‘hats’ Category

  1. Pat on the Head

    January 19, 2011 by Carol

    Look what I did!  (Finally!)

    Lisa’s Beret from Through the Loops knit in Yarns of Distinction Licorice Twist. My first knit beret.  How come it took this long?  Love the stitch pattern, love the yarn.  My only complaint – because there’s always something – is that the 1×1 twisted rib on the brim has no grip so this hat is constantly sliding around on my head – and I am not wearing it for fashion.  We walk two blocks to and from school every day, even in winter.

    This hat may get some elastic eventually, but given my enthusiasm for doing things to my knitting that are not knitting, I’ve moved on to planning other hat projects.  I will probably knit a new hat sooner than I will figure out how to elegantly attach elastic.

    Did I tell you about this yarn yet?  I got it in October at the Ann Arbor Fiber Expo from the Weavers Loft / Yarns of Distinction booth.  I drooled over the Licorice Twist in the Meadows colorway in my mind for a year before I bought it.  Why do I do that to myself?  I have been so scrupulous with my yarn purchases for years (and nevertheless have more in the stash than I could knit in a year at my current rate) but now I am loosening the reins.  Which is not the same as going on a spree, but will spare me perhaps from passing up perfectly beautiful and affordable knitting treats. (Like that $5 package of yarn shaped stitch markers I bought on a lark at Knit-a-Round two days before Christmas – they were all gone when I went back after New Years!)

    Speaking of affordable. This hunk of a hank of yarn I bought was no less than half a pound of merino wool, 560 yards for $29.  It wound up into a massive ball and even after knitting the hat, it is still massive.

    You can see the ball in comparison to a fill size hardcover novel, as well as the flacid brim in progress, in this photo:

    I have a lot of this yarn left.  What else should I make?  I’m thinking a scarf, maybe mittens.  Then I will be matchy-matchy, just like all the other people who buy winter sets at the store.

  2. Snow Day

    December 13, 2010 by Carol

    The Orphan Foundation of America Red Scarf Project is wrapping up in the next month.  The deadline on the OFA is December 15 (two more days!) but the Ravelry group lists in bold letters that the deadline has been extended until the first week of January.

    I am going with the extended deadline, otherwise there is no hope for me.

    I am making a moss stitch scarf in a heathery burgundy shade of Patons Classic Wool.  This is actually a picture from October – the scarf is now about a foot and a half long. I had hoped to make more than one scarf but so far this looks to be it, even with the extended deadline.  Too many chilly heads and hands and feet in my house need attention also (I am on fire to knit myself seventeen different hats and five cowls).  I might churn out a garter stitch red scarf if fancy strikes me after Christmas, which is also after my last work deadline for a while.  I know, I KNOW a real vacation at the end of the year for once.

    To my surprise, all schools in our county were cancelled today.  The snowfall yesterday was not tremendous compared to what we have seen (4-6 inches in our neighborhood) but the temperature dropped quickly in the past 48 hours to just above zero degrees F (-10 windchill).  Sadly, we still had to pry ourselves out of the house to go to the dentist today.  Dentists don’t have snow days, far as I can tell.

    Neither do stay-at-home parents.  Or freelancers.

    Back to working on my hat (Lisa’s Beret in Yarns of Distinction Licorice Twist “Meadow”).  Toddlers don’t sleep for long and tomorrow morning will be a bitter walk to school in the morning.  Maybe I should drive.  For my daughter’s sake.  Yeah, that’s it.

  3. Bits and Pieces

    December 9, 2009 by Carol

    I’ve reached that point of the holiday season when there is so much to do, holiday or otherwise, that I can’t keep track of it all and I know some things are time-sensitive and I end up so turned around that I don’t know what to do first and thus do nothing.  Thankfully, I’ve learned not to stress about it (too much).  Instead, I am bewildered, I suppose.  I called Matt this afternoon after dropping Z off at preschool just in case he knew something I forgot.  He suggested I do some shopping downtown.  I am burned out on shopping, whether it is for gifts or groceries, so I just went home and played with the baby until it was pick up time.

    Now for the randomness:

    *It’s so windy!  And wet!  I should make myself a cup of tea.  But I forget to before I make it to the kitchen.  Or I don’t hear the electric kettle.  I’ve heated it twice.

    *Finished a small Thorpe for Zander last week.  It took me only three days–what a thrill to finish something so quickly.  I knit the small size using Cascade 220 doubled, and this is a good size for a child.  It’s a little loose on my preschooler but not so it will fall off his head.  I skipped the braided ties because I thought that would be safer on the playground–and they’re easy enough to add later if I change my mind.

    *Elinor makes kissy noises with her lips.  And gives open-mouth, wet, baby kisses.  You know it’s love when you don’t care!

    *Hanukkah starts on Friday.  We are ready with the gifts but not the food.  Someone needs to go to a grocery store with a real produce section so we can get a heaping mound of onions and potatoes for latkes.  And it’s windy, rainy, cold, and gross outside.  So far…I can live without latkes on the first night.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings (I hear it’s going to be very cold).

    *I have had a crisis of coat buying for the children.  It has nothing to do with the holidays but has worn me out on shopping.  It involved going to the mall, in December, which I never do.  The best part, though, is that I found a coat for Elinor in her closet this morning, a coat her cousin passed down.  Hallelujah.  Crisis over.

    *I/Zander inherited a UFO from Charlotte–a pair of half-finished socks–which her children outgrew before they ever got to wear.  I finished the first this afternoon.  Here it is yesterday.  The yarn is Plymouth Jelli Beenz, a fun and colorful acyrlic/wool blend.  Zander, my biggest fan when it comes to knitting, is very excited.  We’ve already had one serious discussion about his socks and the dog.  Ahem.

    *My freelance work is ramping up again.  I have two projects right now, although one is in three pieces so it’s really more like four projects.  I must pace myself to avoid stressing out because I can only do one piece at a time and if I get behind it will be a vicious domino effect complete with loss of sleep.

    *I am knitting Elinor a stocking to go with our other three.  The pattern is Christmas in Tallinn by Nancy Bush from Knitting on the Road.  I’ve made several patterns from this book.  I had to substitute the yarn because no one locally now carries the Dalegarn Heilo I used for the first three, but I am happy with the substitute, Rauma Strikkegarn.  It comes in lots of colors and is sticky, which is great for colorwork.  I may actually like this yarn better than the Heilo.

    *The seed catalogs are starting to arrive.  I am thinking of planting more quantity of fewer types of plants next year in the vegetable garden.  Partly to get better at growing the things we love the most and partly because we really need to focus on the flower beds, get them organized.  They were empty when we moved in.  Now they’re kinda weedy.

    Good night!

  4. A hat is a hat by any other name

    December 2, 2009 by Carol

    I started Toasty Topper last night and knit away until my hands were sore and creaky.  No good.  I only made it past the the crown shaping.  Turns out that Cascade 220 is not a good substitute for me for this pattern.  It’s made on US 8 with yarn held doubled.  I can control my tension somewhat, but even with an effort at knitting more loosely, the fabric was stiff and my hands hurt.  There was much indecision and denial but I finally faced the music and ripped it out.

    Part of my indecision stemmed from the question: “If not Toasty Topper, then what?”  Because my kid needs a hat.  Knit by me.  That wasn’t one of the other hats we already had in the closet.  I bought this lovely yarn last December for HIM and it was going to go on his head, OKAY?

    Okay then.  I switched to making a small Thorpe.

    (It is more blue that this picture shows.  I played with all my camera settings but it is a cold, gray day so what’s a gal to do?)

    It was in the forefront of my brain for various reasons and I had to laugh when I started because it is incredibly similar in the beginning to Toasty Topper.  (I am holding the yarn doubled instead of using a chunky weight yarn.)  There was one crucial difference: it is knit on a US 9.  So the fabric is now dense and I am still consciously knitting loosely but my hands don’t hurt and it’s smiles all around.

    I still hope to have enough leftovers for mittens, for which I will probably use Anne Budd’s Handy Book of Patterns.  And I wonder if I can finish it all before school on Monday (today’s school day has already begun and Friday is a field trip to an indoor destination). . . . because it is not like I don’t have, oh at least four other projects on the needles/hooks.

  5. The Urban Aran Cardigan warms yet another body

    December 1, 2009 by Carol


    After swearing up and down and back and forth that last night was the night that I was going to go to bed early (ie, on time), I sat down for an hour to sew some more on the zipper of Matt’s Urban Aran Cardigan.

    Wait, back up.

    On Thanksgiving, Matt drove us to my parents’ house and I started sewing down the zipper.  My hand sewing is not the best but I am capable.  I decided back stitch was the way to go.  Strong, uses twice as much thread, and even I can’t screw it up.  Or can I?

    The thing I was doing didn’t look like back stitch but I could not fathom what I was doing wrong.  So I stuffed the sweater back into its tote and talked to my husband for the rest of the car ride.  Maybe, just maybe, I saw a tear in his eye?  He’s been waiting a long time.

    That evening, back at home and kids abed, I did some research online.  Looks like I had the right method but was, um, going backwards.  Sigh.  I was sewing back stitch left to right rather than right to left.  I don’t know how it could make that much difference but, oh, it did.

    Sunday was another trip, this time to Matt’s dad’s house.  In half an hour (before the edges of car sickness snuck up on me; a legacy of my pregnancies that sometimes haunts me) I managed to sew down about half of one side of the zipper.  Yey!  Measurable progress!

    So last night, with an hour to go until my 10pm bedtime, I figured I would get the other side sewn down.  That plan went so peachy and my back stitch was going much faster so I started in on the other side and willfully ignored the clock.  I was also listening to Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Master Classes on the Knitting Workshop DVDs.  In the end, I stayed up until midnight with Matt who, when he realized sweater was about to be finished, decided to stay up and keep my company.

    At about 11:30pm last night we pranced around singing “Happy Birthday” and snapping pictures.  The strange glow in the photo above is my Ott light, which was necessary to see the dark brown thread against the dark brown zipper and dark brown wool.

    So that’s the good news.  Ten months later, the birthday cardigan is done and I am free to start my own new sweater: Ribby Cardi.  Of course my mom mentioned to me on the phone last night that she needs a wool sweater for her office.  Was she fishing?  If so, I didn’t bite; not yet.  She knows how to knit and I need a cardigan!

    The bad news is that our dog, about an hour ago, jumped up on a window and broke it.  After cleaning up the glass, I was able to wrangle the storm into place (our windows are old) so that I am no longer heating my front yard.  I am awash with ugly emotions.  Luckily both children are asleep and I can hunch over some knitting and distract myself for a bit.  This post is part of that distraction so let’s just move on.

    Ribby Cardi calls me like a siren but I am going to put her off for a few days or weeks.  I’d like to wrap some of my other projects.  Nevertheless, I did cast on something entirely new this afternoon.  Zander’s winter gear was next most important on my list because he is playing on the playground at preschool three days a week, at the very least.  I started a Toasty Topper today with Cascade 220 Heathers in a blue color.  Hopefully there will be enough leftover that I can also make him some mittens.  If not, I know where to get more.

    There is more to tell you my pretties, but I’ll save it for another day.  I need to go do some knitting.

  6. Now Dreaming…

    August 23, 2009 by Carol

    Darlings, it has been a mad, mad summer.  I desperately await the day, a month from now, when my little-big boy will leave the bosom of our family and begin his first day of preschool.  I will probably cry because I am sentimental that way but it will be relief all around because he’s smart and social and needs the stimulation.

    Me, I wouldn’t mind a break from being his personal entertainment committee.  The charm of the magic trick of producing a sibling from my own body has worn off for him.  Not that he doesn’t adore her but she’s still pretty boring for him 80% of the time.

    The baby is starting to get around.  Not crawling but somehow she manages to get from one place to another in her efforts to explore her world.

    This has not been the summer – or year – of knitting I usually hope for, plan for.  Something went funky with my neck and arm a month ago and now I am barely knitting.  I probably have a swollen disk.  Is that TMI?  I hope not.  Blech.  That said, I wouldn’t be here writing if I didn’t believe I was on the mend.  I have mostly laid on the couch for three days and had a big improvement.  Now for the chiropractor and the physical therapist so this never ever ever happens again (because of course this is not the first time; I just didn’t understand what it was before).

    Today I was struck with the bug to cast on!  You know how it goes, the dreaming up of projects, leaping about Ravelry like a young gazelle…. Weeeeee!  Right now I would like to make an entrelac scarf from Noro Silk Garden or a similar yarn; Clapotis from Lornas Laces Shepherd Sport (lighter weight than the original); and a Katie Beret, probably with a colorful Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn.  This of course completely disregards all my other knitting plans that have lain in wait all year like the Ribby Cardi for myself and socks for me, my friend, and my husband. Etc ad infinitum.  I make lists as a hobby, I think.  No harm in a list.

    Luckily for my knitting plans, I have a pocketful of bday gift certificates.  Sadly I have very little personal time.  Luckily this must change so I don’t become a giant knot of pain again.  So I am thinking maybe I can have an afternoon or two while the boy’s at preschool wherein I sit in a cafe downtown, drinking a silly hot drink, knitting, and being chatted up by my delightfully verbose daughter.  It’s an idea.  Want to join me?

  7. I tried to be selfish

    March 16, 2009 by Carol

    After finishing the baby knits and most of a sweater sleeve last week, I tried selfish knitting but found all my parts are too swollen to accurately measure or try things on which suddenly sucked all the joy out of that idea.  Jaywalkers continue to hold.  They still look a lot like this, just longer:

    Yeah, I’m STILL pregnant.  If you are surprised, trust me, I cannot believe it.  My son was born five days after his due date.  Here I am five days away from a 42-week induction.  Luckily, we are getting definite pre-labor signs so even if I have to be induced this weekend, it should go without trouble.  Should.  This baby, of course, is full of surprises so we’ll see.  Meanwhile, I must relax.

    In two days last week, I knit up most of the first sleeve of Matt’s Urban Aran Cardi:

    Hooray for bulky yarn and straightforward instructions.  This is going quickly.  Good laying-on-the-couch-gestating-and-watching-silly-movies sort of knitting.  I’m hoping to put down the computer soon and finish this sleeve.  To be officially halfway through the sweater.

    When the Jaywalkers had to be put away, I did try to start another beret (Purl Beret) but was again beset by gauge issues.  I thought I could make a very light worsted alpaca yarn sub for a heavy fingering.  Not so much.  Really the problem was that I didn’t have enough of the color I most wanted to use.  Definitely a pregnant brain moment.  I like the simple, straightforward pattern though.  I just need to pick a new yarn.

    On Saturday I gave up on myself and cast on for a pair of socks destined to be a gift.

    The yarn is new to me and to the rest of the world: Zauberball, distributed by Skacel.  It is a single-ply superwash wool/nylon blend with very long color repeats.  I am leery of the single ply (for sock durability) but so completely taken with the luminescent quality of the color that I figure it’s worth trying out, once.  I associate this luminescent quality with yarns that contain mohair, like Lamb’s Pride, but the ball band does not indicate any mohair content.  I don’t know enough about dyes to begin to guess at what else it could be.  Another charming quality is that if you look very closely at the individual colors, you can see that they are subtly heathered.

    Maybe I should get another skein of this to make myself a Purl Beret. :)

  8. Distracted

    February 1, 2009 by Carol

    It started with talk of a baby hat for Matt’s co-worker, who is due to have her first child in less than a week.  I wanted to do a simple baby hat to tuck into the gift package.  In looking up head circumferences, I saw a sketch of one of those hats with two points and tassles – you know what I am talking about?  Because I can’t find the name for it.  It lays completely flat when not worn.  They look a little goofy.  They are often made for children.

    Anyway, I wanted to make one of those.  But I wasn’t sure if I wanted to knit it flat and sew up or knit in the round and graft the top so I started searching Ravelry (to no avail – what are they called?!)…

    Matt dreams big.  He wanted a baby knit for his co-worker that used binary because both she and her husband are geeks.  I searched “baby knit binary” and look what I found!  Nrrrdbaby binary hat!

    Too perfect!

    Yes.  Too perfect because the designer doesn’t provide a pattern.  This wouldn’t be hard to reverse engineer – and indeed I made notes to that effect – but I almost lost sight of the fact that this was supposed to be QUICK.  And SIMPLE.  Gah.

    Back to my original plan for a plain, WARM hat.

    Ah, that’s more like it.  Free pattern here: Square Baby.  It is also available on Ravelry.  It knits up in less than 3 hours – talk about instant gratification.

    I’ll save the quirky binary hat for my own child-of-geek.  I guess that makes the binary hat #9 in my parade of baby knits.  Ha!

  9. Inspired by babies, part 2

    January 31, 2009 by Carol

    Urban Aran Cardi quick update: I can knit about a skein per day if I focus on it, which isn’t happening although I often come close.  A skein a day doesn’t sound bad but this will take about 20 skeins.  20 days.  Except more than that.

    I am about to start my third skein, sigh.  Now my mental goal is to be done with this sweater before the baby comes.  Five weeks.  35 days.

    * * * * *

    On to our topic of the day…

    Read “Inspired by babies, part 1″ here.

    By the way, these are not in order of preference at all but mostly in the order I thought of them.

    Fifth: Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap which is darling without being twee, IMO.  It is the quintessential baby bonnet.  I’ve been eying my sock yarn stash for a good fit.  Something stripey, for sure.

    I really do seem to have a thing for hats, don’t I?  This is new and I am still coming to terms with it.  But so far it’s only limited to knit hats.  All other hats are the realm of my hat-lovin’, ever-wearin’ hubby.  I look stupid in hats but stupid doesn’t matter when it’s COLD.

    Sixth: Booties.  Don’t know which pattern since I haven’t found one yet that I love to the exclusion of all others.  Right now my preference is just to make tiny socks except that there was a dog-sock incident recently that takes the shine off making socks for children.  Anyway, I am taking pattern suggestions in the comments!

    Seventh: a new Tulip.  I made one with a kit from Threadbear for my niece two years ago.  What’s not to love about Dream in Color yarn?!  Yummy.  But in an ongoing effort to enjoy the yarn I have already (which is not exactly the same as stash reduction, a term that seems a more severe and unhappy approach to this excess of riches), I am thinking of using either some of my never ending Wool-Ease (more on that in a moment) or Mission Falls 1824, bought on sale 2 years ago for the express purpose of making an unspecified stripey baby or kid sweater.  My inspiration for this project comes from the Tulips made by Sheri for which she uses Caron Simply Soft in juicy colors.

    Eighth: Patchwork baby blanket – a project in progress – concludes this parade of inspiration.  Zander’s blanket was the awesome Big Bad Baby Blanket by Lisa Shobhana Mason from the book Stitch and Bitch by Debbie Stoller, knit with two strands of Wool-Ease worsted weight held together.  I was VERY happy with this as a baby blanket because it was warm, washable, and affordable. Although I wanted something similar for the next baby’s blanket, I didn’t want to knit the same pattern.  Just ’cause.

    I eventually settled on a patchwork blanket, in part to use up some of the Wool-Ease I had accumulated.  But I needed 16 different colors (=skeins), of which I had slightly less than half.  So far, I have procured all the colors I will use, plus some secondary options just in case I need to swap colors out (with receipts to return what I don’t use – as if!).  I have 12 of 16 squares completed so far and it only takes me about two days to make each square.  With approximately 25g of each skein leftover (or the equivalent of 4.7 balls of Wool-Ease), I am not sure my efforts will result in a net reduction of Wool-Ease, which is both funny and sad.

    And this is just what I have come up with so far…..

    What baby patterns are you making?

  10. Inspired by babies, part 1

    January 29, 2009 by Carol

    Hard to not have babies on the brain when one is being kicked by a baby all day long from the inside.  Somehow I still manage to think of the impending bundle of joy as “cute” and dream up wonderful things to make in quantities that far exceed the time I have available.

    Since watching the Urban Aran Cardigan grow – for the second time – is rather boring for the blog, I am going to blab a bit about the baby knits which tempt me.  And I am going to divide this over two posts because it’s coming out kind of long.

    First of all, a finished project: Star of the Day hat by Susan Lawrence.

    (Zander models for his baby sister)

    Knit up in Violet Wool-Ease, a slightly dusky, dark purple which captures my eye in a way that makes me go “but I don’t usually like purple THIS much.”  The brim, finished with an applied i-cord per the pattern, rolls but not when worn so it’s not that big of a deal.  Sadly, the grapefruit test shows this hat to be too big for newborn use but she’ll wear it eventually.

    Second: Organic Guernsey by Fawn Pea.  I have loved this pattern for a long long time but have yet to make it.  Part of my issue is that I really do want to use the organic cotton but the $30+ price tag chokes my momentum.  I’ve read on Ravelry that there are sometimes fit issues so I think I will make this in something I have in my stash and, if I love it enough to knit again, then I will fork over for the organic cotton.

    Third: baby cardigan from Argentina… I ran into an old college friend at a party last autumn and she was making this sweater from a pattern handed down in her family who have it from their neighbors.  She said that everyone in their neighborhood made this baby cardi.  It’s knit in one piece from sport-weight yarn (such as Louet Gems wool, which is machine washable) and I have no idea what the finish cardigan looks like.  Adventure!  I wouldn’t normally knit something sight unseen but the background of this garment intrigues me and apparently that’s enough.

    Fourth: Toasty Topper, a Knitty pattern which is a hat/scarf combo for toddlers.  Love it!  I even bought yarn for this last month, Cascade 220 in a blue-grey which will look very fine on my blue-eyed boy.  I do highly recommend the Berroco Ultra Alpaca the pattern calls for, which is only a dollar or two more per skein than the Cascade.  If all goes well the first time around, I will make a second one this summer for baby #2 to wear in the winter.

    Thus concludes part 1 of the parade of baby knits, many of which I think I am going to make in the next six weeks.  On top of the Urban Aran Cardi, hats and mittens for myself, a few designs in progress, a pair of socks, my Ribby Cardi…. hahaha!