More hats

All together now, you non-toy knitters: “Hurrah, I thought she’d never go back to not-toys.” Actually, I’m still knitting toys like crazy but I thought I’d give you some relief from the onslaught of cute.

This is Wooly Wormhead’s Kikanna. Great hat with a bit of a bonus. It’s free on Wormhead’s (or should I say Wooly’s) website. I knit my Kikanna in Schachenmayr Merino Extrafine 120. Ignore that “extrafine” because, though it is of extrafine quality, it’s actually a DK weight.

That wonderful swirly crown is seriously perfect.

Based on notes from others who’ve knit this hat, most prefer greater depth before the crown decreases start. I knit my large size to 6 inches (instead of 5.25 inches) from the cast-on before starting the crown decreases. That worked well.

The “yarn over, knit 2 together” stitch pattern in the body of the hat is devilishly difficult to fix if you make a mistake. It’s super easy to work and very rhythmic. You get to thinking you don’t need to pay attention. Um. Pay attention anyway. That’s my sense of it. The result of a bit of concentration is one beautiful hat.

Next up is Anne Mizoguchi’s Ravelry: Herringbone Hat, in defunct Classic Elite’s Arietta. This DK weight freebie is an easy fun knit with lots of bang for not much effort. Totally easy colorwork with a well-behaved attractive crown.

There’s a minor error in the pattern on the length of the herringbone section supposedly being measured from the cast-on edge. The designer must have meant us to measure that length from the end of the ribbing section. I worked 2 inches of ribbing, followed by 7 herringbone pattern repeats. Following the length directions as written and you end up with a good hat for a big shallow-headed toadstool.

Next: I’ve loved Erica Heusser’s fingering weight Passerine Hat from the moment I spotted it on Ravelry. I was an early purchaser of the pattern. But once I spotted the projects appearing–and there now are more than 1200 project pages–I spotted the challenge of this hat and was discouraged from knitting it. Do you see it immediately?

To me, the birds and the background need to be high-contrast to work well. But those long floats are going to “want” to creep through the fabric and make a mess of it. My Passerine is a nice try but, I think, it’s finally an unsuccessful hat.

Some on Ravelry report success using ladder back jacquard technique to solve the issue created by long floats “caught” on the inside of the hat. Alexis Winslow, among many others, have excellent video tutorials on the technique. Let’s just say that I saw the problem before I began knitting. I watched videos clearly explaining a possible solution. But I was too chicken to try it. Old dog just wasn’t in the mood for learning a new trick. Blocking the hat helped some with hiding the float “catches.” But not much.

Very nice crown though!

The next hat is Thermal Hat. It’s Green Mountain Spinnery’s Kate Salomon’s light fingering weight creation. It’s such a simple creature. And I absolutely love it! I’ve worn the living daylights out of it this winter. What on earth are “living daylights” anyway? “Daylights” are eyes! Wikipedia says the earliest recorded use of the term in a threatening way is in Henry Fielding’s 1752 novel “Amelia.” One character says he’s ready to thrash a woman whose words offended him and says if she says it again he’ll “darken her daylights.”

Back to the hat. I knit mine in Fiber Isle-Buff in their lavender colorway. I purchased the yarn at a deeply discounted price back in 2014. How time passes! I didn’t realize it was light fingering weight and I had some difficulty figuring out what to knit with it. Plus my delay in using it was encouraged by the fact that it was (initially) one of those yarns so expensive you might want a loan to purchase it. My skein said it was “25% minimum bison/cashmere” and “made once a month from fibers left over from our blends. Never the same twice but always nice.” Not sure what “bison/cashmere” is but it’s super-soft. 40 grams of yarn, 175 yards, and I had myself a very special hat.

If you decide to knit this be alert for one bit of pattern-writing that I initially misread. At round 3 of the crown decreases (and round 7 too) the designer uses parentheses and one asterisk to denote what is to be repeated. Round 3 directions start out with a “K4” (and round 7 with a “K3”). You do that once at the start of the round and then repeat only what’s in the parenthesis. With that, the crown decreases work out perfectly, keeping the slipped stitches nicely stacked.

So tidy. So pretty.

More hats

This hat is designed by the very talented Romi Hill. It’s her Warm the Line Beanie. It was and still is offered free as part of a 2020 US election project meant to keep someone warm while they waited in line to vote. I knit mine in Mrs. Crosby Carpet Bag, a DK weight in 80% merino, 20% silk.

I used a tubular cast-on, following this wonderfully clear video produced by Jen Arnard-Culliford. It is a great technique that creates a very stretchy ribbed cast on with a finished edge that looks like it was machine knit. It’s subtle in the yarn I chose, but the vertical lines in the hat are interrupted at intervals by a stockinette oval. My read is that the verticals are the lines of voters, appropriately socially distanced. And the ovals represent their heads. This is one excellent hat, including its stylish non-pointy crown decreases.

For me, there’s nothing better than hats for a quick holiday gift. I love to make them. People like to receive them. And best of all, there’s no such thing as second hat syndrome. You only have to make one.

But it’s pretty rare that I only make one. Once my needles take to producing hats, they tend to come in bunches. This next one is Woolly Wormhead’s Concentricity, blocked as a beanie rather than a tam. I knit mine in Anzula For Better or Worsted.

Here’s Concentricity squished down so you can see the beautiful concentric circles crown decreases. This skein needed some taming. But I love the way the pattern still retained the swoosh.

Wormhead advises, hmm that sounds odd. Woolly advises. Not much better. WW advises the knitter to use a very stretchy bindoff. A double chain cast off worked nicely. Concentricity’s wearer won’t have to worry the hat will cut off circulation to the tips of her ears.

Even as a tam, Concentricity sculpts a fine hat. I’ve just found that no variety of tam captures anyone’s interest in my neck of the woods.

This next hat is a light weight. It’s knit in fingering weight. I’ve found that some people who sort of turn their noses up at hand knit hats are tempted if the hat is knit in fingering weight. This one’s a cutie. It’s Symphony by Gabrielle Danskknit.

Glass Head is liking this one quite a bit. Mine is knit in Rhichard Devrieze Peppino, that’s the white stripes, and Wobble Gobble fingering 4-ply in their Carousel colorway. Whether knit in two solids or, as here a solid and a variegated, the effect is very pleasing. And, of some help to a knitter’s more impaired gift recipients, the hat is reversible.

Symphony is a fun knit and a great way to use up bits ands bobs of fingering weight oddments.

Yes, it’s true…more hats

This is a Woolly Wormhead’s DS Slouch. It’s one of Wooly’s freebies. She is a “hat architect” with more than 300 hat patterns available in her Ravelry store or on her website. Her hats are often stunning, colorful, shaped in unusual ways. You can join her Woolly Hat Society on her website and get special offers, including occasional special “pick a freebie” invitations. But DS Slouch is a free-for-all.

It was a good knit. I used my recycled Malabrigo Rios. Yep, the one from the frogged poncho that bore some resemblance to a lampshade. That frog just keeps on giving!  Here’s the top.

I left mine unblocked, but not unruly.

The next hat is one I’ve knit a number of times. Sort of the ultimate test of a good pattern. It’s Rikke, a free pattern by Sarah Young.  I enjoy knitting it. People around me must enjoy wearing it because I don’t yet have one in my personal hatbox. More than 10,700 Ravelers have knit Rikke and posted the hat on their project pages.

Mine is a Red-Winged Blackbird Rikke. That’s the colorway of Washtenaw Wool Company’s Huron that I used. Here’s a look at the beauty of a worsted all skeined up. You might say it called to the birdwatcher in me.

Pretty cool, don’t you think?

Yep, the hat’s cool too. Here it is laid flat.

I especially like the way the band swooshed. It reminds me of the red-winged blackbird’s wing-patches. And, as always, we’re not done looking at the hat until we see its crown.

Ok, it’s a bit over the top. But why not? Some people will put anything on their head. And when hats make enough of a statement, sometimes they don’t get claimed in my holiday pick-a-gift, which means I get to keep them. I will stand out in a crowd in this one.

Here’s a few more Rikkes I’ve knit. (You’ll have to scroll down to get to them). A Mountain Colors Twizzle Rikke in a Mardi Gras colorway. Another again in Twizzle. And a few were made so long ago that they’re lost to the antiquities. The pattern is designed for a DK weight. But it also works well in worsted. Garter stitch was perfect to tame the wild variegated Huron colorway.

One more. Linden Slouchy Hat by Jo-Anne Klim. Mine is knit in Anzula Cricket, a DK spun of 80% merino, 10% nylon, and 10% cashmere goat.

I really like this hat. I am of an age when the pure close-to-the-head beanie look doesn’t cut it anymore. But this beanie has so much texture to it that it tricks the eye a bit and looks good on my head.

Linden, like the Washtenaw Wool Company yarn, is also mimicking nature. Klim’s design interprets the leaf of the Linden tree.

And, as always with the best hats, the crown lays nicely and without a point.

The texture of this hat really makes it special.

Yep, more hats


This is Concentric, my first Woolly Wormhead knitted hat. Woolly, or maybe I should adopt the NY Times style and say, Ms. Wormhead, thinks of herself as a “hat architect.” She “builds them with her head” and “constructs them with her hands.” Looking at her hundreds of hat patterns on Ravelry and her own website, I’ll accept that hat architect label. Heck, she is sort of the hat whisperer.

But despite the knitting kingdom’s many hats off to Wormhead, Concentric was the first pattern I tried. I like it.

Mine is knit in Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherds Wool worsted. The Lakeshore colorway is a favorite. Glass head likes it because it matches her cheek so nicely.

This is  top down construction, so here’s a look at the top:


And now the top all nice and concentrically rounded:


A great hat. If you give it a whirl, be careful to bind off very loosely. I knit the hat on US size 7 needles and switched to a size 9 for the bind-off. It’s still a tad tight.

Now for something completely different.

When Berroco’s newsletter arrived with news of the free Memphre pattern a few weeks back, it quickly went into my Ravelry queue. It’s inspired by classic gansey stitch patterns,

Soon I was in a shop that stocked Berroco’s fairly new Artisan yarn–the very yarn the pattern calls for. Two skeins insinuated themselves into my basket and this is the result:


Artisan is an 80% merino, 20% silk, worsted weight. It’s a tad slubby, which I’m supposing is what makes it artisanal. But, for this hat, I’d have liked a little better stitch definition. Still, I like the hat, the pattern, and the yarn’s OK too.

Here’s a look from above at the excellent, non-pointy, crown decease section.


I didn’t know what a Memphre is. It’s a long-headed lake monster that some claim lives in Lake Memphremagog in Quebec, Canada. It was first reported in 1816 and was last reported in 2005. Wow. I wonder if Berroco knows about that.