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.

Einstein and leftover yarn

I know. It’s nearly 90 degrees and I’m posting super warm stuff. I’ve never been able to time my knitting to the seasons. I knit the warm stuff year round. I completed my Einstein Coat, designed by Sally Melville, a few months back. I’ve been planning on knitting this simple beauty for many years. It took a jumpstart from my Canada Creek Ranch knitting group to encourage me to cast on. A number of our knitters worked on Einstein over the winter and spring. The pattern is available in Melville’s classic book “The Knitting Experience, Book I, the Knit Stitch.”

I knit mine in Cascade Yarn’s Ecological Wool. My reason for this choice was pure ease of knitting. Bulky weight yarn is almost always put up in very short yardage skeins. I do not like dealing with a zillion joins, particularly not when knitting miles of garter stitch where there’s basically no place to hide what often ends up (for me) to be a slightly discernible join. Ecological Wool is put up in huge 478 yard/250 gram skeins. That made the knitting so much easier. Well, except when it didn’t. As in, I tried every trick in the book to get gauge and failed. But having invested in the yarn, there was no way I wasn’t going to use it.

Here’s another view–thought I’m doubtful I’ll ever be buttoning that top button.

My swatches were undergauge even on size 11 US, where the fabric just didn’t feel beefy enough. I knit this on 10.5 US needles and knit the largest size–exactly as the pattern calls for it to be knit. It ended up smaller than the largest size, both in length and circumference but it (basically) still fits. It coulda shoulda been otherwise. But I lucked out.

I had trouble following the directions in the Melville book for seaming garter stitch with a slip stitch edge. Her photos weren’t doing it for me. And I just couldn’t–for the longest time—figure out her references to the “outside edge.” I eventually figured out that means the outermost edge of each of the fabrics being joined. In other words, it means you work what is really mattress stitch on the inner sides of the slipped stitches. Duh!

There are no slip stitch edges on the shoulders and I didn’t like the way my mattress stitch was working out. So I picked up stitches along the edge of both the front section and the back section–on 2 separate needles. To work the shoulder section of the seam, I worked a 3-needle bind-off, from the public side so the garter stitch-like ridge would form on the public side.

I heard that everyone is supposed to look nice or sort of OK in this coat, even rolly pollies. Hmm. ‘Nuf said. It would likely be more at home in a yurt on the Russian Steppes. But it is super cozy. And now I can join the rest of the knitting universe who’s knit this Einstein Coat as their garter stitch right of passage. I very much enjoyed the knit.

In my last post I whined about patterns that specify the yarn requirements only in terms of the number of skeins of a particular yarn. You may recall that my Kelbourne Wool Germantown was the gift that kept on giving for that reason. This time, it was my undergauge knitting that ended up leaving me with gobs of extra yarn. Also, from the outset, I knew I’d not be needing much of the yardage from the final humongous skein.

This bulky weight hat knits up super quickly. It’s Helen Rose’s freebie Cozy Ribbed Hat. All it took me to complete it was 85 yards of yarn, size 10 needles, and an hour or two of time.

I find the top interesting and rather organic, if a tad messy.

And still the yarn wasn’t used up. This is the Mermaid’s Purl’s Bulky Cabled Hat, another Ravelry freebie. My version used up about 130 yards of yarn. I knit on size 8 US needles for the ribbing and size 10 for the body of the hat.

The pattern suggests adding a pom-pom. That would have been nice. But I rather liked the way the decreases resolved and didn’t want to obscure that design. Plus, I figured it made the hat a bit more unisex to leave the pom-pom off.

I was very much drawn to this next hat. I do not know how to crochet. I can crochet a chain. And, with a lot of hand-holding, I once crocheted a market bag out of rough kitchen cotton. But, to my knit-trained eyeballs, this hat looked like crochet. It’s Anne Claiborne’s Tenure Track. The pattern calls for Aran weight. But since my bulky weight Ecological Wool had already proved itself a lightweight when it came to gauge, I figured I’d be safe giving this hat a try.What creates a bit of a crochet vibe is granite stitch through the main body of the hat. I’ve not worked this stitch before. And I’ve not even heard of it. I was hooked. Granite stitch is a super easy sequence of 4 rounds. You knit round 1, purl 2 together throughout round 2, knit in the front and back of each stitch in round 3, and knit round 4. Easy peasy. I love the effect.

I nominate these crown decreases for a crown decrease prize. Really. It’s ridiculously perfect!

Another feature that makes Tenure Track shine is that it uses very beefy bobbles. If a knitter is going to go to the trouble of bobbling, why end up with limp little dangles? Beefy bobbles are better.  Try to say that three times in a row quickly. I’m inordinately fond of this hat. This one’s for me.