Yep…more hats

I do like knitting hats. A bit too much, some might say.

This is Scrappy Ski Cap by Justyna Lorkowska, a freebie on Ravelry. Instead of making it out of assorted oddments as Lorkowska suggests, I used leftovers from two colorways of Plymouth Yarn’s Worsted Merino Superwash. So, mine is a somewhat more organized looking scrappy hat.

I’m very pleased with how it worked out. The last few years have been the years of the pompom, pom pom, pom-pom…however you want to spell it. Possibly that’s the star of this hat.

Everyone who looks at my Scrappy Ski Cap chortles on about liking the two-color pompom. There’s no trick to that, of course. I just wound a second color onto one section of my trusty Clover pompom maker. It comes in three sizes. I have them all. For this one I used the largest size. And, in case you’re wondering, Clover thinks pompom is spelled “pom pom.”

Also, in case you’re wondering, Webster’s apparently favors the hyphen and says that “Pom-pom is derived from the French word pompon, which refers to a small decorative ball made of fabric or feathers. It also means an ‘ornamental round tuft’ and originally refers to its use on a hat, or an ‘ornamental tuft; tuft-like flower head.'”  OK. I did not know that.

“And now for something completely different.”  A beret. Lordy. She’s knit a beret. She’s knit Natalie Larsen’s Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret. I used the Aran-weight Berroco Peruvia rather than the suggested Malabrigo worsted. It’s a different look.

Here’s Glasshead wearing it like a beanie because she doesn’t much like berets either. Why did I knit this beret? Mostly because I’m knitting hats for others and Ravelers have knit and posted projects on this hat 14,754 times (as of today) and the pattern is in 13,916 Ravelers queues of patterns they hope to knit. So, apparently, some people do like berets. And a lot of people definitely like this particular beret.

After knitting my beret, I steamed it gently, placing the round of increases on the edge of an appropriately sized bowl. Speaking of the increases, at least in this yarn and knit at this gauge, they show up in a rather unpleasant ring as the hat broadens out to a beret. Knit 2, make one (along the whole round) by doing a backwood loop on the left hand needle and knitting into the back of the stitch seems a bit too prominent an increase for me. And I think that would be true whatever the yarn. So, if I knit this again, I’ld probably try a different increase. It is a pretty head-thing, though–as berets go.

This next hat I’ve knit twice before. It’s Breck, by Susan Vilas Lewis. It’s a great sport-weight slouchy. I knit the body of the hat in Mrs. Crosby Hat Box. Hat Box is an unusual (but wonderful) merino (55%), cashmere (12%), acrylic (33%) mix. I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino for the red of the mosaic work. Hat Box’s heathered quality, which I normally think is a plus, caused the mosaic work to be a bit subdued. But I still really like this hat.

Here’s the mosaic-work detail.

My only modifications were to: (1) knit the ribbing at the start on size 5 needles, down one size from the main body of the hat, and (2) add a knit round before and after round 10 on the crown decreases–just to pull the stitches a bit closer together as the crown closes.

Breck is one hat I believe deserves a LOT more attention than it’s gotten so far. There are only 6 projects posted on Ravelry and three of them are mine! Maybe the sport weight scares people off. But this hat could also work well in DK weight. It’s a cool hat and if you want it to be beanie style, you just stop knitting the body a tad sooner.

This next Ravelry freebie, Irma Hat by Anneta Gasiorowska, totally surprised me. I knit it because a hat-of-the-month group on Ravelry chose it as our group knit-along one month.  I decided to go along with the crowd even though I thought the zigzagging and a ton of make one lefts and make one rights would be a pain. I even dug out what I took to be an unpleasant colorway of Berroco Comfort, thinking I’d at least further my stash-down efforts.

It was a bit more work than most hats. That’s partly because my brain often gets confused by the combinations of left leaning and right leaning make 1s. But wow! I think it worked up great. I even now think that the colorway is pretty. And check out the crown:

That much cool detail on a free pattern makes me incredibly grateful for the generosity of the knitting universe.

More Doubles

Recently I’ve been fascinated with knitting doubles. I’m enjoying how the same pattern works up in different colorways or in different yarns. You’re looking at Alex Tinsley’s Fructose. I’ve knit both my Fructoses in Malabrigo Rios. These two colorways are big favorites of mine. The green one is lettuce. OK, you’d have figured out that’s the green one. And the purple/orange/red is Archangel. Beats me why. But it’s a wonderful colorway, especially for one-skein projects. That’s because there seem to be very big differences between skeins. But every skein I’ve seen is wonderful.

The strong vertical lines combine with strong horizontal ones to give the hat wonderful structure. And the sweet bonnet-like slit in the back leaves room for a pony tail or allows the hat to be worn low on the back of the neck to keep out winter’s chill.

Each Fructose took 52 grams. I should have had 48 grams left. But both my skeins were “light.” I’ve read that a skein with 10% more or 10% less is considered acceptable. I suppose I should be magnanimous and accept that if sometimes I get more I shouldn’t grouse about getting less. Maybe I would if I ever got more than a dollop of yarn beyond the ballband amount.   Both these skeins were shy about 8 grams.

With my mission of not wasting yarn or leaving it to languish in my oddments bags, I decided to knit up a pair of toddler-sized The Thinker hats.

Susan Villas Lewis has come up with such an excellent all-sized pattern. These are the 8th and 9th Thinkers I’ve knitted. In the toddler size, there are three lines of easy cable that ring this hat.

It’s a seriously excellent use of yarn.

That’s also true of Clara Parkes Hill Country Hat. Hill Country is a bulky-weight freebie available on Ravelry. It’s also included in Parkes’ excellent book The Knitter’s Book of Wool. Hill Country is another pattern I return to whenever I have about 110 yards of bulky asking to be knit up. This brown one is knit of Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Bulky.

One of the strengths of the hat is that, depending on the yarn and sometimes the colorway, it’s a definite unisex design. This white one is knit in Valley Yarn’s Berkshire Bulky.


As ever, hats don’t get beyond first base with me if they don’t have well-behaved crowns. Plus they get extra points if, like Hill Country, they have something interesting going on in the crown section. I think this swirl works well.

I knit this next pair quite awhile ago and didn’t get around to showing them off. This is Elena Nodel’s bulky-weight freebie, Tega. An excellent pattern. It’s only available in one size, adult, but that’s easily adjustable by using a less beefy yarn weight and smaller needles.

My first Tega is knit in Reynold’s Lopi Bulky. I used size 6 for the ribbing (that was pushing it) and size 9 for the body of the hat. Those extravagant cables are wonderful. And the thoughtfully planned crown is a winner for sure.

As for what head will wear a bulky-weight Lopi hat, it needs to be a very cold one. And a head with a very high “but it’s scratchy” threshold. I washed it in Eucalan to try to tame the itch factor, but not with much success. It’s much softer but still scratchy as heck. And I actually have a high tolerance for such rustic yarn.

If you decide to knit Tega in a good superwash bulky, like this Valley Yarns Superwash, there won’t be any complaints about itchy heads. The yarn also has great stitch definition for a bulky, which is a big plus for this pattern.

At some point, I promise, I’ll stop concentrating so much on heads and will let your eyeballs feast on something else. Not today though. I recently hatched plans for how my knit hats can tempt teens to put something on their heads and, with that, my hat knitting went into high gear. Even Glasshead is beginning to voice boredom with all these hats.

This one is Agnes Kutas-Keresztes’s freebie, Christian. My gray Christian is knit in about 130 yards of Berroco UltraWool.

And this pink one is knit in Plymouth Encore.

Crowns can make or break a hat. Check out this wonderfully organic one. If you’re up for an easy, rewarding (and free) pattern, definitely consider Christian.


Just when you think I can’t possibly be assaulting you with any more hat twins, I’ve still got more. This set is Susan Mills Harriet. Quite uncharacteristically, I knit my Harriets in exactly the yarn the pattern calls for: Classic Elite’s Liberty Wool.

The multi-color Liberty Wool means that every Harriet will be unique. My 50 gram balls weighed closer to 40 grams, which was a disappointment. But two balls still ended up with two Harriets, just one large and one medium.

The hat is meant to be a beret. But I think most heads would want to wear it as a beanie.

I made some sizing modifications on this next pair of hats, but I am totally liking the look. It’s Benjamin Matthew’s On the Grid Beanie. I was lucky enough to secure a copy of the pattern during its few days when Matthew released it free. But this hat pattern is totally worth the 6 dollars he’s charging for it now. By the way, to keep an eye on designer short-term freebies, join the Free Stuff Rocks (f/k/a Lovin’ the Freebies) group on Ravelry. The group forum will also alert you to new forever free patterns and to discounts that are available from designers.

Back to On the Grid. Both mine are knit in Plymouth Encore. The pattern calls for a more lightweight worsted and 19 stitches to 4 inches using garter stitch as the gauge. Encore required some sizing mods.

I knit 10 rows of ribbing. In Encore, needle size 6, that was about 1.5 inches. I knit 4 repeats of the triangle pattern instead of 5, which gave me a bit over 6 inches of triangles. From the start of the decreases to the top added about 2.75 inches. So, even modified, this is quite a long beanie–9.25 inches. But I can already tell that this quick knit is a pattern I’ll return to regularly.

You know that means it’s got an interesting crown.

GlassHead is weeping. Maybe you can hear her? Both Fructose have already been given away and she wanted to hang on to the Lettuce one and keep wearing it for awhile. I’m consoling her at present with the Encore Sour Apple On the Grid, a similar colored hat.

 

Every little bit counts

My 2019 resolution was to try hard to knit all usable quantities of a colorway before I proceed to a new yarn for a new project. Kind of “finish your peas before you eat dessert” thing. Well, except that Schoppel-Woole Zauberball and Cascade Yarns Superwash Sport are hardly the peas of the yarn world. Apologies, to you pea lovers, but peas taste terrible and I bet somewhere deep down you know that too.

So, first I used a smidge of the Daffodil colorway to knit my Annita Wilschut Vera bear a rain hat.

Perfect. That was in the summer of 2014.

My Daffodil languished. Next, in the fall of 2018 I knit Wolkig in my black/gray/white Zauberball.

I broke into the  Daffodil for the cuffs of my adult moc-o-socs.

Such a great pattern by Rebekah Berkompas.

Then, with most of the leftover Zauberball and a dainty amount of the Cascade 220 sport Daffodil, I knit Justyna Losorska’s freebie beanie, Fasolka. I followed her instructions exactly, except that I went my own way on the color combination.

I see this sportweight hat as a great success. It even has an excellent crown, with no hint of the dreaded pointy beanie syndrome.

The Zauberball colorway worked out so excellently, I will be indulgent and give you another view.

What next to knit. I’d been eager to give Cecelia Compochiaro’s “sequence” knitting a try. My first attempt was her Swirl Hat, using her spiral sequence method.

If case you haven’t heard about or tried sequence knitting yet, let me intrigue you. All the patterning on this hat repeats the same 10-stitch sequence. Yep, the diagonal slices, separated by a few rows of stockinette, are several rounds of the same sequence worked over and over again, ignoring the end-of-round marker. The shift in the direction of the slice happens magically (or so it seems to me) by a minor adjustment to the number of stitches in the round that happens in the stockinette section.

There was even enough Zauberball left for a right-sized pompom.

My Cascade 220 superwash sport hadn’t run out yet, so I couldn’t quit on it. This next hat is Susan Villas Lewis’s Vitruvian Man.

The Vitruvian Man, at least the one who isn’t a hat, is DaVinci’s drawing of a man stretched out in a circle, with his arms stuffed into the top of a square and his legs stuffed in the bottom of a circle. You know, this guy:

It’s a fun motif to knit. The entire hat is very cleverly designed.

Check out the great crown.

I have a big gumball sized ball of Zauberball left. And what’s left of my Cascade 220 sport isn’t quite a golf-ball sized ball. Every useful bit is used up.

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.