Archive for the “hat” Category

Knitting the bicolour hat went quite a bit faster once I transferred it from the DPNs over to a 16″ circular, though my colourwork tension still leaves something to be desired. There’s a little bit of a difference where I switched needles, but blocking helped make it look less obvious. Something to note for next time: even if you’re not using the most ideal needles, stick with them for the rest of the project.

(Did anyone else hate having to change pens in the middle of an essay? I never liked to see half a page written in one shade of blue, and the other half written in another shade.)

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This project’s trial and error has taught me a lot about designing colourwork hats, and I will definitely be putting the lessons learned to good effect the next time. The lined brim came out exactly how I had envisioned it, but the ‘seam’ where each round ends and the next begins is not something I’d expected. A solid colour at that junction would have hidden it better. It took me a few attempts to figure out how the crown of the hat should come together, and I’m happy with how it looks – although I think I might need a larger model head! I have my fingers crossed that it will fit Michael’s head perfectly, and I’ll find out in just a few days when I see him at Thanksgiving.

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Since I only used about half of each ball of yarn to make this hat, I’m planning to make another in a slightly different pattern. I have lots of other partial balls of Cascade 220 left over from a number of previous hats, and I’m thinking about branching out into something with more than just two colours in the future!

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You know what would be fun? Making up a colourwork hat pattern by the seat of my pants!

First, I tried a variety of cast-ons to figure out what works best with corrugated ribbing (i.e. doesn’t make it curl up like a pillbug) and discovered a nifty two-colour cast-on that totally works. Then, after the ribbing was done, I decided to line it with the softer KnitPicks Andean Treasure left over from Stef’s armwarmers. Hopefully that doesn’t make the hat too small. If I’d thought of lining it before I started, I would have cast on a few extra stitches to make up for the added thickness.

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With the lining folded up and joined in, I got started on the body of the hat. At first I was trying to knit with one strand in each hand, but that was slow and awkward, so I switched to having both strands in my left hand. I even remembered the thing about dominance in stranded colourwork and was super-careful about consistently keeping one yarn to the left and the other to the right. Everything was going so well, and looking so good…

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…until I fouled it up, and knit another four rounds before I noticed.

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Don’t worry! I can fix this!

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But maybe I should use lifelines when I’m knitting things that require me to pay attention?

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With last few purchases of the Acres Wild pattern trickling in, the final total through the end of November was 101 sales (or $200.99). I covered the paypal fees and then some, and sent the donation to St. Baldricks.

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I had no idea what to expect when I released the pattern. Five sales? Ten? Maybe twenty-five, if I allowed myself to think big. So I can’t thank you enough for blowing right past those small hopes and helping me make a significant donation. Our contribution will help make a difference!

Thank you, thank you, thank you. (And happy knitting!)

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There are only a few days left! Through 30 November, all proceeds from sales of the Acres Wild hat will be donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to support childhood cancer research in memory of Rebecca Meyer.

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We have raised two hundred dollars so far! I honoured and giddily pleased that we’ve come together like this to make such a significant donation. When I send in the money, I will cover Paypal’s transaction fees so that St. Baldrick’s will receive every single cent of your purchases. You sent $1.99, they get $1.99 – not the $1.61 that came through Paypal to me.

I can’t thank you enough for buying a copy of Acres Wild and contributing to the St. Baldrick’s donation! Knitters truly are amazing people.

Get your copy here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/acres-wild-hat or click here to purchase:

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Last year at Rhinebeck, after much waffling about which colourway to get and whether my spinning skills would do justice to the beautifully prepared fibre, I bought this braid from Fiber Optic.

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It was an absolute pleasure to spin. Rather than going for a laceweight, which seems like the popular thing to do with gradients like this, I spun and chain-plied 152 yards of yarn as a slightly thin worsted weight; it looks similar to the grist of Cascade 220, but feels denser and less fuzzy due to the silk content.

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One reason that these gradient braids lend themselves to lace spinning and shawl knitting is that the length of each section of colour isn’t equal. There’s a lot less of the lighter aqua than the darker shades. If I were knitting a crescent shawl starting from the center, the stripes of each colour would come out approximately even as each row would take up more yarn.

Fiber Optics Gradient

Instead, I decided to knit a hat from the top down, something I’ve never done before. I looked at patterns on Ravelry, but nothing really jumped out at me to say “This yarn needs to be THIS HAT.” So, I opened up Excel and began to chart out the pattern for my next hat design. That meant delaying the pleasure of casting on for a new project, but ultimately I think I’ll be happier with something I’ve designed myself! It will be slightly textured for interest, but not so complex as to hide the beautiful gradient of colours. Maybe I’ll even put a pom-pom on top! I think I’ll call it the Rego Park Hat, after the place I was born… even if I only lived there for six months.

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Acres Wild is a hat with cabled slip stitches that looks more complicated than it really is. The quilted stitch pattern breaks up pooling in variegated yarn, and continues up into the crown to form a five-pointed star.

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Due to the way the stitch pattern comes together in the crown, the hat is knit over 120 stitches – use the yarn and needles you need to get the right gauge for your head! For a close-fitting beanie on my 21.5″ head, I used size 4 needles with DK weight yarn for a gauge of 7 stitches to the inch in stockinette, which yielded 5.5 stitches to the inch in the unstretched pattern stitch. For a larger head or a slouchier fit, choose larger yarn or needles.

~~~~~~~~ IMPORTANT NOTICE ~~~~~~~~
All proceeds from the sale of this pattern through 30 November 2014 will be donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to support childhood cancer research in memory of Rebecca Meyer.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

YOU WILL NEED: 16″ circular needle (optional, but recommended) and a set of five double-point needles in the size needed to get gauge for your particular yarn, plus a darning needle to weave in ends. Stitch markers will definitely come in handy, both to mark the beginning of the round on the circular needle, and during the decrease rounds.

Get it on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/acres-wild-hat

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Important Copyright Information: The Acres Wild Hat knitting pattern is © 2014 Knitting Pirate. You may not sell or otherwise distribute copies of this pattern, but you may absolutely sell the hats you make, and Knitting Pirate would very much appreciate it if credit is given for the design. If you have any questions about what you can or can’t do with this pattern, please feel free to contact the Knitting Pirate.

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I fell in love with this sock yarn as soon as I saw it, and I’ve finished the socks with plenty of time before winter! I have a daydream of showing them off, warming my toes at a ski lodge fire. They’re a standard top-down 64-stitch sock, no pattern in particular, though I used Jeny’s Stretchy Slipknot Cast-On rather than my usual long tail cast on. It’s a little more fiddly to get the tension right, but it let me start the yarn in exactly the right spot of the colour progression. This might be the first time I’ve deliberately made fraternally striping socks, rather than identical! The stripes were wide enough that I wasn’t sure I’d have enough yarn to make identical socks. As it turned out, I could have… but I think I like them better this way. I love how the heel takes up exactly one triple-stripe of the same colour. It prevents the “skipping” look over the ankle that some striped yarns have.

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Michael asked for some slightly more obnoxious socks than his usual subtle blues, and chose some Patons Kroy in Rainbow Stripes. The cuffs, heels, and toes are worked in navy just to make sure that the sock legs would be tall enough. (They’re almost. They could even be an inch taller.) I used the same basic pattern with a dutch heel that I’ve used before on his socks, because I know it fits him well. The second sock is still in progress.

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And then there’s this… Dragonfly Fibers Traveler yarn, in the “Firecracker” colourway, that I bought at MDSW this past year and in three weeks, designed and knit the most delightful hat. I’m in the process of writing up the pattern so that I can share it. Trust me, you don’t want to try to knit from my notes – they’re covered in scribbles, doodles, design concepts, and lots of things crossed out. But the hat is beautiful, and shows off the variegated yarn perfectly. I hope to have the pattern published soon so that I can post pictures!

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Last Sunday on the Remrants forum, we were taking pictures of pictures of pictures of looking at our mornings, much like the Infinite Cat Project. I can’t take pictures without a particular spotted cat showing up. “Pictures? We’re taking pictures? Oh boy oh boy! Can I be in the pictures? Can I get really really close to the camera– or should I just stare from across the room?”

Sunday with Kipling

The greatest part of doing this is that I grabbed the only knitting in the living room at the time for the picture – the grey armwarmers that have been languishing in the cabinet for months, while I felt more and more guilty about not working on them. Then the project was right there on the table in front of me, so I finished knitting the first of the pair – hooray! I need those DPNs to do the decreases on the hat I’m designing, which I hope to finish knitting over the weekend so I can write up and publish the pattern.

After that, I can knit the second armwarmer… and write up that pattern for publication as well, though it will be necessary to knit a second pair using a yarn with better stitch definition for the photographs. This first pair is made of KnitPicks Andean Treasure, which is a lovely soft yarn… but between the fuzz of the yarn and the dark grey colour, it’s really hard to see the stitch pattern.

I’m looking forward to sharing both of these patterns soon!

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My next door neighbours, Morry and Shirley, are quite probably the best neighbours anyone could ask for. We trade off cat-sitting services (although I feel as if I ask them to feed Floyd and Kipling more frequently than they ask me to look after their cats) and occasionally trade baked goods. When I asked them to take care of Floyd and Kipling over Christmas, I brought them freshly baked chocolate chip cookies… and was presented with a quilt. A quilt! A handmade quilt, full of adorable kitties, with a cute bicycle backing. Wow!

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Immediately, I knew I wanted to knit something for them. I picked up two coordinating skeins of Cascade 220 in Lake Chelan Heather and Cordovan Brown Heather, and after a little bit of pondering decided to knit them semi-matching Jacques Cousteau hats. I’ve made the pattern once before and enjoyed knitting it. Plus, the stretchiness of the knit three, purl two rib is great for a surprise gift hat when one doesn’t know the exact size of the recipient’s head!

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I knit in the car on the way to Winterlude; I knit while we played Cards Against Humanity; I knit on the trip back. Shirley’s hat was finished the day I got home, and Morry’s was done a few days later. I brought the hats to them in late February, the day before yet another snowstorm was due, and hope that they’ll help my wonderful neighbours to be nicely warm for many winters to come.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of them wearing the hats… but they fit well and the pointiness of the top goes away when the hat’s on a head! The Cousteau hat is a great pattern and I would happily knit it again.

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Michael requested a hat of a very specific shape and size, so it would settle over his ears and flop down just so, and over the course of last week I knit it for him. It’s made of Cascade 220 Quatro in two shades of grey, and is exactly what he wanted – or it will be, after it’s washed and softened up so it’s a little more floppy!

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When he sat down to model the hat, Kipling decided that he wanted to be in the pictures, too. He’s a total ham for the camera. Good thing he’s so cute! (The hat isn’t bad, either.)

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