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:
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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:

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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 Projectile

53 Christmas Balls*

*left to go

L, M & I took a class at our LYS (gosh, it’s so strange to write that… after all this time, we finally do have a LYS!) in December, a sort of knit-along to the Arne & Carlos book 55 Christmas Balls To Knit.  For me, the class was more of an accountability feature.  Without it, I would have bought the book, stashed it on a shelf, and never made a single ball.  Having a scheduled time (and paying money to go) made certain I finished at least one.  As it was, I ended up making two.

The ornaments are fairly simple, consisting of four identical “panels” repeated over each of your four DPNs.  They are knitted in the round, stuffed, then sewn shut- and then decorated if you are so inclined.

My first project was Ornament #31, which had a four-hearts-in-a-diamond motif on each panel.  We were given Ella Rae Classic yarn to work with, which is a worsted weight wool.  The book calls for a fingering weight wool.  I do intend to knit one (some?) with fingering weight to see how they look with a finer yarn.  The Ella Rae was adequate for a little project like this.

julekuler no. 31

I shoved as much Polyfill into this sucker as I thought it could take, sewed it up with a darning needle, then made a bastardized I-cord with two strands each of the red & white. I sewed that onto the bound-off edge/hole and made a hanging loop. It’s cute but too thick with the worsted yarn. If I get ambitious I’ll try it with fingering weight, but a single strand of worsted yarn was a nice enough hanger without too much trouble..

2011-11-27 15.35.31

With the second ball, I decided I ought to start from the beginning of the book (instead of the dead middle, where I normally begin things). So Ornament #1 is actually my second project.

This time I shoved twice as much Polyfill in and boy, did it make a difference. My second ornament is huge compared to the first, and also much stouter. It feels like a ball instead of a knitted floppy roundish thing. There’s such a difference I may unwork the first one a bit and get some more filling into it.

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I also did a little duplicate stitching over the edges of the snowflake motif on ball #1 to give it a glinty look. Next time I will probably do snowflakes in a more appropriate color, rather than yellow. Hey, I was just using up some yarn left over from the Harry Potter scarf.

2011-12-14 09.56.10

I recently met someone who had knitted a couple dozen of these. She knitted them flat on two needles, then seamed each one up the back. I didn’t care for the look- I think the DPNs make a huge difference. The seaming could have been better but, even if it was flawless, it still would have left a funny ridge. Plus, who wants to seam? However, the one advantage to the flat technique is that she could use a styrofoam craft ball for the “filling”. I suppose you could knit in the round on DPNs over one but it would probably be pretty tricky.