The Virtue Of Knit Hats

Just in time, my Cold Snap Hat is done.

Cold snap

It knit up, I promise you, in no time at all.  And it looks good on everyone, even our sweet doggie.


Best of all, it matches my Olivia wrap.  I'm wearing them together, all week long, with everything. They're delightfully warm and soft, and everything that knitting should be.  Knit hats have such great virtue, especially when the temperature dips down into the teens or even single digits.  There is nothing I would rather have and I'm glad this one is done.



A Pom-Pom For A Knit Hat

Last year, I knit a series of wonderful hats for our family trip to Iceland.  I finished one of them, Fuego, mid-trip, during a hike to see some wonderful waterfalls and rainbows.


But, I didn't have a pom-pom maker with me, or any knowledge about how to make one, not being a pom-pom kind of girl.  So Fuego came back home with me, pom-pomless.  There was a brief flirtation with one after I found out how to make one, but I attached it too loosely and then it got hot and Fuego never got her pom.

Until today.


Fuego now has a big, fat, fluffy pom-pom.  She's complete, thanks to my fantastic Clover pom-pom maker.

Fuego was a fun hat to knit and I have no idea why this took me so long, but with temperature creeping down into the teens and snow in the forecast, I'm really happy to have her this weekend!



Dyeing For Spring

I'm going to need a hat to wear on my travels this spring.  I want something lighter weight than the hats I have managed to keep out of my children's greedy little hands and also a springy green color.  Since I didn't seem to have anything the fit the bill in stash, I dyed this.

Yellow green kraemer maria silk merino

It's a new-to-me yarn, Kraemer's Maria, a 50% silk/50% merino blend with 225 yards in 100 grams.  The yardage and the look are both about right for me to call it a worsted weight yarn. For patterns, I'm still deciding between a Plum Tree Slouch

image from images4-b.ravelrycache.com

(c) NNK Press (with permission)

and an Irving hat.

image from images4-d.ravelrycache.com

(c) Melissa LaBarre (with permission)

They are both tempting choices and I feel sure I'll end up knitting both of them.  The yarn itself seems to almost completely lack a Ravelry presence, so I'm knitting blind here.  But I tend to like Kraemer's yarns and this one dyed up beautifully, so I have high hopes.

A note about the dyeing process.  I like to apply color to yarn in layers, rather than all at once, to get more organic color variation in yarns that aren't going to be level-dyed a solid color.  This yarn was originally dyed a pale yellow and then overdyed with a blue that was a dilute almost-navy solution, before being glazed in a yellow-brown.  Although I'm often asked is glazing is worth all the work, there is no doubt in my mind that the same principles I used to use in painting collage backgrounds are equally at work in dyeing yarn, and there is simply no substitute for carefully applied layers of dye, each of which makes the final color full and rich.


Knit It Now: Stephen West’s Honegart Hat

This is my favorite hat of all time, possibly my favorite knitting project of all time.


I made it back in 2011, but it was a rush job as cold weather set in for a child who was going to school up North, and I didn't get decent pictures at the time.  Thankfully, the child returned, and with him the hat.  I pulled it out with some other winter things this morning and remembered what a brillant pattern and fun knit it was, and wanted to share it with you all.


This hat is knit in two different sections, which gives you endless possibilities — solids, variegated yarns, you name it.  I dyed Elliebelly Alpaca & Merino just for this project.  The honeycomb portion of the hat is so much fun to knit that I pulled over at a farmstand on the way back from the beach, and knit much of it while eating fresh peach ice cream and watching the tourists.  I couldn't wait to finish it.


This hat is at the top of my "must knit it again" list and I recommend you try it if you are looking for something a little bit frisky but well within the capabilities of a advanced beginning knitter with a couple of projects under your belt.  (I mean that in the realistic sense — not in the way some well-meaning experienced knitters who have forgotten what it's like to be knew to sticks and twine will tell you the lace shawl is "really easy" or the heavily cabled pattern is fine for a new knitter).  Like all of Stephen West's design, it is slightly edgy but imminently practical.  And, it's really warm.  Return of the Polar Vortex, anyone?


In Defense of Single Skein Projects — Why We Knit

We can't all be the girl who knits incredibly intricate Estonian lace in her spare time, producing immaculate shawls of haunting beauty.  And we shouldn't feel bad about it.


I love knitters who are accomplished and precise, and I enjoy celebrating their work.  But that doesn't, and shouldn't, in any sense take away from the accomplishments of new knitters, intermittent knitters, or knitters without time for larger projects.  There is virtue and integrity too in smaller, simpler, single skein projects.

My Redeux hat, pictured above, was a relentlessly simple knit that any beginner could finish in a day or two since it calls for a single skein of bulky yarn.  It has given me an enormous amount of pleasure, to say nothing of the warmth it leant my husband during our trip to Iceland.  It was easy, it was simple and it is red and beautiful.  I value this hat as much as any project I've ever knit.


Similarly, this Rainbow Twist Cowl is easy enough to be the perfect first attempt at cables for a knitter who has never done them before.  Plus, it has the advantage of color.  Anything knit with Malabrigo's beautiful Arco Iris colorway is guaranteed to become a cherished favorite.  Again, a quick simple knit that was infinitely satisfying and produced a remarkable result.  I know this to be true because my teenage daughter stole it away as soon as it came off of my needles and will not return it.  This must mean it is a thing of grace and beauty.

Ollie hat

This is a basic ribbed knit hat, Rib-a-Roni, knit from a single skein with the addition of a few leftover scraps to form the stripes.  This hat brought me such a feeling of accomplishment.  I googled and mastered jogless stripes so that the joins look even.  The ribbing was meditative.  The recipient was ecstatic.  He is still wearing it in summer.

We all know that as knitters, there is a tremedous amount of pressure to constantly innovate our craft. And I like that.  Last year I picked up lacework for the first time and enjoyed the results. But there is a special virtue, and no shame in working with these easier, baby-bite sized kind of one-skein projects.  They take skill too.  We sometimes forget that to non-knitters, we all look like rocket scientists. Don't be afraid to turn off the pressure and enjoy a simple knit.


Hermione Loves Ron

This might be the cleverest pattern ever for a knit hat.  It's a simple ribbed watch cap, but the knit rows are cabled and the purl rows contain a simple lace pattern.


The pattern is available as a free download on Ravelry and its called Hermione loves Ron because it was inspired by the hat Hermione wore in the Half Blood Prince movie in the Harry Potter series.

The yarn I'm using is Classic Elite's Princess, a blend of 40% Wool, 28% Rayon, 15% Nylon, 10% Cashmere and 7% Angora.  I was intrigued by that blend when I saw the yarn on sale at my LYS.  It has been really nice to knit with, although it is not as soft as I would have expected with the Cashmere and Angora content.  I'll be interested to see how it feels after it washes up.

Partway ellie

I've completed three of the four and one-half repeats the pattern calls for before going to decreases.  Although this is meant for my oldest child, it looks like he is going to have to fight off his younger sister to get it, and really, it is a bit more of a "girl pattern" than I anticipated when I began it.  I'm starting to think about a more teenage boy friendly version that omits the lace pattern on the purl portion of the rib.