Monday, October 22, 2007

'Tis the season for hats!

Two more hats have fallen off my needles! I am now officially enamoured of hats. Quick, cute, and oh, so warm on these cool fall days.

Since I don't have a mannequin head yet (is there somewhere I can put that kind of thing on a wish list? hmmm...) so one of my teddy bears stood in for me for the pictures. He's an official Harrods bear, so he knows style and would not sit still if the hats weren't cute. I take it as a very good omen that he agreed to do this photo shoot!

First up is this cute thing made from one skein of Rowan Big Wool on US13 needles. This started as the Vita hat from Hip Knit Hats, but then I decided I wanted it to have a bit more detail, so I did a modified version of Valery instead. I love it! It can be easily pulled down over the ears or worn higher on the head, showing more texture. And of course it's very warm. As you can see, Mr. Bear has chosen to wear it low on the brow. I think he was just getting warmed up to the idea of being a model for the day and was a bit shy for this first shot.

Next, we have a hybrid, of sorts. This one is made from one skein of Plymouth Yarn's Baby Alpaca Grande and oh, my is it ever soft and warm! When I started this one, I thought I would make the Cosima from Hip Knit Hats. But then I got a brand spankin' new copy of 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders and saw the Between Seasons Cap by Cathy Campbell. I fell in love with the horizontal cable band and just had to have it. But I already had the crown of the Cosima hat completed and I didn't want to frog it.

So what else could I do but experiment? The between Seasons Cap is meant to be knit on a much smaller gauge yarn and US6 needles. I was working with super bulky yarn and US10.5 needles. But, undaunted, I took the plunge.

Leaving the crown from the Cosima pattern on a circular needle and without cutting the yarn (just in case the frog pond ultimately beckoned), I started from the other end of the ball and cast on for the horizontal cable. I used 19 stitches just as the pattern called for and knit repeats until it fit around my head, which turned out to be 11 of the large cables. Then I bound off, but still didn't cut the yarn.

Calculations of the kind I'm used to -- that is, off-the-cuff and not very scientific at all -- began. I had 78 stitches arond the crown on the circular needles. Okay, so I took the DPNs and used them to pick up 78 stitches semi-regularly spaced along the edge of the horizontal cable piece. No, I didn't sew the ends together first and no, I still didn't bind anything off. I was working, quite literally, two ends against the middle of the ball of yarn.

Once I had 78 stitches picked up along the cabled piece (on four different DPNs), I took the crown and the cable, put right sides together, and did a three-needle bind-off all the way around. So far, so good! Now all I had left was to seam the ends of the horizontal cable piece together in the back. First, a fit check. Perfect! But I really hate seaming things. So instead I whipped out a crochet hook (size I) and did a crochet join, matching the stitches on each end so they continue the cabled pattern.

A few woven in ends later, and I had a very warm hat that fits nicely down over my ears. Love, love, love it! And I think I'm keeping this one for myself -- although I might need to wrestle Mr. Bear for it since he seems quite pleased with how it fits him, too.

Lest you think that all I've been knitting is hats, here is a project on which the knitting is complete, but I have not yet mustered up the courage to throw it in the waching machine for fulling. This is a Kristina Bag from a kit I purchased quite some time ago from Black Sheep Bags. It's made with one skein of Cascade 22o and one skein of Noro Kureyon in a two-color pattern that worked up really quickly on US10.5 needles. Once it's fulled, the top will be cut open to make way for a sew-in zipper (eek! sewing!). I may or may not line it. We'll see how it comes out first. It's my first time doing two-color work and so far I like it. I just hope it doesn't turn into one big felty blob when I finally get the guts to throw it in the machine! :)

There's more coming. I have some Little Gems Mitts on the needles from the Holiday Gifts Interweave Knits. They'll look a bit different than those in the magazine, though, since I'm using two colors of Fearless Fibers yarns instead of multiple solid colors. So far, I like them. Stay tuned!


owl knits said...

I love the way the bag looks. If you don't want to felt it, maybe you could line it and keep it the way it is - gorgeous.

Angelika said...

Love the bag, especially the colors. Can't wait to see it felted. I think you might not even have to line it, when you are done.

Shelly said...

Great looking knits, especially the cable hat!