Posted in Projectile

Many Hats

The knitting guild I belong to has a service project making hats for preschoolers in the tri-county early childhood programs. Our annual goal is 600 hats. That’s a lot of hats, even for a guild with 53 members! I’m doing my best to knit 12 a year, or 1 each month. Hats are a fun way to try out new techniques. They’re also a good way to use up the acrylic yarn that appears out of nowhere around these parts.

The most recent hat is also my first attempt at brioche knitting. Brioche isn’t really hard, but I am also saying that from the vantage point of never having done two colors brioche, or shaping, or pretty much any advanced technique beyond brk1 and brp1.

I chose Purl Soho’s “Fluffy Brioche Hat”  over 88 sts for my novice brioche project. Their patterns are always very well-written, whether you’re a newbie or an expert, and this is no exception. To use up bits of yarn, I used one color for the cuff and crown and a variegated color for the body of the hat. It was a fantastic game of yarn chicken that left me with less than a gram of the solid blue, and none of the variegated when all was said and done. Yes!

fluffy brioche hat The only thing I don’t care for on this hat is how the crown comes out like a square. If I do it again (and I probably will), I’ll probably add one or more decrease columns to the four called for in the pattern, to give it a “rounder” shape. These were done on size 7 needles for the cuff and size 5 needles for the body and crown (I think the pattern calls for 4s, but I didn’t have 4s in 16″ circs).

Other charitable hats of note are the Sunset Hat, which is a cool but easy colorwork pattern that gradually changes from one color to another. You can use a lot of different combinations of colors for effect. I like using black with a vibrant contrasting color: 20170315_004306

But I also liked how these pastels look:
20170311_121854

That particular hat used a mercerized cotton yarn, which has really crummy stitch definition. Not well-suited for colorwork, either. But it’s very soft, which is important in kids’ hats. Anyway, here is the Sunset hat in another color scheme:

20170311_121948

I really like these gradual color changes as an alternative to stripes.

Other favorite charity hat projects are Kitimat, which is similar to the Sunset hat but only uses two colors. I did mine in black and ivory. This picture is before blocking, which is why some of the “V”s are wonky.
Kitimat I also made the Strib Hat, over 80 sts, almost exactly as written. That’s another well-written pattern, simple but elegant. I used TECHknitter’s 3-in-1 join on cast-on edge, and back-join technique for jogless stripes.

Streb hatLast but not least, Declan’s hat is a cable-y beanie that works up quickly but looks deceptively complicated. I enjoyed this one a lot. It’s done on size 6 needles over 96 stitches (cables “suck in” your fabric, so they usually take more yarn).

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Other patterns I’ve enjoyed for this ongoing project are:

Classic Cuffed Hat by Purl Soho
The Able Cable Hat
Slip Stitch Stash Hat
Creepers All Around

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Posted in Worsted - Wait!

Scarf of Wizarding

My older daughter, S6, has been pre-invited to a birthday party.  The birthday honoree (who has been planning her upcoming party since the day after her last one) is a huge fan of  all things Harry Potter, and has let it be known that her party will have a Harry Potter theme.  I say we have been pre-invited because the party itself isn’t for two months yet.  Invitations haven’t even been written, let alone sent out.  But damn if I don’t appreciate a gift recipient who gives plenty of notice.  That’s how you get nice knitted gifts, friends.  You let your attendees know long in advance exactly what’s going on so they can mull over patterns, pick over yarns, and get knitting.

Little M6 idolizes Hermione and has a complete (and alarmingly accurate) costume, complete with a school tie in Gryffindor house colors and a little plastic wand that looks suspiciously real.  She has everything for her costume except a scarf, as her mother sensibly made her choose between that and the tie (somehow the tie won out, though I hear it was a difficult battle).  So really, it seems completely and totally obvious that I just had to knit her a Gryffindor scarf.  I don’t see any other options- do you?

I enjoyed the HP novels and saw most of the movies, but I wasn’t enough of a fangirl to just jump in and start knitting without a little research.  I soon discovered that the Gryffindor colors have changed somewhat over time.  In the earlier movies, the burgundy is a reddish brown and the scarf has wide stripes of burgundy and gold in equal thicknesses.  The later movies have changed the burgundy to a more plum shade, with two thin gold stripes repeated over the length rather than the symmetrical blocks of the earlier style.  Fortunately, M6 hasn’t seen the later movies (she’s 6, and they’re kind of violent).  So it’s wide stripes of reddish brown and gold.

I’m using Lauren Kent’s Hogwarts Scarf pattern and a cheap Lion yarn (Vanna’s Choice- hey, it was on sale for $2.50 a skein) on two pairs of size US 5 (3.75mm) circular needles.  The scarf is knitted in the round, which is kind of neat since you (a) don’t have to purl and (b) (more importantly) can leave all those color-change ends inside the tube, and just sew the ends of the scarf shut once you’re done knitting.  Voila!  No weaving in!  Even better, you could do that nifty three-needle-bindoff, which I hope to attempt IF AND WHEN THIS MINDLESS STOCKINETTE EVER ENDS.

We’re making progress, though.    There are 12 burgundy and 11 gold stripes (23 total), plus fringe, and I’ve got 10 stripes done already.  It’s a nice mindless pattern for teevee knitting, but boy, am I tired of stockinette.  (In case you hadn’t noticed.)  If I finish this quickly and have yarn left over, there are a few other Gryffindor-related patterns I might consider for a second part to the gift.

HP scarf

Posted in Projectile

Hats.

I’ve never been much of a hat maker (or even much of a hat wearer, for that matter).  It seems like most people get into knitting-in-the-round by doing a hat.  Not me.  I went straight to socks.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like hats, though.  Hats are fine, and I’ve made a few.  The first one I ever knitted was a plain old ribbed stocking hat for my husband.  Then I made a cool colorwork hat for my brother and another one, in a colorwork class last year, that went to my daughter.

This year I made two chemo hats.  The first was for my mom’s best friend, Mary.  Mary lives in a cold part of the country and I thought she could really use something warm and cheerful to keep both her head and her spirits warm.  Coincidentally, L turned me on to some new yarns by Quince & Co, so we decided to make hats for Mary with their bulky weight Puffin.  Great yarn.  The colors are very muted, and as such I didn’t really care for the color of the pink I ordered.  But the yarn is lovely and soft and well-crafted and in every other way delicious and wonderful.

With one skein of Puffin I made an adult-sized Yarrow.  This was a super-quick knit in bulky yarn on size 10 needles.

Yarrow

Yarrow

The other hat was Vivonne Bay, another free Ravelry pattern. I made this for friend T’s MIL. The yarn is Red Heart’s Eco-Ways Bamboo Wool and it’s done on size 5s (3.75mm).

Vivonne bay hat

For some reason I could not wrap my brain around this pattern.  I think it’s because, five rows through the pattern repeat, you slide the stitch marker one st to the right, and then back again two rows later.  In any case, it took me three attempts to get through the first repeat.  After that, I finished the hat in about a day.  If I were to do this pattern over again, though, I would add another pattern repeat.  It fit fine circumference-wise, but seemed kind of short.