Archive for the “hat” Category


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.

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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.
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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?”

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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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Last weekend, to kick off the Tour de Fleece, Michael and I stopped at the Mannings on our way from Connecticut to Virginia. (If I’d known it was actually only about 90 minutes from home, I would have gone there sooner!)

We looked at the wheels and the looms and the gorgeous weaving projects in progress…

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…and then the yarn. I didn’t want to leave without a souvenir skein or two, and eventually chose a ball of Austermann Step in a grayish-greenish-blue-ish colourway, and a skein of Cascade 220 Quatro in greys to make a hat for Michael. He wanted something very specific and so I was glad to have him there to pick out the exact yarn he wanted.

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Here I am being indecisive, but I’ve already got the ball of Step in my hand.

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We saw this crocheted spare tire cover on our way out. Very cool!

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On Saturday afternoon I cast on for the Hurricane Hat while sitting in the airport waiting for my flight home, and knit fairly steadily on it through the afternoon and the rest of the weekend. By Sunday night I thought I had gotten far enough to do the decreases, but when I’d broken the yarn and tried on the hat, it was about two inches too short. I guess I’d misinterpreted the pattern where it said “five inches” to mean from the cast on, and not just the patterned part of the hat. Since the brim of this hat isn’t meant to turn up, it needs to be exactly the right height, so I ripped back to just before the decreases. At least the width of the hat was right! I had been a little worried, since I’d done no swatching or anything, that it might have been a little on the small side, but it fits really well. Hopefully it doesn’t stretch out too much with wear.

After work on Monday I got back to it and in an hour or so had re-finished the top of the hat. When I had to join yarn ends, I untwisted the single, split it in two and broke off one piece on either end, then intertwined the two halves and rubbed them together until they stuck. I didn’t bother using any water to felt the ends together as it didn’t seem like the ends would wriggle out at all when they were knitted together. On the other hand, when I wove my final end in I was probably more careful than necessary to make sure that it wouldn’t ever come loose.

The Hurricane Hat pattern is available for free at String in Motion. It is a quick cute knit, definitely suited for the soft stripes of this yarn. It would work nicely with a semi-solid or tweedy yarn as well, but the texture might be lost in a wildly variegated colourway.

I really like the way the purl stitches spiral up into the top of the hat to make the eye of the hurricane, and could see doing a similar swirl motif with twisted stitches or traveling decreases and hidden increases. I get more and more design ideas from nearly every project I knit! Now, if only I had the time to work them all up… though I do seem to be getting faster at this knitting thing. One hat in two days, another hat in three days? (And it would have been another two day hat, if I hadn’t had to re-do the top.) Pretty fast indeed!

I’m happy with the finished hat, but not thrilled. On the plus sides, the swirly pattern is appealing and the colour of the yarn matches my eyes. I think this hat will go perfectly with my gray coat. On the minus side, the yarn was fairly expensive for its quality and it seems like the hat will last only a few seasons before it gets covered in pills. While that does give me an excuse to knit yet another hat in a year or two, I’d rather have clothing that lasts a little longer, especially if I’m going to the effort to make it myself.

The Tonalita yarn was interesting to work with – not awful, but not great either. It’s half wool and half acrylic, spun up into a loose soft singles yarn which is quite soft, but it splits easily and so I had to be a little more careful with it than usual. In some places it was significantly thicker than others, but the differences are almost imperceptible in the finished product. It’s a little thick for the US 6 needles I used, especially when it came time to do the decreases, but I like the way the fabric turned out for this kind of hat. The label suggests a US 9 needle, which would give a fabric with a lot more drape. I barely had to dip into the second ball of yarn to finish the hat, and I’m considering using the leftovers to make armwarmers, maybe with a light neutral yarn for contrast colourwork. There is certainly enough remaining. I just wonder if armwarmers wouldn’t pill up so fast in this yarn, due to the extra wear that they’d see on my hands and wrists as opposed to on my head.

The outside of the ball of yarn is even and smoothly wound, with each strand laid comfortably against the next, but the inside has this fascinating star shape to it. I found myself wondering about the yarn-winding machine, and what sort of movements it would need to make to create this loose star on the inside but a rounded ball on the outside.

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It had come to my attention that I’ve never knit anything for my sworn-brother Stephen. When he was living in a mostly-summerish place it would have been unnecessary, but he could certainly use a warm hat now that he’s living in the land of eternal winter. I ran over to Needles in the Haymarket and found some Cascade 220, my go-to hat yarn, in a lovely heathery grey-green. Unfortunately the selection of superwash colourways was limited, so this isn’t a machine washable hat, but Stephen assured me that he would be fine with hand-washing as long as I gave him instructions.

I cast on for the hat while I was waiting for my flight. I knit at the gate, where I met some knitters who were winding balls of yarn. I knit for the full duration of my flight, while sitting next to a woman who used to knit but now prefers crochet. I knit while watching television later that evening, and about 36 hours after I started, I was weaving in the ends of a new hat. This is a speed record for me!

There was already snow on the ground and more fell while I was visiting. I think this expression is, “Take the picture already, it’s cold out here!”

I chose the free Cousteau Hat pattern and made a few adjustments to it. From comments on other projects I knew that the hat comes out large, so I only cast on 100 stitches instead of the 140 called for. I changed the decreases to a simple K2tog, and started doing double decreases towards the top to make the hat less pointy. I should have gone with a K3tog instead of slip, k2tog, psso, and I should have started them sooner – ah well, there’s always next time. Knit and learn, knit and learn!

Of course, when the hat is on, the top doesn’t appear to be pointy at all. I really like how the sections come together in quarters at the top. It’s different from the more spiral decreases that I’ve made on previous hats, and quite distinctive.

I’m seriously tempted to make a matching hat for myself, though the next size down might be a little tight at only 80 stitches, and the fabric might be a little loose if I went up a needle size to compensate. (Or it would fit me perfectly, as I do have a small head, and the hat could always be blocked larger. Besides, it will stretch.) Maybe I would try working the decreases every other row for a more rounded top, but I’m not sure if that would look odd in the way the ribs get cut off by the decreases. It would be worth the attempt, I think, and if it doesn’t come out well then it will be easy enough to rip back and redo.

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