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.

Blue & yellow & sunflowers

This is Maria Socha’s Mimoza. Actually, and obviously since you see Glasshead wearing it, this is my Mimoza. It’s knit in Hikoo by Skacel Simplicity Solid, an excellent DK-weight yarn. It was a fun knit. As always, Socha’s crown decreases are totally beautiful.

I almost always make the largest size in a hat since even little tots in my neck of the woods like oversized hats. This one is a bit tall for beanie wearing in this size–except for the often-discussed pumpkin heads who surround me. The peacock blue shade is such an excellent colorway.

Next up is Subversively Stitched’s worsted weight freebie: Alignment. This one was a real hoot to knit, but I’m fairly sure there’s a hiccup in the pattern. And there is one caution that falls into the idiosyncratic pattern writing category.

At first I missed the idiosyncratic definition for the use of square brackets. They first appear at the clumped-together rounds 2-7 and repeat in other rounds. The brackets are defined to mean “a repeating set of 2 rounds; each round inside the brackets is set inside parentheses like ( ).” Hmm. So, e.g. for the clumped- together notation for rounds 2-7 that means:

Rnd 2: K4, P 1, K104, P1
Rnd 3: 2X2RC, P1, K104, P1.
Rnd 4: repeat rnd 2.
Rnd 5: repeat rnd 3.
Rnd 6: repeat rnd 2.
Rnd 7: repeat rnd 3.

Everything was working out perfectly with this pattern until I got to rounds 20-24. Maybe it was my mistake. But I checked it a few times and couldn’t make it work as written. Then I just followed the photo of the hat. Those rounds are the midpoint of the textured pattern. There are rectangles/almost squares in that section.

Rounds 20-23 call for repeats of P4, K4…with a few specified stitches (knit or purl) before that repeat and a few specified stitches (knit or purl) after that repeat. I had to end the repeat with a P4 to properly form the square. Then the specified stitches at the end of the round didn’t work out. On Rounds 20 and 22, I needed K2 at the end. On Round 21 and 23, I ended with a P4, K1. On Round 24, I ended with a K4…and I wasn’t sure what to do with the last two stitches so I just K2.

The first of the rounds of crown decreases are not placed to align up with the rest. Especially if you’re working in a solid color yarn, it sticks out like a sore thumb. I assume this is necessary to get the stitch count to work out. If I knit this again, I’ll decrease in the last set of garter stitch rounds to hide those necessary decreases.

I knit my Alignment in Berroco Comfort. Easy care and very…well…comfortable.

My next blue hat is Beverly S.’s Slip Sliding Hat. It’s designed for Malabrigo Rios and that’s what I used. The brim starts with an easy modified twisted rib. The body of the hat’s worked with slipped stitches every other row. Those slipped stitches slide back and forth, creating a zigzag pattern.

This turned out to be a fun, quick, knit. I worked 4 repeats of the 12-round pattern and then began the crown decreases because I wanted more of a beanie than a slouchy.

One caution. Be careful to slip the 3 stitches (with the yarn in front) keeping an even and not-too-tight tension. Otherwise the stitches will bunch and the fabric will tend to pucker. At some points I think I wasn’t totally successful in heeding my own caution.

Very nice crown decreases. I was completely satisfied to forego the slipped stitches for the crown.

Speaking of zigzagging, it’s back to yellow. Another Boon Island by Aimee Alexander. This one is knit in Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash Solid. Definitely two many nouns in a string. But great yarn.

I especially appreciate this hat’s versatility. A great slouchy. And an interesting beanie.

This final blue hat is Anne Claiborne’s Tenure Track. And I didn’t suddenly learn to crochet. It’s knitted. I love this hat’s in-your-face double ring of big bobbles. The stitch pattern is granite stitch. I’d not worked it before my first Tenure Track. It’s easy and looks great.

The bullseye crown decreases continue the granite stitch right down to the last rounds.

Such an excellent hat.

This used to be an excellent field of sunflowers near where I live. They always filled me with a sense of hope and resilience. The farmer doesn’t plant them anymore.

More Maria Socha hats

I’ve already accused myself of being obsessed with Maria Socha’s hat designs in another blog post. Apparently I’m out to prove that I’m guilty as charged.

This is Estera. It’s been one of my favorite hats during this early cold Michigan winter. I knit mine in Malabrigo Rios in the lettuce colorway. Socha makes bobbles look amost elegant in this hat. And the strong architectural lines of the body of the hat flowing into those graceful crown decreases? Wow. Just wow.

Next up is Jelenka. It’s knit in a yarn that’s new to me: The Yarn Collective’s Pembroke Worsted. Excellent yarn. Great hat. Here’s a close look at the texture flowing back, and forth, and back again in this hat.

It’s an interesting, simple stitch that creates a dense but squishy fabric. Glasshead found it quite cozy. So does the head currently wearing it. The flow of the stitch pattern does a great job of taming variegated yarns,

Socha’s designs often have spectacular crown decreases. This one is more subtle than most but the pinwheel effect works great and looks great.

Klapsa is next. Here’s the pear, a favorite variety in Socha’s native Poland.

Here’s the hat. (I probably should have knitted it in green.)

Klapsa is a wonderful fun knit. Mine is knit in HiKoo by Skacel’s Sueno Worsted.

Socha’s patterns are both charted and provided line-by-line. I worked from the chart. The 22-stitch, 55 round chart is super easy to use because it prints at full-page size. It makes for a comfortable read for my old eyes. The chart is even easier to work than it seems at first glance because every other row is simply working the stitches as they appear from the prior round.

And, once again, a great crown decrease.

For the cold ears among us: Ulena. That’s a very wide doubled brim, with a picot edge. Starting with a provisional cast-on creates live stitches to join to the stitches on your needle. And then it’s off to the races with fun increases and decreases. Plus some well-placed bobbles.

Here’s a look at the interesting effect.

Ulena finishes off with a great crown.

Ulena calls for an Aran weight yarn. I used Novita’s 7 Veljesta Solid. I wasn’t sure how a yarn with 25% acrylic would work up with the tugs of the increases and decreases and bobbles on stockinette, but it did well.

By now, I must seem to be quite the fan girl of Socha’s hat patterns. To me, she’s a major talent in the knitting universe.

Maria Socha’s hats

I don’t get a kick out of this abused word, but I’ll use it anyway: I am obsessed with Maria Socha’s hat patterns. Obsessions are mostly over-discussed by HGTV people talking about patterned tile or brass cabinet pulls so maybe I can be forgiven. In the last few weeks I’ve been knitting Socha’s hats and having a wonderful time of it.

This is Dumka. I wanted the stitch pattern to show very clearly so I knit mine in Plymouth Yarns’ Worsted Merino Superwash. Socha lives in Poland and I was curious about the meaning of “dumka.” It sounds a bit like an insult-word, but I was sure I must be wrong. Indeed. Very wrong. A “dumka” is a piece of music in a melancholy style. In other words, a lament.

Dumka’s brim is double thickness one-by-one ribbing. So this hat will keep ears nice and warm. The wearer will not be lamenting any cold ears. And the topper is I-cord, knit from the last stitches of the crown decreases.

As the pattern directs, Dumka benefits by a good soak and a gentle flat blocking to open up the stitch pattern a bit.

Check out the beautiful crown decreases.

Such an excellent hat!

Socha lives in Szczecin, Poland. She says she’s “just an ordinary woman who loves to knit.” and hats are her “favourite” thing to knit. It shows. Her hat patterns are stunning. This next one is more simple than Dumka, but not simplistic. It’s Jey.

I used the same Plymouth yarn as in Dumka. Jey is an excellent, comfortable, unisex hat. The contrasting cast-on sets off the hat perfectly. And check out the wonderful pinwheeled crown decreases.

Jey is an easy-to-knit easy-to-wear beanie.

This next one is Natka. I decided to knit Natka in the Malabrigo Rios that many of Socha’s patterns suggest. Carrot Glaze is one of my favorite Rios colorways. It’s tonal but not overly busy. There’s a lot going on in Natka and I wanted to make sure my yarn didn’t obscure the patterning.

Those vertical columns are mock cable. Nice beefy bobbles are strategically placed at transition points in the fan motif. That’s an I-cord topper. The body of the hat grows organically out of the unusual twisted-rib spacing. Seriously cool.

The word “Natka” is also of Polish origin and is generally a girl’s name. It means “born on Christmas Day.” But apparently it’s not reserved only for Christmas baby births.

Natka’s crown decreases are…well, I don’t want to act like a goofy fan girl…so you can just check it out and form your own opinion. My opinion is kind of close to a gulp.

One more. Drumroll please. Edzia. Edzia is also a girl’s name, often considered to be a female version of Edward. This particular Edzia is one fine hat. The styling feels architectural in an Art Deco way.

For Edzia, I returned to Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash.

Socha is a new-to-me designer. But she wasn’t hatched just yesterday. I didn’t find her for a bit. She’s a real pro! Her patterns include clear charts that are rendered large enough even for old eyes to read. Line-by-line directions are provided as well in case you want to knit these hats the hard way instead of the easy way. Just kidding. I only became comfortable with charts in the last decade or so. Even I got there, given enough time.

These patterns are so excellent they’ll convince even even those who “don’t like to wear hats” that hats were a pretty good invention.