Not quite Pantone 7406C and blue

When my grandson asked for a knitted hat in University of Michigan colors, maize and blue, I set out to find the exact right colors. Valley Yarns Valley Superwash looked perfect (to me). I didn’t have to research anything. I’ve lived in Michigan for 66 years. I know what’s what. Little did I know that somehow maize has brightened up a lot over the years.

You probably want to know about that hat you’re staring at. I will get to that. According to the official U of M site, these shades–based on none other than Pantone itself–are the school colors.

The official colors look like yellow and blue to me. Maybe we should just start calling the school colors 7406C and 282C. If questioned by Isaac I will explain that his hat colors are the vintage colors. When maize was still maize, as in CORN, the color of corn.

OK. Back to that cool hat that started me down the rant path. It’s Knitwise Design‘s Spiral Style Hat. The hat is a top down slipped stitch beanie, with a matching pair of mittens if you’re looking for a set. Top down hats can be a bit fiddly for the first few rounds. But here, depending on the size, you start with 9, 10 or 11 stitches. So, not bad at all. And the increases come quickly.

Here’s a look at the top.

The only modification I made was to use an Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn bind-off rather than to bind off with a needle-size larger than that stockinette roll on the bottom. That’s always a good choice when what’s needed is a well-behaved but very stretchy bind-off.

My grandson requested a hat with earflaps and dangling braids. His sister got one for her birthday, yes in the official Pantone colors, and he likes that hat a lot.

I am hoping that Cynthia Spencer’s Cabled Earflap Hat from the book 60 Quick Knits From America’s Yarnshops will fit the bill.

The Sixth & Spring Series of 60 thises and 60 thats have a proven track record of creating a boatload of errata. They didn’t do right by Spencer on this one.

From the Ravelry project page, heed this fairly important errata: “Note that the cable chart has been printed upside down.” Yup. Make a note of that. And then make a copy of the chart and turn it upside down to knit from it. Then you’ll work in the normal fashion, from right to left, beginning with what will be numbered round 23.

Other than the problem the publisher caused, this is an excellent pattern.

Oh. I caused that little trough of stockinette between the cable work and the garter stitch all on my own. So don’t hold it against Spencer. In my defense, it’s not as noticeable in person as it is in a photo. I wanted to create a 2-color hat out of what’s supposed to be a solid color. And I didn’t want any half ‘n half rows. My idea was a good one. It just went a bit awry.

The next entry in the Wolverine tournament is a classic Fiber Trends pattern first publlished in 2002 and still available for download on Ravelry: School Colors Hat AC-53.

The pattern includes three sizes, with instructions for sport, worsted and bulky yarn. Back near the turn of the century, I’m pretty sure that DK weight didn’t exist. At least not in the United States. And also back then designers gave their patterns sensible names like School Colors Hat AC-53 instead of names like Caffeine-Free Fizzledop or Sunshine in the Cow Shed.

Here’s glasshead modeling the side view.

The first time you knit this hat, you’ll be mystified about exactly what’s going to create that clever roll. Some knitters have emailed me to say that the pattern must be wrong. It isn’t wrong. Don’t “trust your feelings, Luke.” Trust this pattern. It will all work out. Here’s the deal: this hat is knit entirely in stockinette, from the bottom up. You cast on with Pantone 282C–the main color.

Oh. Just in case you think I’ve no feelings for that other university in Michigan with that other football team, the Sparty colors have been known to infest my needles.

Cooper’s Hats

So, there’s a little guy I’ve not met named Cooper. But I know his uncle. He’s six years old. Cooper, that is. Not his uncle. Cooper needed some hats pretty quick. Fun ones. Sporty ones. Ones to cover up some bad hair days his doctors have decided he needs. Cooper’s not an “off-the-rack” kid, so finding some not-off-the-rack hats seemed like a good idea.

This is Capitan Hat, a free pattern by Rosie Garmendia. Cooper’s is knit in Valley Yarns Superwash Bulky, the Webs house brand. It comes in 26 colorways and, unfortunately, what I had in my stash was not the most exciting of them. But I pressed “tan” into service anyway and I’m quite pleased with the results. I was concerned if the two-surface brim would hold up without stiffener inside. It does.

Here’s a view of the interesting crown decreases:

Just the thing for a baseball fan, I’d say.

This next one is an old stand-by. Cooper has a connection to Michigan State University so the Sparties were the inspiration.

This is a vintage (but still available) Fiber Trends pattern: “School Colors Hat, AC-53,” by Betsy Lee McCarthy. That’s a double roll brim. You start out with the green and do reverse stockinette. Then you do the white, in stockinette, then the green at the top. You sort of pull the white down and roll it back on itself, so the reverse side shows, and then the green from the first band of knitting falls in place.

Bottom line: follow this pattern exactly as it’s written and it will all work out. There are no errors.

I wanted something very comfy so I used Berrocco Comfort, worsted weight. No scratchiness.

Very well-behaved crown decreases.

Bet you can’t make just one!

This next hat is another Susan Villas Lewis’s “The Thinker.” I have knit so many Thinkers it’s getting kind of embarrassing to keep linking to them all. But search for Thinker here on my blog and up they’ll pop.

Cooper’s is knit in Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash Solid. Soft. Easy care. Great stitch definition.

My trusty Clover pompom maker worked overtime on this batch of hats.

I know, The Thinker in this size doesn’t fit Glass Head really well. But Cooper’s a little guy.

Cooper like clowns. So I bought a skein of clownish-looking Plymouth Yarn Toybox Candy. It’s  an acrylic that can’t help but put a smile on someone’s face.

This is Purl Soho’s “Classic Cuffed Hat,” another freebie available on Ravelry and on the Purl Soho website. Everything this designer produces is classic. Sophisticated. So I gave in to the temptation to knit her design in a gaudy colorway. That’s because Purl Soho patterns go to art galleries. In New York City. They practice yoga. But Cooper’s Classic Cuffed Hat shouts.

And this last hat is Clayoquot Toque, a modern fair isle freebie from tincanknits that tincan says is a great blank canvas for testing yarns and color combinations. It really is. I wasn’t sure about whether these three colorways of Shalimar Yarns Breathless DK would play nice together.

But I think they did. And this 75% merino, 15% cashmere goat, 10% silk concoction is so soft it should keep a little guy’s head brightly covered but not overheated.