All The Hats

I’ve been radio silent here on this blog for the past few weeks, completely unintentionally. Life, as does happen, got busy, and while the knitting hasn’t stopped, writing about it did.

We’re only a few weeks away from Christmas, and I’m certainly feeling the pressure to keep knitting, but like I’ve written about in my last few posts, hats have been the flavour of the month(s?).  Such a simple, quick and satisfying project!

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I may have a slight addiction to the Barley Light pattern by tincanknits. I’ve knit five of these hats in the last six months! What isn’t there to love? It’s knit in fingering (although a worsted version is available too), it’s so simple yet the garter panel adds interest, and it’s super chic.  Written with lots of size options, these have made excellent baby gifts which can come together rather quickly – one of the five I was able to knit during a Sunday afternoon.

I’m also working on a super fun, slouchy hat for my friend’s daughter; she’s a super trendy little girl, and a slouchy bulky hat will fit her personality, in my humble opinion.  AI’m hoping to make a hat for her brother as well, but am waiting on inspiration to strike for that.  I started a different hat for friend’s daughter – I had some fun pink and white Cascade 220 in the stash that I thought would be good to knit down, but then, common sense kicked in and I realized MAYBE an 8 year old needs a hat made with something super wash… Just a hunch.

As the countdown to the holidays continues (or maybe is coming to an end for those who celebrate Hanukkah), I am hoping the odds are ever in your favour for finishing those projects you just need to get done!

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A Better Pathway

Last week I wrote about hats that were seemingly flying off my needles, one of which was the start of the Pathways hat, inspired by a hat worn on Once Upon a Time. Well, that hat certainly flew and I was able to cast off and even wove in the cast off tail.  What a mistake. As soon as I was done weaving, I tried it on and it fit rather small. I’m a tight knitter, and other people on Ravelry found that the pattern as written ended up a little small.  We all know how much I like frogging my projects *insert the largest eye roll here*

If this is a project you’re hoping to undertake (and I would ultimately recommend it because the finished hat is super cute and made with worsted weight makes it cozy), what worked for me was making the ribbed brim with 4.5mm needles, and the body was made with 5.5mm.  The hat was simple, with sections of cables, stockinette and seed stitch, and once I adjusted the needles I used, it made a really cute hat.


It’s now going into the pile of finished gifts, put aside for the end of December.

Hats off to Stash Down

One of the several reasons why I love knitting is the sense of gratification one gets by seeing your project grow.  You can see your progress, your efforts and time becoming a thing. This past weekend, I saw the efforts of my labour come together fairly quickly as I’m knitting away for Christmas and, conveniently at the same time, working away at my stash.

I can write about these projects because a) I’m not specifying for whom they were made, and b) I doubt the recipients will read this blog.  I think this is a safe space. If you think you know the destined recipients, please, keep my secret!!


Saturday evening, this beauty flew off my needles. Bulky weight, 6 millimetre needles. I LOVE how simple the hat is, but then the designer hit you with a pop of interest with the crown decrease and these lovely cables.  The pattern is Subtle Twist Hat by Jennifer Tallapaneni, and I used up the better part of a skein of Berroco Vintage Chunky.


I’ve also started a hat I’ve been wanting to make for a while, Pathways by Erica Harbin.  This lovely hat was inspired by one worn on the show Once Upon a Time, and the first season of that show was filled with lovely pieces of knitwear.  I’ve had Schachenmayr Merino Extrafine 85 in my stash for years now, and it is working up like a dream in this project! The plying of this yarn is unusual, but it’s not affecting the fabric being created, so I’m happy.

I may find excuses to knit a few more hats because they are a seriously quick project, and I’m rather happy to find use for yarn that I’ve had on the shelves for some time now.  The Mercury is dropping and a few snowflakes have fluttered by. Winter is coming, friends.  I’m sure it won’t be hard to find reasons for hats.

I’ll always have warm toes

Last week I wrote about a ‘Simple Pattern’ for socks, taken from a book written in the 1800s.  I had fun experimenting with this pattern, using rather old yarn from my stash.  I made it about 12 rows or so into the body of the leg before I frogged them.

This was how the pattern was shaping up – lace panels in between garter stitch.  I was happy with it, but this has now taken a back seat.  The socks were ripped out so I could free up the needles for vanilla socks.  I was at a conference last Thursday and Friday and knew I would want something simple to keep the hands busy while still listening and engaging with what was being presented. 

These, I must say, are shaping up to be perhaps the most boring socks ever.

The yarn is slowing fading into different shades; the top has more green with the purple, and the heel looks like it’s doing the same thing. It’s all very subtle, and no texture is making these seem just a little yawn. Again, I dove into the stash for these socks, and really, they are serving their purpose very well, simple, transportable socks that require no thinking at all.  Although they are a wee bit boring, there is nothing wrong with that. Socks are socks and they will keep toes warm regardless of the simple yarn.

This is where self patterning or self striping yarn shines. A simple vanilla sock becomes so much more interesting because the yarn is doing all the heavy lifting, the yarn is dazzling while you are simply repeating the knit stitch over and over.

While I soldier on with these unremarkable socks, the ‘simple pattern’ is still on my mind, and I have an idea of how I want to tinker with the pattern. Going at this rate, it’s safe to say my toes won’t be cold.

Simple Pattern for Simple Socks.

A few weeks ago, I bought a beautiful skein of sock yarn online. I won’t post details about it because it was purchased with the intention of becoming a gift, but I will say the yarn is soft, squishy, and beautifully self striping. I was looking for an interesting texture or stitch pattern for this yarn to become socks; the yarn would do most of the heavy lifting because the stripes really would shine, and I didn’t want anything to take away from it, but I also wanted to make something more than a vanilla sock.  Hours, it felt like, were spent on Ravelry, Pinterest, and googling to try and find something that would be inspirational. Nothing seemed quite right to suit this yarn.

Then, I came across a blog written for Knitty by Franklin Habit, where he used patterns written in the 1840s by Mrs. Frances Lambert to create a sampler, and this got me thinking… was I looking in the wrong places for inspiration?

Well, I ended up in a historic knitting pattern wormhole. I downloaded both of Mrs. Lambert’s books, filled with historic patterns, and somewhere along the way, I found the Victorian Knitting Manuals collection on archive.org, maintained by the University of Southampton, where they had digitized The Stocking Knitter’s Manual: A Companion to the Work Table, by Mrs. George Cupples in 1870.  Here I found my inspiration.

 

The story of sock 1, made with the amazing self striping yarn, will continue in a further blog post another day.  I found a very simple lace pattern, adding interest to the overall pattern and yet simple enough so as not to take away from the yarn.

I’m currently experimenting with her ‘Simple Pattern.’  As written:

Calculate six stitches for each pattern

1st row – Pearl (sic) 3, O, T, P.
2nd row – Pearl 3, P 3.
3rd row – Pearl 3, P, O, T.
4th row – Pearl 3, P 3.

O means put over the thread
T is knit two together
P is plain 1

I charted this for knitting in the round, because I like charts.

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My interpretation of this pattern, it looks like you’re working three garter stitches alternated with three stitches work as lace.

Worked as a sock, 12 or so rows in, it looks like this:

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It’s rather pretty and, as the name suggests, fairly simple.  This is further spinning my inspiration; the sock I’ve started in the picture is using stash yarn and isn’t intended for anyone. I’m right now knitting it for knitting’s sake and to test this pattern (shocking for a project knitter, I know!).  I’m adoring the lace ‘columns,’ but I’m also thinking how I could tinker with Mrs. Cupples’ pattern and make it something new.

I’m not at a loss for inspiration now.  The history geek in me should have known at the outset to start with something at least 100 years old!

Hopefully next week I’ll have another sock update!

Happy knitting!