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.

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.

Small stuff

Let me try that again. Stuff for small ones.

This is another Welcome Home Blanket by Kirsten Hipsky. It’s such a simple classic design. A very easily memorized feather and fan motif. The first time I made it, I basically used the color scheme the designer intended. Actually I did it in 5 of the 7 recommended colors. This time I worked for a match to the baby’s bedroom, done mostly in spring green and gray. I really like the way it came out. More importantly, so did Cecelia’s mom and dad. They even honored the work by using the blanket to bring this late December baby home from the hospital.

As before, I used the yarn called for in the pattern: the Webs “house” yarn, Valley Yarn Superwash Bulky.

Here’s another look.

Toss in the wash and toss in the dryer. Easy care’s a must.

This next one really is a small stuff.

It’s Sleepy Sunday Hat, a pattern by Aimee Alexander. I knit it in Michigan’s own, Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherd Wool DK. Such a nice weight for a little one. Warm enough without being weighty. Alexander’s pattern is very clear and easy to work up. In case you’re liking this one and thinking it would be great for larger heads, the pattern includes 5 sizes: baby, toddler, child, adult small, and adult large.

But it’s winter around here (even though it reached 58 degrees yesterday!) So little ones might need to be bundled a bit more. This next hat is the The Thinker, by Susan Villas Lewis.

This version is knit in Plymouth Yarns Worsted Merino Superwash Solid. I made the toddler size, in terms of number of stitches. But I worked at a slightly smaller gauge. This isn’t the first time I’ve knit a Thinker. These two and these two (at the end of this post) also worked out really well. This is a Tony Tiger “GRRRRREAT!” pattern, for sure.

Red Hats

etta

No, not red for heart health and the “go red for women” campaign currently plastering big red sexy dress decals on the entrance doors to my workplace saying something about women being strong and knowing how to get things done. And not red hats as in the organization of women who call themselves the Red Hat Society and do good deeds. All worthy outfits. I just mean I like to knit hats and lately a lot of them have been red.

This is Etta, by Kim Whelan, a Black Sheep Knitters Guild mate of mine. Her pattern is free on Ravelry. I knit mine in Stonehege Fiber Shepard’s Wool worsted in the garnet colorway. Great pattern. 1156 projects currently posted on Ravelry wouldn’t fib about that. Great yarn. And, a really great pinwheel crown decrease.

etta2

This next one is a newish pattern by Susan Villas Lewis called Chicken Wire. Mine is knit in Berroco Ultra Alpaca, a worsted weight. Here’s a closer look at the chicken-wire fence material patterning.

chickenwire_flat

Great detail. The tiny cabling in the ribbing is a nice touch. Good slouch. And the crown decreases also make the grade.

chickenwire_top

One nice, blunt-tipped top, with no pointiness.

And to complete the red hat trio, here’s an excellent free pattern on Ravelry: Circuitry, by Agata Smektala. I knit mine in a discontinued older-than-the-hills skein of Anny Blatt Mini-Sport, which (paradoxically) is a worsted weight not a sport weight. The only place you should look for this yarn is in my stash and the yarn bequest an elderly knitting relative left you.

Let’s start with the spectacular crown decrease and work our way down from there.

circuity_top

As I saw this developing, my knitter’s eyeballs popped. If someone is going to take this much care with the part of a garment that most people don’t even look at, I’m definitely going to knit it multiple times.

Here’s a more normal view of Circuitry.

circuity2

Circuitry makes for an interesting knit. It hugs the head nicely. It keeps the ears toasty warm. Agata has a winner here!

I tamed the Oopado!

PicMonkey Collage

What’s the Oopado? The first question is what’s the Ravelry GAL. The GAL is the Ravelry Indie Design Gift-a-long, an annual event where knitters and crocheters prepare for the holidays as only fiber folks can. With support and encouragement from others on Ravelry, and with a beginning two weeks or so of discounted patterns, the GAL runs from the week before U.S. Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. There are eight categories of paid patterns to choose from:

  • Hats & other head things
  • Cowls, scarves, & other neck things
  • Shawls & stoles
  • Sweaters & other garments
  • Hand & arm things
  • Kids & baby things (except toys)
  • Foot & leg things
  • Toys, home, & other miscellaneous things

And taming the oopado? It’s when a knitter knits at least one item from each of the 8 categories before the GAL closes.

The smaller items? Piece ‘o cake. But also finishing a shawl and a garment? I wasn’t sure I’d make it. Some forced idleness over the holidays was quite a boon to my knitting and I finished all I’d planned.

Starting with the small stuff, this is Coffee Klatch, by 10 Hours or Less. It’s a fun mosaic dishcloth, knit here in Knitpicks Dishie:

CoffeeKlatch

Regular readers know I’m a sucker for mosaic dishcloths and this one is definitely a keeper!  Actually, though, I gave it away. I’m quite sure another is in my near future.

This is Jennifer Boot Cuffs, by Kate Bostick of Cowtown Knits.

Jennifercuffs2

You can probably tell from the pristine condition of my boots, that we haven’t had much snow in Michigan yet this year. My cuffs are knit in humble, very serviceable Lion Brand Heartland. Actually, they aren’t my boot cuffs. They are now my niece Melanie’s boot cuffs. Here’s a closer look.

JenniferCuffs

My choice from the hand category is Aimee Alexander’s Farm to Market Mitts. Mine are knit in Stonehedge Fiber Shepherd’s Wool DK, a wonderful yarn that’s been discontinued.

Farm2Market

I’ve knit Farm to Market Mitts three times before and haven’t yet kept a pair for me. These are mine. They are tucked in my coat pocket. It’s very odd. I didn’t notice until just this very minute, that I’ve got a major goof on the first cable on the right mitt. That must be why I kept them for me.

My hat choice was another Susan Vilas Lewis (Stay Toasty) interesting knit: Vitruvian Man, again in Shepherd’s Wool DK.

vitruvian_hat

Here’s who inspired the hat’s main motif:

url

Honestly, I didn’t know his name. But I’ve certainly seen the image many times, the Leonardo da Vinci guy with the extra limbs, with his arms trapped in the square and his legs trapped in the circle. You can read all about Vitruvian Man here. For present purposes, he’s an excellent hat.

Here’s the top of his head.

vitruvian_hat_top

My neck category selection is Nocturne in M, by Simone Kereit of OwlCat Designs. It’s a one-skein, asymmetrical keyhole scarf. The “M” thing is because Kereit designed it for Malabrigo Rios. Rios is wonderfully soft. It’s one of those I can’t-say-enough-good-things-about-this-yarn yarns. Especially when yarns and necks will be rubbing elbows.

nocturne

I’m told that the Archangel colorway I used is very popular. I definitely like it. You can clearly see how the shades and colors evolved throughout the skein.

Next, in the baby & kids category, is Georgie Hallam’s Milo. There are 10,144 project pages on Milo. It’s an amazingly versatile little garment, sized from newborn to 6 years. Mine is knit in Debbie Bliss Rialto DK, sized for a nine month old.

milo

When the Masterpiece Theatre production of Jane Eyre came out in late 2007, Ravelry was abuzz with discussion of Jane’s rustic shawl. Carol Sunday came to the rescue and soon developed and released “To Eyre…,” complete with that great garter stitch ruffle.

eyre

eyre4

Keep in mind that what is itch to many people is cozy to me, but a rustic shawl needs a rustic yarn. Harrisville Design’s WATERshed fit the bill. This is the Mallard colorway. I really like this shawl. But as a friend commented, I won’t be mistaken for Kate Middleton when I wear it. To Eyre satisfied the shawl/stole GAL category.

This is my GAL selection in the garment category: another Georgie Hallam (TIKKIknits) design: Summer Carnival. It’s such a sweet and simple thing.

carnival4

There’s a lovely brooch pattern in the heart position. And another set of three medallions (carnival/ferris wheels) on the right front near the bottom ribbing.

carnival

My Summer Carnival is knit in Classic Elite Fresco, a 3-ply sportweight mix of 60% wool, 30% alpaca, 10% angora. The colorway is 5306, which isn’t showing on the current CE product page. They would usually mean it’s been discontinued. I hope not because straw is an interesting vintage shade.

Hallam’s pattern has a 1950’s sensibility to it. I can see Doris Day wearing this.

carnival3

Thanks to all the Indie Designers who worked so hard to make the third annual Ravelry GAL so much fun. They organized giveaways, gave away lots of encouragement, and gave gobs of discounts. They’re a talented and generous bunch and the knitting universe is fortunate to have them.

Opadoo2