cast-on might have worked well if the next row was knit plain. Otherwise my sense is it would have been difficult to pick up and knit that mix of knits and purls in sportweight yarn on size 3 US needles. Instead, I did my folded brim by knitting a turning round of purl. Then I knit ribbing for a few more¬†inches. Next I knit the cast-on stitches together with the live stitches and I was off to the races to tackle the body of the hat.

My only other modification was to move up one needle size for the body of the hat. I think that’s a common convention that works well.

The colors are what make this hat shine. And, as always, well-behaved crown decreases (no pointy problem) are much appreciated.

This next hat is Herriot, a free pattern, by Nicole Montgomery. Let’s do this in reverse. Here’s the crown, knit in Malabrigo Rios.

The pattern calls for a bulky weight, and Rios is only a worsted. But I couldn’t get gauge (18 stitches and 25 rows to each 4 inches) in any bulky weight in my stash. Again, a totally not pointy crown. Perfect.

What makes Herriot special is the use of a stitch that I don’t think we see enough of anymore: smocking stitch.

I decided to use up some precious Rios leftovers for this hat, in two favorite colorways (Sunset and Lettuce). I also worked a bit of a fade between the two colors. This is a cool hat worked in a solid color as the designer intended. But I rather like my quirky stashbuster version.

This next hat is Windshield by Niina Talikka. The pattern calls for a DK weight and I knit mine in Anzula Cricket.

I’m unsure how the diamond motif of this hat became so indistinct on one side. Cricket has good stitch definition, so I didn’t expect the hat would have that problem. The designer says that “blocking is highly recommended to make the motif visible and for the hat to form its gentle slouch.” So, as directed I blocked. It helped make the motif come to life, but not as much as I hoped.

Still, I like this hat quite a bit. Cricket is 80% merino, 10% nylon, and 10% cashmere goat. It feels wonderfully soft. No one will complain “…but it’s so itchy.” And I also don’t see anyone complaining “where’s the second side of my diamond motif.” If you decide to knit Windshield, take a look at the project pages for this hat on Ravelry. The patterning definitely pops better in a solid color. Windshield is a top-down hat. That can be a bit of a bear to pull off. But the bear only roars for a few rounds and then it’s tamed.

No bunch ‘o hats post would be complete without including another rendition of one of my favorite hats, Susan Villas Lewis’s “The Thinker.”

I’ve posted about it many times, here‘s two, and here’s another and here’s two more. My newest version is knit in Malabrigo Rios. It used to be something else, part of a (sort of) poncho. When a knitting buddy’s husband saw her working on hers he asked if she was knitting a lampshade. Every time I was tempted to wear it all I could think of was how nice a lampshade it might have made. Anyway, I frogged the thing and now I have a lot of extra Rios. Knitting The Thinker was a good save, I think. And now there’s much more Rios for me to knit with.

Boot Toppers

boots

As a Savannah friend recently asked when I sent her this photo, what do you call those things anyway? (She didn’t mean the boots…boots she knows.) She was speaking of the pretty things stuck in the boots. Knitters mostly seem to call them boot toppers.

Sometimes you don’t know you need something until you see it. OK. Sometimes you don’t need the things that you see that catch your fancy. But this was a fun, quick knit and a colorful addition to my “each guest chooses” holiday basket. The chosen (this one was) are in the running for next year’s basket.

These worsted weight boot toppers are Leslie Taylor’s sensibly named “Fair Isle Boot Toppers.” The pattern was kitted-up with Mountain Colors 4/8’s Wool, a great work-horse yarn available in all the company’s colorways. Look for the kit in your local yarn shop or on the web. It includes two dark colors and two color-changing teeny skeins. Mine had plenty of yarn to spare–enough for a fair isle coffee cozy.

Oh, just in case you’re wondering. Those spiffy-looking boots are brand new in this photo. We’re having a wicked winter so far here in Michigan. All I can say is, despite my siliconing the dickens out of them, the salt attack is in full-swing.

boottoppers